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How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe | [Chris Impey]

How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe

In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept - "look-back time" - to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time.
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Publisher's Summary

"Impey combines the vision of a practicing scientist with the voice of a gifted storyteller."
—Dava Sobel

In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang. What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time.

Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe. The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote: we travel from the Moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy. Impey gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history. His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind-bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes.

A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its listeners with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.

©2012 Chris Impey (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (26 )
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    Terri Cairns, Australia 06-08-13
    Terri Cairns, Australia 06-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Journey"
    What did you love best about How It Began?

    This is an amazing and mesmerizing book, a real window on our universe. Chris Impey illustrates one of the most complex topics in cosmology and physics in a pleasurable and page turner manner


    What other book might you compare How It Began to and why?

    This book its a rarity on its own


    What does Andy Caploe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Andy is an Excellent reader although my IPod version was recorded with base a bit to high and therefore there is a noticeable reverb that can be annoying at time


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    How something so complex can be made so basic and interesting to everyone!!! Excellent teaching materials. I only wished it was longer


    Any additional comments?

    TOP BOOK please Chris do more...............

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earl 10-17-13
    Earl 10-17-13
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    "The only thing good about the book was it synopsis"
    What disappointed you about How It Began?

    Billed as a book of science, this was hardly more than a high level overview of basic cosmology wrapped in poor, amateurish vignettes.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Chris Impey again?

    Not a chance.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Andy Caploe’s performances?

    The overly melodramatic reading makes the book unbearable. It is hard to take any of the book seriously given the stilted, melodramatic narration. I would not listen to this narrator again.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Kevin
    EASTLEIGH, United Kingdom
    9/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing - attempt at accessible style, fails"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Different Narrator.
    Remove the 'dream sequence' elements from the beginning of all of the chapters.
    Extensive editing of the 'science' which has been dumbed down but not actually made any more accessible in the process. I suggest the author goes away and reads something by Sean Carroll for an idea of how this can be done in an engaging manner that is still true to the underlying beauty of the science being presented.


    If you’ve listened to books by Chris Impey before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first (and likely last) Chris Impey book.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator's style was very much in the 'Jeremy Clarkson' mould of narration which is hard to describe but immediately recognisable and also very irritating. It was particularly irritating for the content of this book.
    Also, for an English listener there are many, many mispronounced words. For example the narrator was talking about force-carrying particles called "BISSONS" which had me yelling at the narrator "BOWSONS YOU MORON!! The Man was called BOWSE!!". We also had supernovae pronounced as Supernov-ay - I think most would pronounce this as Supernov-eye. This all grates with the listener.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How It Began?

    I would have chosen a narrator with a different style - I recently listened to the particle at the end of the universe - narrated by Jonathan Hogan (An American) who'd clearly researched pronounciation and had a clear, crisp style. Perfect for this type of material.

    As for the root text, the main problem with it (as I see it) was the attempt to have an underlying narrative based on the author having a hallucinatory dream whereupon he's travelling out; first through the solar system, onwards to nearby stars, and then back in time to the moments after the big bang. This begins every section and is all written in a 'star struck' and breathless style which I found grating; for example "Everywhere I look there are curtains and filaments of pale light. They pulse like glowworms(sic) mounted on black velvet. The nebulosity extends above my head and below my feet; I'm enclosed as if in a womb...For a moment the disorientation sends a rising wave of panic through me. I flail my arms, with no effect.". Once this ends the listener is then 'dropped' into a, not brilliantly written, pop-science essay on various elements of cosmology.

    So, if I was editor - I would have totally cut out all of the breathless, poorly-written, dream-sequences and made the author go back over the descriptive elements of the actual cosmology. The explanations of cosmology for the average Joe - are, after all, what most people will come to this book for!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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