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on 8 October 2014
If, like me, you occasionally buy New Scientist in an airport lounge with the intention of keeping your mind occupied during a potentially tedious flight, then this could be for you as these articles originated in the magazine.

"Nothing" turns out to be anything but. The articles are in random order, but you can follow particular ideas using guide notes to related articles.

The articles were not of equal interest to me, though I found quite a few that stirred the grey matter. The writing is clear, as you would expect of New Scientist, but sometimes the authors try a little too hard to be chatty, or even sensationalist: the title blurb sets this tone. Illustrations, which I always value very much in New Scientist, are thin on the ground here - and for me that's not a minor quibble. The articles take up just over half the book, the rest being notes and index, etcetera.
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on 7 December 2013
Great to pick up and put down, interesting if not querky. Essential reading for those who love science and understand it or for those who want something different to read whilst learning something
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 June 2014
The moment I saw a book about nothing I had to get it! What a fascinating subject, what a great way to acquaint the reader with a concept of nothing - a series of New Scientist articles under one cover. Yes, it all sounds right, and it all sounds like a good (if not utterly fascinating) read, BUT...

When we start to dig into concept of "nothing", we discover (quite quickly) that "nothing" is quite elusive and exists, perhaps, only as a turn of phrase. Take absolute zero (i.e. temperature), take Universe before the big bang, and take internal organs of a body that are redundant, take placebo medicine, take your mind when it's idle - does it sound like nothing to you? It does not to me. There is always something behind nothing. And while concept of explaining what the python does while it hangs out for weeks doing nothing is more or less easy, I doubt a lot of people would grasp concept of vacuum or universe before the big bang (if we could, perhaps there would be many more Nobel laureates among us!). What I mean, it's all fascinating and super interesting, but I wonder how many people would be able to share their new found knowledge (unless it's about vestigiality (there are 86 organs in a human body which are considered useless!) - a concept easily explained and understood and illustrated by a number of easy examples).

So, some articles are curious and will definitely make you think and discuss your newly found knowledge. Some articles I just skim-read (because I do not have enough physics and chemistry knowledge to fully understand the concept of particles - and I guess it would be pretty hard to explain the beginning of the Universe in an article of a dozen pages).

Stimulating read, nonetheless.
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on 4 January 2015
I bought it to read on Kindle - have now ordered the paperback for my bookshelf. It's a brilliant series of articles on the universe, aimed at people with a lot of interest about where we caome from and where we're going, but people with no more than secondary school science a long time ago. I feel that I sort of understand what goes on in space, and what "quantum" means in the real world. Get it for your next journey/holiday.
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on 25 June 2016
Thoroughly enjoying reading this, a good 'popular science' book for people who want something interesting to read without being weighed down by too much in the way of maths, physics, etc.

I guess most people buying this have read at least a few New Scientist magazines or articles, so this is basically the usual format focused on the concept of nothing in a variety of contexts. It's easy to dip into and some of the articles were about things I hadn't really thought about before. I think most people will find this a nice, casual read - it's well written and has decent science behind it, unlike a lot of self published science books released now!
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on 22 May 2016
Rather shorter than it looks. I bought this as a Kindle book and found that at about 68% through I had finished it as the rest of the book was made up of acknowledgments and references. Can't rememebr what I paid for it but it probably wasn't worth it. The idea was good but soon got bogged down. I'm pretty sure I could have come up with more references after a few beers to 'Nothing' than this book did.
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on 8 December 2015
Webb, Jeremy (ed). Nothing.

This collection of essay extracts and commentaries from New Scientist is a layman’s introduction to what goes on in the universe and in the psyche. The fact that these two aspects of life are alternated throughout the book gives it balance and enhances readabilty. There is little that is new here, but the arrangement is satisfying, allowing one a break, as it were, from hard science and mathematics to bodies. As a non-scientist I found the book a relatively easy read, a book to dip into rather than a work of learned research. I now know the age of the universe (13.82 billion years) and the earth (4.55 billion) so I know that nothing much counts in the grand scheme. Microscience and quantum physics are fascinating, but to me almost unintelligible and the words ‘big’ and ‘small’ are valid only relatively.
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on 23 May 2014
I was quite disappointed by this issue from the New Scientist. I expect cutting edge from the magazine but instead got old news - most of which is available on w3, allbeit in slightly different form. Certainly , I learned some new things - and this made reading the book worth the time, however, as a whole, although each article was well enough presented, I would categorize it as a mediocre effort and put the blame on the editors not the individual authors.
Sorry guys!

George F. Hart, Professor emeritus, LSU.
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on 26 February 2014
The varied subjects of these essays do to some extent stretch the concept of 'nothing' a little; but every one is interesting. I went through the whole book at a single (very much protracted) sitting. No wonder it reached the best seller lists.
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on 6 March 2014
The articles on physics and cosmology were excellent and I would have liked more of the same. I was disappointed that about half of the book was given over to the index and credits.
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