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The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos (Best of Edge Series) Paperback – July 8, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0062296085 ISBN-10: 0062296086

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Illuminating, mind-expanding. ... A spectacular, mind-bending read. ” (Brain Pickings)

From the Back Cover

Explore the universe with today's greatest physicists.

In the wake of one of the most groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs in modern times, the March 2014 discovery of gravitational ripples from the Big Bang—an apparent confirmation of Alan Guth and Andrei Linde's theory of cosmic inflation—John Brockman of Edge.org has gathered together some of the world's best minds to explain the universe as we currently know it. The contributors—many pioneering theoretical physicists and cosmologists, including Guth and Linde—provide an extraordinary picture of cosmology as it has developed over the past three decades.

  • Alan Guth and Andrei Linde explain the Inflationary Universe theory.
  • Lee Smolin discusses the nature of time.
  • Lisa Randall and Neil Turok elaborate on the theory of branes, two-dimensional structures arising from string theory—whose existence is central to the cyclic universe.
  • Seth Lloyd investigates how the universe behaves like a self-programming computer.
  • Lawrence Krauss provides fresh insight into gravity, dark matter, and the energy of empty space.
  • Brian Greene and Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson speculate on how Albert Einstein might view the theoretical physics of the twenty-first century.
  • The late Benoit Mandelbrot looks back on a long career devoted to fractal geometry.
  • Plus Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek, Astronomer Royal MaRtin Rees, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll, Stanford's Leonard Susskind, Oxford's David Deutsch, Cornell's Steven Strogatz, Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton Paul Steinhardt, and more!
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Product Details

  • Series: Best of Edge Series
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062296086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062296085
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

An easy to read book.
BG
Written in language that laymen can understand, there is a well-rounded approach to what is presented here.
Novel Destination~Used Book Emporium
It is very interesting and knowledgeable book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
‘The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos’ edited by John Brockman is the fourth installment in ‘The Best of Edge’ series, a mix of excellent texts and skillful authors who speak on various scientific aspects of the universe, a book with its 400 pages would be still far too short for the fans of space faction.

In his book Brockman gathered some of the most important author names who wrote about the universe such as Alan Guth, Brian Greene, Paul Steinhardt, Lisa Randall, Lee Smolin, Frank Wilczek and others – a total of 21 essays and interviews which originally appeared on the Edge.org site.

Edge.org for those unfamiliar is the great resource of knowledge in which texts of countless scientists, tech people, philosophers, businessmen and even artists can be found which for the past 18 years are expressing their opinions and share their thoughts with each other and with the overall global audience.

But what is most important to point out, the texts which can be found on Edge.org were not written for a narrow circle of selected people who only can understand them, but in colloquial and easy to understand science language which editor Brockman described as “…those scientist and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Novel Destination~Used Book Emporium on July 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
This collection culled from the online pages of Edge.org has been edited masterfully by John Brockman. While I am not a scientific expert or techno-geek(no offense intended), I am still intrigued by our universe and how it all may have come to be and how things may end up. Written in language that laymen can understand, there is a well-rounded approach to what is presented here. I found myself chatting with friends about things this volume described. We liked the idea of these "big thinkers" from multiple fields getting together to chat and discuss their findings or beliefs like the intellectual salons popular in the late 1800's and early 1900's. This book is not something to sit and read from beginning to end. It is meant to provoke the reader to deeper consideration. I am pretty sure that the other volumes in this series ("Mind", "Culture", and "Thinking") would be as riveting.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Kirk on July 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
As a compilation of conversations at edge.org, it is evident that contributions to this collection span a decade and a half. To an extent, Brockman indicates this in his introduction but provision of a clear date for the original talk or publication would have been helpful in putting each piece into context. Clearly, omission of dates is a conscious decision which may serve the conversational nature of this book but it only means the keen reader will need to look up publication dates to clarify some points. That said, the collected writings work well thematically to aid understanding of leading issues in science. There is an occasional air of hype and triumphalism amongst some contributors to this kind of collection – this reviewer considers this to be totally merited given the calibre of the contributors whom Brockman attracts, and the importance of celebrating scientific issues and achievements in a society that sometimes overlooks them.

Alan Guth’s ‘A Golden Age of Astronomy’ appropriately presents this golden age through the lens of the inflationary theory. Paul Steinhardt then poses a case for a cyclic universe, pulling a rabbit out of a hat with a neat application of string theory. Guth goes on to contrast these theories, accounting for the universe’s smoothness (stirred with a little complexity) and flatness through the inflationary model, drawing on much evidence and the fudge factors of dark energy and dark matter. Andrei Linde’s conversationally presented discussion on the inflationary model, leading to his eternal chaotic inflation model and anthropic considerations, is a triumph of exposition. His peppering of events over the last few decades and Soviet era science optimistically collates different perspectives in cosmology and is instructive and refreshing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By harryrappaport on August 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The major protagonists of recent advance in cosmology have written short essays on how the field has developed over the past two decades. From string theory to constructor theory, inflation, multiverses, and fractals are all covered in this easily accessible primer of modern physics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey S. Lewis on August 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A challenging read, but very interesting for those interested in the theories about the origin of our universe. This book contains almost no math, yet discusses many current theories about the Big Bang.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald K. Williams on September 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exhilarating exploration of quantum theory and the origin and destiny of the cosmos presented in a collection of highly readable essays by leading physicists arguing their competing views in clear, understandable language. You don't have to be a mathematician or scientist to enjoy and learn from The Universe. If you are seriously interested in the universal questions modern physics is confronting, but have been afraid the complex math and theory would block your effort to learn, then this book is worth your time.
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