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on 18 January 2013
Paul Parsons marshals the thoughts of , two Professors of Physics, and five journalist/academics on topics ranging from the theory of relativity to electromagnetism, atomic theory to quantum mechanics and evolution to the selfish gene (and many more) in the open and informed manner that you would expect from the former editor of the BBC Focus magazine.
Each topic is presented under a general heading and glossary of key terms in the form of a "thirty second theory" supplemented by a "3-second thrash" and a "3-minute thought", the combined effect of which is to plant the germ of knowledge in the reader and awaken (in many cases) the desire to know more.
Informed and evaluative, it is kicked off with an introduction from the President of the Royal Society, an indication of the potential value of the product. Highly recommended!.
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on 27 October 2016
Straightforward explanations of immense and mind bending theories from the Big Bang, evolution, black holes and genetic memory. Really interesting. Not dumbed down but not too perplexing. About an hour and a half cover to cover.
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on 17 August 2017
Fantastic idea wish this was around when I was studying
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on 10 January 2013
I'd guess this book is primarily aimed at people without a scientific background to give them a brief overview of the 50 theories and it definitely does exactly that. I don't fit into what I'm guessing the target audience is as I studied physics at university however I thought I'd get it to remind me of all the things I've forgotten and to give me an overview of the non-physics theories and overall it's been very successful at that. I've marked it down 1 star as I've spotted a factual error in one of the descriptions (and it's not a physics one!), for the 'Out of Africa' theory it states that modern humans don't share any genes with neanderthals however I've read in other places that a small percentage of the dna is common between the 2 indicating an element of interbreeding. I haven't spotted any errors in the physics based theories I've read so far however after spotting that error I'm a bit worried that there may be other errors in the non-physics theories that I don't have the base level of knowledge to be able to spot them.
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on 28 January 2014
An excellent book containing succinct descriptions of the past and latest theories. I do wonder if those with little scientific background might not understand parts of it. I make only one criticism of this electronic version When seeking information, while reading a chapter, for a further point of clarification or the career of an associated scientist,-I found it very difficult to find my way back to the original page I was reading. I often found that assimilation and appreciation, of what I read, took somewhat more than the 30 second to read it
It is a very good book in the 30 Second Series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 April 2014
I figured this was the ideal gift for someone at the extreme end of non-scientist. a great deal of care has been taken to make it attractive as it flits across subjects at a fast pace, ideal for someone with no appetite for studying science. I mark it down for two reasons: I agree with Jason's excellent review and I couldn't help noticing the person I gave it to opened it for about 5 minutes then put it in a drawer and went back to Cosmopolitan.
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on 13 January 2013
This is an ideal book to dip in and out of. Each subject is covered with enough detail to wet the apetite and allow you to decide if you want to learn more or just use the knowledge to know what the subject is about and move on. A very interesting read.
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on 10 January 2014
This is a great read for people wanting a straighforward overview of scientific theories. I picked up this book every time I had a spare couple of minutes and thoroughly enjoyed reading it's engaging prose.
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on 21 January 2013
As a layman with very little formal education but with an avid interest in these types of things, I found this to be very informative and easy to understand and built on the knowledge I already have. OK, it does not go into a massive amount of detail but, then again, I don't think that's what it is intended for. It certainly gives you lots of 'pointers' for things to read into further which I am doing.

Some of the follow up links are difficult to, well, follow up on the Kindle edition but that's a minor detraction really.

All in all, I'm pleased with my purchase.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 November 2010
I found this too lightweight. For sure it gives you quick insights into major theories, but it covers the ground in a way that is reminisent of one of those Christmas books.

It's a skim read, but even then the writing is not engaging for non-technical people to buy into.

I read it quickly and it was disappointing. I was quickly fed up with the opinions and the content was at the end of the day too light weight and the writing not involving. After an hours reading I wrapped it up again and lent it to someone else and told them to keep it. I won't miss it.
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