"I have come to think of this as the “cosmological problem.” Traditionally, the purpose of cosmology was to embed a people in a world—what happens to a society when its official cosmology becomes one that 99 percent of its population does not understand and very likely cannot ever hope to comprehend?" (p. 254)
In the unravelling of what draws people to cosmology, Wertheim shows us the poetic hunger for meaning that drives people like Carter to devote their lives to making a holistic theory. Wertheim makes no bones about the fact that much of this work, even Carter's, is poor science. This is clearly enunciated and explained; however, the case is also made that despite the fact that this is bad science, it is still valuable and in some (though not all) cases, aesthetically beautiful and meaningful.
As with the work that Wertheim has done through her Institute for Figuring, Physics on the Fringe affirms that there is room in this world for knowledge seekers of all kinds, along the broadest of spectrums. Wisdom can evolve and present itself in many ways – through empirical, mathematically sound, proven processes, and through hands-on, aesthetically rich, intuitive ones. Wertheim’s ability to mediate and bridge these often disparate perspectives is part of what makes this book such a powerful and enjoyable read.