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The Big Bang Never Happened: A Startling Refutation of the Dominant Theory of the Origin of the Universe Paperback – October 27, 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 27, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067974049X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740490
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Plasma physicist Lerner opens one of science's inner rooms to a popular audience in this headline-making history of time, space and the humanistic sociology of science. Illustrated.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes (Basic, 1976. o.p.; 1988. pap.) to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time ( LJ 4/15/88), numerous science popularizations have expounded the Big Bang Theory for the origin of the universe as indisputable fact. Readers of those books will find this one startling and intriguing. Lerner, a plasma physicist, points out flaws in the Big Bang model and proposes an alternative theory: an eternal, self-sustaining "plasma" universe where electromagnetic fields within conducting gases provide other, simpler explanations for observed phenomena. His contention that the Big Bang is merely a repackaged creation myth is presumptuous, but well argued. To present a current scientific controversy to a general audience risks, on one hand, misleading the public and, on the other, circumventing the peer review process. This book, however, makes valid points in a convincing manner and does neither. Recommended for general science collections.
- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book challenges the accepted Big Bang Cosmological Theory.
Richard E. Noble
The bulk of it is is an amazing analysis of the history of cosmology as it relates to politics.
Lerner's book also raises the issue of the role of mathematics in scientific research.
Ashtar Command

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

208 of 216 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Here's another sensational statement for you: There's no need to become hysterical when attacking or defending this book. I have some problems with Lerner's style and conclusions, but I think he successfully makes the point that the role of plasma physics in the formation of galaxies is deserving of further consideration. And his objections to the Big Bang are neither new nor shocking; with the exception of the age of the "Great Wall," they comprise the same problems that cosmologists have been working indefatigably to explain since the Big Bang theory gained mass acceptance. His heresy is simply in seeking outside the parameters of the Big Bang for a solution. One reviewer, who finds Lerner's conclusions--and perhaps even his search--unjustifiable, says that this book "deserves to be burned." There are several unflattering names for this approach to debate.
Apropos of reviewers, a couple of them recommend that prospective readers seek out the works of Nobel laureates, who "know what they're talking about." The "obscure Lerner" based his book on the work of Hannes Alfven, who won the Nobel prize in 1970 for his work in plasma physics and is considered the father of that discipline. (Alfven took another heretical position when he claimed that electrical currents could pass through space. Both his idea and the proofs he offered were met with howling derision, but oddly enough he turned out to be right!)
Another reviewer complains that Lerner offers no explanation for the uniformity of background microwave radiation. In fact, he offers an explanation based on a diffusion effect caused by the absorption and emission of microwaves by "black bodies.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ritchie Annand on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I remember the (greatly simplified for school consumption) story of Kepler and his ellipses replacing the convoluted, yet working, system of epicycles used to explain retrograde and irregular motion in the skies.
I remember the argument being between the "big bang", "steady state" and "oscillating". Big Bang has been winning, but I have been watching in dismay over the years as correction after correction has been plugged into the theory and the equations. When you start having to tweak a fine balance between time frames of superluminal spatial expansion, "real" mass of the neutrino, unobserved-yet-needed for the theory supermassive one-dimensional cosmic strings in order to get just the right homogeneity and 'roughness' of the universe... it starts to feel like epicycles all over again.
Lerner's treatise is pretty nice in spots. I like the presentation of an alternative plasma cosmology. It's not 'extraordinary'; in fact, it's quite ordinary in many ways. Disappointing to the fanciful who want to strap on a Higgs field mass disintegrator in one hundred years, but, like evolution, there's much to be said for what ordinary processes can do, given an extraordinary amount of time to do it in.
I find Lerner's historicopolitical rants informative historically, but he obviously has a lot of big beefs to rant about, and it seemed a bit inappropriate to me to choose so much volume of book to rant in.
Still, it's enough to get the gears going. There are testable hypotheses in alternative cosmologies - once the Big Bang's infallibility complex wanes a bit, then perhaps we can have some proper discussions again, and who knows, perhaps the Big Bang theory will come out stronger for it, but I doubt very much that it will remain unchanged.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Evidence has been accumulating that suggests The Big Bang DID happen. However that in no way diminishes Eric Lerner's insights here. In fact, this book makes recent discoveries all the more comprehensible and puts them in context. Every subject Lerner touches on, he clarifies by contrast with his own more rebel view.

Then again, Lerner might still be correct even in his basic premise that any signs of a "Big Bang" are just local effects in a universe that's much vaster than we yet understand.

In either case, this book poses the right sorts of questions and presents an alternative to prevailing ideas about how the universe was formed. Lerner elaborates on the theories of Hannes Alven and makes the stunning suggestion that electromagnetic effects might have been more instrumental than gravitational effects in shaping the galaxies. I had always taken it for granted that Newton's large-scale laws of mass and force were the key operators at work. But of course! There are other forces that might have played a role, even in the vacuum of interstellar space, which is really not such a vacuum after all. Lerner opened my mind to a whole new realm of possibility.

One section of his explanation of Alven's work on electromagnetic forces was a little opaque to me. But almost all the rest of this book was clearly written, providing lucid, remarkable insights into some of the great debates and theories of physics and astronomy in general.

For example, Lerner gave me one of the best insights into the value of chaos theory that I've run across. All I'd previously been able to garner about chaos theory was the idea that small effects can produce large, unpredictable consequences - something that seemed self-evident.
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