Arrived very quick, item in amazing condition, and the book itself is a great read and an amazing way for an average person to grasp at an understanding of the universe. All together I highly recommend this item.
I remember Einstein saying whenever he was given praise for his accomplishments that his work "stood on the shoulders of giants." This book is a perfect illustration of how that is so. Falk covers the scientific explorations and discoveries that have profoundly changed the world, from the early Greek's ruminations to today's efforts to find the Theory of Everything. He does so in an entertaining and engaging way that makes each of the key characaters, from Thales to Newton to Kepler to Einstein and beyond, both interesting and intrigueing. The writing makes the concepts accessible to the average Joe (that would be me) where it is possible - don't expect to chat freely about quantum mechanics and string theory at your next barbecue.
Falk also shows clearly how each discovery set the ground for the next, while making us want to know more about each of the protagonists' life, and concludes with an appropriate and balanced discussion about the possible, ultimate philosophical meaning of not only the discovery of the Theory of Everything, but also of the quest for the same.
"Universe on a T-Shirt" is a fun, educational read that any geek would want in their holiday tote bag.
This survey of the progression of dominant discoveries and theories that has connected scientific understanding in a sort of huge relay of human knowledge, is a must for anyone wishing to grasp high-falutin' concepts in a digestible form, suitable for student, layperson, or physics hobbyist.
Author Dan Falk's writing style is personable, engaging, and above all, interesting. You feel you are being told a series of fascinating anecdotes and don't realize that you are, at the same time, being enlightened.
Other general interest books on science were, for me, still too incomprehensible or too gimmicky: Falk takes the matter and the audience seriously, honouring both with a worthwhile treatment of what would be, in other hands, dry reading material.
Plenty of quotes, images, diagrams, and cartoons throughout the book allow for needed respite from the heady topics.
This book is really a history of the scientific search for the structure of the universe since Greek times. It does not stray from a its direct path to the latest thinking about string theory. Thus, though quantum theory is often at the center of the discussion, the double slit experiment is not mentioned, since the author apparently feels it is not necessary for his main point that quantum theory is "weird". I agree with the author's approach on this point. There is also essentially no math in the book. The only formula is Einstein's famous E = M times c-squared, and there is a numerical example to illustrate the inverse square concept, and that's it for math. I've done a lot of reading about quantum theory over the last few years and am a math professor by trade, but still found this one of the best books I have read. I especially enjoyed how the author handled the history. It is true the last chapter on the meaning of it all could have been omitted, but I feel the book is stronger for including this philosopical material. Highly recommended.
First I'd like to point out that I am one of those readers who have read the popular books of many of the cosmologists and physicists mentioned in this book. And I agree with a previous reviewer that if you have read Martin Rees and John Barrow, this might not be a very interesting book. But I had a good time reading it. It is short and concise. Lots of chapters (I think the longest is about 5 pages or so) which makes this a very easy book to read. The main problem is that the task of crunching the search for a "theory of everything" through the ages into a book of about 200 pages is impossible. That is probably why this is a book with no mention of anything but "western" theories. I also found the last chapter on where God is in everything rather confusing. It seems as if the book's editor wanted to cut it but it was left in as some sort of compromise. It provides an afterthought but takes the narrative off track. Dan Falk has written a good book for lay people who find Stephen Hawking inaccessible and who don't feel at home with more theoretical books. But the entire concept of "putting theories on a t-shirt" which every section ends with, says a lot about this book: simplification is king. And that is why it only gets three stars from me. If you would like to read a really good book about scientific history, read Mendeleyev's Dream by Paul Strathern. It is everything this book is not.