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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(3 star). See all 136 reviews
on March 2, 2017
If your interest is to understand the concepts of dark matter, dark energy, and the age of the Universe, this book is not for you. Rather the book focuses on the personalities and history involved in those discoveries rather than a comprehendible description of the discoveries themselves. The book launches into the minutiae of irrelevant events in the personal lives of the scientists. The book could have been improved by a glossary fully defining such terms as cosmological constant, 1a supernovae, and equation of state.
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on December 2, 2015
Extraordinarily well documented history of the concepts of Dark Matter and Dark Energy and the cosmologists who developed the theories, proofs, and publications over generations. But if you want a quicker view of what constitutes the 96% of the Universe we can't see, you would probably be better off finding a different book. This covers the trials, tribulations, in-fighting, hassles, problems, contortions, and exasperations that all serious competing researchers in any field suffer in order to make great contributions to human understanding. It's actually more about the people and the processes than the results of their efforts.
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Top Contributor: Bakingon December 16, 2013
I bought this book because I'm fascinated with the idea of dark matter and because I'm interested in science. I'm NOT a scientist -- just a fan. I'm not sure what audience the author was aiming for, and maybe I'm not his demographic. I found the story-telling sloppy though interesting. There were quite a few loose ends that never got tied up and personal details that seemed not to add to the narrative nor have much of a reason for being told. Panek goes into some (for me) fairly technical detail that I found it just as well to skim as it meant nothing to me. Still, there was interesting information here. For me personally, the book could have been half as long and still told me the interesting bits, and probably have told them more clearly. I think that Panek is perhaps so close to his subject that he makes remarks that for me at least, are too cryptic to give the information out clearly.

Having read the book, I'm still not sure I know much about what "dark matter" and "dark energy" are, or whether anyone else does either, but maybe that's just me.
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on July 22, 2011
A fascinating subject that is not done justice by the author. Figuring out where or what is the missing matter in the universe is a complicated problem to say the least. The author seems to enjoy the subject, but does not seem to have a firm grasp on the subject matter himself. So he tends to add too much TV drama to the story in an attempt to make it more exciting. The book ends up being rather boring as a result of this. Math and graphs are necessary to make a story like this interesting. And every profession has it's internal quarrels. The reader can watch "The Office" for this sort of entertainment. A great writer would take a complicated subject matter like this and add simple analogies to help the reader make sense of it all.
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on January 22, 2011
A little bit too meandering and detailed with regards to the personalities of the scientists involved. Some will like this style of writing-- it reminds me a lot of newspaper articles on science, where dramatic effect is thrown in to presumably attract and keep readers' attention spans. Some of the ridiculous dramatic style of news reporters occurs-- as in a dialogue along the lines; "I'll be there in ten minutes." 'I've got time for you tomorrow.' "I'll be there in ten minutes." I could quote in every chapter isolated instances of ridiculous writing. You know, kind of like hollywood screenplay dialogue, perhaps it really happened, but you always get the impression it's partly made up because of the high detail level in the conversations.
The book's subject matter is the discovery of dark matter firstly (more briefly) then in more detail, how the discovery of dark energy played out, with the discovery of supernovas type 1a, leading to details of computer analysis of these, leading to the accelerated expansion of the universe. There is virtually no speculation about the nature of the cosmological constant, nor any discussion of einstein's equation or the quantum basis of the cosmo constant. These subjects of course have been covered in a lot of detail in other popular science books. At this point of course any theories about either are purely speculative at least until LHC finds something or better measurements of cosmic acceleration occur.
I have to say I had to 'fast forward' multiple times because of the boring nature of a lot of the material, delineating scientists traveling, arguing with their wives, eating dinners, etc. I hope I can sell this book used on amazon when I get a chance.
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on April 21, 2014
I missed the sub heading and had not planned on learning the history and back story here but I am glad of the happy error as I'd have not come across this else-wise.
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on July 12, 2013
Book was probably too early as not enough hard facts are known yet. Most of book was about inter squabbles between competing scientists. I was looking for answers not gossip.
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on February 7, 2017
Book is primarily a science discovery and development biography. It covers the discovery of the expansion of the universe and that the expansion is accelerating. It's more about that than dark matter and dark energy per se. The book was an enjoyable read, but contains a too much physics and astronomy for those who don't already have some familiarity with those areas. And it's easy to get lost in who was working with whom and when. The book would have benefited enormously by having some appendices. One would be an explanatory glossary for those who forget what omega, lambda, flatness, types of supernovae, etc. are. Another would be a scientific genealogical tree that shows who trained whom and who worked together at different times. Another would be a timeline of discoveries which should also show dependence of discoveries on prior discoveries.
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on January 27, 2011
Subject matter was addressed in a manner way over my head. Going to require a little more research and study to fully grasp.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
(Sorry if I ripped off someone's title - I didn't read all of the reviews.)

I've had this book for a little over a year now, and I just finished it yesterday. Truth be told, I cheated and got the audio book after starting to read the hard copy. My review is on the content of the book and not the narration, so I think that it's still applicable.

As others have said, and to be fair it's in the product description, this book is more about the people involved in the history of this science than it is about the science itself. I'll blame myself for expecting more science discussions because the description is accurate. I got the book because I really wanted to learn about dark energy and dark matter, and given how it's not a mature science, I thought that some history would be a good mix. I finished the book feeling like it was about ten times as long as it needed to be to meet my needs. There were excerpts where I thought the science discussions were valuable and, to me, insightful - but sometimes I almost missed them because I was only half-concentrating due to the majority of the book being about the people (and, at least in the end, how they squabbled with each other).

At first, I liked the narration about the people involved. It made me feel more connected to them and the work that they were doing. As the book continued, however, I quickly lost interest in how so-and-so got upset about an e-mail or about side conversations at a conference.

So, if you are interested in the people behind the discoveries and theories, then this might be a good choice for you. If you are looking for a concise or even remotely in-depth discussion of dark matter and dark energy, then I recommend passing on this one.
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