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Big Bang: The Most Important Scientific Discovery of All Time and Why You Need to Know About It Paperback – 4 Jul 2005


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Big Bang: The Most Important Scientific Discovery of All Time and Why You Need to Know About It + The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking + Fermat's Last Theorem
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (4 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007152523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007152520
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.8 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Singh is a science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. He is the author of Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a no 1 bestseller in Britain and translated into 22 languages. In 1999, he wrote The Code Book which was also an international bestseller and the basis for the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy.

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Review

'Comprehensive yet eminently comprehensible … Singh explains even the most complicated ideas with subtlety, grace and wit.' Economist

'[Singh] is a gifted expositor, ready to venture to places other science popularisers don't even try to reach.' Mail on Sunday

'Singh's unerring eye for picturesque anecdotes and his capacity for simplifying complex scientific ideas is a winning formula' Sunday Telegraph

Singh presents a tightly structured history of the key players in humankind's realisation of how much space really is out there. As Singh shows, coming up with a theory of how the universe began is possibly the most creative thing of all.' Guardian

'Singh is a very gifted story teller who never misses a chance to make his subject clearer of more entertaining … Singh is also fastidious about crediting the true pioneers of science … a brilliant book.' Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Simon Singh is a science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow’s World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat’s Last Theorem for the Horizon series. He is the author of Fermat’s Last Theorem, which was a no 1 bestseller in Britain and translated into 22 languages. In 1999, he wrote The Code Book which was also an international bestseller and the basis for the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
This book manages to make some of the most complex science in human history accessible and understandable. I haven't studied science for 20 years but with some perseverance I managed to learn an incredible amount from this book. Also it is full of incident, and human drama, and humour, and all kinds of entertaining anecdotes which sweeten the pill when you have to wade through 500 pages of physics! Not only did I learn about the Big Bang theory (which I now realise is no more a "theory" than radio waves or electricity) but I found myself genuinely understanding for the first time lots of physics I had supposedly already "learned". And not just physics: geography, astronomy, history... It's not an easy read, but well within the grasp of most educated people: a book that repays your effort and then some.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keith on 2 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a Physics undergraduate, and upon reading Fermat's Last Theorem (also by Singh), I knew I was in for a treat when I picked this one up. As Fermat's Last Theorem was pretty much a brief history of maths, analogously Big Bang is a brief history of astronomy and cosmology.

As pretty much everyone else has said, Singh has a remarkable ability to convey every single one of his points and all of his information in an extremely clear and concise manner, and explains both simple and more complex concepts without sounding patronising.

One point I would like to make about this book is the sheer volume of reference to historical figures and discoveries in physics. Singh could quite easily have written this book without half as much of the historical background whilst maintaining the same level of content; however it is so right that such importance is given to these great thinkers, as we would certainly not be in the world we are in without them.

I think this book is perfect for people similar to my father (who I am buying this book for) who have (some) intelligence, are interested in educating themselves, but maybe do not have the physics background that some modern literature require.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lebus on 13 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
This book by Simon Singh is absolutely brilliant and equally as enthralling as his other books. He has the knack of explaining complex things in simple and understandable language, and the summaries at the end of each chapter are excellent and useful. The book is long but each page is fascinating. You don't need any knowledge of science, physics or astronomy to appreciate it, just an enquiring mind. I can thoroughly recommend this book to everyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anna Abrahamyan on 1 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
Simon Singh has put together one of the best books of the popular science genre. Tired of all the maternity literature, I bought the "Big Bang" in a desperate urge only the 8th month of pregnancy can ignite. And a wonderful read it was. He has the most complex formulas explained through a smooth narrative of historical development of the Big Bang theory. It is a most compelling evidence of a beautiful marriage the natural and humanitarian sciences may have if put together this masterfully. The best thing about it is that I now can fearlessly answer to my curious little ones' questions on where we come from and why.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Otto on 1 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Particle physicist, Simon Singh, carries you on an interlectual journey through the creation and evolution of the universe. This is a powerful and insightful book into understanding science, and gives an elegant interpretation of the Big Bang theory - the explosive birth of the cosmos. Don't be fearful if your grasp of physics and mathematics is less than you would wish. The author's explanations are in simple to understand logic. Singh also gives the reader an engaging insight into the lives of scientists through the ages, and how the thinkining and religeous beliefs of the day, in many cases, was the enemy of enlightenment. Some of these great thinkers were ahead of their time and tragically became martyrs, others heroes in their own lifetime. Singh's book tells how science and the Big Bang theory have revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos. It will stretch your mind and your imagination. A must for every home library.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mrs J Lawson on 4 Jan 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most enjoyable popular science books I've read. Not only is it about the big bang theory itself, it also serves as a very informative account of cosmology through the ages, from the ingeneous methods of discovery of the distances to the sun, moon and stars to the famous contributions to science made by Copernicus, Gallileo, Rutherford etc. Even though I was already familiar with much of the science in this book, the relaxed, easy to read and often very amusing nature of the text made every single page enjoyable. We are almost always given an insight into the personalities of the men and women behind the discoveries, and Singh takes great care to show us the spirit and excitement of scientfic discovery.
The physics involved is very gentle, and the author makes a lot of effort not to lose the readers, with many explanations and metaphors making everything clear. As a result, the book should probably appeal to people ranging from those who know very little of cosmology to those who, like myself, may have read a few other popular accounts of the subject.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Lucas on 17 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simon Singh eloquently and engagingly weaves the story of the development of scientific understanding that leads to the theory of the Big Bang. This is the explanation of how the edifice was built, brick by brick. Clearly written, it does not assume detailed scientific knowledge, but explains concepts in understandable language.It should be required reading for all science teachers, not for the scientific content but for a demonstration of the art of the possible in simple explanation.

This book is up there with "The Ascent of Man" and "A Short History of Nearly Everything".

As an aside, this is also the best example of art of summarising material that I have ever seen - each chapter of around 80 pages is summed up in 2 sides of notes - without losing anything.
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