By Philip BallIf provided the chance—by cloak, spell, or superpower—to be invisible, who wouldn’t are looking to provide it a attempt? we're attracted to the assumption of stealthy voyeurism and the facility to hide our personal acts, yet as fascinating because it could appear, invisibility is usually harmful. it isn't simply an optical phenomenon, yet a situation filled with moral questions. As esteemed technology author Philip Ball finds during this publication, the tale of invisibility isn't rather a lot a question of ways it would be completed yet of why we need it and what we'd do with it.
during this energetic examine a undying thought, Ball presents the 1st accomplished background of our fascination with the unseen. This sweeping narrative strikes from medieval spell books to the newest nanotechnology, from fairy stories to telecommunications, from camouflage to ghosts to the sunrise of nuclear physics and the invention of darkish strength.
Along the way in which, Invisible tells little-known tales approximately medieval monks who blamed their misdeeds on spirits; the Cock Lane ghost, which intrigued either Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens; the makes an attempt through Victorian scientist William Crookes to observe forces utilizing tiny windmills; novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s trust that he used to be unseen whilst in his dressing dress; and army efforts to enlist magicians to conceal tanks and ships in the course of WWII. Bringing in such voices as Plato and Shakespeare, Ball offers not just a systematic heritage yet a cultural one—showing how our simultaneous hope for and suspicion of the invisible has fueled invention and the mind's eye for centuries.
during this strange and shrewdpermanent ebook, Ball exhibits that our fantasies approximately being unseen—and seeing the unseen—reveal marvelous truths approximately who we're.