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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon August 1, 2011
*****
"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." -- Carl Sagan

Dr. Brian Cox, the particle physicist and one-time pop musician, was named best presenter; his BBC series, 'Wonders of the Solar System' was a top winner. Cox has said once before that he has been inspired by Carl Sagan's; Cosmos: A Personal Journey, which the BBC screened when he was 13 years old, hoping that he will inspire a younger generation to marvel at Earth's place in the universe. His book unfolds in four main chapters.
Starting at Luxor, Egypt, in the great Temple of Karnak, he invites the reader to watch the sunrise. Following the light, we pinpoint our place in the midst of the billions of stars in the Milky Way, looking back in time to the dawn of the Big Bang. It is amazing that the same ray of light was in the beginning. Light is amazing, it is both particles, and waves oscillating in magnetic fields, electrically propelling each other through space at such a great speed, so hard for us to comprehend how fast.

What happened before then in the earliest moment in time, as the Planck epoch lasted only a brief instant, presumably the shortest possible interval of time. At this point, approximately 13.7 billion years ago, he explains, the forces of gravity are believed to have been as strong as the other initial forces, which hints at their possible initial unity. Isaac Newton proclaimed that the gravity force between two objects is proportional to the product of their masses, but his theory of universal gravitation needed a facelift that Cox is more than willing to make, explaining what Einstein called the curvature of space-time. A theory of quantum gravity, is still lacking, though some believe the universe was formed from a collision of two pieces of space and time floating forever in an infinite space. Gravity is the great organizing force of the cosmos; without which we would float around like the astronauts in the International Space station. Everything we know, is subject to the effects of gravity, said to be first noted by the Chinese.

"Time feels human, but we are only part of Cosmic Time and we can only ever measure its passing. As I stand in front of the great glacier that towers over Lake Argentino, time seems to almost stand still, yet as I explain the effects of entropy..., you can see that the transition from order to chaos can happen almost in the blink of an eye." Says the Quantum lyric poet troubadour, leaving you with this last thought: "that we, too, will only really die when the universe dies, for everything within it is intrinsically the same." He kept introducing brisk ideas about deep time and the thermodynamic concept of entropy, which both ensures human life, and guarantee its eventual extinction. With a beach bucket and spade he explains the second law of thermodynamics utilizing his resourceful teaching talent superior to those challenging UCLA summer course instructors.

Wonders of the Universe is a clever attempt to capitalize on the success of Cox previous work, which has spun out of its orbit to attract a considerable audience. Professor Brian Cox is back with an insightful and inspiring virtual exploration journey of space and time, going back to the initial bang. Only that, he shares with us the miracles of our universe as we've never imagined it before, with over 100 billion galaxies, each containing billions of stars. He compellingly persuades us to explore the subject of human fascination and scientific marvels for thousands of years. The wonders of the universe might seem alien to us and impossible to understand, but just look through the Hubble Space Telescope, this is what Professor Cox uses to help us imagining the Mysterious Universe, by explaining its simple truths.

Cosmos
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