The first nine chapters of this rather small book give us an excellent summary of our actual scientific and speculative cosmological knowledge.
In the last two chapters the author explains why he believes that the history of our universe is just an episode (a particular Big Bang) in an infinite multiverse (see also Lee Smolin's 'The Life of the Cosmos').
This clearly written (a bonus) book tackles also other important items, like the risk for an encounter with a devastating asteroid, the impact of a unified theory on science, or the still more demote cosmic status of humanity - we are even not made of the dominant stuff in our universe.
A very interesting read. Not to be missed.
on 23 June 2007
Martin Rees covers all the current cosmology, explaining what has been thoroughly tested and accepted and covering a lot of speculative stuff that has a good chance of becoming accepted. (He glances off a few non-science ideas too.) He explains in a broad way, without getting into any tricky details the processes of scientific discovery, and why it is that so much should be gambled on string theories. A slight philosophical questioning slant, with nods towards ideas raised in sci-fi. Rees gives as clear an argument as any as to why we should keep searching for answers. Inspiring.
on 10 April 2011
Rees' book is adapted from a series of lectures he gave to a general audience at Princeton University. Although a completely different work, and somewhat updated, it effectively covers similar ground as his slightly earlier volume, Before The Beginning.
Like its predecessor it is a very readable introduction to cosmology, from someone with a thoroughly well established reputation, both as a scientist and a communicator.