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The First Three Minutes

A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
Narrated by: Raymond Todd
Length: 5 hrs and 30 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Now updated with a major new afterword that incorporates the latest cosmological research, this classic of contemporary science writing by a Nobel prize-winning physicist explains to general readers what happened when the Universe began, and how we know.
©1988 Steven Weinberg (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Science writing at its best." (New York Review of Books)
"The book is the first I have seen to put the details, both historical and conceptual, of the origin of the Universe within the grasp of the general reader. As such, it is a tremendous service to us all." (Isaac Asimov)
"Weinberg builds such a convincing case...that one comes away from his book feeling not only that the idea of an original cosmic explosion is not crazy but that any other theory appears scientifically irrational." (New Yorker)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • Virginia Beach, VA, USA
  • 01-01-05

Strong and Compelling Story

An excellent and accessible accounting of the beginnings of the universe. This introduction to cosmology is presented in a compelling and engaging way. I enjoy reading about science, and most especially, science books that grab the reader and take him through an adventure of discovery. This book does that.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Sleeping Aid

If you need help falling asleep, then maybe this book is a good choice. The narrator apparently felt the same because he pretty much rushes through the book and clearly doesn't know what he's reading.

The material is extremely dated-- huge advances have been made since the author wrote this in 1975, and he did not bother to re-write it in the 1990s. Instead he just tagged on a catch-up chapter at the end. And who will still be awake by the end of this audiobook?

Try Fabric of the Cosmos for something better on this subject matter.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Springhill, LA, USA
  • 03-04-05

Unlistenable

This is the first audiobook I've regretted buying. I've made about four attempts to make it through and I've been stopped every time by the expressionless, rushed narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

maybe better as a book

Perhaps better when read rather than listened to. Even with a decent background in math and physics, it was most difficult to follow the spoken text.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 04-24-08

In the Beginning

This book is not for the scientifically challenged. Having a basic knowledge of physics helps. I found the scales used to be mind-boggling. The history of our world is but a single heartbeat in the life of the universe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • Independence, KY, USA
  • 03-10-08

Just a bit to technical

I was hoping for a lay persons book on the origin of the universe. I have been watching the history channel's the universe and was looking for a book that would go into a little more detain about the origin of the universe. This book does that but at times I found myself very confused, but overall it was a very good, very thought provoking book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bill
  • East Bethel, MN, USA
  • 12-08-05

Tough to follow

This is really interesting stuff but after a brief introduction to cosmology takes off at break neck speed. It is written for someone already very comfortable with concepts such as black body spectrums and particle/anti-particle production. It would make a great book for a 2nd year physic student or mid-level astronomy student.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Understood enough to make enjoyable

I will admit I didn’t grasp everything so I’ll need to give it another listen but that’s fine, I don’t expect this kind of book to be one and done. Enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Breath taking scientist giving views on Cosmology.

I enjoyed this audiobook. It is fascinating to hear the juxtaposition of theory and experimental evidence and how it survived and morphed into today's accepted cosmology, versus from what physicist Stephen Weinberg wrote in his book here in the late 1970s, well before the WMAP satellite and the LHC further enlightened us. We are truly blessed to be able to witness the derivatives of our labor. I cannot wait to participate in the next 20 to years of societies march to toward the TOE, or theory of everything. The late Dr. Robert Jastrow an astrophysicist with NASA once said, "When mankind finally pulls himself over the last crag of ignorance and reaches the summit, he will be greeted there by theologians who have been waiting for centuries."

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Still relevant after all these years

Much has been revealed in cosmology since this book's publication in 1977. Even the "afterward" tacked on to the 1993 reprint (and included in the audiobook) predates the sensational discovery of accelerated cosmic expansion. Nevertheless, the 1960s observation of cosmic microwave background radiation and its fundamental implications for the first few minutes after the Big Bang have stood the test of time.

One caveat: the author does not shy away from detailed logical and quantitative reasoning. Frequent pausing for reflection is required. Keep your finger ready to hit the pause button!