Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Book Review: 'How to Build a Universe: From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe' by Ben Gilliland
This very entertaining status report on where we are in research into the cosmology and physics of the universe, has a deadly serious twist to it that no reader will want to miss: In a not so "tongue and cheek way," the author subtly offers up the existing scientific model as "THE" alternative to the tale about the woman, the apple and the snake in the garden.
Even a reader who is unfamiliar with the science, and views any alternative to the "Eden tale" with great suspicion, will "feel the pull" that the scientific pieces are finally coming together, and that we are "finally getting how the universe was built, correct."
The book is orderly -- even though physics and cosmology often still remain very much disorderly. The beauty of the book is that Professor Gilliland takes pain to connect the dots between what we know and don't know: between Hubble's law and Relativity, between the latest model of the atom and the virtual particles and the virtual reality of the cosmic soup, between the cosmic microwave background noise and the nature of cosmic expansion, between the evolution of nuclear fusion at the center of stars and gravity, and everything else in between.
Everything unfolds from "the theory of the Big bang," which despite its somewhat dubious character and even more misleading name, is no longer "just a theory," but is proving in every respect to be a "falsifiable theory" -- the very litmus test of modern science. The author is scrupulously honest and does not "lean forward" or hedge his bets: He gives us the "straight skinny" and for this we must all be grateful.
To make all of this not just readable and enlightening, but also entertaining, surely must be worthy of some book or teaching award. I nominate Dr. Ben Gilliland as the next president of the United States!
For those seeking to expand their range of thinking about the universe and how we humans fit into it, you cannot do better than this tightly-written, beautifully illustrated book. It is a religious experience that will leave you even more awe-inspired than the fairy tales about the woman in the garden with the apple and the snake. 50 stars!
Dr. Herbert L. Calhoun and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.