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Download How the Universe Got Its Spots : Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space ePub

by Janna Levin

Download How the Universe Got Its Spots : Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space ePub
  • ISBN 0753813769
  • ISBN13 978-0753813768
  • Language English
  • Author Janna Levin
  • Publisher Orion Pub Co (December 31, 2002)
  • Pages 224
  • Formats mobi lrf mbr docx
  • Category Math
  • Size ePub 1447 kb
  • Size Fb2 1474 kb
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 628

An original and personal quest to discover the size and shape of the universe, by an exciting new voice in popular science writing

Talk about How the Universe Got Its Spots : Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space

I had hope for this book, since the topic is fascinating and I very much enjoyed her TV documentary about black holes. But the book was a disappointment: what began as a rather coherent overview of physics and the search for a single theory, mixed with some somewhat interesting life reflections, degenerated into confused personal rambling and endless pages about topology that was dry and uninteresting. The central question she addresses is whether the Universe is finite; but most of what she has to say consists of innumerable variations of why we don’t know. Overall, her treatment of these fascinating topics is just not that interesting, and while there are some original thoughts and good phrases here and there, they're lost in the rambling detail and many, often uninformative figures. Perhaps physicists find her lengthy stream of consciousness about topology and the curvature of the Universe compelling; I doubt most general readers would.
After listening to an interview with Janna Levin on the NPR program Speaking of Faith, I became interested in reading her books. Levin is an astrophysicist and author interested in sharing her interest in topics from quantum mechanics to a Theory of Everything.

In the book How the Universe Got Its Spots, Levin uses a diary/letter style to explain contemporary theoretical physics in a way that is accessible to a layperson like me. She weaves the science through stories from everyday life. Her engaging writing style and excellent examples makes complex topics such as Einstein's theories easier to understand. It's interesting to learn how much we know and how much we still don't know about our universe. Is the universe finite or infinite? We really don't know.

One of the most amazing aspects of the book is her interest in cosmic archaeology which examines the patterns of hot spots left over from the big bang. I was also fascinated by her explanations of topology and geometry of the universe. I've always been interested in the idea of more than three dimensions, but it wasn't until I read this book that I began to understand how these other dimensions might work.

It's been nearly a decade since this book was written. I look forward to reading her newer, award-winning book titled A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…there are no walls built in the human mind making some of us scientists and some of us artist. They are branches of the same tree, rooted in a common human essence. Maybe it’s our ability to step between the different disciplines, weaving strange loops all the while, that’s the core of our creativity.” (p. 193)
Very disappointing. I LOVED Janna Levin's "Moth" storytelling story, and her other TED Talks, etc. So I was surprised when I got her book just how unreadable it is. The narrative does not flow, and instead jumps from the day-to-day and interpersonal, to the cosmic, but without fully pursuing either. So it feels jumbled and jumpy--neither one becomes a satisfying narrative arc.
OK this book is written differently than most other physics or science books I've read. Its not all fact after fact and science science science. The book is written like a journal, with stories about the author's personal life mixed in with her science exploits. So be prepared for that! But the writing is good and the science and math is fun to learn about. Honestly, I had to get about a third of the way through the book before I fully accepted the fact that this book is different. But I didn't want to put it down, kept me up late at night many times finishing the read. Thanks Janna Levin!
Not being either a mathematician or a physicist, this was a heavy challenge for me, but the author does such a good job of alleviating these parts with her human interest story, as well as with charts and graphics, that I was very glad I persevered. Very provocative as to origins.
Engaging short letters explaining the universe. Painless, entertaining learning about what often is a dreary rendering of a fascinating topic.
The audio book is excellent as is the printed book. Both make the subject intimate and personal.
Janna Levin has a gift for explaining complex ideas. She intersperses a fair amount of personal anecdote, which makes the book more interesting. The personal reflections do not detract from the science. Rather, these reflections help craft a narrative lens and move the book forward.
Too hard for me. I gave it to my 13 yo grandson. Maybe I can get a review from him.