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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of "The Heart of Darkness", 10 Jan 2014
By 
Professor John E.Beckman (La Laguna, Tenerife, ES) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) (Hardcover)
This book is a reasonably popular introduction to modern cosmology. It is a historical introduction and this is its most positive point, as it leads the reader through towards the most recent discoveries in a gradual and educational manner. I have only one complaintabout it. The modern science of quantitive cosmology has advanced greatly in recent decades due in large part to the new possibilities for making the required measurements because of exciting progress in observational technique. The chief steps forward which were the discovery of the cosmic microwave background and the discovery of the accelerating universe, were made by observers. The book, written by a theorist, does not get the correct balance between theoretical and observational advances. Of course the whole of modern cosmology is underpinned by the glorious synthesis which is General Relativity, but modern astrophysics as a whole has been led forward by observations (quasars, pulsars, and the results I cite above are four of these key examples). So although the book is a good introduction to the subject, I found it biased in this way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book even I could understand, 12 Mar 2013
This review is from: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) (Hardcover)
This was a book that even I could understand.

It makes modern discoveries on dark matter and dark energy accessible to those of us with degrees in the humanities. I did not understand any of the equations. But the writing style was so fluent that this did not matter. I noticed that one of the authors had been an editor. Perhaps this is why?

But whatever the case, we now have a book that enables literature graduates to bluff confidently with their science colleagues.

And the illustrations were great as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Darkness really illuminates, 3 Nov 2013
This review is from: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) (Hardcover)
Simon Mitton is a friend, and he asked me to read his book and do a review before I'd started it - so I thought I ought to tackle a subject (astrophysics and cosmology - why and how we're here in space and how to understand the universe and its systems) that I usually skip over in great haste as a non astrophysicist when I'm reading New Scientist or other popular science magazines. Although there are many long words in Simon's and Jeremiah Ostriker's Heart of Darkness (a brave move naming it after Joseph Conrad's African horror story), they're all relevant, and it's a model of strong and effective science communication. I felt really enlightened during my read and actually enjoyed the experience. In addition, I like the way they consciously (and conscientiously) pay tribute to many figures in the evolution of our understanding, many of whom have been elided from the more superficial narratives. I can give this 5/5 without expecting any payback from Simon!Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) by Ostriker, Jeremiah P., Mitton, Simon [2013] & Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials)
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the History of Cosmology, 30 Jun 2013
This review is from: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) (Hardcover)
This book is one of the best introductions to current thinking in cosmology that anyone with an interest in popular science can read. Thanks to the science historian Simon Mitton, the book approaches the subject from an historical perspective and offers an excellent illustration of, not only how the subject of cosmology has developed over time, but also how science in general operates and progresses. In addition, the astrophysicist, Jeremiah P. Ostriker is able to give an up-to-date account of such cutting-edge topics as dark matter and dark energy. The book also benefits from the fact that both authors are often able to give a first-hand account of cosmology research, as well as some personal insight into the individuals who were involved in our quest to better understand the origin and evolution of the Universe. Although, the text is largely non-mathematical, the science is explained in enough detail that this book would make a good introductory text for an A-level or undergraduate student who is approaching the subject for the first time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 15 April 2013
By 
C. Catherwood "writer" (Cambridge UK and Richmond VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) (Hardcover)
I agree with the other review - it is a truly excellent book, one that even someone with a degree in history could understand!

Astronomy is the one cutting edge science to enter the popular imagination, and not just because of Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox, though I imagine that they have helped to create the new interest in cosmology. This book, by a top Princeton scientist and a leading Cambridge science writer, show why we are all becoming astronomy fans these days. I was able to read and enjoy it thoroughly, and while there was some science the overall tenor of the book makes it one for those of us in the humanities to buy and have fun reading.

This is very well worth it! It is a great addition to the Princeton series and one that stands on its own as well.
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