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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weighty matters in simple language, 8 Nov 2003
This review is from: Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time (Hardcover)
This book arose out of a series of lectures the author gave under the title of Space, Time and Infinity. It is a philosophical introduction to the questions of space and time, written to stimulate further thought on the paradoxes of these concepts, in other words, to look again at the conceptual questions and puzzles that our ordinary view of space and time presents.
The questions that the author considers include the following: Are space and mind just mental constructions? Is there a fourth spatial dimension? Do parallel worlds exist? Could time run backwards? Might time travel be possible? Could space exist with nothing in it? Could there be space beyond the universe? and, Did time have a beginning?
Le Poidevin guides the reader through these puzzles with lots of wit in an engaging writing style. Best of all, he makes clear the limitations of our ordinary ideas of space and time and provides us with the tools to think about these problems with a broader brush. He does this by using only a modest amount of physics, so no prior knowledge of science or philosophy is required to enjoy the book.
He also deals with the Fine Tuning of the universe. Even slight differences in the fundamental physical features of the universe (such as in the forces that bind atoms together, the masses of particles, electromagnetic equations and the rate of expansion in the early universe) would have made it impossible for life as we know it to evolve in the universe.
Similar thought-provoking books include Small World by Mark Buchanan, Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra, The Universe Next Door by Marcus Chown, Before The Beginning by Martin Rees, Time And Space by Barry Dainton and God's Equation by Amir Aczel.
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