Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Book Review: THE UNIVERSE IN YOUR HAND
I was very interested in astronomy and outer space in general when I was a kid. Two things happened that killed that interest: the United States stopped sending people to the moon, and as I got older and had to take science classes in school, physics got very, very hard and strange. I could fathom atoms, but stuff like quarks, quantam physics, and places where the laws of nature didn't apply were things I not only didn't understand,but didn't have any real interest in learning. I still really don't, but Christophe Galfard's The Universe In Your Hand was the first helpful book I've ever read that made a lot of this incomprehensible jargon accessible to a reasonably interested person. The first half of the book, especially, explains strange things like the expanding universe and the Big Bang Theory in terms that actually make sense. But even this book, towards the end, gets into some truly weird things, and the admission at the end that physicists don't really know how some things about massive black holes and other things work was enough for me to remember why I lost interest in all this stuff so long ago.I feel better, and smarter, for having read this; I do understand Einstein's theories, gravity, and the structure of atoms, among other things, better than I did before I picked up the book. But there is some stuff out there that is just too inaccessible, and the book confirms that.