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In Search of the Big Bang Paperback – 7 Aug 1987

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Paperback, 7 Aug 1987
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (7 Aug. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552131466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552131469
  • Package Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

As an astrophysicist by training and subsequently a science journalist for Nature and editor for the New Scientist, John Gribbin is well equipped to give an overview of the remarkable growth and development of ideas over the last decade or so concerning the origin of the Universe. Space exploration and associated new technology have produced so much new data that it is hard for the general reader to keep pace with it all.

Gribbin is an expert guide who knows how to explain complex ideas in simple terms without being carried away with inappropriate analogies and without being condescending. Not unreasonably, the reader does have to make an effort as well. Sensibly, Gribbin does however gradually build up his story from the basics, such as The Second Law of Thermodynamics. The discovery of the depths of the galactic space, the realm of nebulae which Gribbin evocatively calls "the cosmic landscape" and the idea of an expanding universe follow. The history of modern cosmology from Einstein's "Theory of General Relativity", the measurement of the age of the Universe and other developments lead up to the possibility of the "Big Bang".

Like all good stories, the excitement is maintained by the way it is told, with the introduction of historical and personal details of the scientists involved. Gribbin's own history allows him to provide something of an insider's view, which few other non-academic writers have. For instance, he can write of a visit to Cambridge in 1967 to hear Wagoner, Fowler and Hoyle present some results relating to the Big Bang, at which Gribbin recalls "the penetrating questions asked ...by an unknown Cambridge research student, Stephen Hawking".

The problems of the Big Bang theory and the attempts to resolve them, the discovery of background microwaves, quarks, black holes andcosmic string theory fill the latter third of the book. As Gribbin says despite rumours that the Big Bang theory is "terminally flawed", it is "very much alive and well". Not only do we have a good idea about how the Universe began but we have- as Gribbin shows in this new and revised edition of a book first published in 1986--"a fair idea of how it will end". Chapter notes, a bibliography and excellent index help negotiate one's way. --Douglas Palmer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Witty, entertaining and learned, his book is the work of an expert raconteur' Economist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I read this after reading "Brief Hisory of Time" and I'd say it's good because it's easier to understand and complex ideas are put into simple language so it is absolutely clear what is being said. It's not too complicated and I'd recommend this book to any non-physicist who wants to know more about Cosmology.
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Format: Paperback
John Gribben always writes good books. Hie style is so good because he is a good writer as well as a good scientist. He simplifies matters without losing their magnitude and builds up ideas which keep you in touch. The book can be enjoyed by the whole reading public irrespective of their knowledge of this kind of science. It's a very good treatment of the matter, coming at it from a number of angles and tying these up neatly. While doing this enough questions are left open to stimulate your interest further. This is an elegant dissection and treatment of a difficult subject which loses nothing.

At the end of the book, you can put it away, full enough of the topic to be satisfied. Or, you may well be driven on to look for even more about this amazing subject.
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One of my favourite authors on physics. Always so clear and concise, makes a difficult subject understandable. The book holds one's interest and fascination from beginning to end. Each book of his I read fills me with wonder and awe at the way the universe works and that we can seriously engage in the process of understanding it. This updated book re-issued to incorporate current thinking and the latest theories is a must read for lay people such as myself.
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