- Paperback: 306 pages
- Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (28 Feb. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1630260215
- ISBN-13: 978-1630260217
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.6 x 25.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 896,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty Paperback – 28 Feb 2010
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Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there life on other planets?" to "What is empty space made of?" This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway. Gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time Explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way Includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe.
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But page after page the authors explained complicated physics in a simple, yet comprehensive way.
You will find very little "sciency" words, other than the names of the concepts they explain in their unique way.
Besides being easy to understand and easier to read, the authors make use of everyday situations as examples and use (very funny) cartoons to make you want to be late for that cool party you're already 2 hours late for because you can't put the book down.
And had I not learned so much about physics in this book, I would have thought they wrote a comedy book.
At regular intervals, I would catch myself thinking "How come no one explained it like this before? I would have paid attention if they had!"
To give you a taste of what I mean by funny, but still very informative:
"Our universe seems stranger than it needs to be. ...
It's made up of some sort of "dark matter" that doesn't interact with light ("dark") but that is a source of gravity ("matter"). In other words the name does nothing more then describe our ignorance. This explanation is only moderately more satisfying than saying gravity is caused by fairies."
About Time Travel:
"Imagine you got it in your head to do something profoundly stupid like kill your own grandfather before your father was conceived.*(We don't know why physicists have gotten into the macabre habit of talking about grand-patricide, but who are we to argue?)"
I was also surprised to find a couple of pages here and there that rate popular movies and tv-shows against actual physics.
I would recommend this book to anyone that likes learning new things, and especially those that like to learn new things and be entertained at the same time.
Including all these subjects means leaving out a detailed description of string theory, but since there is much controversy on this issue (and the book refers to alternative theories by Lee Smolin and others), it is a reasonable candidate for neglect.
Most of the articles are quite clear. My only problem was with the expansion of space-time, but one of the authers apparently realises this was complicated, as he has given a clearer explanation on his web site. Aside from that minor difficulty, it is a great book.
True, some of the jokes fall flat, but their presence generally makes the book pleasanter to read.
Highly recommended for those who want to know what modern physics and cosmology are all about.
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