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The Artful Universe Expanded 2nd Edition

1 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199601332
ISBN-10: 019960133X
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The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
"The Big Picture" by Sean Carroll
The Big Picture is an unprecedented scientific worldview, a tour de force that will sit on shelves alongside the works of Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett, and E. O. Wilson for years to come. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Review from previous edition: "an engaging book ... practically a universal education in both the history of modern science and the history of the Universe ... will be much quoted, much debated and much praised" --Nature

"a feast: the kind of book which tells you everything you want to know about everything" --The Economist

"I was infuriated by it, disagreed with it and loved reading it." --Timothy Ferris, New York Times Book Review

"in the speculative and intellectual richness of its pages, this book is probably unsurpassed" --Peter Atkins

"a masterly exposition of what seems bound to become one of the most important developments to have taken place in physical science" --TLS

"Intriguing analysis of new scientific thinking." --Sydney Times

"unique and wide-ranging book ... The reader is taken on an eclectic study of many scientific disciplines and is presented with a revealing picture of the structure of the physical world solely in terms of its invariant constants. There are also fascinating chapters on the definition and nature of life, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and the interpretation of quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers." --Europe and Astronomy 1992 25/02/1993

"..it is consistently diverting and illuminating and indeed, at its best, hard to put down in its communication of the excitement of seeing the world as an exercise in the mathematics of energy. --Hugh Lawson-Tancred, The Spectator, on Between Inner Space and Outer Space

"Barrow is emerging as the Stephen Jay Gould of the mathematical sciences. These fluent and erudite essays should further enhance his reputation." --Professor Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, on Between Inner Space and Outer Space

About the Author


John Barrow is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Hailed as "the Stephen Jay Gould of the mathematical sciences" (Sir Martin Rees), he is the author of 15 popular science books, including Pi in the Sky, Theories of Everything, The Origin of the Universe, and The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (with Frank Tipler). He is the winner of the 2006 Templeton Prize.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019960133X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199601332
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Owen Brown on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Reader, my comments refer to the 1995 edition, of which I understand this to be an "expansion." Barrow, and you, would have benefited from a contraction. This earlier work (which I must assume provides you with the basis for that of which you read this review) is a poorly-organized, and poorly-edited mish-mash of hypotheses that point at Barrow's conclusion without lending any particular force to his argument.

Which is? The world is so because it is. Extraterrestrials, if they exist, must exist as they do. The four forces of the universe cannot be any different than they are, if the moon was not where it lives in the sky, mathematics would be far different now than what it is. And by the way, we have the Minoans to blame for constellations (bright bit of conjecture there!) Why this teleological fever? I suppose because our author, a new Candide, wants to point out that our aesthetic preferences are based upon our physical/evolutionary constructs, themselves based upon what we currently conceive to be givens of physics and chemistry (and this is not a bad idea), but they couldn't be otherwise.

All presented in a prose style that is occasionally amusing (the best part of the book are the quotes) but far too often has one struggle with paragraphs that straggle over far too many pages. Did Barrow's agent just throw up her hands? To say nothing of the editor - after all, as ideas and connections pour forth in a feverish fashion from Barrow's pen, one would like to read of his sources. Some are listed in the bibliography, none are footnoted in the text.

One would also have liked a few other critical readers before the text made it to print.
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