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The Universe: Order Without Design Hardcover – May 26, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1591027140 ISBN-10: 1591027144

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027140
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,014,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this excellent book, NASA physicist Carlos Calle tackles the question of whether the universe requires a supernatural "designer" or whether our cosmological theories can explain the wondrous reality around us...." --Marcus Chown,, 19 May 2009,

"Modern cosmology is full of mind-bending ideas. Carlos Calle's new book takes you through a whirlwind tour of the best of them, from strings and branes to the wave function of the universe. It's a spirited, accessible introduction, and you'll never look at the universe the same way again." --Dr. Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist at California Institute of Technology and author of From Eternity to Here

Cosmology is a wonderful area of physics today, full of difficult puzzles and weird and fascinating new ideas about solutions. Carlos Calle is just the guide any reader can ask for. His authoritative, substantial, but still very accessible descriptions of the past, present, and possible future of cosmology will stimulate the curiosity of everyone with an interest in science. Calle does not just get to the heart of the concepts at the center of modern physics, he shares the excitement in thinking about the nature of the universe." --Taner Edis, Author of The Ghost in the Universe and Science and Nonbelief

"Understanding the origin and evolution of the universe is the pursuit of modern cosmology. It has taxed our greatest thinkers since the beginning of history. In The Universe--Order Without Design, Carlos Calle provides a delightfully readable and authoritative account of our past and present descriptions of the universe and gives exciting ideas about possible solutions to current cosmological puzzles. Calle shares his excitement about understanding how nature works and provides clear, accurate descriptions of some of the strangest concepts in modern physics and cosmology. This engaging book is accessible to anyone interested in understanding modern science." --Dr. Samuel T. Durrance, Former Astronaut, and Professor of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology

"You are about to read, or at least you are [looking at], a very remarkable book. Calle has put together an amazing and incredible voyage of discovery, one that takes us back to the very beginning of time and space itself. This is an important story that we are all part of, the story of our Universe's very beginnings, its growth, and its possible fates. This informative and entertaining book engages the reader with a perfect balance of broad and deeply compelling discussions. For Calle has the wonderful gift of making the subject of cosmology accessible to all those interested in learning more about the place we call home--our Universe." --Scott Vangen, NASA Alternate Payload Specialist Astronaut for the STS-67 Shuttle Mission

About the Author

Carlos I. Calle, PhD (Merritt Island, FL), is the director of the NASA Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory, a senior research physicist at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, and the author of Coffee with Einstein, Einstein for Dummies, Superstrings and Other Things, and numerous scientific papers.

More About the Author

Carlos I. Calle is a senior research scientist and laboratory director at NASA Kennedy Space Center. In addition to publishing over 150 scientific papers, he is the author of four books for the general reader which have been translated into 6 languages.

His most recent book, The Universe - Order Without Design, presents the current cosmological theories, exploring the problem of origins and the exciting possibility that science can explain the existence of the universe. His discussion is honest and rooted in science, evaluating each theory in light of the testable predictions that they make and that can be verified in the not too distant future.

He writes his books in his library at home. When he is away from his NASA lab and not working on a new book, he enjoys drawing and sculpting.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By David Nichols on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Physicist Carlos Calle offers a modern view of the current landscape of physics in The Universe. While Calle's effort is a solid history of physics and related theories, his book seriously disappointed in delivering arguments for his primary thesis, namely that the reality of nature shows that there is no need for a designer to create the order we see (a statement I personally believe).

The first 150 pages or so are a history of physics, including the various players and theories discussed in almost every other popular physics book. No new territory is covered here, and while the effort is solid, there is really no reason for experienced readers of physics books to even bother reading this part. New science readers can find loads of great information, however. The final sections of the book look at modern events and ongoing developments in physics which are pushing the edge of what we know and what we can know.

Calle's book would stand nicely on its own if it were presented as an updated look at the world of physics and its history. However, I ordered this book new, which I rarely do, because its subtitle clearly stated the book would argue that reality shows the order and complexity we see has no need for a designer. There are lots of arguments to be made on this behalf, especially those dealing with fine tuning and the Goldilocks Zone. But, instead Calle muddles through most of this with only hints toward the stronger arguments.

His treatment of the mysterious and contentious cosmological constant is outright terrible. Repeatedly, he admits that physicists really don't know why it is there and offers competing theories for just what the constant represents. He argues at one point that it is antigravity, yet offers not one shred of evidence that this is so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Wayne Dworsky on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The author of The Universe raised a significant question concerning the nature of the universe in his subtitle. While other reviewers have examined his evidence, taking the position that it contradicts a case for order without design, I believe that Calle has succeeded in making his case. He acknowledges the revelation in theoretical physics, cosmology, Big Bang Theory and the expansion of the universe, making the case that order in the universe prevails whether or not God is present.

Although his review of the literature is comprehensive and accurate, he only tiptoes through the vast jungle of fragile ideas that support his notion of order without design. Even though he pleads a strong case for believing that such order does indeed exist, he refuses to yield to divine intervention.

I think that Calle allows himself the luxury to explore every avenue. Working his way through the literature, the reader feels enlightened because the author draws upon the ideas of the greatest thinkers to drive the most significant ideas. It is a good read filled with many ways to challenge your own thoughts. I highly recommend the work for those who do not seek absolute answers to a nebulous question.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dr on June 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the 3rd book that I have read by this author, Carlos Calle, and they are all wonderful science books. Einstein for Dummies is probably the most accessible and easiest book for the non-professional scientist.
Calle is an accomplished scientist, teacher, and writer, and this book is extraordinarily interesting, informative, and educational for people of all ages. It is not easy to understand everything in the book because modern physics is not that intuitive in many cases, but the author does a fine job of explaining a tough subject.
It is a significant science book that gives us many things to think about the origin of the universe and of life on earth, and it also provides me with many insights and understandings that I did not know before about fundamental Physical concepts. I have a background in Physics and have read many other books in the area.
Re the comments that the author does not prove his point, I don't know whether there will ever be a science book that will persuade every single reader to expand his or her theological views. Think of the resistance that Galileo encountered 500 years ago, when he wrote the then religious heresy that the earth is not the center of the universe.
In actual fact Calle makes his points re the improbability of life on earth and the absence of evidence of a designer and a design, extremely effectively. We should all be open to new ideas.
Food for thought.
Congratulations Dr. Calle on another excellent science book for the general reader!!
I highly recommend this book for people who have a serious interest in science.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark K McKinney on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although this book doesn't really address order without design as alluded to by the sub-title, it has some pretty good content. I especially liked that it included an explanation of inflation, something you don't find in non-technical books. I am somewhat ambivalent regarding some of the current untested theories that were described, but at least that part of the book was fairly brief. It seems there's a new theory born every minute these days and I prefer to stick with the facts. But if you're looking for a condensed overview of the latest theories of string theory, this is a good source. So its not so bad to get an overview reading this versus something like a Brian Greene book. But since I prefer more fact based reading, I would recommend instead that you read Calibrating the Cosmos.
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