Calculating the Cosmos

  • by Ian Stewart
  • Narrated by Dana Hickox
  • 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.
Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos: How Kepler's laws of planetary motion led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. How, two centuries later, tiny irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein to devise his general theory of relativity. How, 80 years ago, the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the development of the Big Bang theory of its origins. How single-point origin and expansion led cosmologists to theorize new components of the universe, such as inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. But does inflation explain the structure of today's universe? Does dark matter actually exist? Could a scientific revolution that will challenge the long-held scientific orthodoxy and once again transform our understanding of the universe be on the way? In an exciting and engaging style, Calculating the Cosmos is a mathematical quest through the intricate realms of astronomy and cosmology.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Narrator's Dilemma

Very well written book. Where others merely skim the surface, this one provides the details, necessary equations and delves into the discussions. That said, listening is ruined by the narrator's random guesswork (redundant, eh?) at pronouncing certain names, terms, and even common everyday language. Very annoying, distracting and, at times, misleading. Otherwise, his voice and pacing would have made him an effective choice.
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- R. Yu

Somewhat annoying narration, but great book.

As mentioned in previous comments, the narrator's mispronunciations were pervasive and irritating. Although that regularly aggravated my OCD, I found the content of the book was entirely worth it, and often helped me ignore it.

As to the content itself, I was utterly astonished at the amount of astronomical evidence the author gave against currently accepted theories ranging from dark energy and dark matter to the expansion of the universe! I must note, however, that although I am personally still on the fence regarding multiverse theories, I found his refutations of these ideas lacking. For the interested listener, I highly suggest "The Mathematical Universe" by Max Tegmark which gives a clearer explanation of quantum decoherence and how it actually supports the Everretian multiverse as opposed to Mr. Stewart's misinterpretation. Overall, though, I do highly recommend this book, as I haven't seen most of his assertions in anything else I've read.
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- Maxine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-18-2016
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC