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5.0 out of 5 stars A FIVE STAR TOURIST GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE, 18 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Q Is For Quantum: Particle Physics From A To Z (Paperback)
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For all you fans of the late, lamented Douglas Adams (The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy) we have now got definitive, non-fictional guides to the Cosmos and the micro-world of Quantum Phenomena.
John Gribbin's latest book "Q is for Quantum" is the perfect companion to his 1996 masterpiece "Companion to the Cosmos".
Gribbin's presents his work in a well illustrated, encyclopaedic (A to Z) style with nearly all topics having (hyper?)links to cross-references elsewhere in the book. He puts great emphasis on the human dimension of science as well as on the purely physical phenomena and theories he describes so well. The mini-biographies of the scientists are fascinating in their own right, particularly when looking at the historical context and the geographic, social and academic connections/parallels that have led to these great advances in human thought.
Gribbin guides us along those amazing scientific paths of the past half millennia , from Galileo and Newton to Einstein and Hawking. He has this reader convinced that we are very close to realizing the ultimate dream of a Grand Unifying Theory (GUT) which ties together all the links between the forces of nature. His work is right up to date and includes the latest ideas on M-branes and superstrings.
The best way to read the book is to open it at random , find a topic of interest and see how far the hyperlinks can take you. Bliss for a net-head! The real strength of Gribbin's writing is to help us cover that great spectrum (in time and space) between the sub-atomic microworld of Quantum phenomena through to the edges of the Cosmos. Somewhere in the middle is the human dimension, dare I say, the "real world".
It was our late friend Douglas Adams who posed that trickiest of tri-lemmas ... What is the answer to that ultimate question, that is, the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything ? He told us ... it is 42 !
John Gribbin's agrees - look up his section on Planck. What is the smallest unit of time? Answer: zero, decimal point, FORTY TWO zeros, one second.
Before Planck time nothing much happened ... but then again ...
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