• Knocking on Heaven's Door

  • How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World
  • By: Lisa Randall
  • Narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie
  • Length: 14 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-27-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.7 (156 ratings)

Regular price: $34.99

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Publisher's Summary

The latest developments in physics have the potential to radically revise our understanding of the world: its makeup, its evolution, and the fundamental forces that drive its operation. Knocking on Heaven's Door is an exhilarating and accessible overview of these developments and an impassioned argument for the significance of science.
There could be no better guide than Lisa Randall. The bestselling author of Warped Passages is an expert in both particle physics (the study of the smallest objects we know of) and cosmology (the study of the largest). In Knocking on Heaven's Door, she explores how we decide which scientific questions to study and how we go about answering them. She examines the role of risk, creativity, uncertainty, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking through provocative conversations with leading figures in other fields (such as the chef David Chang, the forecaster Nate Silver, and the screenwriter Scott Derrickson), and she explains with wit and clarity the latest ideas in physics and cosmology. Randall describes the nature and goals of the largest machine ever built: the Large Hadron Collider, the enormous particle accelerator below the border of France and Switzerland - as well as recent ideas underlying cosmology and current dark matter experiments.
The most sweeping and exciting science book in years, Knocking on Heaven's Door makes clear the biggest scientific questions we face and reveals how answering them could ultimately tell us who we are and where we came from.
©2011 Lisa Randall (P)2011 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"This volume should appeal to experts and nonexperts alike intrigued by the latest scientific advances in our understanding of the cosmos." (Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 02-03-13

Love the book, hate the title

If you could sum up Knocking on Heaven's Door in three words, what would they be?

Gives a good tour of current high energy particle physics. It's broken into sections. The first is for those questioning faith and just discovering the wonders of nature and science.
You could easily skip to part two and still love the book. She includes many technical details of the LHC.

What other book might you compare Knocking on Heaven's Door to and why?

The particle at the end of the universe. The reason is that it is the most up to date book regarding information on the HIGGS candidate and subsequent announcement in July of 2012

Any additional comments?

the title sucks and Lisa knows that it does. She even devoted time in the book talking about how calling the Higgs the God particle was a mistake

Highly recommend

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Terry on 10-18-11

Mediocre and scattered. Read something else.

This is an unremarkable book that glams together a bunch of topics in modern science poorly. The beginning discussion of scale is interesting as the author notes that in physics, laws are rarely overturned universally, but adjustments need to be made at particular scale points at either very big or very small sizes. This was an nice way of summarizing the places where physics needs to be updated but much beyond this the book does nothing particularly well.

*The technical detail on the LHC is absolutely excessive. There is some commentary for the lay reader but wikipedia is probably a better resource.

*The puns are simply awful.

*The author seems to name-drop. I don't care about your personal relationship with the scientists you mention.

*Too many references to previous works. Please don't use your new book to sell your old one.

*Failure to do much mentioned in the subtitle.

After finishing this book and having some time to meditate on it, it was not worth the time nor money. Consider Lee Smolin's "The Trouble With Physics" for a much better exploration of current questions in physics.

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19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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