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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking guide to the universe and how our latest deep-space discoveries are forcing us to revisit what we know - and what we don't.

On March 21, 2013, the European Space Agency released a map of the afterglow of the big bang. Taking in 440 sextillion kilometers of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: We will never see the early universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology; on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct. The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our universe.

This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten, if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms. Can we ever know what happened before the big bang? What's at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?

©2016 Stuart Clark, PhD (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Very Interesting Information - Poor Reader

Would you listen to The Unknown Universe again? Why?

Yes. There is quite a bit of science history in this book and well worth the time to listen several times to get it all straight. That is, if you can stay awake through the monotone of the reader.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Hoye?

Hoye reads this book like its a set of instructions for an appliance. He is literally devoid of any passion at all. You get the feeling that some newscaster is just reading one line after another that appears in front of him, glossing over parts that, if read with a little heart, would have been humorous. Instead, Hoye chooses unending monotony of voice and inflection.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared
  • Prosper, TX, United States
  • 09-11-16

Engaging Update on past few years in Astrophysics

One of my favorite books is "The 4% Universe", and having devoured that and most of the other Astronomy/Astrophysics/Physics/Cosmology books available ("Quantum", The Fabric of the Cosmos, Warped Passages, The Lightness of Being, A Universe from Nothing) I've been anxious for a book that would include the past ~7 yrs experiments and the resulting evolving conjectures of scientists. This is that book, basically. My only complaints are that it at some points it tries to nod to less-technical readers (such as re-explaining the Doppler Effect, then not even presenting or using the name "Doppler Effect"), and, at 8 hrs, for being disappointingly short. I would have enjoyed deeper dives into alternative theories and some coverage of the scientists developing them.

Still, a good contribution to popular science and definitely worth the read.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

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Great addition for cosmology lovers

I am a sucker for almost any and all physics and cosmology material so do take that into account, but I finished this book in a matter of days just because I enjoyed listening to it so much. A lot of cosmology books can seem redundant and repetitive (there are only so many high powered telescopes you know) but this book does not disappoint with fresh insights, thoughts, theories and information.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 03-09-17

Everything, Absolutely Everything!

I'm a Cosmos Boob--I look up at the sky and I don't see gases, geometry, mathematical equations, so I was a tad hesitant at scooping up "The Unknown Universe". Would it be beyond me?
I am, however, also a history buff and a sucker for the real background stories, the anecdotes. Basically, the fun stuff. This book has that and plenty more. Yes, it might be a tad "dumbed down", but I suspect only the truly knowledgeable will find that annoying. I thought it was a delight.
I especially liked that the women who worked in astronomy were given their kudos (If you want more of that, I suggest "The Glass Universe" by Dava Sobel).
Expect fun history, discussions of current problems, and some pretty intriguing concepts about the future of this wonderful universe we all reside in.
My only, only complaint (more like a whine...) is that Stephen Hoye narrates this with an anchorman's tones: sometimes the humor is lost, and this book has plenty of tongue-in-cheek, plenty of guffaws.
Still, a wonderfully engaging listen; You'll be informed, and better yet, you'll be entertained!

84 of 95 people found this review helpful

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Finally!

Would you listen to The Unknown Universe again? Why?

Yes, I already plan to. I was so enthralled that I raced through it and want to go back and see what I missed. I will probably listen to it several times.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unknown Universe?

This was a very well presented synopsis of astronomy's forefront theories written in a way laymen can easily understand. Dr Clark explained several theories that I had been having trouble with and previoulsy hadn't found better sources of explanation, now I understand and they make much more sense to me.
I was particularly delighted to see that there is at least one leading edge scientist who questions the validity of "dark matter" and "dark energy". I have always balked over accepting these. We might as well go back to believing in the "ether". I hope others on the forefront are listening to what he has to say and acting on it.

Have you listened to any of Stephen Hoye’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't as far as I know. but I think he did an excellent job, the only reason I didn't give him 5 stars was his mispronunciation of a few words. I particularly remember "Magellanic" considering the source word he should have gotten that one right.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely! I wish there were many more just like it.

Any additional comments?

I love listening to books in all areas of science. I have tried to keep up with the current discoveries so I wasn't sure if there would be any new info or if it would just be presented from Dr Clark's POV. I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected additional info he presented.

41 of 47 people found this review helpful

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Cosmology paradigm shift under way?

It didn't seem long ago that science was full of new answers. The field of natural philosophy becoming science introduced testable hypotheses, where theories can only be considered science if they can be tested.

The author provides an open minded approach to possibilities of new discoveries. He is almost conceding that Cosmology as we know it might undergo a revolution as the most prevailing theories are finding it hard to fit the figures or explain anything that can be tested.

Time for science on the fringe to shed dogma that has plagued generations and provide testable theories. Highly engaging and recommended book if you like to look at new scientific discoveries in historical context.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Decent listen

The material was presented in a way that laymen could understand, and the writing was engaging. The reading performance wasn't up to the quality of the writing, but wasn't bad.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Exactly as much cosmology as I can handle

The author is an astrophysicist and a journalist. The book is pitched to the curious non-astrophysicist and non-scientist. The writing style is clear and entertaining. I had not heard of Stuart Clark before I "read" this book but I plan to read more of him.

The performance is excellent. Stephen Hoye's narration is pleasing and paced right for popular science. (I have returned many books, most often because the narration is speeded up past the point where I can enjoy the experience.)

I think any reader with any curiosity about the beginning and the end of time, who doesn't quite understand how space and time can be the same thing, and who wonders where everything came from will enjoy this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Book on the Subject for the Casual Reader.

This book avoids the calculus, but is great at explaining questions I have had. For example, how do we know that Dark Matter could not be Jupiter-size bodies floating in a dark area of space? Why do they say the Universe looks the same where-ever you are in it and what-ever direction you look? These answers are within a chatty history of cosmology. I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wow

Not all the answers, but an excellent description of today's science of space and time and how we got to here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful