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The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos par [Brockman, John]
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“Illuminating, mind-expanding. ... A spectacular, mind-bending read. ” (Brain Pickings)

Présentation de l'éditeur

John Brockman brings together the world's best-known physicists and science writers—including Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Martin Rees—to explain the universe in all wondrous splendor.

In The Universe, today's most influential science writers explain the science behind our evolving understanding of the universe and everything in it, including the cutting edge research and discoveries that are shaping our knowledge.

Lee Smolin reveals how math and cosmology are helping us create a theory of the whole universe. Benoit Mandelbrot looks back on a career devoted to fractal geometry. Neil Turok analyzes the fundamental laws of nature, what came before the big bang, and the possibility of a unified theory.

Seth Lloyd investigates the impact of computational revolutions and the informational revolution. Lawrence Krauss provides fresh insight into gravity, dark matter, and the energy of empty space. Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson illuminate the genius who revolutionized modern science: Albert Einstein. And much more.

Explore the universe with some of today's greatest minds: what it is, how it came into being, and what may happen next.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
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  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 403 pages
  • Editeur : Harper Perennial (8 juillet 2014)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x913296fc) étoiles sur 5 58 commentaires
46 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90e29b94) étoiles sur 5 Collection of scientific texts providing an excellent overview of universe theories and thoughts over the past two decades 14 juillet 2014
Par Helpful Advice - Publié sur
Format: Broché
‘The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos’ edited by John Brockman is the fourth installment in ‘The Best of Edge’ series, a mix of excellent texts and skillful authors who speak on various scientific aspects of the universe, a book with its 400 pages would be still far too short for the fans of space faction.

In his book Brockman gathered some of the most important author names who wrote about the universe such as Alan Guth, Brian Greene, Paul Steinhardt, Lisa Randall, Lee Smolin, Frank Wilczek and others – a total of 21 essays and interviews which originally appeared on the site. for those unfamiliar is the great resource of knowledge in which texts of countless scientists, tech people, philosophers, businessmen and even artists can be found which for the past 18 years are expressing their opinions and share their thoughts with each other and with the overall global audience.

But what is most important to point out, the texts which can be found on were not written for a narrow circle of selected people who only can understand them, but in colloquial and easy to understand science language which editor Brockman described as “…those scientist and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.”

It’s difficult to highlight just one or even a few texts which are the best in collection, but it can be assumed that the lot of audience attention most likely will attract Martin Rees text in which he discuss whether is possible we are living in a simulation made by some super computer, Andrei Linde’s concept of multiverse or Lee Smolin’s text that speaks about the nature of time.

Overall, this book edited by John Brockman is an interesting and educating collection of scientific texts which provide an excellent overview of universe theories and thoughts over the past two decades - the intellectual wealth in which all lovers of space faction will fully enjoy.

And once you (too soon) reach the end of the book, remains a possibility to visit and immerse yourself in the richness of knowledge that awaits you there.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90e29be8) étoiles sur 5 key thinkers participate in an eclectic forum 29 juillet 2014
Par Nigel Kirk - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As a compilation of conversations at, it is evident that contributions to this collection span a decade and a half. To an extent, Brockman indicates this in his introduction but provision of a clear date for the original talk or publication would have been helpful in putting each piece into context. Clearly, omission of dates is a conscious decision which may serve the conversational nature of this book but it only means the keen reader will need to look up publication dates to clarify some points. That said, the collected writings work well thematically to aid understanding of leading issues in science. There is an occasional air of hype and triumphalism amongst some contributors to this kind of collection – this reviewer considers this to be totally merited given the calibre of the contributors whom Brockman attracts, and the importance of celebrating scientific issues and achievements in a society that sometimes overlooks them.

Alan Guth’s ‘A Golden Age of Astronomy’ appropriately presents this golden age through the lens of the inflationary theory. Paul Steinhardt then poses a case for a cyclic universe, pulling a rabbit out of a hat with a neat application of string theory. Guth goes on to contrast these theories, accounting for the universe’s smoothness (stirred with a little complexity) and flatness through the inflationary model, drawing on much evidence and the fudge factors of dark energy and dark matter. Andrei Linde’s conversationally presented discussion on the inflationary model, leading to his eternal chaotic inflation model and anthropic considerations, is a triumph of exposition. His peppering of events over the last few decades and Soviet era science optimistically collates different perspectives in cosmology and is instructive and refreshing. Lisa Randall pulls together the current state of string theory and its relevance to the standard quantum model and cosmology. Checking indicates this was written in 2003 and some developments, for instance at the LHC, have moved on, but it is nevertheless a good synopsis. Neil Turok also employs an appropriate conversational style to invoke a role for branes in a cyclic universe which shoves aside the anthropic principle and offers an extended and very neat role for dark energy. Sean Carroll challenges theories (relativity, standard model, and Big Bang), examining their incompatibilities and extensions such as inflation, using the common sense direction of entropy. His discussion reads well, and I will follow up his publications.

The discussion then broadens with Martin Rees making a gentle and reflective appraisal of the prospects for humanity. Ranging from religion to ‘is our universe a simulation?’, his coverage includes technology, exobiology, geopolitics, exoplanets and some informed insights into scientific endeavour. His insights on targeted research are immediately challenged by Lee Smolin who examines scientific paradigms, in particular teasing out the contradictions in our perceptions of time. Leonard Susskind’s entertaining account of his contribution to string theory gaining relevance is followed by Brockman’s introduction of Susskind’s email stoush with Lee Smolin over the credibility of the Anthropic Principle. This slightly erratic discussion, inevitably so due to the reference to papers not available to the reader, coalesces into fascinating final statements advocating baby universes formed through black hole singularities (Smolin) and pocket universes evolving though eternal inflation (Susskind). Brockman exceeds Edge’s expository goal with this exchange alone, few readers will resist consulting each theorist’s background works. Carlo Rovelli argues for a constructive approach to science where adaptation of existing theories achieves better progress than capitulation of existing science, contending string theory to be an example of the latter approach. Lawrence Krauss always entertains with his blat against trendy or teleological thinking, but he is a fair man, acknowledging the overall usefulness of anything, “even string theory”, in tackling mysteries such as dark energy.

Brockman introduced a 2007 discussion between Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson and Paul Steinhardt regarding Einstein’s contribution to modern physics. This insightful discussion was dogged slightly by unconstructive point scoring on string theory. This discussion is ably extended by Peter Galison introducing his recently published (then) comparison of Einstein and Poincare. The insights on Einstein’s scientific approach are excellent, but this reader would be less generous regarding Poincare’s motives when criticising Einstein. This appraisal of broader issues is extended by Raphael Bousso to weigh up many existing theories of the universe. This exercise puts many earlier contributions into perspective and sparks the imagination as to how such a grand ‘weighing-up’ would be done.

Seth Lloyd sifts through a mosaic of steam-punk ideas, from monkeys typing to algorithmic evolution, to show how a complex universe computes. This is a fabulous concept which perhaps needed a little more teasing out from metaphor to theory in this conversation. Frank Wilczek offers some of this background, albeit more specifically a great ‘how to’ on quantum computing. Wilczek’s appraisal of physical breakthroughs so far is apt, fresh and his tone cannot help but remind one of the view that, during university lectures, a minority of students are focussing on the topic and a majority are having musings about sex. Steven Strogatz discusses his study of synchrony and its importance in biology and science generally – this might be a book plug, but I’m hooked and will be looking for it. David Deutsch’s thoughts about constructor theory seemed important but needed more than a few hints – I thought it was opaque and had to look it up elsewhere. Benoit Mandelbrot discusses ‘roughness’ with his characteristic Gallic confidence.

This thematic set of conversations is inspiring, as Brockman would intend. His assembly of ideas from key thinkers into a conversational format is effective. An index would have been helpful, probably so would ‘Further Reading’ and ‘Notes’, but more importantly, the introduction of readers to the works of these key thinkers, works which will have these helpful reference features, is the grander goal.
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91cfa03c) étoiles sur 5 Dare to consider and delve deeper into issues of our universe! 23 juillet 2014
Par Novel Destination~Used Book Emporium - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This collection culled from the online pages of has been edited masterfully by John Brockman. While I am not a scientific expert or techno-geek(no offense intended), I am still intrigued by our universe and how it all may have come to be and how things may end up. Written in language that laymen can understand, there is a well-rounded approach to what is presented here. I found myself chatting with friends about things this volume described. We liked the idea of these "big thinkers" from multiple fields getting together to chat and discuss their findings or beliefs like the intellectual salons popular in the late 1800's and early 1900's. This book is not something to sit and read from beginning to end. It is meant to provoke the reader to deeper consideration. I am pretty sure that the other volumes in this series ("Mind", "Culture", and "Thinking") would be as riveting.
34 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91cfa408) étoiles sur 5 Casts a Sad Light on the Physics Community's Mutual Disdain 18 novembre 2015
Par Troy Blackford - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Color me surprised. I've enjoyed all the Brockman curated Edge Club books up until now. But this one, aside from a few bright spots in some of the essays, was so bad that I literally couldn't wait for it to be over. It's called 'The Universe,' but the focus of the contributors was almost entirely on themselves and petty bickering about their work. If these are the brightest minds in physics and cosmology, no wonder there haven't been any major advances in theory for decades. Don't get me wrong: these people know what they are talking about, but, as they take great pains to point out, nobody agrees with anybody else about almost any of it and it's all so technical, it might not even mean anything. I've read lots of books on physics before, but reading a book like this, assembled from contributed essays from a diverse selection of scientists across the field, really demonstrates how little agreement there is. The essays in this book are, for the most part, so self-regarding and self-involved that 'The Universe' seems like the least suitable name possible for this collection of finger-pointing, own-back-patting vomitus of words. A few bright spots, but mostly just a bunch of catty physicists managing to point out that none of the other ones are right, yet hoping you don't believe what everybody else is saying about THEIR pet theory. I'm SO glad I finished this book.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91cfa4ec) étoiles sur 5 2014 book contains twenty-one interesting articles about our universe but some are 10 or more years old ... 8 décembre 2014
Par book lover - Publié sur
Format: Broché
There are 21 different articles collected for this book. So far I have read six of them (skipping around) and enjoyed every one. I find it fascinating the things that scientists of different specialties are able to learn. I wish I could be here in 100 or even 1,000 years to see how far we have advanced by then our understanding of the universe. However, I do have two complaints: first, at the time of purchase I was unaware that all (?) of these articles are available for free online (though it is convenient to have them together in book form). Okay, perhaps this is my fault for not reviewing the book enough before purchase. My other complaint is that many, if not all, of these articles date back more or less around ten years ago. For instance I just read one by Alan Guth from 2002. This wasn't stated in the book (at least it wasn't part of the article), but I found it online using Google. It would have been great if the various authors were given a chance to go back and make corrections or additions if necessary. Anyhow, I do find the articles quite interesting.

December 14, 2014 -- Finished
Except for one article that I only read the first few pages of but didn't have much interest in so skipped it, I found the articles in this book to be mostly satisfying in terms of getting me up to date on the latest scientific thought about the universe we live in. Particularly interesting was chapter 11 which featured a letter duel between Susskind and Smolin (mostly about the Anthropic Principle). After reading Susskind's letter I thought Smolin would have a hard time making a good showing, but then he did. Of course, I'm not a physicist, just an interested bystander, so I can't really judge who is right and who is wrong (and future knowledge may prove both wrong).

Overall, a good book (with occasional lapses in the editing department).
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