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world class popularizer,
This review is from: About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution (Penguin Science) (Paperback)
Unfortunately, though cosmology is only the crudest projection of their abstractions by some physicists on the cosmos, it has become a staple of pop philosophy. From black holes to the big bang, cosmologists have created a new vocabulary that pops in the unlikeliest of places today, far outside of their original and strictly qualified scientific domains.
Davies is a rarity amoung popular science writers. Not only does he stick to hard science without over-simplifying, but he avoids the excesses in speculative claims that boosters foist on the uninformed public. In clear and concise prose, he examines the cutting edge of the field of time, as framed by Einstein and extended by recent research and observations, with grace and humor. It is a masterly performance.
While he does not avoid the fantastical worlds that may be beckoning, such as a black hole being a gateway to the end of time, Davies never neglects the flip side of such phenomena: any ship that went into a black hole would probably be crushed or would be unable to communicate what it had found, as not even light can escape.
THis also means that, while Davies explains the building blocks of the new cosmology with unusual clarity, he also exposes the flimsiness of its foundations. We do not know, for example, what constitutes 9/10s of the mass of the universe! Nor can we explain many of the oberservations of the Hubble telescope, such as the discovery of stars that appear to be older than the universe itself. Now THAT more is exciting than off-the-wall speculation! Our theories, Davies demonstrates, are far from complete.