By John D. Barrow
Norton, $26.95, 354 pages
Time is an unstoppable arrow (at least, in three dimensions), charting the progress of human knowledge across the centuries. Our thinking has come a long way from the days when we looked up at the sky and knew we were the center of creation. It took a wealth of brilliant minds, abstract thinkers and dedicated theorizing to bring us here, and The Book of Universes chronicles that journey from our earliest days to the present.
Barrow has crafted a beautifully concise yet detailed history of our discovery of the solar system’s mechanics, and how those revelations have evolved into a quest to understand and formulate a model of the universe as a whole. For a book that covers as expansive and complex a topic as the universe, it’s wonderfully designed to include new readers and enthusiasts alike. The language is simple without being condescending, and Barrow eases in the reader across chapters, building up the necessary scientific familiarity to tackle the more complicated concepts to come, all the way from Aristotle and Copernicus to M-Theory and the multiverse.
More science texts should be as informative and welcoming as The Book of Universes.
Reviewed Glenn Dallas