by Simon Singh
My husband, Joe, recently finished a book he loved. I asked him to write about it for the blog, and so he did:
I’ve always enjoyed science writing. James Gleick’s Chaos, and Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe are among my favorites of the genre; and I can now add Simon Singh’s Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe (HarperCollins, 2005) to that list. Singh, a scientist (Ph.D. in particle physics from the University of Cambridge) with a special interest in science education, relates the history of humankind’s attempts to understand the nature and origin of the universe within which we live, and especially our place in it, starting with the creation myths of various primitive peoples, and finishing with the current (as of the book’s publication in 2004) version of The Big Bang Theory. His explication of the science is lucid, completely accessible even to the most non-mathematically inclined reader; but beyond that he communicates the drama of the science—for example, the gradual transition from the view that the Earth is at the center of the universe to the view that the Sun is at the center, and the role of the Catholic Church in resisting that transition. Then there is the drama behind the science—personal stories of the extraordinary (in intellect) and ordinary (in emotions) famous, and not so famous, men and women who passionately devoted their lives to that science. This is the first popular science book I’ve read that was, for me at least, a can’t-put-it-down page-turner. Suffice it to say that I took this 500 page hardback along as airplane reading on a recent nine hour plane trip.