Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most lucid popular science books around.
Both on TV and in print Al-Khalili has the knack of making difficult ideas comprehensible to the average viewer or reader. I particularly liked his treatment of the the Shrodinger's cat thought experiment. A lot of other accounts, but not Al-Khalili's, seem to miss the basic point that Shrodinger was not arguing that the cat was dead and alive at the same time, but...
Published 22 months ago by RF Esher

versus
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book - but watch out for the error in Chapter 1.
I found this book both interesting and enjoyable. The discussion on the implications of Einstein's theory was well presented. However I have to warn you about an error in Chapter 1 of the book which I will highlight briefly below.

To explain how knowledge affects probabilities the author gives the following example. Suppose you call a pet shop and tell them...
Published on 5 July 2012 by Alex B


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most lucid popular science books around., 4 Jun. 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Both on TV and in print Al-Khalili has the knack of making difficult ideas comprehensible to the average viewer or reader. I particularly liked his treatment of the the Shrodinger's cat thought experiment. A lot of other accounts, but not Al-Khalili's, seem to miss the basic point that Shrodinger was not arguing that the cat was dead and alive at the same time, but presenting a 'reductio ad absurdum' of the interpretation of quantum theory which would have led to this conclusion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are we reaching the saturation point for popular science books?, 22 April 2012
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Make no mistake, this is a well written, easy to read and understand book on some of the major paradoxes (the clue is in the title) in science. The problem is that anyone who has picked up any of the popular science books published in the past 5 years or so will be very familiar with many if not most of these. So the question is, did this book need to be written? Probably yes. I think Prof Al-Khalli gets away with it because the book is written in such a very accessible way and even if you are aware of much of the content this book will still illuminate and entertain so is probably worth the investment. Of course if you haven't read any popular science books in the past 5 years then this may all be new to you so you should definitely read the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good. Could have been more detailed, 10 Jan. 2014
By 
John W (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics (Paperback)
I enjoyed this. Any book that manages to include Monty Hall, why the sky is dark at night, Schrodinger's cat and the Fermi paradox (amongst others) has got to be interesting!

The author's reluctance to show any maths does get in the way at times though, and some explanations seemed rather incomplete because of this. And a few times I thought imprecise use of language led him to actually contradict himself, which should have been spotted.

On the plus side though, lack of maths means that all that is required of the reader is some logical thought, so it is very accessible.

My copy had a printing flaw which made an area of every left-hand page a bit blurred, though still readable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific page turner, 23 Mar. 2013
By 
ziggy_fan (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I do like his style of explaining things, and have enjoyed his documentaries (particularly "everything and nothing"). So having read a few pages of the kindle sample, I bought the whole lot and it has a been a stimulating brain teasing page turner. I do love apparently-paradoxical puzzles, and Jim Al Khalili presents us witty a range from the simplest to the most mind bending.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 15 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well worth reading, I think I have a slightly better understanding of why the weird stuff physicists argue over are important, even if I don't really understand them!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book - but watch out for the error in Chapter 1., 5 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this book both interesting and enjoyable. The discussion on the implications of Einstein's theory was well presented. However I have to warn you about an error in Chapter 1 of the book which I will highlight briefly below.

To explain how knowledge affects probabilities the author gives the following example. Suppose you call a pet shop and tell them that you want to buy two male kittens. The owner tells you that he has just taken delivery of two kittens, a black and a tabby. If he tells you no more, then the chance that they are both males is 1 in 4 (assuming 50% of all kittens are male). If the owner tells you he has looked at the tabby and it's a male, then the odds of two males becomes 50%. All fine so far, but here comes the mistake. According to the author, if the pet shop owner tells you he has looked at one of the kittens and found it to be a male, but does not tell which one, then the odds of two males is 1 in 3 or 33%.

In fact, as soon as you know that at least one of the two kittens is male, the odds of two males becomes 50%, whether or not you know which one the pet shop owner checked. I would have thought such an error would have been spotted before the book was published and it did make me wonder whether I could rely on the more complicated explanations in the rest of the book. I also emailed the Professor pointing out what I believe is a mistake in the book, but so far, he has not replied.

Had it not been for the mistake I would have scored this book more highly. It is well written and I found it enjoyable and interesting.

Update - Since writing the orginal review I have now had email correspondence with Pof. Al-Khalili. He has agreed that the example in chapter 1 is incorrect and he intends to get in touch with his publishers to correct future editions of the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Paradox explanations are too long, 26 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics (Paperback)
I found his explanations of each paradox too long. It would have been better if he had used more 'paradoxes' with shorter explanations. He strays too far from the subject, so it gets rather boring at times. I struggled to finish the book. The topic of Schroedinger's Cat has been covered so much in other books - he could have left that one out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paradox by Jim Al-khalili, 3 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a generally entertaining book that would particularly suit A-level science students, or adults with a general interest in science but no deep knowledge. It covers nine scientific "paradoxes", some very well known and others more specialist. The style of writing is informal, sometimes excessively so, but clear and engaging. Some of the discussions of the paradoxes felt like they could have done with more explanation, rather being left having to take Al-khalili's word for it, but I suppose a balance had to be struck between detail and readability. One example of this is Olber's Paradox - why the sky is dark at night. Al-khalili suggests that darkness of the night sky is proof of the Big Bang, but doesn't really provide enough detail to show anything more than that the dark sky is *consistent* with the occurrence of the Big Bang. Notwithstanding that, the book's a good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars not his) but I have enjoyed this very much, 25 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics (Paperback)
Very interesting, I had to reread some bits to really understand what he was explaining (my fault, not his) but I have enjoyed this very much.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still reading, but so far not bad - now finished!, 9 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have a science background, so do not find it difficult.
I've read a number of similar books in the past, so there is some overlap, but I quite like his style although it can get wordy when he is trying to avoid using Maths......

Having finished it, I would say it is a bit variable in content and delivery, but this may have been influenced by my prior knowledge.

Worth buying if you have some physics/maths background or have read one or two similar books and enjoyed them, but probably not the best place to start this sort of reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics
Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews