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4 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How many stars? Depends on your expectations!!, 5 Jun 2012
By 
David E. Perkins (East Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality (Paperback)
This is what I would call a very 'thorough' book, and I think readers' enjoyment (hence their * rating) will depend upon the balance of their interests between the science and the history. I have read a number of this type before and my inclination is towards the science but with an interest in the history as well.

This book covers the science quite well, and in a fair bit of detail (though sometimes the descriptions seem a bit bland even if they are lengthy). But it is overwhelmingly about the history of the discoveries and the relationships between the different, sometimes competing, individual researchers, and teams. So the book could be said to be about 25-30% science, and the rest narrative. It is quite a long read too, so eventually I found myself sneaking a look at where the notes, references, index, etc started, to see how near the finishing line I was getting! That meant that my rating is down a bit, but I am sure others will enjoy it more, as it undoubtedly a good book.

An example is the historic phone call between two sets of researchers who were investigating background radiation from the sky that came to be known as the Cosmic Microwave Backgound. Not only is there the obligatory mention of the content of the call itself, but in later threads there are further references to it such as 'this was the same room that ...', and 'this was the day that...'. All this perhaps is a reflection of the description of his work as "writing on science and culture" in various publications and books, trying to set the whole research programme in context.

As with other books I have read, the narrative repeatedly reverts in time to trace through each thread of the investigations and discoveries from initial ideas to the latest situation. As a bit of an aside, I would be fascinated to see someone try and take a broader front through time, with the concurrent investigations described 'together' chapter by chapter, using a single pass from 'then' to 'now'. Don't know if it would work though!

I would recommend this particularly to prospective readers that have perhaps a preference for the historical part of the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains how humans understood the the universe is dark, 13 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality (Paperback)
Wow! A different approach to science books, more like a thrilling race through 100 years of detective work, scientific analysis, politics and human dedication to arrive at the frontiers of the universe. That we are stardust, born from dying stars, that the stuff we and everything we see is just 4% of the weight of the universe, that DARK STUFF we cannot yet detect is pushing, expanding, creating space at an increasing acceleration!

I mean WoW - I feel glad that I live still to have understood this thinking.

Panek's book is excellent, gripping, I just read and read until I finished it. The scientists characters are brought to life. The science is kept as simple as it possibly can, but will be a challenge (a good one) for the layman/woman.

The great thing is that he ends each chapter with a conclusion that prepares you for the next part of the journey.

I look at the stars in the dark night and I am awed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of Dark Matter and Dark Energy., 29 April 2013
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This review is from: The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality (Paperback)
Anyone interested in the universe will find this book interesting and informative. We may be hearing much more on this topic in future years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, 9 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality (Paperback)
Marvellous! Many thanks will buy again from this seller.
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