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Publisher's Summary

Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there life on other planets?" to "What is empty space made of?"

This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway.

Gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time.

Explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way.

Includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter.

Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe.

©2010 Dave Goldberg and Jeff Blomquist (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Paul
  • Plympton, Australia
  • 10-25-12

Physics even I can understand

I skipped physics in senior high school, doing biology instead. And I managed to fail that in Year 12. But I love reading about cosmology and the universe, and this book has been a great help. It deals with the big questions like whether we'll ever be able to travel through time, whether there's life out there and where we all came from, but, it's written in a way even I could understand. And yet they did it without dumbing things down. There's a lot of meat to chew on, but they made it easily digestible. I hope this gastronomic analogy doesn't put you off, because it's really a great read. The authors explain how atoms work and what the universe looks like, yet they manage this without breaking their promise to use only one equasion. If you're interested in the big questions, don't shy away from this entertaining and informative book.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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a thrilling gallop through the coolest there is

Where does A User's Guide to the Universe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Oh this book was good, so so good, and I belly laughed hard at their geeky jokes which as promised were indeed groaners. The jokes were that nerd-funny I would pause the book, snort-laugh and go tell the joke to my husband who would also gasp and snort-laugh.<br/><br/>A great introduction to some of the coolest stuff there is to know and think about in the universe - the delivery was fantastic and the subjects extremely interesting, all explained clearly and kind to the non-geeks in the world, not that I have ever met any to ask. <br/><br/>I liked the author's explanation for why they do not believe the earth has been visited by flying saucers. <br/><br/>I liked their explanations of most things, actually.<br/><br/>great book, I loved it. <br/><br/><br/>

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Good Beginner/Intermediate Physics Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It does get a bit hard to follow at times - but this isn't the fault of the author. Quantum physics is hard to comprehend. Period. I have taken undergrad DiffEq, linear algebra, and some physics & chemistry courses so I can't say how this book would be for someone with absolutely zero background in math and physics. Bottom line is I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.

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  • Jan
  • Carole Park, Australia
  • 07-31-13

got distracted

It's well written and quite easy to follow but at the same time due to the concepts discussed it will be easier to read the book rather then listing to it. I had to rewind quite a few times as it not like a fiction book where if you miss a few sentences you can still follow the story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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get book for us nerds

What made the experience of listening to A User's Guide to the Universe the most enjoyable?

it felt like he was talking to me

Have you listened to any of Mark F. Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

this was my frist listen to mark and it was a lot of fun

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

enjoy your book nerd

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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PHYSICS WIMPs

Dave Goldberg is a physicist with a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Princeton University and Jeff Blomquist is an engineer at Boeing Aerospace. Goldberg and Blomquist attempt to glorify and simplify the study of physics by praising its inherent fascination and potential for answering questions about the universe. However, “A User’s Guide to the Universe” fails to enlighten the uninformed; i.e. it fails because no more is understood about physics than a child knows about birth when told that babies come from mother’s wombs rather than stork’s beaks.

In fairness, Goldberg and Blomquist help one understand some of the vocabulary of physics and cosmology but naming and explaining are two different arguments that confuse their answers; in part, because answers remain as unverifiable to physicists as the general public.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Too cutesy, despite solid science underpinnings

I quit about 10% through. I just couldn't handle the bad jokes and cutesy comments. The science is handled at a good, conversational level, if the authors weren't beating you over the head with their attempts to be "hip" and "with it," wink wink nudge nudge. Enough. It's rare for me to abandon a book, but I can't stand it any more. One of the worst science books I've ever encountered - and not because of the science!

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Juha
  • Hyvinkaa, Finland
  • 06-09-14

Well popuralized universe

Would you listen to A User's Guide to the Universe again? Why?

I did actually listen this a couple of times and I think I will listen it some more times.<br/><br/>I am becoming a physics teacher and I SHOULD know MUCH about these things. Unfortunately my background knowledge is somewhat shady.Luckily there are books like this that do not require so much background.I have never been so keen on kosmology but these kind of books makes me ponder the connection with the smallest known things in conjunction with the greatest things we know and the big mystery of life ( = the uncertainty / free will of a particle). I think listening books like this makes ones life a beutiful.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not a good venue for audiobook!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I only made it half-way through! Between the form of the book and the narrator, it was a TERRIBLY yedious and BORING listen! Reading through charts and tables is NOT good entertainment or even education!

What didn’t you like about Mark F. Smith’s performance?

Boring and colorless! I would like to hear him with a different work; I'd like to ne able to say that it was primarily the subject.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

None. Boredom. Not even curiosity...

1 of 10 people found this review helpful