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Frontier science and the ultimate questions
on 30 November 2008
If you're a beginner hoping to learn about the big bang, relativity and quantum theory, then this is probably not the best book for you. A title like Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos would almost certainly offer you a better understanding of these concepts, building your understanding more gradually and methodically.
However if you already have a basic grasp of such topics and fancy a highly (and I mean highly!) speculative detour away from established theories into the realm of fringe topics such as whether we might be living in a computer simulation or where we might begin to look for a possible message from the creator of our universe, then you should find this a mildly entertaining read, even if you question some of the conclusions.
At times it risks straying into theological territory, but not in a Bible-bashing way - for example, Chown relays the proposal of one physicist that the purpose of life might be to create an omnipotent and omniscient super-intelligence. That's the kind of book this is.
It has its faults - several glaring grammatical errors towards the end, and it's also strangely repetitive in parts, making it feel somewhat disjointed. Despite that, it's hard not to find the concepts he relays fascinating. Just don't expect to learn too much from it.