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Home > Categories > Books > Non-Fiction > A User's Guide to the Universe review

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Score: 9.3/10  [1 review]
4 out of 5
ProdID: 2526 - A User's Guide to the Universe
Written by Dave Goldberg and Jeff Blomquist

A User's Guide to the Universe
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by John Wiley Australia

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been supplied to KIWIreviews by the company for the purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
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A User's Guide to the Universe product reviews

Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes and Quantum Uncertainty.

This title provides answers to science's most enduring questions from 'Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?' and 'Is there life on other planets?' to 'What is empty space made of?'.

This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry scepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway.

This title gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time. It explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way. It includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter. Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe.

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Review by: tucker (Karl)
Dated: 28th of March, 2010

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 9.3/10
Value for Money:
Score 8 out of 10
Interesting Facts:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

I have to admit, science has been known to be a bit 'dry'. Even with the best of intentions, if an author tries to 'dumb it down for the masses' it loses a lot of accuracy... imagine a driving instructor saying "OK, turn the key, waggle the gear lever round every now and then, and push those pedals occasionally... you'll kinda get the hang of it after a while..." you can only imagine the chaos that would ensue on the roads. Hang on a minute... maybe THAT explains teenage driving habits! But I digress...

So to make a 'heavy' topic accessible, yet retain enough accuracy to be more than 'literary chewing gum', a delicate balance must be struck... you have to assume the reader at least understands and has more than a passing interest in SOME science (if not, why are they reading such titles?) but is educated to a level below which they would normally come into 'casual' contact with such topics as covered here. (And no, watching every episode of Stargate SG1 and paying extra attention to Sam Carter's explanations does NOT count as 'education'). This wonderful title does a pretty good job of riding that fine line between 'pointed' and 'pointless'...

With humour abounding, tongue-in-cheek cheek, and an excellent coverage of all things 'heavy science', "A User's Guide" is a wonderful way for a science-literate to make casual acquaintance with some of the topics that float amongst the loftier peaks of the field, such as 'The Casimir Effect' (which was used to prove the existence of 'Dark Energy' which makes up 72% of the mass on the observable universe), Temporal Paradoxes and why they either won't affect you or will simply cancel themselves out, What is MOND and how does it relate to GIMPS and a GUT (scientists LOVE acronyms, they make it so easy to deal with pointlessly huge multi-word names), and a whole raft of other sciency things.

Overall, I found it to be highly informative, fairly entertaining, and ultimately an excellent resource book for the younger members of the clan... when they are a little older and have a better grasp of the basic-basics. Smile Icon

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