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50 Ideas You Really Need to Know: Universe Hardcover – 6 Jan 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857381237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857381231
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.3 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

For millennia humanity has gazed in wonder at the night sky, tracked the motions of the planets and attempted to explain our place in the Universe. But only in our own time has the true scale, the astonishing variety and the remarkable strangeness of the cosmos come clearly into focus.
The pace and sophistication of recent scientific discovery has been breathtaking, but breakthroughs are often difficult to understand and their impact is hard to fully appreciate. In Universe - 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know, Joanne Baker clearly and concisely explains all of the essential concepts, major discoveries and the very latest thinking in astrophysics, including: the basic principles of astronomy - from heliocentrism to Newton's theory of optics; the constituent parts of the Universe, its creation and evolution; the key concepts of cosmology, including the theory of relativity, supermassive black holes and 'multiverses'; the very latest developments in our understanding of quasars, exoplanets and astrobiology.
From dwarf planets to dark energy and from the Big Bang to the death of stars, this book is the perfect introduction to the cutting-edge science that is shaping our understanding of our place in the Universe and that could lead to the next great discovery - the detection of life beyond Earth.

From the Back Cover

Planets. Heliocentrism. Kepler's laws. Newton's law of gravitation. Newton's theory of optics. The telescope. Fraunhofer lines. Doppler effect. Parallax. The Great Debate. Olbers' paradox. Hubble's law. Cosmic distance ladder. The Big Bang. Cosmic microwave background. Big Bang nucleosynthesis. Antimatter. Dark matter. Cosmic inflation. Cosmological constant. Mach's principle. Special relativity. General relativity. Black holes. Particle astrophysics. The God particle. String theory. Anthropic principle. Hubble galaxy sequence. Galaxy clusters. Large-scale structure. Radio astronomy. Quasars. X-ray background. Supermassive black holes. Galaxy evolution. Gravitational lensing. Stellar classifications. Stellar evolution. Stellar births. Stellar deaths. Pulsars. Gamma-ray bursts. Variability. The Sun. Exoplanets. Formation of the solar system. Moons. Astrobiology. Fermi paradox.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read many so called "popular science books" and this must be one of the poorest. I am referring to the Kindle version. The book is not well thought out with no logical progression between the 50 points. It is endlessly repetitive to the point of annoyance. It reads like someone has copied and pasted sections from inaccurate pages of Wikipedia.

I think it must have been ghost written by a non scientist because there are so many historical and factual errors it is embarrassing.

I give you just two; one from near the beginning and one from near the end. We are told that "objects become infinitely large as the approach the speed of light". Later "light from the Sun takes eight seconds to reach the Earth.

As any other, more robust, science book would state. Mass increases to near infinite size with the onset of near light speed and Sunlight takes approximately eight MINUTES to reach the Earth.

I can only surmise that these errors and others throughout the book meant it wasn't proof read, if read at all by the author. It was written by someone who didn't know a) the basics of relativity b) the speed of light and distance to the Sun. There are many other errors throughout the book.

The book might be fine for a teenager who has a GCSE grade 3 single science but for anyone else it is appalling. I am at a loss why so many other readers have given it 4 or 5 stars? Even for a teenager it would be near useless as the explanations are poor with no analogies used or the ones chosen being inappropriate. It has a style that takes theory as fact and that fact is correct, well because it is (often it isn't stated correctly anyway)!

The editing is non existent hence the endless repetition.
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Format: Hardcover
I've recently developed an interest in astrophysics having read a lot of philosophy and I want to know more about the philosophy of religion.Therefore it makes sense that I should at least try to understand scientific explanations for how the universe was created and how it works.I read a few Stephen Hawking books , but found them quite heavy going, so I was pleased to pick up this book in a discount bookstore as it seemed more accessible.Having now read it I am pleased to say that it is indeed accessible and does its best to explain some quite difficult concepts in fairly easy to digest bite sized chunks of information. To fully understand it requires a broader knowledge of astrophysics but hopefully , having read it, I now have a wider general knowledge about the subject ,can follow the debates on the subject more easily and will be able to revisit the Hawking books and make more sense of them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good read for those interested in the more important things in life. Like many such books, one or two items claimed to be fact are based upon supposition but the author's intent to enlighten is very admirable!
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Format: Hardcover
Bought this casually in a discount bookshop and I'm very excited about it. Joanne Baker writes very well and I feel I can trust her information. It's an accessible digest of highly significant scientific revelation!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was expecting this book to oversimplify things and make them easier to digest, as both the title and the format suggested. However, the balance between information and readability is perfectly achieved here. There is quite a bit more than fifty ideas inside, despite the title, with literally all major concepts explained in detail, yet never in a bothersome or overly scientific way. On the contrary, the language couldn't have been more down-to-earth, which is a magnificent feat when dealing with astronomy, physics and chemistry. Although perfectly readable by itself, the book requires a fair amount of attention (and imagination!), as you're likely to encounter many of the concepts it presents for the first time, and the pace is unyielding, so don't expect the author to revisit terms that have previously been explained. The chapters are short and concise enough for you to carefully sift through everything, and as the book progresses, you'll realise how much of a favour you've done to yourself by doing that. Above all, don't rush through chapters that explain things you think you already know!

I used to believe that there was a great deal that we didn't know about the universe. By reading this book, I've come to understand that we know many things - it was I who didn't know them. I literally feel as if I comprehend life and the universe on a greater scale now. My biggest conceivable commendation to the author. This needs to be introduced as a bona-fide schoolbook.
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