- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (Mar. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 143322965X
- ISBN-13: 978-1433229657
- Package Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.8 x 3.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space
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"If the universe is infinite, then its possibilities are infinite as well. But in How the Universe Got Its Spots, the astrophysicist Janna Levin insists that infinity works as a hypothetical concept only, and that it is not found in nature."--Lauren Porcaro, New Yorker
"The intellectual-emotional balance, and the finely tuned prose, are what makes this different from the very many other books on cosmology. And Levin has found an interesting way to do this; the book is in the form of letters to her mother."--Toronto Globe and Mail
"Often elegiac in tone like a premature swansong from a young scientist with much to say--How the Universe Got Its Spots is a genuine attempt to break down barriers, both intellectual and emotional, between scientists and their wished-for-audience."--Ken Grimes and Alison Boyle, Astronomy
"This intimate account of the life and thought of a physicist is one of the nicest scientific books I have ever read--personal and honest, clear and informative, entertaining and difficult to put down."--Alejandro Gangui, American Scientist
"In an engaging, quirky collection of letters originally intended for her mother, Levin describes her quest as a cosmologist to understand both the topology of the universe and her place in it."--Discover (20 Best Science Books of the Year)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
"Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, the gifted young cosmologist Janna Levin not only announces the central theme of her intriguing and controversial new book but establishes herself as one of the most direct and unorthodox voices in contemporary science. For even as she sets out to determine how big "really big" may be, Levin gives us an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist, complete with jet lag and romantic disturbances.
Nimbly synthesizing geometry, topology, chaos and string theories, Levin shows how the pattern of hot and cold spots left over from the big bang may one day reveal the size and shape of the cosmos. She does so with such originality, lucidity--and even poetry--that How the Universe Got Its Spots becomes a thrilling and deeply personal communication between a scientist and the lay reader. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
In the book How the Universe Got Its Spots, Levin uses a diary/letter style to explain contemporary theoretical physics in a way that is accessible to a layperson like me. She weaves the science through stories from everyday life. Her engaging writing style and excellent examples makes complex topics such as Einstein's theories easier to understand. It's interesting to learn how much we know and how much we still don't know about our universe. Is the universe finite or infinite? We really don't know.
One of the most amazing aspects of the book is her interest in cosmic archaeology which examines the patterns of hot spots left over from the big bang. I was also fascinated by her explanations of topology and geometry of the universe. I've always been interested in the idea of more than three dimensions, but it wasn't until I read this book that I began to understand how these other dimensions might work.
It's been nearly a decade since this book was written. I look forward to reading her newer, award-winning book titled A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.
Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…there are no walls built in the human mind making some of us scientists and some of us artist. They are branches of the same tree, rooted in a common human essence. Maybe it’s our ability to step between the different disciplines, weaving strange loops all the while, that’s the core of our creativity.” (p. 193)
The audio book is excellent as is the printed book. Both make the subject intimate and personal.