A physicist speeds across space, time, and everything in between showing that our elegant universe from the Higgs boson to antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies is shaped by hidden symmetries that have driven all our recent discoveries about the universe and all the ones to come. Why is the sky dark at night? Is it possible to build a shrink-ray gun? If there is antimatter, can there be antipeople? Why are past, present, and future our only options? Are time and space like a butterfly's wings? No one but Dave Goldberg, the coolest nerd physicist on the planet, could give a hyper-drive tour of the universe like this one. Not only does he answer the questions your stoner friends came up with in college, but he also reveals the most profound discoveries of physics with infectious, Carl Sagan-like enthusiasm and accessibility.
Goldberg's narrative is populated with giants from the history of physics, and the biggest turns out to be an unsung genius and Nazi holocaust escapee named Emmy Noether- the other Einstein. She was unrecognized, even unpaid, throughout most of her career simply because she was a woman. Nevertheless, her theorem relating conservation laws to symmetries is widely regarded to be as important as Einstein's notion of the speed of light. Einstein himself said she was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began. Symmetry is the unsung great idea behind all the big physics of the last 100 years and what lies ahead. In this book, Goldberg makes mindbending science not just comprehensible but gripping. Fasten your seat belt.
©2013 Dave Goldberg (P)2013 Recorded Books
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is a very light tone, very high level survey of a very wide range of symmetries in physics. This was a pleasant listen, but I did not learn a lot nor where there novel ideas that got me thinking, thus I ended up a bit disappointed. It was a nice for a very high level survey, but I am not sure what audience would appreciate this level of detail. It seems to me a lot of background in needed to understand a number of the symmetries but the book seems targeted at a pretty low level of knowledge. The author mentions the Twin Paradox and notes that the Twin Paradox is often misunderstood but then just drops it (why bring it up at all?). I wish he had explained how such a twin experiment would actually work, which has been misstated so many times, even scientists are confused about what really would happen. The narration was excellent with a wonderful light tone and a clear love of science that bubbled through. So, although there was a lot right and there is little wrong with this book, I did not quite find it worth the listen.
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