






1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gold standard in Cosmology., 5 Dec. 2015
This is a frst class description of current thinking in Cosmology. The author's writing style enables the nonspecialist to grasp the fundamental problems without being totally overwhelmed. It was good to see references to Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Vera Rubin as contributions made by women are often overlooked. It was news to me that fields created by virtual particles provide the bulk of the mass of protons and neutrons. As a bonus this book helped me to reconcile something that had bothered me for sometime. Nothing can travel through space faster than the speed of light (Einstein's Special Relativity Theory) while space itself can exceed the speed of light (Alan Guth's Inflation period that followed the "Big Bang".) It seems we are living in a flat universe where the energy of empty space (Dark Energy) accounts for 70% of the total energy with energy in matter acounting for the remaining 30%.









2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Perfect introduction to this Subject, 28 Nov. 2013
Nessa Carey states that this is her first book. On this showing it should not be her last. I found the writing style to be engageing and designed to transfer skills to the reader rather than confuse and confound. Each new technical word is explained on its' first appearance in the text. The index is detailed and together with the glossary provides the reader with the support that is required. As i read this book I became increasingly disturbed that I had let this revolution pass me by. I wondered why I had not asked myself the obvious question how does a cell nucleus which contains all the information to build the entire body ensure that e.g. heart muscle cells do not appear in brain tissue and vice versa. The level of control is extraordinary and I am just amazed that it works so well. You may find it helpful to make notes as you read through the text as I did as the new ideas come thick and fast. There are lots of new terms to become familiar with. My current favourite is "retrotransposon". I have endless fun trying to work this word into everyday conversation. This book is excellent and I recommend it without reservation.









5.0 out of 5 stars
Delivers good dental hygiene, 28 Nov. 2013
My last Philips Sonicare was worn out. I had no hesitation in purchasing this replacement as from experience I know that this product is the best way to look after my teeth.









15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A remarkable insight into the life, work and politics of Theoretical Physicists, 27 Jan. 2012
Frank Close has a clear engaging writing style such that this book at times takes the characteristics of a good pageturner novel. Only here the characters are real people. The author has gone to great lengths in his attempt to write an accurate history of the people and events that have led to the current search for the Higgs Particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. He is open and honest in stating that he may not have got everything right. However he has clearly gone to great lengths to resolve conflicting accounts even at one stage reporting a delayed flight in part of the narrative! A number of Nobel Prize Winners are described in these pages, warts and all, together with a number of oustanding Physicists that never received the ultimate accolade. One conclusion that could be drawn is that many Theoretical Physicists are filled with arrogance and selfimportance such that they have little regard to those they trample on in their quest for the prize. The nonspecialist will probably be glad to learn that this book does not delve into the complex mathematics that underpins Particle Physics. Nevertheless there is no escaping many complex ideas that will take time and very possibly internet searches to gain some understanding of what is at stake. Is it worth the time and trouble? This reader thinks it is. A large group of international Scientists are spending many billions of taxpayers hard earned cash and the taxpayer has a right to know that these funds are not being wasted as has occured with many government projects(e.g. in the UK, The National Programme for IT). Will the LHC deliver value for money? In this reader's view the answer is a definate maybe. It is not possible to predict the potential technical spinoffs that could transform the way we live and work. Two small criticisms: I would have liked to see included a comprehensive glossary together with a good quality schematic summarising the current state of knowledge in Particle Physics. However with 338 pages of text supported by 49 pages of notes covering all chapters perhaps it is unreasonable to ask for more. I have rated this book five star for the nonspecialist but be prepared to be challenged with some of the detail.









11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A celebration of the work of oustanding scientists, 28 July 2011
The author has selected 10 equations so perhaps the title should have been "Some of The Great Equations". However, as it is also called "A Brief Guide" then that's probably fair enough. There was no room for more than a passing reference to Gauss whom some would rate with Euler as the two greatest mathematicians of all time. I was expecting a detailed analysis of these great equations but if you are baffled by the form of Schrodinger's equation you will not find any enlightenment here. What this book does do is to provide the reader with something of the life and times of these outstanding scientists. Four of the chapters are devoted to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein (two each) and I don't think anyone would complain about that. The author has culled biographies of each individual to provide a fascinating insight. Sadly some led tragic and short lives. Most appear to have had powerful personalities and did not welcome criticism of any kind. I was surprised to find the first chapter devoted to the socalled Pythagoras Theorem but was won over by the authors discussion. To find the theorem reappear in both chapters on Einstein made me look at this work with fresh eyes and greater respect. I have given this book a 5 Star rating even though it wasn't what I expected. The fact is that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it without reservation.









1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A little book full of big ideas., 10 Feb. 2011
This is the type of book I would love to have written. The author states that he had difficulty in selecting just 50 topics from the vast subject that is Mathematics. I doubt if many would complain about his selection. Few individuals are blessed with the natural ability to add to the sum total of knowledge of Mathematics. That doesn't mean that the rest of us cannot appreciate the wonder of Mathematics. Many of the giants of Mathematics are given full credit in these pages. Of necessity each topic receives the briefest of introductions but the author succeeds in communicating the fundamentals in a readily accessible manner. The reader may then, e.g. via the internet, follow up on any of the topics to gain a deeper understanding. Anyone of any age who feels that Mathematics has passed them by and there is no way back is in for a real treat. This little book reawakened my interest in Mathematics. Highly recommended and great value for the price.









4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great summary of the state of Physics for the nonspecialist, 10 Nov. 2010
This is a fascinating insight into the world of theoretical physics from an acknowledged authority. The majority of the book is a thoroughly enjoyable tour of ideas that occupy the minds of theoretical physicists. The book is very well written and the author draws the nonspecialist into his world such that the concepts can be appreciated without the mathematical skill required for a deep understooding. The narrative is frequently punctuated with humour and I found the anecdote recorded near the bottom of page 245 hilarious. The concluding part of the book focuses on the politics of science. The author argues that new postdocs are faced with a stark choice of securing a tenured position in mainstream theoretical physics (String Theory) or risk financial hardship pursuing something new. From these pages the author emerges as a man of integrity and considerable courage. Highly recommended.









5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent value for money, 10 Nov. 2010
This is a remarkable book. The author has an engaging writing style and manages to convey a number of complex ideas in an accessible form for all those interested in the Universe in which we find ourselves. The six numbers in question are introduced with a clear description of what they represent and why they matter. This reader was left with a deeper level of appreciation of cosmology and was frankly astonished by the information contained within the covers of the book. Having presented convincing arguments in the previous chapters the author concludes with speculation concerning the Multiverse which is nothing short of fantastic. I found it necessary to frequently put this book down to give myself time to absorbe what I was being taught. I am certain that I will return to this book many times and I am glad to have it on my bookshelf. Highly recommended.









6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thought provoking and likely to challenge enquiring minds of all ages, 2 May 2010
This is an enjoyable read packed from cover to cover with thought provoking ideas and concepts. On completing the book this reader was left with a greater appreciation of the men and women who have added to the sum total of scientific knowledge. It came as a surprise to me that some of these giants of science had led rather unhappy lives, in some cases resulting in severe depression and worst case suicide. The author successfully argues that if the constants of nature of the title were even marginally different than those measured by Physicists today then there would be no life as we know it in the Universe. The fine structure constant features large in the text. It came as quite a shock to learn of a prehistoric nuclear reactor in Gabon, West Africa and that around two billion years ago other such reactors probably existed. This discovery had slipped under my radar. Further, while it is thought that there has been no change in the value of the fine structure constant over the last two billion years,this may not be the case prior to that time in the life of the Universe. While there is some mathematical content it should not put off the nonspecialist. However, in my paperback copy the printer has used the letter 'I' rather than the numeric '1'. So 1915 reads I9I5. Not a big problem but some care is needed when reading equations. Additionally Figure 11.6 referenced on page 243 is missing. The final chapter of the book is given over to speculation on what may exist beyond the currently observable Universe. Much of this I found to be disconcerting. The value of theories that cannot be tested experimentally must be questionable. However it is facinating to learn of some of the current ideas in Cosmology. Highly recommended.









2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
A good review of difficult concepts for the nonspecialist, 15 Feb. 2010
The author succeeds in presenting a nonmathematical summary of current ideas in Theoretical Physics. He has an engaging writing style and uses analogies, anecdotes and humour to help combat reader information overload. Nonintuitive ideas come thick and fast throughout the book. Credit is given to a large number of Physicists many of whom appear to be personal friends. The author does promote String Theory but is unapologetic claiming that there is no current alternative approach to discuss. Some of the ideas are quite disturbing. It appears that current theories cannot be subjected to experiment which made this reader consider whether the word 'story' rather than 'theory' is more appropriate. The author has strong personal views and gives short shrift to the socalled Anthropic Principle. Regarding God, clearly he does ally himself with those that have "no need for this hypothesis". Therefore it is surprising to see frequent use of the word 'believe' in the latter chapters and one instance of the word 'preaching'. Perhaps Theroretical Physicists do have something in common with fundamental religious groups. Perosnally I hope there is something fundamentally wrong with the mathematics such that the Landscape of the title, the Megaverse and Pocket Universes are just figments of the imagination.

