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New Scientist
Phillip Manning

Timothy Ferris

The Whole Shebang

In The Whole Shebang: A state of the Universe(s) report Timothy Ferris takes a wide ranging look at cosmology and related subjects. After a short overview of the history of cosmology, Ferris introduces the reader to general relativity, and so to the big bang. This is followed by chapters on the evidence for dark matter, on the occurence of large scale structure such as galactic clusters and superclusters, and on the evolution of the universe. Ferris then gets on to the small scale physics that is needed to understand the universe at its earliest moments.

There's a chapter on symmetries in particle physics, which leads on to the theory of inflation. This is followed by speculations of how the universe could have arisen from nothingness, and a look at quantum weirdness. The final chapters are philosophical musings on our place in the universe.

A warning to the reader - sometimes the book is rather muddled. For instance saying that curved space implies a fourth dimension (i.e. time) is nonsense, and his example of an EPR device would allow faster than light communication. But Ferris is clearly enthusiastic about the subject, and so the book is highly readable. Hence if you accept that it isn't a book to teach you cosmology then you'll probably enjoy reading it. info
Paperback 393 pages  
ISBN: 0297815180
Salesrank: 14103132
Published: 1997 Trafalgar Square
Marketplace:New from $19.10:Used from $2.24
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Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 0297815180
Salesrank: 1319839
Weight:1.7 lbs
Published: 1997 W&N
Marketplace:New from £33.49:Used from £0.01
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ISBN: 0297815180
Weight:1.7 lbs
Published: Trafalgar Square
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 86.53:Used from CDN$ 4.86
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Product Description
This is an accessible, non-mathematical guide to all the central issues of cosmology, taking the reader through recent breakthroughs, hypotheses and arguments: the inflationary universe immediately subsequent to the Big Bang; quantum cosmology and Hartle and Hawking's wave-function of the universe; the discovery and significance of large-scale galactic structure; the evolution of the universe(s) and the many-worlds hypothesis of parallel universes; the various anthropic principles; the controversies over the Big Bang and the discovery of the ripples in the microwave background radiatioon; the issues of the existence of other intelligent life-forms; and the possibility of the evidence of life on Mars.