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Simon Singh

Big bang

The big bang is well known as the consensus view of the beginning of the universe, but the history of how it achieved this position may be less well known. In Big bang : the most important scientific discovery of all time and why you need to know about it Simon Singh gives the reader a gentle introduction to this history.

The first chapter of the book starts with the early ideas of the cosmos, moving on to scientist such as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. The second chapter gets on to the revolution in cosmology at the beginning of the twentieth century, with Einstein's relativity and Hubble's discovery of the red shift of distant galaxies. The third chapter 'Mavericks of the cosmos' shows that there was a long way to go before consensus could be reached. Singh explains how calculations of nucleosynthesis played a vital part in our understanding of the universe, and how Fred Hoyle gained support for his 'Steady State' alternative (and in fact coined the term 'Big Bang' as something of an insult).

The book is well written and gives plenty of simple explanations of the concepts involved, making it accessible to a large number of readers. However, I felt it was a bit long for the novice reader, and didn't include enough recent cosmology to serve as an introduction to the subject. Those with more experience of the subject would probably not want to plough through a large amount of material which they were already familiar with. It may well suit you if you've learned a bit of cosmology and want to find out more of the background to the subject, as its strong point is the detail it gives of the disputes in cosmology of the early and mid 20th century.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 560 pages  
ISBN: 0007162219
Salesrank: 226333
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2005 Harper Perennial
Amazon price $11.41
Marketplace:New from $6.40:Used from $0.25
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 544 pages  
ISBN: 0007152523
Salesrank: 207235
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2005 Harper Perennial
Amazon price £8.83
Marketplace:New from £6.87:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 560 pages  
ISBN: 0007162219
Salesrank: 191525
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2005 Harper Perennial
Amazon price CDN$ 18.76
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 15.43:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

A half century ago, a shocking Washington Post headline claimed that the world began in five cataclysmic minutes rather than having existed for all time; a skeptical scientist dubbed the maverick theory the Big Bang. In this amazingly comprehensible history of the universe, Simon Singh decodes the mystery behind the Big Bang theory, lading us through the development of one of the most extraordinary, important, and awe-inspiring theories in science.