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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit deep at times but fascinating nonetheless
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"...
Published on 11 April 2011 by Big Jim

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Review of the Universes
John Barrow describes the development of Cosmology over the last hundred years and the array of possible Universes (and their pasts and futures). As usual with Barrow, the text is clear and lucid, although there are so many universes that it is impossible to keep track of them all. However, it appears that the generally accepted model of a Big Bang followed by...
Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. Hastings


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit deep at times but fascinating nonetheless, 11 April 2011
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Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Book of Universes (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Why we seem to be living in a dog's breakfast universe, 6 Sep 2012
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DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Book of Universes (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
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK OF UNIVERSES, 28 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Book of Universes (Hardcover)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars A Review of the Universes, 3 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Universes (Paperback)
John Barrow describes the development of Cosmology over the last hundred years and the array of possible Universes (and their pasts and futures). As usual with Barrow, the text is clear and lucid, although there are so many universes that it is impossible to keep track of them all. However, it appears that the generally accepted model of a Big Bang followed by inflation, with a multiverse of continuous inflation, is not so certainly established. Cosmology has a long way to go before it finds a wholly satisfying and observationally verifiable theory.

However, there are (it seems to me) some annoying errors in the book.

For example; in Figure 2.7a, illustrating positive, negative and zero curvature, the arrow indicating zero curvature seems to me to be pointing to an area of negative curvature. The arrow should be pointing to the next line of triangles up. What is disappointing about this is that it is a copy of Figure 2.1 in Barrow’s earlier book “Impossibility” where the same mistake is made.

Then Figure 8.7 shows the Weak force to be stronger than the electromagnetic, rather than the other way round. It also shows the weak, electromagnetic and strong forces coming together at one “triple cross-over” (p 192). But in fact, the weak and electromagnetic forces combine first and then the electroweak force equals the strong force at a higher temperature. Figure 5.3 in “Impossibility” has the same triple point, even though the text makes clear that the combinations occur at different temperatures.

It seems to me to be reprehensible, on the part of the author and the publisher, that the errors in the earlier book should have been repeated in a second book. I wonder what Barrow would say if one of his students made such errors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Book of Universes (Paperback)
From the beautiful pinkish cover, to the layout of the type and to the written style, I liked everything about this book. I have been reading a lot recently on the Universe, and have tended to stay away from the mathematically focused ones. Yes, there are maths in this but you can easily ignore it.

John D Barrow explains why it is that out of the evidence of inflation, E=MC2, the field equations, quantum mechanics and the cosmological constant we should even contemplate that thinking our universe is the only one is a naive notion.

From start to finish each hypotheses is presented simply as possible - building the reader up so that they feel they really understand the very nature of our universe and why it could be just one of 10x500, thats 10 with 500 zeros after it I think! Read and celebrate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Book of Universes (Paperback)
good quality
good service
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The Book of Universes
The Book of Universes by John D. Barrow (Paperback - 2 Feb 2012)
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