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Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  11,767 Ratings  ·  265 Reviews
A half century ago, a shocking Washington Post headline claimed that the world began in five cataclysmic minutes rather than having existed for all time; a skeptical scientist dubbed the maverick theory the Big Bang. In this amazingly comprehensible history of the universe, Simon Singh decodes the mystery behind the Big Bang theory, lading us through the development of one ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
An unbeatable offer: two reviews for the price of one! If you aren't interested in dull hairsplitting, scroll directly to the Infotainment Review below. But first, I'm afraid I must tediously present my

Scholarly review (fact-checked)

I'm conflicted about this book. There's plenty to love. As far as I can tell, Singh gets all the science right, and the fact that it's stuffed with entertaining stories about the historical characters involved makes it a fun read. I finished it in a couple of days. B
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Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
Curiosity’ is a curious thing! It’s the only quality that differentiates humans from all the other living organisms (well, at least on the surface of Earth!). Solely driven by this ‘exclusive feature’, Man has discovered the intricate design of nature and invented his way to mimic it. If one speculates enough, he will find that all our technologies are simply based on the happenings going on around us in the nature. If you are a romantic one and like to see the nature’s creation as a Grand Oper ...more
Nathan
Nov 22, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, science-fact
Full of fascinating historical anecdotes and character sketches, "Big Bang" was fun as well as informative from start to finish. I struggle with physics books because my mind often has trouble grasping concepts at different scales from our own, but Singh writes and explains so well that I was not just able to understand but was able to teach it to my kids afterward! I now look at the skies differently as a result of reading this book, and my knowledge of the history of physics is a lot richer. S ...more
Roger
Oct 26, 2014 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This brilliant book by Simon Singh, first published in 2004, seeks to explain the theories that have existed since ancient times until the modern day concerning the structure, age and creation of the universe. Singh has an easygoing style of writing and having said what he wants to say he will often summarise the remarks he has made, thus making sure he has been fully understood and that the reader is keeping up to speed. Also, rather than just discuss the cold scientific facts, he brings the su ...more
Sujeet
Jan 07, 2014 Sujeet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, science
My wondering thrust me to a world of infinity. Confusion reached its nadir and I gasped to know it all. Remembering 'Don't Panic', I started to organize my thoughts. I gathered the first step towards solving any of my bewilderment would be to understand the theories of how it all began - the universe, the time, the life. I turned to Stephan Hawking's widely unread bestseller 'A Brief History of Time'. Though it answered some of my questions, in turn posed many more than before. I realized that t ...more
Fernando del Alamo
Apr 04, 2015 Fernando del Alamo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Libro maravilloso. Al inigualable estilo del autor, Simon Singh, narra la historia de cómo empezamos a mirar al Universo con el geocentrismo, hasta llegar a la explicación con la teoría del Big Bang que aceptamos hoy día.

El libro va desgranando poco a poco las observaciones y la historia que nos condujeron a estas conclusiones, hablando tanto de los descubrimientos como de algunos de los protagonistas que participaron en ello.

En el fondo, como dice en el epílogo, es la historia de cómo se constr
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Iman ASK
Mar 22, 2016 Iman ASK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, all
فوق العاده فوق العاده فوق العاده یعنی از کتابایی هست ک خوندنش ادرنالین خون منو بالا برد و بنظرم واقعا کتاب هیولایی بود هم مطالبش هم سبک نگارش و قلم نویسندش و هم ترجمش البته این کتاب اصلیشه من ترجمشو خوندم خخخخخخخخخخخخخخ
سبک نگارشش مث ی رمان میمونه هم جذاب و هم ساده و در عین حال خیلی گویا و کامل
من قبلا دو تا کتاب از استیون هاوکینگ خوندم تو این زمینه اما کتاب های استیون هاوکینگ ب ادعای خودش برای عامه جامعه هست و بجز معادله انرژی انشتین هیچ معادله و فرمولی توش نیست اما توی کتاب سایمون سینگ فرمول بیش
...more
Paula
Sep 25, 2009 Paula rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paula by: Michio Kaku program on KPFA
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I'm a sucker for readable tomes explicating theoretical physics/ cosmology for the non-mathematically trained and feel compelled to pump up my puny understanding of the field every now and then. Singh kept me engaged almost all the way through The Big Bang(the book slacks off a bit toward the end)as he ran through the history of the science leading up to and encompassing the acceptance of The Big Bang theory as the most accurate description we now have of the origin and evolution of the universe ...more
Stuart
Apr 17, 2008 Stuart rated it really liked it
Simon Singh is a marvellously engaging non-fiction writer. Only straying from his central subject to relay a surprising or eyebrow-raising anecdote, he manages to paint a human face on the history of our perception of the universe.

In telling the story of the Big Bang theory, the book takes you through miniature biographies and descriptions of the impact of the life-work of Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Hubble and many others who strove and discovered gems of cosmological truth through history. Th
...more
Ais
May 01, 2012 Ais rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, science
Simon Singh is one of my favorite authors. He quickly rose to this rank after I read The Code Book, loved it way more than I ever expected, and afterward devoured every other book of his I could find. He has the unique ability to write nonfiction in a way that is as readable and intriguing as fiction, while simultaneously providing the complete context of the topic he has set out to explore.

What I think is so commendable about Simon Singh is that he starts wayyyyy at the beginning of the story i
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Anatoly Shneyer
Nov 21, 2015 Anatoly Shneyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This one was a really interesting read. Not only physics and astronomy but also a lot of history. Most of the "science parts" are not difficult to understand and you don't really need a background to appreciate this book, just the will to learn. The writing is particularly good, filled with interesting anecdotes and humor and Simon singh is actually a great storyteller!
Tanja Berg
Aug 02, 2011 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, cosmology
This translates to a short history of the cosmos. A complex theory like that of big bang builds on a lot of knowledge, so the author begins with the ancient greeks and move forward from there. The book is written with humour, insight into human nature and endless fascination about the universe. There is enthusiasm in every sentence. However, the book ends with the final proof that there really was an explosive start to the universe, which somehow feels a bit anti-climatic. "Wasn't there more?" O ...more
Richard
Mar 03, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
fascinating, entertaining and thrilling but leaves me with the agonising and terrifying question of "if the universe is expanding what is it expanding into?"

great book though, thoroughly recommended
Cathee
Apr 30, 2010 Cathee rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Simon Singh since I read "Fermat's Enigma", and this book was another great one. It's not just about the Big Bang theory, but about the whole history of cosmology, starting with the-earth-is-flat-and-at-the-center-of-the-universe beliefs, up until the present-day understanding of things. He pulls in lots and lots of interesting characters, both well-known (Galileo and Einstein) and less well-known, all of whom are worthy of attention. Singh has a real gift for turning science ...more
Dr.J.G.
Feb 05, 2016 Dr.J.G. rated it really liked it
Simon Singh tackles a subject all encompassing in human enquiry in this, touching everything from earth and solar system to relativity to origin of the universe and a few other huge topics besides, in a very very thrilling write up that is easy to read and makes it easy to comprehend for a non professional reader of the subjects such as physics and astronomy. Indeed, but for a couple or so pages at the beginning and similar at the end in the epilogue, where he touches on philosophical and such a ...more
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Jul 01, 2015 Maurice Carlos Ruffin rated it really liked it
Cosmology and astrophysics is one of my favorite fields of inquiry. There are few areas of study where humanity has gone from knowing nearly nothing (remember the time we thought the Earth was the center of the universe?) to having insights into things like eternity and infinity.

Simon Singh is a popular British scientist. Maybe think of him as the UK's Neil deGrasse Tyson. In the first half of the book, Singh zips through the great discoveries of numerous millennia: the size of the Earth, the d
...more
Tiberiu
Feb 11, 2014 Tiberiu rated it liked it
This book does a good job presenting the evolution of cosmology, from ancient geocentric theories, to the most recent CMB radiation detection experiments. The author seems to be well documented not only about the historical discoveries in this field, but also about the personal lives of the famous people who contributed to the knowledge we have today about the Universe, its origins and its future.

Some stuff is obsessively repeated, so there are moments when this book gets a little bit boring and
...more
Sahar Rachamim
Nov 22, 2015 Sahar Rachamim rated it really liked it
Simon Singh sings us a song about the history of science. The title is a bit misleading: This books is not about the Big Bang Theory, but about how humans, throughout history, built our current knowledge, fact upon a fact. It tells the story of how one discovery lead to another, from ancient Greeks, through modern science, to the last eponymous theory. You don't have to know any science nor Math in order to enjoy this book: The only prerequisite is curiosity.
Bram
Jun 29, 2012 Bram rated it it was amazing
Great book. The book describes the history of our understanding of the origin of the universe. Fascinating stories. Shows very clearly the evidence of the big bang. Also the scientific process is well-described in this book.

I was a little bit disappointed that the book stopped when the Big Bang was recognised by the scientific community, so recent developments were not explained.
Tony
Aug 03, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it
An excellent description of the scientific process as it applies to the Big Bang. It is short on mathematics and hard science but it is an extremely well-written and readable history, Singh does an nice job of explaining who the major characters were and a bit about what drove them to play the part they did. Each chapter's opening page contains a series of quotes that are excellent. My favorite is one from Isaac Asimov who said "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds n ...more
Richard
Aug 16, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing
Simon Singh presents an overview on one of the most important theories in modern cosmology of all time - the Big Bang. Starting at the very beginning of Man's attempts to understand the Universe and our place in it, Singh takes us on a journey that starts with ancient Greece, through the middle ages and the enlightenment, up to the 20th century of Einstein, Hubble et al and finishes at where we are in the 21st century.
Anyone who is curious to know more about a subject everyone thinks they know a
...more
Giuseppe Sirugo
Aug 08, 2016 Giuseppe Sirugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gsesro
Simon Singh è uno scrittore e giornalista scientifico. Durante diversi anni lavorò presso la BBC come produttore televisivo per la realizzazione di documentari.
Nell’ambito della letteratura è pieno di scrittori o poeti che per scrivere un libro considerano due o più storie e in maniera parallela dalla sintesi di queste ricavano il loro racconto. E così ha fatto Simon Singh con il libro. Il giornalista stando al concetto che c’è qualcosa d’unico nella teoria del Big Bang con la più rigorosa scie
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Siv30
Mar 20, 2015 Siv30 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-science
אל הספר "המשפט האחרון של פרמה", ניגשתי בחששות כבדים. אני זוכרת שרבים ניסו לשכנע אותי לקרוא אותו, אבל אני, בורה ועמת הארץ במתמטיקה, חששתי שהספר יקרא לי סינית.

כשכבר קראתי אותו, סינג הפתיע בגדול. בכתיבה קולחת, שמביאה את המתמטיקה לגובה העניים של הקורא ההדיוט, הצליח סינג לגרום אפילו לי, לחשוב שיש תקווה ואני יכולה להיות מתמטיקאית דגולה.

לכן, הנחתי שגם "המפץ הגדול" יהיה כזה והסתבר שלא. אם אני רוצה להגדיר את הספר במשפט אחד, הספר נע בין מרתק לנוקדני עד טרחני משהו.

הספר "המפץ הגדול" מספר את תולדות התיאוריה
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Adam Sawyer
Jan 30, 2015 Adam Sawyer rated it really liked it
A solid overview of the current state of knowledge in cosmology. As with any field of science, Singh makes it clear that it's not so much what we know that is important, but how we know what we know. Most of the book looks at the various techniques that have been used over the last 2500 years to explore our universe, and how the flaws and foibles of those techniques have gradually been chipped away at to give us a more accurate picture of how it all began. There's an interesting assortment of ch ...more
ala
May 14, 2012 ala rated it really liked it
This was a pretty decent pop-sci exploration of cosmology. Having a PhD in cosmology myself, I think I am qualified to say that the science was done pretty well. And the descriptions of the history of the science was also interesting. I was a little bored in parts, but maybe that's because I already knew most of it. Pop sci books are hit or miss for me and sometimes I can't get through even the well-received ones (for instance, Brian Green's books). This one I pushed through (though partly becau ...more
Ed Holden
Jul 18, 2013 Ed Holden rated it it was amazing
This is possibly the best science book I've ever read. Far from being about the Big Bang specifically, and without asking the reader to take any of the case for this amazing theory for granted, Singh takes his usual knack for explaining complex concepts to the layperson and tunes it up to eleven, effectively building the case for the Big Bang from first principles. We start with Ptolemy and the Greeks, move into the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and so on, and along the way we put together the wh ...more
Peter
Jul 22, 2009 Peter rated it really liked it
This book is not so much an explanation of the Big Bang itself as a historical event - at least not directly. But the truth of the matter isn't so simple as to allow that anyway. Not all questions have yet been answered, the context isn't fully understood (it never is in science), and not everyone agrees even on the basics (Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who went to his grave as the most prominent critic of the Big Bang despite having inadvertently named it, has been dead for less than a decade). A ...more
Katie P
Feb 29, 2012 Katie P rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in physics and cosmology for beginners
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this book because it appealed to my science nerdiness and my history nerdiness.

You can actually get a decent way through this book without much mention of the Big Bang theory or even the universe as a whole as the early parts are given over to a history of human endeavour towards understanding Earth within the universe. From various creation myths to the methodolgy employed to work out that the world was round, the circumference of the planet, the distance to the moon and sun, how orbits
...more
Steve
Oct 24, 2010 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, favorites
"Gripping" probably isn't a word you'd expect to hear used about a book on the historical development of the Big Bang theory - but trust me this book is thoroughly difficult to put down! A truly riveting journey from ancient Greece to the present day, Big Bang charts the great successes - and crushing disappointments - of key figures instrumental to the quest to learn more about the origin of the universe.

Singh not only knows his science inside out, he's also a fantastic storyteller, and manage
...more
Jack
Jul 07, 2010 Jack rated it it was amazing
“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” Carl Sagan

It may seem like a silly thing to say, but I like to know where I am.

Living in Solon, Ohio, I know that Lake Erie is a few miles to the north (go to the end of our street and turn left). Downtown Cleveland is about 20 miles to the northwest, Chagrin Falls just east, Chicago about a 6 hour drive west, DC about 6 hours through Pennsylvania to the east.

When I travel, I always look at a map, even if I’m n
...more
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Simon Lehna Singh, MBE (born 1 January 1964) is a British author who has specialised in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner. He is the maiden winner of the Lilavati Award.

His written works include Fermat's Last Theorem (in the United States titled Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem), The Code Book (about cryptogra
...more
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“All that was required to measure the planet was a man with a stick and a brain. In other words, couple an intellect with some experimental apparatus and almost anything seems achievable.” 20 likes
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