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4.3 out of 5 stars9
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2013
I really enjoyed reading this. It's not just a "straight" popular book on physics - there are loads of such books. This takes a wider perspective and includes interesting sections on how humans through the ages have tried to address fundamental issues in philosophy and science.

There is very little mathematics in the book so you don't need to be put off if doing sums isn't your cup of tea. What shines through is the author's fascination with the universe and how physics can explain so much of what we see and experience. I suspect if you have no background at all in science you will find some of the sections a little tough to understand, but not impossible if you persevere.

It's not often that someone who is brilliant at physics/maths also has the skills to communicate both their enthusiasm and knowledge to the general public in ways that are understandable and entertaining. Neil Turok has managed to do all this.
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on 30 May 2013
As you loll by the pool this summer, while your wife or husband reads whatever has superseded 50 Shades of Gray, and your teenage daughter blisses out to Alice In Chains on her ear phones, you might wonder where it all went wrong. Wasn't there meant to be more to life than this infinity of sun loungers and face lifts stretching to the horizon?
At moments like these, when the neurons crave intellectual roughage, may I suggest you try Neil Turok's little book? It brings exciting news from the frontiers of cosmology and quantum physics and finds something uplifting to say about the destiny of mankind.
I read a great many non fiction books but finish few of them. Once I opened From Quantum To Cosmos I couldn't put it down until the last page. Turok, is one of the world's leading physicists and is currently director of the Perimeter Institute, a renowned research institute.
He was raised in South Africa, where his parents were ANC activists. Eventually, the family had to flee and finally ended up in the UK, where Turok worked with Stephen Hawking in Cambridge. The charm of this book is that it has a narrative arc, which describes Turok's personal and intellectual journey. From this arc he then skillfully hangs, in crystalline prose, some illuminating vignettes on quantum physics. He also provides a tour d' hoizon of cosmology and the development of quantum computing, which as we saw last week, is the next big thing.
Late last year the renowned American philosopher Thomas Nagel, published Mind and Cosmos, a controversial work that, besides taking some pot shots at Darwin's theory of evolution, suggested that the universe was teleological and that it has an aim, an end goal. Nagel is an atheist but he speculated that one of the explanations for the existence of human life was that consciousness might be embedded in the fabric of the universe.
Turok does not have the same axe to grind regarding evolution, although he does take an informed side swipe at Dawkin's analogy of the Selfish Gene. Yet, like Nagel's this book gains much of its drive, which at times is lyrical, from Turok's belief that the role of man might be to find that conscious element that motivates the universe. He sees quantum mechanics as the key. As he says, man is an analogue creature in a digital world but with a quantum future. His work is reminiscent of David Bohm's, another great physicist who was groping towards a theory, based on physics, that might explain universal consciousness. Highly recommended. Then again, there's always Glastonbury or yet another beach party.
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on 25 May 2016
Arrived promptly, as advertised, good.
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on 28 November 2013
I had learnt of the fundamental work at the Perimeter Institute and so was attracted to read this book. It did not disappoint. It is a lucid and thought-provoking account of the difficulties we face in comprehending the nature of reality. Those who have read David Deutsch's The Fabric of Reality will find this book less detailed and so easier to read; moreover it is optimistic that humanity has the potential to develop its intellect to meet the challenge of understanding our predicament.
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on 18 November 2013
It is not often I read a book about science that is a page-turner. I felt connected to the outer stars and inner space I also loved the personal story of the author growing up in South Africa with parents who sacrificed to fight Apartheid, and the effect a good teacher can have on a young child. I was also thrilled to hear the Massey Lecture on CBC Radio, 2012 in which the author read his work in front of an audience.
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on 29 January 2015
One of the best books on quantum theory that I have read. Neil Turok describes clearly the surprising nature of reality on a very small scale.
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on 29 November 2013
The book arrived quickly . I had already read it ( it took me six weeks) and this order was a present for my 20 year old son. I think everybody should read it as it opens new horizons.
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on 6 November 2014
Oh dear, oh dear - another scientist takes to the pulpit. This is a tissue of platitudes and piety; a renowned physicist, outside his comfort zone Turok sounds wide-eyed. He finds it 'remarkable' that two plus two equals four 'whether you are Mexican or Nigerian'. Leonardo's paintings, he tells us with confident authority, are 'some of the finest ever made'. (Nice to get that cleared up.) The first insight appears on page 16. It is from Einstein - who tells us, in effect, that reality is not ultimately knowable; that is not, though, a license for believing anything! - and there are better ways of accessing Einstein. Turok's hushed tone admits nothing like J Robert Oppenheimer writing to his brother Frank in 1935 (cited Bernstein: Quantum Leaps) 'Einstein is completely cuckoo'

* Actually Turok cautions against wishful thinking (p19), which he couples with greed - he's agin 'em both - so shall we call it wistful thinking on his part?
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on 19 April 2013
Hand-waving explanations of tricky physics ideas don't come off particularly after half way through the book.

Four more words are required for this review but I don't have four more words to say.
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