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"If Ms. Frizzle were a physics student of Stephen Hawking, she might have written THE UNIVERSE IN YOUR HAND, a wild tour through the reaches of time and space, from the interior of a proton to the Big Bang to the rough suburbs of a black hole. It's friendly, excitable, erudite, and cosmic."
—Jordan Ellenberg, New York Times besteselling author of How Not To Be Wrong
Quantum physics, black holes, string theory, the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, parallel universes: even if we are interested in these fundamental concepts of our world, their language is the language of math. Which means that despite our best intentions of finally grasping, say, Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, most of us are quickly brought up short by a snarl of nasty equations or an incomprehensible graph.
Christophe Galfard's mission in life is to spread modern scientific ideas to the general public in entertaining ways. Using his considerable skills as a brilliant theoretical physicist and successful young adult author, The Universe in Your Hand employs the immediacy of simple, direct language to show us, not explain to us, the theories that underpin everything we know about our universe. To understand what happens to a dying star, we are asked to picture ourselves floating in space in front of it. To get acquainted with the quantum world, we are shrunk to the size of an atom and then taken on a journey. Employing everyday similes and metaphors, addressing the reader directly, and writing stories rather than equations renders these astoundingly complex ideas in an immediate and visceral way.
Utterly captivating and entirely unique, The Universe in Your Hand will find its place among other classics in the field.
In this entertaining and comprehensive book, science educator Galfard (George's Secret Key to the Universe, with Stephen and Lucy Hawking) blends physics lessons into a story of scientific discovery. He opens the book with cosmology, looking at signs of the universe's beginning and exploring gravity, general relativity, and special relativity. Galfard then plunges into the quantum world, illuminating the nature of atoms, subatomic particles, and the fields and forces that govern our universe. Having provided an exceptional foundation, Galfard further explores outer space, culminating in a discussion of the mysteries of gravity and quantum mechanics as well as a beautiful description of string theory. He follows an intuitive progression of thoughts and questions, elucidating his material with mindbending thought experiments. The deft and dazzling imagery makes difficult concepts accessible, streamlining the progression through topics and fulfilling Galfard's promise to "not leave any readers behind." The book is amazingly easy to get through, given the sheer number of concepts covered, and there is only one equation used. Galfard was mentored by Stephen Hawking and his familiarity with the material shows, as does the ease with which he conveys it. Readers looking to expand their knowledge of physics and cosmology will find everything they need here.