Electric Universe

  • by David Bodanis
  • Narrated by Adam Levy
  • 4 hrs and 30 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his best-selling E=mc2, David Bodanis led us, with astonishing ease, through the world's most famous equation. Now, in Electric Universe, he illuminates the wondrous yet invisible force that permeates our universe, and introduces us to the virtuoso scientists who plumbed its secrets.For centuries, electricity was seen as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. In harnessing its power, we have created a world of wonders, complete with roller coasters and radar, computer networks and psychopharmaceuticals.
A superb storyteller, Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthroughs. The great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, including the visionary Michael Faraday, who struggled against the prejudices of the British class system, and Samuel Morse, a painter who, before inventing the telegraph, ran for mayor of New York City on a platform of persecuting Catholics. Here too is Alan Turing, whose dream of a marvelous thinking machine, what we know as the computer, was met with indifference, and who ended his life in despair after British authorities forced him to undergo experimental treatments to "cure" his homosexuality.
From the frigid waters of the Atlantic to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm to the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery by a master science writer.


What the Critics Say

"This entertaining look at how electricity works and affects our daily lives is highlighted by Bodanis' charming narrative voice and by clever, fresh analogies that make difficult science accessible." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Amazing Book!

This is the only book I have in both print and audio format. It paints a great picture of the development of our understanding of electricity through the ages. Not only this but it highlights the most interesting stories and people involved, and puts it in context of what was going on at the time.

In addition to this I think it imparts a good fundamental understanding of what electricity is. I certainly feel it did a better job than my teachers at college. If you are interested in inventing, good stories or just electricity this has it all.

If I have one complaint its that I wish Nikola Tesla was mentioned more.

Currently I am listening to it for a second time (I never normally listen to books twice) and its teaching me even more the second time round. A lovely book, very educational, and I will encourage my children to read it when they are a little older.
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- Simon "Someone who falls asleep whilst reading, and stays awake when listening. Discovering the classics and sci-fi my young mind missed."

More Fun Then Expected

Where does Electric Universe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is on the 'keeper' List

What did you like best about this story?

Nice little bag of gems

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nothing extreme

Any additional comments?

A good section on the early transatlantic cables and I say that having on hand a full book on the subject. Also the section on Heinrick Hertz is essential.

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- David "Hellicopter Man"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-14-2005
  • Publisher: Random House Audio