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Book Title: The Big Questions The Universe|
The author of the book: Stuart Clark
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 476 KB
Date of issue: July 1st 2010
ISBN 13: 9781849162388
Read full description of the books The Big Questions The Universe:The Big Questions: The Universe by Stuart Clark
"The Big Questions: The Universe" is a part of a good series in science and philosophy that answers some of the biggest inquiries about our world in an accessible and concise manner. This installation attempts to answer twenty questions about the wonders of the Universe. The book lacks depth and there are better books on the same genre but there is enough here to whet the appetite. This straightforward 209-page book addresses the following twenty questions: 1. What is the Universe?, 2. How Big is the Universe?, 3. How Old is the Universe?, 4. What Are Stars Made From?, 5. How Did the Earth Form?, 6. Why do Planets Stay in Orbit?, 7. Was Einstein Right?, 8. What Is a Black Hole?, 9. How Did the Universe Form?, 10. What Were the First Celestial Objects?, 11. What is Dark Matter?, 12. What is Dark Energy?, 13. Are We Made from Stardust?, 14. Is There Life on Mars?, 15. Are There Other Intelligent Beings?, 16. Can We Travel Through Time and Space?, 17. Can the Laws of Physics Change?, 18. Are There Alternative Universes?, 19. What Will Be the Fate of the Universe?, and 20. Is There Cosmological Evidence for God?
1. Straightforward prose. Accessible and concise.
2. A fascinating topic, the big questions about the universe. The author does a wonderful job of selecting twenty representative questions.
3. Mr. Clark does a good job of conveying to the audience what we know to the best of our current knowledge versus what we don't know and why that is. "Once the quasar eventually dies down, it becomes an ordinary galaxy with a dormant central black hole. Cosmologists believe that the Universe built its current quota of galaxies in this way. But the nature of the first step of the sequence- the origin of the collections of a few million stars - remains elusive."
4. Facts sprinkled through the entire book. "The thickness of the Milky Way's stellar disc is estimated to be about 1000 light years, one light year being simply the distance that light travels in a year."
5. Find out the most accurate form of determining distances between celestial bodies.
6. Applied science. "After decades of laboratory work to understand the effects of ionization, correction factors have allowed us to arrive at the correct cosmic abundance of elements: 74 percent hydrogen, 24 percent helium, and two percent all the other chemical elements."
7. Understanding how tides works.
8. The essence of science in one sentence. "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." Albert Einstein
9. Find out how the heaviest of atoms are formed.
10. Galaxy formation.
11. Dark matter and dark energy. "Dark matter was introduced to solve the movement of galaxies; dark energy was invoked to solve the accelerated expansion of the whole Universe."
12. There is awe and wonder on the stars. "All the elements we find on Earth, with the possible exception of hydrogen, were created by nucleosynthesis (nuclear fusion reactions) inside the cores of stars." Great stuff!
13. A fun look at life on Mars. Is anyone out there? "Following on from Drake's early attempts, the current era of search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) was provisionally launched in 1971 when NASA commissioned a study into the design for the ultimate SETI telescope."
14. Put on your seat belts..."The record holder for the fastest manmade object is the spacecraft Helios 2; launched in 1976, it reached speeds of about 250,000 kilometers per-hour (155,000 miles per hour) during a series of close fly-bys of the Sun."
15. Interesting philosophical questions about the laws of physics. "Most physicists believe that the best candidate for a theory of everything is string theory."
16. A look at the fate of the universe...always an interesting subject. Spoiler alert, "The majority of astronomers now believe that the most likely fate for the Universe is to expand forever and suffer a heat death."
17. The last chapter may be the most interesting. Is there cosmological evidence for god?
18. Includes a helpful glossary.
1. This book is intended to be a concise and basic look at cosmology and so don't expect an in-depth look at any particular topic of interest.
2. There are better books that cover this topic in more depth while remaining accessible. Brian Cox provides some excellent books on this genre. Please look at my further recommendations.
3. More visual aid would have added value. An example: a global timeline.
4. The chapter on Black Holes left a little to be desired.
5. No notes or formal bibliography.
In summary, this is a basic book. Personally, this was a good refresher. It's an accessible book that covers twenty representative questions about our universe. If you know very little about astronomy, cosmology or how the universe came to be well this book will help in whetting your appetite. There are better books on this topic but this one holds up well. Average at worst, good at best.
Further suggestions: "Wonders of the Universe" and "The Quantum Universe" by Brian Cox, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing" by Lawrence M. Krauss, "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, "Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story" by Jim Holt, "The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past" by Mathew Hedman, "The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design" by Leonard Susskind, "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking, "Unraveling the Universe's Mysteries" by Louis A. Del Monte, "Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space (Kindle Single)" by Lisa Higgs, "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us" by Victor J. Stenger, "About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang" by Adam Frank, "The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" by Brain Greene, "The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction" by Peter Atkins, "From Hither to Yon" by Rich Cohen, and "Spectrums" by David Blatner.
Read information about the authorJournalist, award-winning author and broadcaster, Stuart Clark is a brilliant storyteller. Fiction or non-fiction, his work is written with conviction and with passion. In recent years, he has devoted his career to presenting the complex and dynamic world of astronomy to the general public.
His latest work is the pioneering trilogy The Sky's Dark Labyrinth. In the way that CJ Sansom's hugely successful Shardlake series marries crime writing with popular history, so The Sky's Dark Labyrinth trilogy blends gripping, original historical fiction with popular science.
Stuart holds a first-class honours degree and a phd in astrophysics. A Visiting Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, he is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. But it was his first work of narrative nonfiction, The Sun Kings, that established him as a popular science writer par excellence. Without fail the reviews, ranging from Nature to Bookslut.com, remarked on his exceptional storytelling ability and sheer verve of his writing. It was shortlisted by the Royal Society for their 2008 general science book prize, it won Italy's 2009 Montselice Prize for best scientific translation, and the Association of American Publishers 2007 Professional and Scholarly Publishing Award for Excellence in the Cosmology and Astronomy category.
Stuart is a regular contributor to national and international radio and television programmes and dvd productions. He frequently lectures throughout the UK and, increasingly, throughout the world.
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