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How to Build a Universe

An Infinite Monkey Cage Adventure
Length: 5 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the hosts of the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme comes this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels - a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms.

Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince take the musings of the great and the good of British science, producing an insight into the multifaceted subjects involved in building a universe, with pearls of wisdom from leading scientists and comedians peppered throughout.

Covering thousands of concepts and conundrums, they tackle everything from the big bang to parallel universes, fierce creatures to extraterrestrial life, brain science to artificial intelligence. Bringing together the best, most unusual and hilarious of the inquisitive minds that help us shape and understand our world, from Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dara Ó Briain to Sir Patrick Stewart, Tim Minchin, Stephen Fry and more, How to Build a Universe is an illuminating and inspirational celebration of science - sometimes silly, sometimes astounding and very occasionally facetious.

©2017 Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"A witty and irreverent look at the world according to science." ( Independent)
"Cox's romantic, lyrical approach to astrophysics all adds up to an experience that feels less like homework and more like having a story told to you. A really good story, too." ( Guardian)
"He bridges the gap between our childish sense of wonder and a rather more professional grasp of the scale of things." ( Independent)

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  • A Reader
  • 11-02-17

Must listen to the entire book - brilliant

The book stumbles a bit in the beginning, and you start to wonder if it’s going to be any good, as the book starts with a lengthy comedy bit which is a bit half-baked (hence only 4 stars. But once they get into the meat of the science it is a really great book to listen to. I particularly like the way they present the information so that a lay person can understand it without dumbing it down. I also like the discussions about the need to be skeptical of the pseudo sciences, and the deep analysis that Brian makes on the scientific methods and why they are important. From the Big Bang to the heat-death of the universe in the unimaginably distant future, it’s all covered. I’m a fan of the monkey cage podcasts, and I’m glad I’ve bought this book too. Gonna start at the beginning again and enjoy it once more

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Varkster
  • 04-13-19

Should be mandatory.

Some of this is a bit flippant and jokey. And I don't mind that at all.

But there are many key ideas about how science works and the human endeavour to expand and explore, that I feel charging for this isn't ideal. It's preaching to the choir. This stuff (choice quotes of, at least) should be part of any science curriculum.

I'd have no hesitation to recomend it to anyone with an interest in anything cosmological or scientific.

But I'd love to force flat-Earthers and the recent black hole deniers to listen, contemplate, and consider their position given the content of this book.

Because this stuff is, I feel, monumentally important. And (jokes aside) very serious in today's world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark L
  • 06-02-19

Fascinating and hilarious

An absolute treat for fans of Infinite Monkey Cage, both Brian Cox and Robert Ince contribute to this audiobook, bringing extra levels of humour to an already brilliant view on modern physics. Even illustrated sections of the book are described or acted out, often with hilarious consequences. The details of the science aren't glossed over, but Brian's talent for making these tricky concepts easier to grasp mixed with Robert's light hearted take on them make this a very informative and enjoyable read for both newcomers and more advanced readers alike

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  • Nunchucks Ní Mhaoilfhinn
  • 12-07-18

Realtín

Stellar performances and as hugely entertaining as the show. The comic strip descriptions are class!

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  • D. Robertson
  • 08-10-18

Useful overview

A good listen without any revelations . Lacks the spontaneity of the radio show or podcast.

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  • Frankie Mouse
  • 08-02-18

It's s not may audio books which have diagrams.

A series of difficult subjects presented in a, if not understandable way, then in way that makes you think that you could understand them if you had a few spare years to study them in university.

Entertaining and educational.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-29-18

Complex and Simple

Brian had a knack of being able to explain complex subjects in a refreshing way that can be more easily understood. Of course, some of it still went over my head, but I enjoyed listening to the whole thing. It’s well delivered, informative, funny and entertaining. I’d never heard their Monkey Cage show before, but am now searching it out to listen to them some more.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-22-18

Fascinating

I've fallen asleep to this book, been kept awake by this book... I love it!

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  • ICB
  • 05-02-18

superb, intelligent & entertaining

If you like the Infinite Monkey Cage you will I think like this too. A wonderful, though sometimes complex, exploration of the nature of science and of existence.

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  • Newty1977
  • 02-25-18

Funny & Educational

A good mix of humour and well thought out metaphors that helped gain greater understanding - at least temporarily - of a number of complex topics I’ve read about before, as well as many I hadn’t. That I actually followed some of the jokes informed me that I’m slowly starting to understand some of the concepts. An excellent audiobook well worth the time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-23-18

interesting but quite short

good narration and interesting concepts. the book is shorter than other books tho. still recommended if your interested in science

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  • Chris Hall
  • 12-20-17

Interesting personalities and content

Robin and Brian and their editor offer interesting perspectives on fascinating scientific phenomena. Good value.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful