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.
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.
Random listing from 'Books'...
One hot summer afternoon, I was trying to write, but I just couldn't get inspired. I needed a break! Who would've thought that soon I'd be in Arizona, hanging from cliffs and white-water rafting?
Grandfather Shortpaws had sent me on a hunt for his old friend - the Red Bandit. What a fabumouse adventure!
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"Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs."
Joan Didion (1934 - ), 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'