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The Cosmic Machine: The Science That Runs Our Universe and the Story Behind It Paperback – August 15, 2017
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"Injecting the 'popular' back into science is no light task and involves a balance between keeping the science accessible to lay readers, making it interesting enough to engage non-scientists, and being certain it's accurate enough to be authoritative. Of all these tasks, the 'lively' portion is the biggest challenge, and where competing books often fall short. The Cosmic Machine succeeds on all accounts." –Midwest Book Review
"I wanted to start by saying that I really enjoyed this book. ... at all times [the] writing was clear, well paced and easy to follow .... I started to discover that I was taking something unexpected from the book. I stopped focusing on the individual steps and, instead, started to see a 'story' behind the story. I found this enlightening." –Gary Smailes, BubbleCow Founder
"A superb resource for science fans or those struggling to understand the subject; an impressive fit in an age of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson web videos." –Kirkus Reviews
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Scott has a PhD in theoretical chemical physics, was a National Research Council Fellow, and works as a computational chemist doing drug discovery research. He has made substantial contributions to the areas of statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, glass theory, liquid dynamics, and computational drug discovery, with his work appearing in several scientific journals. He has also written popular science, science education, and science communication articles for The Huffington Post, Forbes, Scientific American, and Discover. He resides in San Diego, California, with his family.
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When you come across the title, you automatically think this book is only for those with PhD's (and me with only a Master's degree) This is not true. Scott presents all of his information in a way the average person can understand thus making this a very easy read while very much respecting the source material. Rather than giving a detail of only science, Scott introduces the user to the history of the discoveries, which makes both subjects come to life.
I highly recommend this book.
For the rest of us... only when it is told well. The Cosmic Machine elegantly takes you through the history of science reflecting on the great minds of our time, written by a good story teller.
Much like the show "Cosmos", this book covers many famous names and their work, such as Galileo, Christian Huygens, LaPlace, Bohr, Rutherford, Copernicus, James Clerk Maxwell, Democritus, Aristotle, Boltzmann, Leibniz, Avagadro, Newton, Einstein, Planck, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, et al. It's a veritable "Who's who" of chemistry and physics. Not only do we meet the game-changers in the evolution of the empirical sciences, but the book explains concepts in an accessible way. Topics covered include energy, conservation, force, matter, heat, atomic theory, philosophy of nature, Newtonian and quantum mechanics, and entropy. If you liked "Cosmos" but want to go a little more in depth, then this book is for you.
For readers that have perused a diverse array of physics books, much of this may be a refreshing of topics you have covered before. For the physics reader that typically covers more modern material who wishes to know the history of the subject, this would be something to pick up. This is an excellent choice for the lay person with an interest in science who wishes to begin their education in physics.
Since I've covered what the book is, I should also say what this book is not. It is not an ultra-modern reader in advanced topics. If you're looking for the latest particle physics from the Large Hadron Collider, a breakdown of string theory, an explanation of multiverse theory, or an argument about whether the passage of time is a real property of the universe, etc. then you'll want to look elsewhere.
Even though this is Bembenek's first attempt as a science writer, he accomplishes his mission of making his work accessible to all with an interest. The book is well-written and organized into categories. It's not only something to read, but something you'll want to keep on the shelf as a reference. The table of contents is clear and concise, making it easy to go directly to a topic that one might wish to review or revisit. If one considers the goal of the author and the quality of the writing, then this work merits a high rating.
Disclaimer: An electronic copy of this book was provided directly by the fine author free of charge for the purpose of advance review. Since this is an advance review copy, the material may have changed by the time it is released.
Further disclaimer: Any author who provides me with a quality book free of charge will be referred to as a "fine author".
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