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Bang!: The Complete History of the Universe [Paperback]

Brian May , Sir Patrick Moore , Chris Lintott
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Sep 2009
In 2006, rock legend and experienced amateur astronomer Brian May joined the legendary expert Sir Patrick Moore and astrophysicist Chris Lintott to tell the story of the Universe from the moment time and space came into existence at the Big Bang, through to the infinite future and the ultimate fate that awaits us. Following the spectacular success of the first two editions, they got together again to update the information and pictures in this accessible introduction to the history of the universe. Many of the pictures of the Universe obtained by instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope or the Very Large Telescope in Chile are beautiful enough to be considered works of art in their own right. This book presents them in context, and uses extraordinary new artworks to explain the mind-blowing theories from the cutting edge of astronomy in a way that everyone can understand.

Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd; Revised edition edition (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847323367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847323361
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 27.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This stunningly illustrated book deals with a complicated subject in a way everyone can understand. --The Independent

About the Author

Though best known as the lead guitarist for the supergroup Queen, Brian May also studied for a PhD in astrophysics before giving up the academic life for rock music. Patrick Moore is the world's best-loved astronomer, author of more than 100 books and presenter of the world's longest running TV programme, BBC's "The Sky at Night". Chris Lintott is the co-presenter, with Patrick, of "The Sky at Night". He took his first degree in Physics at Cambridge, then his PhD in Astrophysics at University College London, and is now doing further research at Oxford.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starmaking Machinery 31 Dec 2006
It has taken 13.7 billion years, but the Universe has finally produced a coffee-table quality book to commemorate the Big Bang and its consequences. _Bang! The Complete History of the Universe_ (Carlton Books) by Brian May, Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott is not massive, as coffee-table books go, but its big format is perfect for the dramatic sorts of pictures that the Hubble Space Telescope or the larger Earth-bound telescopes can give us. It isn't just pictures, however. The text does an exemplary job of covering a huge amount of information. Necessarily, in 190 pages laid over with photos, details are skipped; on one page are both the disaster of the Permian Extinction 250 million years ago and the Cretaceous Extinction (wiping out the dinosaurs) 65 million years ago. There is the most detail in the earliest pages of the book, dealing with the events before around 700 million years ago, when there started to be discrete objects like galaxies that we could have actually seen, had we been there at that time. (In a sense, we do see them at that time, as the Hubble's lovely deep field images can show.) This is also the part of the book that makes the least sense to those of us who are stuck in a Newtonian world. There are books with fuller explanations of the strangeness of the Universe immediately after the Big Bang, but none quite so much fun.

For fun is obviously part of the trip the three authors have taken, and it starts right on the cover, which above the book's title shows a huge, glowing, fragmented fireball, obviously the Big Bang in progress. "Our cover artwork is for fun only. There is no suggestion that any part of the Big Bang ever looked like this.
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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STARS ROCK! 12 Nov 2006
By Alice
I can't remember when I was last so sorry to finish reading a book!

Well, the aim of Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott was to make the wonderful story of astronomy available to the general reader - and since maths and physics dimwit me feels she has understood it, I think we can say they've done that!

BANG! is an incredibly beautiful book, worth getting just for the photographs of stars, planets and galaxies. It also contains useful diagrams explaining such things as timescales and star formation. Pictures really can't capture the cover of the book, which is a "lenticular explosion" - 8 pictures, starting with a tiny star and ending with a terrifying fireball - depending on the angle at which you view it. I spent the first few hours just playing with that before I actually got around to reading anything.

The first chapter ("Genesis: In the Beginning") which deals with the first less-than-a-second interval, is the hardest work, especially if you'd never heard of positrons and have to be reminded how standard form works. But they're very sympathetic. Without once going into actual maths, they put explanation boxes separate from the text, and diagrams where appropriate. Once the application of these difficult concepts becomes so clear, you really want to know!

Later, the pace changes from Planck time (ten to the minus forty-three seconds, and yes, you will want to know) to billions of years, and everything feels all over too quickly. Early on the Universe becomes transparent - that is to say, electromagnetic radiation can actually get through it - then the first generation stars begin to form, burn themselves out and die differently according to their size, and along come black holes . . .
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a fantastic book 16 Nov 2006
The images of space are stunning, but more important the conceptual images and diagrams to help one understand the meaning of life and everything are a complete breakthrough.

Many of us have struggled with Steven Hawkins, but this suddenly makes the concepts of what we, as current mankind, understand truely come alive.

It makes one realise both how amazing and irrelevant we are, all at the same time.

A joy to read and absord.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining outline 10 Jan 2007
On first reading this book it appears to be a fairly exhaustive account of the Universe from the big bang, through the present day and on to the ultimate end of the Universe. Consider it a little further however and you realise it is only scratching the surface of what is known or believed about the origins and ultimate destiny of the Universe. I found the treatment of Hawking radiation, for example, cursory to say the least, and caused me to ask obvious questions not dealt with in the text.

This isn't a bad thing, however. It is an accessible summary that completely avoids the use of mathematics. It provides sufficient detail to capture one's interest and provides a solid foundation from which you can begin to consider the more obscure details.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but simplistic 24 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall this is a good book, but i found it a little bit too simplistic. That said that may have been due to the fact that at the same time i was reading Big Bang: by Simon Singh which i have to say is really excellent, and therefore in comparison this book suffered.
The book is well set out with a logical continuity of the history. It is colourful with great pictures, but many times I was left feeling a little short of detail. I guess you can start with this book as an introduction and then explore each of the topics further in other books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardback superb. Give the kindle version a miss
I have based my rating on the hardback edition which I previously owned but gave away. The illustrations in that are superb and helpful as is the clear, well written explanation of... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Laura Jane Seagrave
5.0 out of 5 stars A womderful introduction to space, time, and all that...
A more normal size book, updated and reduced in size from the original coffee table tome, Bang! Explains in mostly layman's terms the story of this universe, from beginning to end. Read more
Published 1 month ago by I. A. Wright
4.0 out of 5 stars Review on BANG
Easy to read and understand. Looking to the future there are many possibilities and this part is fairly useless. However the rest is informative...
Published 2 months ago by Algram
5.0 out of 5 stars Good clear explanation of the timeline of the universe
This book is good as a lay read on the history of the universe from the big bang through to the ultimate end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Raymond Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars A full history of the universe
Easy to understand and very informative.If this is your thing you will be kept reading as new information is constantly given.
Published 3 months ago by Brian Armitage
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but a little technical for the non-scientist
interesting but still too technical for me-well written but I think you need to be scientific minded to really enjoy it

headline is "good for those who know... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Barry Mordsley
4.0 out of 5 stars Science made simple.
I thought this a very good read . It is written in a straightforward way and treats complicated subjects like Quantum Theory in a way to make them more understandable to the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Louis OBrien
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but no illustrations in Kindle version
The text is superb - it is a good book - but it is galling to read reviews about how great the illustrations are only to discover that the Kindle version has none. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mister G
1.0 out of 5 stars kindle - not even worth 1 Euro
What a terrible advertisement for a Kindle book. The paper book by all accounts his full of wonderful images -- the kindle book looks like something from a different Era. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sean Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars did what it said on the tin
A very interesting book, well written, & easy enough to understand. All except the HUGE numbers involved, which made my head ache! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr Philip Bradshaw
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