Author(s): Philip Ball
If you could be invisible, what would you do? The chances are that it would have something to do with power, wealth or sex. Perhaps all three. But there's no need to feel guilty. Impulses like these have always been at the heart of our fascination with invisibility: it points to realms beyond our senses, serves as a receptacle for fears and dreams, and hints at worlds where other rules apply. Invisibility is a mighty power and a terrible curse, a sexual promise, a spiritual condition. This is a history of humanity's turbulent relationship with the invisible. It takes on the myths and morals of Plato, the occult obsessions of the Middle Ages, the trickeries and illusions of stage magic, the auras and ethers of Victorian physics, military strategies to camouflage armies and ships and the discovery of invisibly small worlds. From the medieval to the cutting-edge, fairy tales to telecommunications, from beliefs about the supernatural to the discovery of dark energy, Philip Ball reveals the universe of the invisible.
The invisible is one of the most enduringly seductive ideas in human history. This is its biography.
Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He writes regularly in the scientific and popular media and his many books include Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another (winner of the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books), The Music Instinct, Unnatural: The Heretical Idea of Making People, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. His most recent book is Serving The Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Science Under Hitler.