From Publishers Weekly
With an articulate blend of science, metaphysics and philosophy—and a dash of religion—physicist and cosmologist Davies discusses the implications of the fact that the conditions of our universe are "just right" for life to exist: a concept known as the anthropic principle. Had any of the universe's physical laws or constants been just a bit different, life as we know it would have been impossible. In attempting to explain why this is so, Davies summarizes the current state of knowledge in cosmology and provides an accessible introduction to particle physics. He evaluates numerous explanations for the structure of our universe, such as the possibility that ours is but one of an infinite number of "multiverses," and examines the question that inevitably arises in discussing the anthropic principle: does the design of the universe imply the existence of an intelligent designer? Davis's own feeling is that there is likely some sort of still undefined "life principle" in the cosmos but recognizes that this "is something I feel more in my heart than in my head." While there is much of interest, readers of Davies's earlier book The Mind of God
will be familiar with a good deal of what is presented. 35 b&w illus. (Apr. 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Readers of a certain age may recall Carl Sagan, on his television series Cosmos
, explaining how life on planet Earth was the result of a series of remarkable conditions, all happening to exist: just the right planet, at just the right distance from the sun, with just the right atmosphere, etc. Without any one of these conditions, we might not be here. Davies, acclaimed physicist and author of numerous popular science books (The Fifth Miracle
, 1999), expands on the life-as-series-of-lucky-breaks theme, exploring such elements as the speed of light, the carbon atom, the big bang, and the many-universe theory. Davies is an enthusiastic writer, clearly amazed and delighted by the universe and its beautiful mysteries, and his thesis, that the universe is tailor-made to support human life (though not necessarily designed for this purpose), is both engaging and enchanting. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved