978-0-684-83861-8 / 9780684838618

The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

Who among us hasn't, at one time or another, lain flat on a grassy slope and stared up at the passing clouds, wondering where the sky begins and ends? Timothy Ferris, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, has written an entire book on just that subject. There was a time when cosmology was the poor stepsister to other, more glamorous sciences; then, clothed in new astronomical data (much of it obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope) and taken to their bosoms by particle physicists, the study of the cosmos has attained giddying new heights of popularity and respect. In The Whole Shebang, Ferris describes this transformation in entertaining and lucid style, beginning with the Big Bang theory and winding up with the author's own "Contrarian Theological Afterward".

In between, Ferris explicates the shape of space, black holes, the origin of the elements and the evolution of galaxies and stars. As if encapsulating the cosmos weren't enough, he plunges cheerfully into an account of quantum physics and its relationship to the study of the universe. The subtitle of The Whole Shebang is A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report, and indeed, one of the intriguing theories presented in this book is that our universe is but one of many, each with physical laws and the potential for life. The Whole Shebang is a book that even those of us who hated science in school will love.

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