- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books (August 7, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594482551
- ISBN-13: 978-1594482557
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 78 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The View From the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
If greeting card poet Susan Polis Schultz wrote about physics and the universe, this is the book she would produce. Filled with simplistic observations ("In their hearts most people are still living in an imagined universe where... we humans have no special place and often feel insignificant") as well as romantic cheerleading ("We need to overflow with gratitude that our universe... is filled with light and possibilities"), it offers cosmology disguised as a self-help guide to the universe. The authors—Primack is a physicist at UC–Santa Cruz, and Abrams is a philosopher of science—contend that Newton's picture of the universe as shapeless and endless left humans feeling cosmically homeless, but in response they articulate a Peter Pan physics in which humans are intimately related to the universe because we are made of stardust, i.e., we're an integral part of the cosmos. Our place in the universe is extraordinary, they claim, because the universe will never be in this moment of time again, and we have a responsibility to take care of the Earth since there is still time to solve some of our cosmic problems. Attempting to weave science and spirituality into one cosmic fabric, the authors satisfy the reader in neither realm. B&w illus. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Scientific American
In this thoughtful and original book, a husband-and-wife team presents a science-based cosmology aimed at allowing us to understand the universe as a whole and our place in it. "Most of us have grown up thinking that there is no basis for our feeling central or even important to the cosmos," they write. "But with the new evidence it turns out that this perspective is nothing but a prejudice. There is no geographic center to an expand-ing universe, but we are cent-ral in several unexpected ways that derive directly from physics and cosmology." Primack is professor of cosmology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an originator of the theory of cold dark matter; Abrams is a lawyer and a writer.
Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
To get specific: Particularly the first author needs no introduction as a serious contributor to modern physics and astronomy. This gave at least me an impetus to approach the more philosophical section with a more open mind than I otherwise would have. His successful science popularization shows teaching experience in physics and astronomy at all levels - it’s accessible to anyone who made it a little bit past high school.
The philosophical part, the reasoning and the encouragement to embrace those scientific findings as a new world view from which to derive an equally new sense of belonging, self-worth and personal as well as communal responsibility for shaping the future, I admire as quite a bold proposal. And a proposal, an invitation to think, is all this is meant to be. Anyone who expects a neatly packaged answer or a tried and true recipe that requires no further participating thought is, in my view, missing the whole point.
Make no mistake: the authors repeatedly stress that all philosophical concepts must rest on science (“Scientific accuracy has to be our minimum standard”, p. 295). Hence folks who are hoping for any sort of mystical or spiritual drivel will be thoroughly disappointed. Neither does the book propose or support any form of ‘humans as some ultimate divine intent’, no matter what the religion. Rather, conventional religious anthropocentrism is quite put in its place.
The great Steven Weinberg in his famous little book: ”The first three minutes” wrote towards the end of the epilogue: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”, and many notables have since criticized this phrase. (I much suspect in no small part because it’s far harder to argue with Weinberg about actual physics!). The current book turns this nihilism on its head and instead proposes to be aware that living things are, on the cosmic scale, a remarkably complex and rare occurrence, embodying (in the most literal sense of the word) everything from the constituents of elementary particles all the way to baryonic structure formation due to the opposing effects of gravity by dark matter, versus space-time expansion by dark energy, and just about everything in between. From this connection, so the authors argue, we should not derive any sense of pointlessness, but instead a sense of integral belonging to it all, being part of it all on a, yes, cosmic scale. Above all, from this we should derive a sense self-worth and of serious responsibility to care for the future to the degree that we can.
I recommend anyone with the willingness to try out thinking differently once in a while, to read this book, and think about it enough to form their own opinion.
I purchased this book because of the middle scientific section. It clarified many points for me and was worth the price of the book. It is a completely non-mathematical treatment of modern cosmology. It is highly readable and I now understand why we can consider ourselves at the center of our visible universe (as can every other point in the universe). I have always been puzzled as to why, even though initially the universe was microscopic is size, that light from the early universe (whose wavelength has increased to the microwave range due to the expansion of space), has taken 13 billion years to reach us. This part of the book has given me a much better feeling of why this is so. According to the cosmic inflation model, the universe was initially expanding faster than the speed of light (which is allowed for, but not for things in space) and the universe has continued to expand while the light was moving towards us. There is a good discussion of dark energy and dark matter and why they makeup almost all of the mass in the universe. Cosmology has recently become an incredibly fast moving field. This book was published in 2006, so it covers topics like dark matter and dark energy. In contrast, a book published in 1996 would not cover these topics.
The middle of the book should appeal to those who want an overview of modern cosmology and I recommend it as such, but such a reader might not be interested in the first and third sections of the book. I found the first section interesting, but I found the third section to be unfocused and uninteresting. All in all I enjoyed only about half the book, hence I can give it only four stars. (Also note, the hard cover version of this book is available as a bargain book and is a better deal than the soft cover version.)
Note - I have just finished Brian Greene's "The Fabric of the Cosmos", which covers some of the same topics. Greene does a much better job of explaining why some of the statements made in "the View from the Center of the Universe" are so and if I could only recommend only one of these books it would be Greene's.