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The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? Paperback – Bargain Price, April 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547053584
  • ASIN: B002ECEU3U
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,545,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A truly mesmerizing book . . . The multiverse concept is told by a true master storyteller and scientist in a compelling, lucid fashion . . . A page-turner.” (Michio Kaku )

"Davies is courageous, entertaining, and persuasive." (Nature )

"Very readable indeed...This is Doctor Who, but for real." (Guardian )

About the Author

PAUL DAVIES is an internationally acclaimed physicist and cosmologist now at Arizona State University, where he is setting up a pioneering center for the “study of life, the universe, and everything.” In addition to his many scientific awards, he is the recipient of the 1995 Templeton Prize—the world’s largest annual prize—for his work on science and religion. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Mind of God, About Time, The Origin of Life, and How to Build a Time Machine. He also chairs the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence postdetection committee, so that if SETI succeeds in finding intelligent life, he will be among the first to know.
The asteroid 1992OG was officially renamed Pauldavies in his honor. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

More About the Author

Paul Davies is an internationally acclaimed physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist at Arizona State University, where he runs the pioneering Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. He also chairs the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Post-Detection Taskgroup, so that if SETI succeeds in finding intelligent life, he will be among the first to know. The asteroid 1992OG was officially renamed Pauldavies in his honor. In addition to his many scientific awards, Davies is the recipient of the 1995 Templeton Prize--the world's largest annual prize--for his work on science and religion. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Mind of God, About Time, How to Build a Time Machine, and The Goldilocks Enigma. He lives in Tempe, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

He presents the scientific information in a way that a layman can understand.
Michael Watkins
Excellent book with just enough details to explain but not to many as to discourage a layman like myself from enjoying it.
David Kinkade
This is one of the very best science for the layman books I've read, and I've read dozens.
D. Cabarga

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watkins on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Scientists are becoming aware that our universe is remarkably friendly to the development of life. It is as if it was designed for life. How can this be explained? Theists will claim that it was designed for life by God. Atheists will claim otherwise. But the question is how to explain this? Davies does a great job laying out the issues that make our universe so biofriendly. He then examines eight theories that have been invoked to explain this. Many scientists are atheists and have worked hard to develop theories that could explain our fortunate circumstances. A prevailing theory is that there are an infinite number of universes, or multiverses. The conditions of most of them are hostile to life formation. Davies does a fair and even-handed examination of each of the 8 theories, from intelligent design to the multiverse theory. He presents the scientific information in a way that a layman can understand. He points out the strengths and especially the weaknesses of each theory, even his own. I believe in God, and Davies is an atheist. But his writing is very fair and very thought provoking. This is a very interesting book, regardless of the reader's beliefs.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Jenkins on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I'm a big fan of Paul Davies, but I was disappointed to find out the paperback edition of 'the cosmic jackpot' (which I had read when it came out) was simply given a new title. I would read the reviews for the earlier book instead of this one, since the two are identical. All in all it's a fantastic book that discusses why life needs to be properly explained in a properly complete 'theory of everything'. At the moment of course there is not the beginning of an explanation, unless one is willing to entertain the idea of a multiverse plus anthropic selection.
In summary, see reviews of cosmic jackpot.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By invictus on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Must Read

Davies has written a book about physics generally and cosmology in particular. To a person interested in but not formally trained in these th disciplines, it must necessarily be hard going. But anyone who can find a better up-to-date attempt at what Davies has achieved will be indeed fortunate. I am in my seventies and count myself blessed that I have survived long enough to become knowledgeable about the the universe as a whole, albeit understanding aspects of it very imperfectly.

Davies has performed an extraordinary service to those afflicted with curiosity about the topics he tries to elucidate. I am confident that there is no better work of this scope in print.

INVICTUS
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eric Bergerud on July 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for those who want to share the confusion held by all honest cosmologists. I don't know why it happened, but there must have been some kind of slip at Amazon or elsewhere. "Goldilocks Enigma" was originally published in the UK. Americans have different taste in titles and the US edition was called "Cosmic Jackpot." I sympathize with any Davies fan who thought it was something new. I'm sure this wasn't a rip-off, but rather a screw-up. BTW: fans should track down Davies' Op-Ed for the New York Times a couple of years back calling for a solution to cosmology that didn't rest on either the claims of divinity or the idea that natural laws were self-generating and thus couldn't be explained. That little piece really ticked off our materialist friends - probably didn't help that Davies won the Templeton Prize either. A traitor to his class I guess.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gooch on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author Davies' background has included theoretical physics, cosmology, and astrobiology; his research has been mainly in the area of quantum field theory in curved space-time. Like a great chef, he has cooked up a delicious dish by combining the ingredients of science, philosophy and metaphysics. He covered this dish in a subtle gravy he calls religion.

This book discusses the propositions that the conditions of our universe are "just right" for life to exist: hence Goldilocks. This idea is known as the anthropic principle which is the philosophical consideration that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Davies summarizes the current state of knowledge in cosmology and provides a 101 introduction to particle physics.

Davies explores numerous theories which may explain this "just right" condition including multiverses. He seems to sum up his own opinion with what he calls a "life principle" in the cosmos. Of course he recognizes that this "is something I feel more in my heart than in my head."

The main gist of this book, like many other Davies works, always boils down to the main question: Does the design of the universe imply the existence of an intelligent designer?

I would not describe the book as a page turner as one reviewer has. Too much of this material is in his other books; therefore, there is never the surprise around the bend. Davies used his own `intelligent design' to weave these pages from former works of the same arena. So, you don't feel the need to race through the book just as fast as your feet can fly.

Davies always writes in a concise and elegant style and his books are fun to read whether you really `get' the science behind the talk or not.
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