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4.1 out of 5 stars8
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 21 September 2000
I am about halfway through reading this book, and I am hooked! It's better than a thriller or mystery novel - maybe because everything in it is true? I bought this book because I am starting an Open University degree in Science next year, and it has been 14 years since I have done any studying - let alone any Science. I did a Physics O'level, but remember none of it. This book is brilliant. I haven't been using it as a study aid exactly... I've just been reading it. And yet now I know all about how the atom was discovered, I know what Avogadro's number is. I know how many stars there are. If you're interested in Science - buy this book! It's excellently written and relatively easy to follow due to the everyday style examples given! The author says many of his other books were written for himself - books that hadn't already been written about a subject, and so can be quite technical - this book is for everyone else, and so does not dwell on the technical at all. It tells the scientific discoveries of the last few hundred years like a story! - I can't put it down!
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on 11 May 1999
This book gives the reader a warm welcome, and assumes nothing of their prior knowledge - for a book purporting to discuss Science for all, this is a vital and tricky feat.
Complex subject matter is put firmly in its place without the need for alerting the weary with equations.
The structure of this book too, is excellently thought out, taking the reader on a guided tour of the universe, beginning with the Atom.
If Archimedes had owned this book, he may not have done so much of his own thinking in the bath.
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on 5 January 2007
I like John Gribbin's writing style. He structures his books in a very logical manner (and this is no exception) and has a keen eye for leading the reader through the the story that he is telling. But...I found the lack of any illustrations regarding atoms, electrons, how atoms bind to each other to form molecules, etc a real problem. Its not his writing style that is at fault, its just that I just could not visualise what was going on, and after re-reading the relevant paragraphs three times I found that I had to look on the web to find some illustrations. And that helped - and I thought to myself - why didn't he include these in the book?.

The I dug out my 1966 3-volume set of Isaac Asimov's "Understanding Physics" - and you know what? - he didn't include any diagrams and illustrations either!!

Anyway, it is a good book and well worth the read if you have a curiosity about science. And, likewise, if you are not curious.......
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on 22 June 2009
You will find all of the basic science that you could ever want in this book. My only criticism is that the author fails to engage and make it less of a textbook (which is how it reads at times) and more of a pop science book which is what it seems to try to be. There are easier and more informative reads elsewhere.
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on 24 August 2005
I like John Gribbin's books a lot. I have ten of them. I've read them all, some of them a few times.
However, this is not a good book for beginners. No attempt has been made by either author or publisher to present science to a non-scientific audience. The book consists of block text from beginning to end. There are no illustrations and no diagrams. Many scientific terms are used without any explanation of their meaning, and the style of writing is not simple.
John Gribbin is a very prolific author, he has just rattled off another book, and someone has thought of a catchy title for it.
Having said this, there is a lot of interesting material in this book. I'll be keeping my copy and re-reading it. But "almost everyone's guide to science" it certainly isn't.
A much easier book by John Gribbin is 'Stardust', which is about the way in which the elements that make up everything around us are themselves made in stars - hence we are all stardust!
If you want an excellent introduction to biology please be sure to look up a marvellous book called 'Exploring the Way Life Works' by Mahlon Hoagland et al which I've also reviewed here on Amazon.
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on 19 May 2014
This has to be one of the best books for you,
if you want to understand physics a bit better that is.
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on 15 March 2016
hats off!
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on 10 May 2015
very good
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