Plenty of detail here on the lives of the astronomers who pieced together the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, but all that detail actually made me understand less rather than more. The book focuses on the drama and infighting of the scientific community, but in the process of listening to these stories the science and explanations behind these discoveries gets lost.
As always, Porter is an excellent steward for the work. He imbues excitement and energy into a topic that is difficult. His narration helped bring the individual players to life.
Really excellent science book explaining how scientists discovered dark matter and dark energy (and thus realized that we had only been looking at about 4% -- or, per more recent measurements 5% -- of our universe). The author does an admirable job trying to make the subject matter accessible to a lay reader. It is that difficult balance between giving sufficient detail to be accurate and not overwhelming a reader who does not possess advanced degrees in physics and astronomy. I think Panek largely succeeds, and where he doesn't it isn't really his fault - you can only make things so simple, at some point this science is a heavy lift. What is really refreshing is that he not only walks you through the discoveries, the advances, the struggle for primacy in the field, but he also imbues the players (dozens of scientists) with personalities. I believe this is a book I'll reread again, just to really grasp the subject matter. Recommended for those who would like to see how much more there is to the universe than meets the eye.
This book is AMAZING and without a doubt one of the best books I have read/listened to in a VERY long time. For those of us whose little grey cells are not numbers oriented, this book was an incredible and thoroughly enjoyable education on the subject of the universe. Superbly written with an engaging narration. I just finished listening to it and will be beginning round two immediately! Worth the credit! Worth the money at any price!
the story of the search of knowledge to define our reality for the the ultimate question.what is the universe all about. through a maze of events and personality science has inevitably reached closer to define our relationship with the cosmos. superbly read and historiclly accurate .worth the listen a favorite.
anything brian greene,michio kacko,steven hawking.
a great listen.
Husband, Dad, Principal, Adjunct prof, RC Deacon, radio co-host, story teller, NYer, walker, & occasional sipper of fine whisk(e)y,
The work is an interesting look at the development of the search for dark matter and energy. Sometimes I felt it was bogged down into the jargon of the field, but that may say more about me than the book.
This was my first book on cosmology, I'm about 9 months in and I'm now a expert on the related subjects, quantum mechanics, particle physics and cosmology (Without the Math). I've listened to book after book and some up to 6 times, including this one, 4 times. I was new to audible, and depending on available credits and type of traffic, you may not listen to it 4 times.
This is the highest quality audio I have ever heard in a book, complemented by an outstanding narrator. He really is great. (Really should download at high-quality, it does matter)
I'm so happy to have started my journey into this subject with this book. It gave me a foundation that was absolutely flawless. It's not as scientific, as much as it is history. It does have just enough spaced out but it's not about the science, it's about the 2 teams, making history. It must have been very boring in real life, (a competition to look at changes to dots ) but it reads like an epic adventure, it really does and deserves to be. Most importantly it introduces you to many, so many more real people that you will hear of again, and these people should certainly be known.
If your into cosmology, particle physics, I don't see how you can get by without knowing this history.
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
I had some great fun reading this book. It is part history, part science but mostly the story of a great race. How large is the universe? How long has it been around? How fast is it expanding? To learn this you need a unit of measurement. In astronomy this is a standard candle (a light source that you can reliably know is a certain distance away.) Two teams of scientists decide to tackle the massive obstacle of reliably finding and measuring super nova so as to ascertain if they can be used as standard candles.
Two teams race off and we watch them explore the heavens, overcome unreal challenges and do their best to answer the big questions. It's humane, funny and at times a wild ride. I had a blast listening to it. The narrator is fun and really on the material. The text bounces expertly between the history, the narrative and the science, making you feel like a part of the team.
If I had a complaint, it's this. The science is unfinished, so the book is as well. The narrative ends, but no real conclusions are drawn by the end. That's the way it is in reality, so the author didn't try to go too far with his writing. Still, I wanted more punch. That said, this is a great book. It does more than tell you a story, it makes you think about the wonder of our universe.
I didn't realize this book was about the history of the discoveries leading to the theories involving the 4% universe, I was expecting more of the theories themselves. Still, it was very interesting learning about the people involved in the discoveries, especially when Saul Perlmutter recently won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the work described in this book. However, it did tend to drag a little at some points.
I love Ray Porter and would listen to him narrate the phone book. Which might have been more interesting than this book. I'm a medical person, so not a complete science idiot. But unless you're a PhD in astrophysics or cosmology, you may find this book too technical for your enjoyment. Actually, it spent about the same amount of time discussing the value of lambda as it did chronicling the careers of the scientists who were competing to be first to publish this information. I spent my credit in the hopes that I might come away with a slightly better understanding of dark matter and dark energy, which sadly didn't happen.