11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
well written, broad overview of current cosmology,
This review is from: Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others (Helix Books) (Hardcover)
I purchased this book because of the title, which is, at a minimum, misleading. There is little or nothing in the book discussing the world before the big bang. Nevertheless, this was an interesting and well written book and if it promised no more than it gave, I'd have purchased it anyway.
The more interesting parts concern the collapse of stars, the development of black holes, miniholes and other extremely dense accretions of matter, speculation about dark matter and the possibility of multiple universes. The book gives insight into the relationships of different types of particles and forces and the possible parameters of a unified theory. For the first time, I was able to appreciate (although one must still marvel at it) how the world might have been so small initially and how the universe may have been created from nothing, or something next to nothing. Most interesting to me were passages discussing time and the factors that may give preference to a particular direction in time. The book ends with an unconvincing discussion of anthropic principles, which basically says:" the world is what it is because we are what we are." Personally, I don't think this advances knowledge very much.