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A Book Worthy of Your "Time"
on January 30, 2012
About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang by Adam Frank
"About Time" is the interesting book about time, both cosmic and human and how they relate to each other. Astrophysicist Adam Frank takes us on a journey of the human quest to find out what happened at that very moment of creation at the beginning of the Big Bang. He provides us with an understanding of how we got to the Big Bang and a provocative look at how cosmology has evolved and the looming alternatives. This 432-page book is composed of the following twelve chapters: 1. Talking Sky, Working Stone and Living Field, 2. The City, the Cycle and the Epicycle, 3. The Clock, the Bell Tower and the Spheres of God, 4. Cosmic Machines, Illuminated Night and the Factory Clock, 5. The Telegraph, the Electric Clock and the Block Universe, 6. The Expanding Universe, Radio Hours and Washing Machine Time, 7. The Big Bang and a New Armageddon, 8. Inflation, Cell Phones and the Outlook Universe, 9. Wheels Within Wheels: Cyclic Universes and the Challenge of Quantum Gravity, 10. Ever-Changing Eternities: The Promise and Perils of a Multiverse, 11. Giving Up the Ghost: The End of Beginning and the End of Time, and 12. In the Fields of Learning Grass.
1. Fantastic book for the laymen. Complex themes that is accessible to the masses.
2. Fascinating topic of cosmology in the hands of an educator.
3. Excellent format. The author introduces each chapter with an amusing vignette and proceeds to his narration.
4. Elegant prose that at times makes you forget that you are reading a science book about cosmology. Science writing at its best.
5. Great use of charts and illustrations.
6. The author was fair and even handed. Very respectful and professional tone.
7. The holy grail of physics.
8. This whole book revolves around our conception of time and how it relates to the cosmos. A historical look at time and how the concept has evolved.
9. An interesting look at inventions over time and how it impacted our lives. The great inventors behind them.
10. How myths relate to the cosmos.
11. The most critical result of urban revolution.
12. How calendars and explicit divisions of the day emerged and how it evolved.
13. The wonderful history of Greece and how it is pivotal in the interlocking narratives of human and cosmic time. Great stuff.
14. Great tidbits of knowledge throughout. As an example, find out what book became the astronomy standard textbook for more than a millennium.
15. The difference between creation myths and no-creations myths.
16. The key five cosmological questions.
17. How cosmological thinking was limited by the Church.
18. The invention of the clock.
19. How Galileo confirmed the Copernican model.
20. The great Isaac Newton.
21. How transoceanic commerce drove the need to precision...latitude and longitude.
22. A practical look at thermodynamics.
23. The ever-fascinating Albert Einstein. Where he was right and where he was wrong.
24. The transformation of cosmology from a quasi-philosophical speculation to one grounded on science.
25. The great discovery from Hubble and Humason.
26. Quantum mechanics...I keep learning more and more.
27. The history of the Big Bang cosmology. The three unassailable pillars of evidence. Excellent!
28. The inception of NASA. Communication satellites.
29. A fascinating look at the early universe.
30. How technology impacted our lives: email, computers, appliances, tech gadgets (GPS), etc...
31. Dark matter and dark energy.
32. A great accessible discussion of the various alternative explanations for the question of "before" the Big Bang: brane-world cosmologies, eternal inflation, multiverses, string theory landscapes, loop quantum cosmologies. The strength of this book.
33. Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)...enlighten me.
34. The Anthropic Principle and why it drives scientists.
35. This author does not hesitate to present radical ideas and lets us know what the scientific community feels about it. Many examples.
36. The radical concepts of time.
37. Quantum cosmology.
38. Links and excellent bibliography.
1. A chart summarizing the various cosmological theories would have added much value. The main scientists behind them and findings that either confirm or contradict the cosmology in question.
2. This is a very ambitious book that covers many topics of interest and in doing so of course will treat some topics with more rigor than others.
3. The author does a wonderful job of making such complex topics accessible but might disappoint those expecting a more in depth analysis.
4. I would have liked a little more conviction or perhaps a clearer explanation of where the consensus of the scientific community currently is. Is there a difference among the science fields? Perhaps I missed that but I think the author could have at least tied a bow of where we stand today regardless of all the various attempts to explain the "before" of the Big Bang.
In summary, this is an excellent book for all us cosmologists-want- a-be who want to learn more about our universe without being blown away by the complexity of it. Astrophysicist Adam Frank does a great job of educating the reader while skillfully moving the narration forward. A journey that interweaves its way proficiently through time as it relates to the cosmos. A well written science book that is worthy of your time!