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Human Universe by Professor Brian Cox
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Human Universe (edition 2015)

by Professor Brian Cox (Author)

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259581,528 (3.89)1
Top ten Sunday Times Bestseller 'Engaging, ambitious and creative' Guardian Where are we? Are we alone? Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future? Human Universe tackles some of the greatest questions that humans have asked to try and understand the very nature of ourselves and the Universe in which we live. Through the endless leaps of human minds, it explores the extraordinary depth of our knowledge today and where our curiosity may lead us in the future. With groundbreaking insight it reveals how time, physics and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but how it can think, where it is going and if it is alone. Accompanies the acclaimed BBC TV series.… (more)
Member:mickyc
Title:Human Universe
Authors:Professor Brian Cox (Author)
Info:William Collins (2016), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
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Human Universe by Professor Brian Cox

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Showing 5 of 5
Really informative and thought provoking. I will definitely reread to get a better understanding of some of the more challenging scientific concepts. ( )
  Georgina_Watson | Jun 14, 2020 |
Excellent book. Brian Cox and John Cohen really give detailed information in a style the lay man can understand. I would have like to have learned more of the existence of parallel universes and quarks and quantum mechanics. But it’s only a small thing. Mind expanding stuff. ( )
  Arkrayder | Aug 4, 2018 |
In the book to accompany the TV series of the same name Professor Brian Cox links human evolution to the development of our exploration of space - or tries to...
In fact this is a confused and confusing book. There are two stories trying to work together but they don't really manage it. The story of the development of space exploration and understanding is well put together and whilst some of the maths and concepts may be beyond the average reader, it doesn't become a 'textbook' of quantum physics. The parts about human development are also interesting but they don't seem to fit in with the physics.
This feels like a good idea that is in fact a rather self-indulgent vanity project and it's all about the 'rock'n'roll physicist' ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
– Douglas Adams

And blimey it is big. Brian Cox's Human Universe takes as its theme mankind's "ascent into insignificance": the idea that, back when you and I were just a pair of apes banging rocks on mammoths, we were the centre of the universe, but that every major discovery in astronomy and astrophysics has pushed us further towards the edge.

The universe no longer revolves around the Earth, the stars no longer revolve around our sun, our star system is no longer special for containing planets, the universe no longer ends at the edges of our galaxy, ours may not even be the only universe.

You may think that pretty depressing, but if so I'm guessing you're also the sort of person who, as a child, bit the birthday girl because she wouldn't share her presents with you. The fact that we, born of a chance mix of acids, have come to recognise our tiny position in the infinite complexity of the multiverse is astonishing – and certainly a better story than a plate of spare ribs being turned into a hot nubile virgin.

"Meaning," Cox argues, "is an emergent property." Right now, as you read this, there are experiments going on, on Earth, to create an artificial star. We have already simulated the moments following the very birth of our universe. And we've sent a machine beyond the boundaries of our solar system. Not bad for a kid from the primordial ooze. ( )
  m_k_m | Mar 7, 2017 |
This was apparently going to be a companion book to Brian Cox's five-part BBC series of the same name. It's more than that. It's better. It's a very readable introduction to our species--what we are, where we are...and are we alone? It's also a tribute to humanity. There are so many perspectives in this book I personally share, it felt at times that it was written specifically for me. Here's a quote from the book that not only exemplifies this but also tells you what it's about:
One of the central themes of this book has been to argue that the human race is worth saving because we are a rare and infinitely beautiful natural phenomenon. One of the other themes is that we are commonly and paradoxically ingenious and stupid in equal measure.
And then there's this......we are the most meaningful thing the universe has to offer as far as we know, and when all is said and done, that's a significant thing to be.
And this...Education is the most important investment a developed society can make, and the most effective way of nurturing a developing one.

On the other hand, there were a couple of things I didn't care for. The edition I read is coffee table size, 11.25" by 9" with thick, glossy pages. It's not an easy one to read in bed at night, which is what I tend to do. It's too big, too heavy, and the reflection of a reading lamp on the shiny pages makes it difficult to see properly. Then, there are the pictures. This book is loaded with them, and although fine in and of themselves, they are often more distracting than elucidating.

You might want to opt for the paperback or eBook versions, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone with an interest in the human species. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
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Cohen, Andrewmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS MAN, HOW NOBLE IN REASON, HOW INFINITE IN FACULTIES, IN FORM AND MOVING HOW EXPRESS AND ADMIRABLE, IN ACTION HOW LIKE AN ANGEL, IN APPREHENSION HOW LIKE A GOD! THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD, THE PARAGON OF ANIMALS – AND YET, TO ME, WHAT IS THIS QUINTESSENCE OF DUST? MAN DELIGHTS NOT ME – NOR WOMAN NEITHER, THOUGH BY YOUR SMILING YOU SEEM TO SAY SO.HAMLET
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Top ten Sunday Times Bestseller 'Engaging, ambitious and creative' Guardian Where are we? Are we alone? Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future? Human Universe tackles some of the greatest questions that humans have asked to try and understand the very nature of ourselves and the Universe in which we live. Through the endless leaps of human minds, it explores the extraordinary depth of our knowledge today and where our curiosity may lead us in the future. With groundbreaking insight it reveals how time, physics and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but how it can think, where it is going and if it is alone. Accompanies the acclaimed BBC TV series.

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