What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge


Fourth Estate, 2016

Exploring the limits of knowledge, du Sautoy embarks on an epic journey to see if there are any problems in science that by their very nature will never be answered. From consciousness to cosmology, from chaos to quarks, this deeply philosophical book du Sautoy explores the impact that these known unknowns could have on our lives.

“Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting” Bill Bryson

“I felt I was being carried off on a wonderful journey, a thrilling research expedition to the teasing and mysterious boundaries of scientific knowledge, and I never wanted to turn back. Du Sautoy is a masterful and friendly guide to these remotest regions … It is absolutely fascinating throughout, and I really loved it” Richard Holmes

“I admire and envy the clarity and authority with which Marcus du Sautoy addresses a range of profound issues. His book deserves a wide readership” Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

“In this finely synthesized study, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy explores the edges of our understanding in maths, mind and beyond. A dazzling journey.” Nature.

“Fascinating book on the limits of scientific knowledge.” The Economist

“With What We Cannot Know, the prominent mathematician, writer and broadcaster boldly squares up to what he calls the seven “edges” of human knowledge, topics that range from the nature of time to the mysteries of human consciousness. His take here is refreshing, not least because along his journey he exposes with humility his own confusions, apprehensions and concerns.” The Observer.

“An engaging new book.” The Guardian.