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Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780007375509
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Two interesting narratives here - the origins of the universe, and how people figured it out eventually. Convenient 'notes' section at the end of every chapter.more
Really clear and well-written, this book charts the course of astronomy from Greek philosophers through general relativity and onwards to the COBE satellite - showing how the Big Bang model of the universe was developed, refined and proved by successive generations of scientists. Good introductory read, sometimes mind-bending - left me wanting more.more
A very readable and understandable history of the Big Bang theory. I would have preferred more detail of the actual theory itself as I still have one big question regarding what 'space expanding' actually means.more
In tis great book Singh guides you through the history of cosmology and astronomy seeking the big questions. How the univesre works and evolves? How it started (if ever...)? Well written, easy to understand for everyone... simply great.more
Well-written exposition on a potentially very hard topic to understand.Singh's track record is 100% - every book by him has been an entertaining and informative one. The sole minus for the book was its reliance on ancient history - giving more pages to recent discoveries and thus far unproven theories would have made it an even more enjoyable tome.more
Phew! Finished. All 500 pages. Any non-specialist who makes it through this "popular science book" deserves a medal and a stiff drink!It seems to me that behind most good writers - and Singh certainly is that, with a clear and engaging style - is a good editor. Sadly, I think he was let down by his editor here, so that the balance of this book seems, to this interested lay reader at least, to be all wrong. As Singh himself admits in the 15 odd pages of "extras", he has found it difficult to decide what to put in and what to leave out. It shows.Thus, we are treated to an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) history of many of the important discoveries in astronomy and physics, from Eratosthenes to the COBE satellite, before we are even told just what the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe is.I would have thought it would have been much more useful to the average reader to have started with the rather neat summary of the model on pp. 472 and 473 of the 23 page epilogue, which appears to be a paraphrase of the 1992 The Independent article announcing the findings of the COBE satellite providing evidence for the existence of the denser than average regions of the universe 300,000 years after the singularity of the Big Bang necessary for the formation of the first stars and galaxies after the first billion years.From such an admirably clear statement, it would have been possible, in succeeding chapters, to set out the supporting evidence for the model in the form of clear and simple statements of the important theories and building blocks underpinning the model (eg., the special and general theories of relativity, the confirmation of multiple galaxies, spectroscopy, Hubble's Law, the structure of the atom, cosmic microwave background radiation, nucleosynthesis, and the abovementioned variations in density).After a while I became slightly irritated by his sections beginning, for example: "It may seem like a long time since I have mentioned astrophysics but, ...". Whilst I quite liked the potted histories of the various personalities involved, I do feel that these add to the somewhat confused, and possibly confusing, nature of this book. For example, the beginner's introduction to the special theory of relativity has, in my view, been done better elsewhere, such as in Paul Davies' "About time".In summary, if you want to know what the Big Bang model is, read pp. 472 and 473, followed by the two-page summary notes at the end of each chapter, or buy a different book. If you already know what the model is, and have the time for a discursive and personal history of the development of the theory and of the characters behind it, then buy this.more
A very thorough, detailed history of cosmology. Great introduction for those with an interest in cosmology and astrophysics.more
A great introduction to cosmology and astronomy. It is based in strong biographies, photographs not just of the heavens and of the participants themselves. The first sentence sets the theme of just how big the cosmos is. "Our un iverse is dotted with over 100 billion galaxies and each one contains roughly 100 billion stars. "While these numbers would have been beyond understanding before the big economic meltdown and the American debt we Americans are now starting to cope with the concept of "a trillion" and can deal with these numbers now.more
I never expected a book on the origin of the universe to be so fluid in expressing the intent of the book ,i have previously read stephen hawkings "A brief History of time" which was filled with scientific gibberish ,but Big Bang had none of it ,maybe i might be exaggerating to some extent but Big bang is bang on target on what it really wants to depict . A good read for any one who is fascinated with idea of Universe.more
Simon Singh has written the most readable account of the "story" of the Big Bang. He writes of the characters, some of them rogues, the arguments, the lows and the highs, just as if it were a story. He writes with such clarity that anyone who has even the vaguest interest in wanting to know about the Big Bang but little in the way of a science education, should read this book as they will be gripped. Thank you Simonmore
Another excellently accessible and readable science book from Simon Singh. This one covers the history of the science of how the uiniverse works and is very well written. Singh's books are aimed at the intelligent layman and as such he explains everything you need to know in easy to read languge without ever patronising and also deals very well with the personalities involved. There's much more to his books than just the science.more
Really enjoyable overview of the science, and the history of the science, of the Big Bang, plus a discussion on how scientific revolutions come about.It was a review for me of an astronomy & cosmology class I'd had a dozen years ago, so it was fun to refresh and enhance the concepts. I especially appreciated the hand-drawn, two-page summaries at the end of each chapter.more
For this reader with a lot formal education, but very little of it in the physical sciences, Simon Singh's `Big Bang' was phenomenally interesting, engaging, intellectually stimulating, readable, and educational. Others with more background in cosmology may find it too basic. Singh takes the reader through the history of cosmology as he builds toward an explanation of the Big Bang theory. The opening chapter explains the ancient's earth-centered (and common sensical) view of the universe and its downfall at the hands of Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo. Later chapters follow the disproof of ether, Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, and the `great debate' between the supporters of a static universe and Lemaitre and others who supported the idea of an expanding (Big Bang) universe. A large portion of the book follows the scientific efforts to gather evidence to support one view or the other. The renowned Edwin Hubble and the less so Henrietta Leavitt played key roles in finally providing enough evidence supporting the Big Bang theory to at least make it a credible argument. The remainder of the book follows the debate between the solid state theorists led by Fred Hoyle and the Big Bang backers led first by Gamow and Alpher, but later by others who resolved some of the nagging doubts about the theory, for example, the crucial 1992 proof of tiny variations in cosmic microwave background radiation. Each chapter (at least in the P.S. version) has handy summary notes. Singh provides a useful glossary as well as recommended further readings for each chapter. I generally read 50-75 books a year and rate The Big Bang as one of my top five books of the year. Five measly stars don't do it justice. I will resist the temptation to rate as a supernova, but this book greatly enhanced my understanding of the world around us and was a joy to read. Absolutely the highest recommendation.more
I have read Singh’s books on math before; he is a very good writer, and in this volume covers a historical review of the theories of the big bang and cosmology. He has a lot to say about the early years of the last century, writing about the “great debate” in 1921 between Harold Shapely and others over the issue of nebulae; were they in the milky way (the “via lactia” in Latin) or independent galaxies, and about the discoveries of Edwin Hubble on Mount Palomar with the 200 inch telescope. I will encourage Mike to read this book for background on astronomy.more
Something I love about Simon Singh's books is the way the science is always woven through with the stories of the people who made it happen, which are often just as fascinating. The narrative flows easily and scientific concepts are built up in easy to follow steps (and just in case, each chapter has a summary page so you can check you did not miss anything important). The end result is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Great for those of us who struggled with "A Brief History Of Time"!more
Well written like all of Singh's books. Covers a lot more than the Big Bang, including most of modern astronomical physics. That's a good thing.more
Read all 18 reviews

Reviews

Two interesting narratives here - the origins of the universe, and how people figured it out eventually. Convenient 'notes' section at the end of every chapter.more
Really clear and well-written, this book charts the course of astronomy from Greek philosophers through general relativity and onwards to the COBE satellite - showing how the Big Bang model of the universe was developed, refined and proved by successive generations of scientists. Good introductory read, sometimes mind-bending - left me wanting more.more
A very readable and understandable history of the Big Bang theory. I would have preferred more detail of the actual theory itself as I still have one big question regarding what 'space expanding' actually means.more
In tis great book Singh guides you through the history of cosmology and astronomy seeking the big questions. How the univesre works and evolves? How it started (if ever...)? Well written, easy to understand for everyone... simply great.more
Well-written exposition on a potentially very hard topic to understand.Singh's track record is 100% - every book by him has been an entertaining and informative one. The sole minus for the book was its reliance on ancient history - giving more pages to recent discoveries and thus far unproven theories would have made it an even more enjoyable tome.more
Phew! Finished. All 500 pages. Any non-specialist who makes it through this "popular science book" deserves a medal and a stiff drink!It seems to me that behind most good writers - and Singh certainly is that, with a clear and engaging style - is a good editor. Sadly, I think he was let down by his editor here, so that the balance of this book seems, to this interested lay reader at least, to be all wrong. As Singh himself admits in the 15 odd pages of "extras", he has found it difficult to decide what to put in and what to leave out. It shows.Thus, we are treated to an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) history of many of the important discoveries in astronomy and physics, from Eratosthenes to the COBE satellite, before we are even told just what the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe is.I would have thought it would have been much more useful to the average reader to have started with the rather neat summary of the model on pp. 472 and 473 of the 23 page epilogue, which appears to be a paraphrase of the 1992 The Independent article announcing the findings of the COBE satellite providing evidence for the existence of the denser than average regions of the universe 300,000 years after the singularity of the Big Bang necessary for the formation of the first stars and galaxies after the first billion years.From such an admirably clear statement, it would have been possible, in succeeding chapters, to set out the supporting evidence for the model in the form of clear and simple statements of the important theories and building blocks underpinning the model (eg., the special and general theories of relativity, the confirmation of multiple galaxies, spectroscopy, Hubble's Law, the structure of the atom, cosmic microwave background radiation, nucleosynthesis, and the abovementioned variations in density).After a while I became slightly irritated by his sections beginning, for example: "It may seem like a long time since I have mentioned astrophysics but, ...". Whilst I quite liked the potted histories of the various personalities involved, I do feel that these add to the somewhat confused, and possibly confusing, nature of this book. For example, the beginner's introduction to the special theory of relativity has, in my view, been done better elsewhere, such as in Paul Davies' "About time".In summary, if you want to know what the Big Bang model is, read pp. 472 and 473, followed by the two-page summary notes at the end of each chapter, or buy a different book. If you already know what the model is, and have the time for a discursive and personal history of the development of the theory and of the characters behind it, then buy this.more
A very thorough, detailed history of cosmology. Great introduction for those with an interest in cosmology and astrophysics.more
A great introduction to cosmology and astronomy. It is based in strong biographies, photographs not just of the heavens and of the participants themselves. The first sentence sets the theme of just how big the cosmos is. "Our un iverse is dotted with over 100 billion galaxies and each one contains roughly 100 billion stars. "While these numbers would have been beyond understanding before the big economic meltdown and the American debt we Americans are now starting to cope with the concept of "a trillion" and can deal with these numbers now.more
I never expected a book on the origin of the universe to be so fluid in expressing the intent of the book ,i have previously read stephen hawkings "A brief History of time" which was filled with scientific gibberish ,but Big Bang had none of it ,maybe i might be exaggerating to some extent but Big bang is bang on target on what it really wants to depict . A good read for any one who is fascinated with idea of Universe.more
Simon Singh has written the most readable account of the "story" of the Big Bang. He writes of the characters, some of them rogues, the arguments, the lows and the highs, just as if it were a story. He writes with such clarity that anyone who has even the vaguest interest in wanting to know about the Big Bang but little in the way of a science education, should read this book as they will be gripped. Thank you Simonmore
Another excellently accessible and readable science book from Simon Singh. This one covers the history of the science of how the uiniverse works and is very well written. Singh's books are aimed at the intelligent layman and as such he explains everything you need to know in easy to read languge without ever patronising and also deals very well with the personalities involved. There's much more to his books than just the science.more
Really enjoyable overview of the science, and the history of the science, of the Big Bang, plus a discussion on how scientific revolutions come about.It was a review for me of an astronomy & cosmology class I'd had a dozen years ago, so it was fun to refresh and enhance the concepts. I especially appreciated the hand-drawn, two-page summaries at the end of each chapter.more
For this reader with a lot formal education, but very little of it in the physical sciences, Simon Singh's `Big Bang' was phenomenally interesting, engaging, intellectually stimulating, readable, and educational. Others with more background in cosmology may find it too basic. Singh takes the reader through the history of cosmology as he builds toward an explanation of the Big Bang theory. The opening chapter explains the ancient's earth-centered (and common sensical) view of the universe and its downfall at the hands of Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo. Later chapters follow the disproof of ether, Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, and the `great debate' between the supporters of a static universe and Lemaitre and others who supported the idea of an expanding (Big Bang) universe. A large portion of the book follows the scientific efforts to gather evidence to support one view or the other. The renowned Edwin Hubble and the less so Henrietta Leavitt played key roles in finally providing enough evidence supporting the Big Bang theory to at least make it a credible argument. The remainder of the book follows the debate between the solid state theorists led by Fred Hoyle and the Big Bang backers led first by Gamow and Alpher, but later by others who resolved some of the nagging doubts about the theory, for example, the crucial 1992 proof of tiny variations in cosmic microwave background radiation. Each chapter (at least in the P.S. version) has handy summary notes. Singh provides a useful glossary as well as recommended further readings for each chapter. I generally read 50-75 books a year and rate The Big Bang as one of my top five books of the year. Five measly stars don't do it justice. I will resist the temptation to rate as a supernova, but this book greatly enhanced my understanding of the world around us and was a joy to read. Absolutely the highest recommendation.more
I have read Singh’s books on math before; he is a very good writer, and in this volume covers a historical review of the theories of the big bang and cosmology. He has a lot to say about the early years of the last century, writing about the “great debate” in 1921 between Harold Shapely and others over the issue of nebulae; were they in the milky way (the “via lactia” in Latin) or independent galaxies, and about the discoveries of Edwin Hubble on Mount Palomar with the 200 inch telescope. I will encourage Mike to read this book for background on astronomy.more
Something I love about Simon Singh's books is the way the science is always woven through with the stories of the people who made it happen, which are often just as fascinating. The narrative flows easily and scientific concepts are built up in easy to follow steps (and just in case, each chapter has a summary page so you can check you did not miss anything important). The end result is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Great for those of us who struggled with "A Brief History Of Time"!more
Well written like all of Singh's books. Covers a lot more than the Big Bang, including most of modern astronomical physics. That's a good thing.more
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