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Publisher's Summary

Why the force that keeps our feet on the ground holds the key to understanding the nature of time and the origin of the universe.
Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world, yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognized and described, yet it is the least understood. It is a "force" that keeps your feet on the ground, yet no such force actually exists.
Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". And penetrating that enigma promises to answer the biggest questions in science: What is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from?
Award-winning writer Marcus Chown takes us on an unforgettable journey from the recognition of the "force" of gravity in 1666 to the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015. And, as we stand on the brink of a seismic revolution in our worldview, he brings us up to speed on the greatest challenge ever to confront physics.
©2017 Marcus Chown (P)2017 Random House Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 11-30-17

Fine survey for laymen but flawed

This is yet another fine book that is a light survey of the history of the science, this one focusing on gravity for the layman. There is a bit of Newton, Orbits, Tides, Eclipses, General Relativity, and some String Theory. This survey of science is just fine, expressing the winding road of scientific progress well and covering some interesting aspects of lunar orbits and tides that most people don't know.

The book tries hard to be approachable by non-technical readers. This included some completely fictional vignettes about various scientists. I found these vignettes annoying at best, and they don't really add anything real.

A few other nits....Chown claims total eclipses have only occurred for the last 150 million years and will only occur for the next 150 million years...I am not sure where this comes from. Total eclipses will stop eventually as the moon moves away but it seems they will likely continue for much longer than that, and it seems total eclipses have been happening for billions of years. Although Chown points out the historical fallacy of epicycles to explain the orbits of planets, the author does not so clearly point out our current theories are very much like epicycles.

Chown suggests that the next transformative breakthrough theory of gravity will not be from some lone genius with a deep insight (like Newton or Einstein) but instead a group of scientists. This seems quite unlikely to me. The key will likely be a deep insight making clear several key assumptions of science are wrong. Such insights seem much more likely to occur to a single (anti-social) genius than to a group of scientists.

I did not like the narration much. The narration is clear but I found the accents used for most of the quotes REALLY annoying and there was a over enthusiasm I found tedious.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Seth K on 04-24-18

great narrative overview

really solid introduction to basics of newtonian revolution, then relativity, touching on quantum mechanics and then discussing the future.. only complaint is the narrator's use of accents when reading quotes... I personally found it off-putting, especially the nasal sounding American accents (that's not what we sound like, is it?!)

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