- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books (7 Nov. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846685184
- ISBN-13: 978-1846685187
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nothing: From absolute zero to cosmic oblivion - amazing insights into nothingness (New Scientist) Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
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The next popular science bestseller from the Does Anything Eat Wasps? crew
About the Author
New Scientist is the bestselling and fastest-growing science magazine in the world. Jeremy Webb is its editor-in-chief. New Scientist's series of 9 previous titles with Profile, beginning with Does Anything Eat Wasps?, has now sold over 2 million copies.
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Top Customer Reviews
George F. Hart, Professor emeritus, LSU.
"Nothing" turns out to be anything but. The articles are in random order, but you can follow particular ideas using guide notes to related articles.
The articles were not of equal interest to me, though I found quite a few that stirred the grey matter. The writing is clear, as you would expect of New Scientist, but sometimes the authors try a little too hard to be chatty, or even sensationalist: the title blurb sets this tone. Illustrations, which I always value very much in New Scientist, are here thin on the ground - and for me that's not a minor quibble. The articles take up just over half the book, the rest being notes and index, etcetera.
When we start to dig into concept of "nothing", we discover (quite quickly) that "nothing" is quite elusive and exists, perhaps, only as a turn of phrase. Take absolute zero (i.e. temperature), take Universe before the big bang, and take internal organs of a body that are redundant, take placebo medicine, take your mind when it's idle - does it sound like nothing to you? It does not to me. There is always something behind nothing. And while concept of explaining what the python does while it hangs out for weeks doing nothing is more or less easy, I doubt a lot of people would grasp concept of vacuum or universe before the big bang (if we could, perhaps there would be many more Nobel laureates among us!). What I mean, it's all fascinating and super interesting, but I wonder how many people would be able to share their new found knowledge (unless it's about vestigiality (there are 86 organs in a human body which are considered useless!) - a concept easily explained and understood and illustrated by a number of easy examples).
So, some articles are curious and will definitely make you think and discuss your newly found knowledge. Some articles I just skim-read (because I do not have enough physics and chemistry knowledge to fully understand the concept of particles - and I guess it would be pretty hard to explain the beginning of the Universe in an article of a dozen pages).
Stimulating read, nonetheless.
This collection of essay extracts and commentaries from New Scientist is a layman’s introduction to what goes on in the universe and in the psyche. The fact that these two aspects of life are alternated throughout the book gives it balance and enhances readabilty. There is little that is new here, but the arrangement is satisfying, allowing one a break, as it were, from hard science and mathematics to bodies. As a non-scientist I found the book a relatively easy read, a book to dip into rather than a work of learned research. I now know the age of the universe (13.82 billion years) and the earth (4.55 billion) so I know that nothing much counts in the grand scheme. Microscience and quantum physics are fascinating, but to me almost unintelligible and the words ‘big’ and ‘small’ are valid only relatively.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great fun. I have not read the book but for the price it was a great gift and talking point!Published 1 month ago by 1littleduck
Everything you need to know about nothing but didn't realise you could ask.Published 1 month ago by Anchises
If you want to have painful stress head ache - read this lol...discusses things that are relative, nothing is absolutely true.Published 2 months ago by Svissloki
loads of snippets of information very diverse but not exactly indepth worth a read thoughPublished 9 months ago by m. dosa