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The Book of Universes Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099539861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099539865
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 415,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"There can be few better guides to the bewildering array of potential universes, and none so readable or entertaining" (Independent)

"Engrossing... He has a fluent and engaging style of writing and a good eye for an unusual quotation, and as a popularising historian of science, he is second to none" (Sunday Times)

"A stunning tour of potential universes, introducing us to the brilliant physicists and mathematicians who first revealed these startling possibilities... [and] the latest insights that physics and astronomy have to offer about our own universe" (Guardian)

Book Description

A book about universes - expanding, contracting, oscillating, time-travelling - from the bestselling author of 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a book more about the history of theories about what constitutes a universe rather than a book about what we currently believe the current state of our universe is although that is covered to some extent. Barrow describes theories that have fallen by the wayside, such as universes expanding in different ways in different places, or not having begun with a "bang" at all. Through this it becomes apparent that any theories propounded today are just as likely to be "boshed" in years to come as we are at the very boundaries of science and the experimental method. John Barrow is a very readable author, bringing life to potentially baffling and complex ideas and although some old ground is gone over (quantum theory etc) it doesn't do any harm to reinforce all these ideas as I for one still don't quite always "get" it. Whilst Brian Cox's latest tome is "lighter", has better pictures and diagrams and is an excellent book in its own right, I would encourage anyone who has read that to look at this one and put some meat on many of the bones that Prof Cox describes
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DB on 6 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked this up for free as part of a 3 for the price of 2 offer at Blackwell's in Oxford and I was delighted. It has made quite a lot clear to me that I didn't get before: what Einstein was trying to do when he came up with Relativity, how the current description of our universe (Big Bang, Inflation, Dark Matter, Dark Energy and a tiny, but non-zero Cosmological Constant that appears only to have cut in at round about the time that the Solar System was forming) seems pretty unavoidable, and why the cosmologists hate it (because it is such a Heath Robinson universe). The book won't be for everyone - Barrow doesn't shy away from graphs and equations - but if you've got say A-level Maths or Physics then you should be OK.

I think I spotted some editorial omissions where what Barrow says seems to be at variance with what I think he means. On the other hand, maybe I simply misunderstood what he was trying to say. In either case I don't think I can give the book the fifth star. But give it a go anyway.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Barrie Simmonds on 28 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once one appreciates that Einstein's equations of General Relativity permit many resonable solutions, one grasps the enormity of the 'multiverse'. And enormity is the apposite word when vacuum states of the string landscape are consisered. This is a very good book written by an expert researcher in cosmology; he just happens top be a good writer too! Not much in the way of mathematics - probably a good thing in a semi-popular book. Nonetheless, clearly articulated and, in my view, better than Brian Greene's latest offering. Thoroughly recommended.
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