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The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead: Dispatches from the Frontline of Science

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  265 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Learn how the big bang may have been spawned by a collision between 'island universes'; how a single remarkable number contains the answer to every question we could ever ask; how the most widely accepted theory of the universe's origin suggests that Elvis never died; and how a computer program a mere four lines long could be generating the stars, the galaxies and the tip ...more
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published January 18th 2007 by Faber & Faber (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 552)
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Thomas Edmund
Dec 07, 2014 Thomas Edmund rated it liked it
This book came to me by an unusual route - a friend from up north sent it to us thinking it was ours (the bookmark in it was a plane ticket with my wife's name on it) we had never heard of it.

Nonetheless I gave the book a read, the premise seemed great and one of my goals is to read non-fiction outside of my usual (special) interests.

Overall the book was lackluster. I found myself struggling a little with the physics, although at the same time I suspect someone well qualified in the area would p
...more
Mike
Jul 23, 2010 Mike rated it did not like it
Shelves: given-away, abandoned
A disappointing book given the author's previous excellent track record.

The author should definitely have consulted a computer scientist before writing the early chapters, as he has completely misunderstood what a "universal" computer (= Turing machine) is, and some of the material is simply wrong. A universal computer is definitely NOT capable of simulating "any conceivable machine" - when used in this context, the word "universal" is a technical term, and means only that any other Turing machi
...more
Kriegslok
Apr 29, 2013 Kriegslok rated it really liked it
Sadly I never really took much interest in science at school and mathematics was and still is something of an enigma to me. I got stuck into the so called social sciences, however, the more disillusioned I've become with these the more fascinated I am by the world of the natural sciences. A while ago I decided I needed to try to get my head around Quantum Theory which is how I came across Marcus Chown with his Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You. That book did hurt my head and gave me an idea of the ...more
Steve
Oct 24, 2010 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
If you already have a basic grasp of cosmology and fancy a highly (and I mean highly) speculative detour away from established theories into the realm of fringe topics such as whether we might be living in a computer simulation or where we might begin to look for a possible message from the creator of our universe, then you should find this an entertaining enough read, even if you question some of the conclusions. At times it risks straying into theological territory, but not in a Bible-bashing ...more
Matt
Apr 17, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked it at first. It's definitely interesting stuff, and goes a long way to try and make current theories understandable, but the line between likely-but-untested theory and madcap-but-interesting is perhaps a little too blurred for the sake of making the book a good read. It's not clear, for example, how many people take Wolfram's simulation theory seriously, or between the competing theories on Inflation, false vaccuum vs colliding branes, etc. So it's really interesting stuff, and v ...more
Chitra Ratnaphongsa
Like a romp through a theme park. Now let me quickly mention that I didn't approach this book with a serious mind at all - I wasn't reading this to prepare for a college Cosmology course, I wasn't even attempting to edify myself - I was merely looking to excite my imagination and jerk my mind off of the mundane perspectives of 'everyday life'.

Simply put, I read this the same way I would an anthology of sci-fi short stories - and that's what it exactly felt like - hopping from one story to anoth
...more
Mark Edon
Feb 09, 2014 Mark Edon rated it it was amazing
A wholly remarkable book.

I like to think I read a lot of popular science but I still found plenty I'm here that was quite fresh to me.

Marcus has realised that narrative mad analogy are both powerful and dangerous and so puts a lot of effort into searching out and perfecting the most illuminating and least confusing he can. He usually succeeds.

Take a good grip on your view of the universe, it is about to be spun around and twisted about. I particularly appreciated the discussion of Godel which
...more
Sarah
Abandoned at 41%.

Nothing new here in terms of content or presentation - which is fine, the thing about this end of physics is you can read it again and again and again with the eventual hope of some of it making sense.
For me, I'm beginning to find physics without maths too woolly. It's not that I actually want tensor calculus in my bedtime reading, but when you've battled through learning it that way, reading it as qualitative description is somehow much less satisfying. This, clearly, is a faul
...more
Robert Batchelor
A really fascinating book. Chown has a very insightful yet plain-speaking writing style which makes the innermost workings of Quantum Theory and the structure of the universe almost accessible. While in some places I think he could have gone into more detail, it would be unreasonable to expect the full details of this branch of physics in a popular science book. Often the full gravity (excuse the pun) of what the chapter is detailing is not revealed till the end of said chapter so sometimes the ...more
Sarah
Apr 22, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
pop physics.
OK
A bit dumbed down I guess.
Not the best "pop" quantum physics book I've read by a long shot
Tim
Nov 12, 2014 Tim rated it really liked it
This is a geeky, cutting edge physics book. Very, very interesting (if you like that sort of thing). One of his calculations proves that if you walk 10^10^28 meters, you will run into yourself (how cool is that!!!) Another of his examples shows that the purpose of life may be to create God (instead of the other way around- that people at the moment just before the Big Crunch will have the energy required to essentially create The Matrix, thus, be God).
Tharmaraj Rajandran
May 26, 2016 Tharmaraj Rajandran rated it really liked it
A lovely read with not too much physics or astronomy jargon. Neither is it bogged down by heavy mathematics. It had a delicious style of writing too. Filled with thoughts and ideas that truly provokes the mind.
Francisco Luis Benítez
Jul 01, 2012 Francisco Luis Benítez rated it really liked it
Una vez más Chown acerca el mundo cuántico al lector, prescindiendo de su complejo artefacto matemático. Aunque esta vez va más allá, al franquear fronteras de la física que van más allá de lo que la ciencia convencional acepta. El título es de por sí toda una declaración de intenciones: "Los días interminables de estar muerto", prepárare para un viaje a Multiversos, el Punto Omega y los pensamientos de Stephen Wolfram.
Iain
Jun 19, 2009 Iain rated it really liked it
Fascinating stuff about the "latest" questions about the universe. A nice amount of detail is given, but I couldn't help wanting some more. It also felt a little optimistic; I would have enjoyed some more conflicting opinions. Other then that, a real thought-provoker.
Redbear
Apr 12, 2010 Redbear rated it did not like it
Read the first two chapters and lost interest. Normally I find this kind of stuff fascinating but for whatever reason not in the mood to finish this book. Nothing to do with the book.
Liz
May 03, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really excellent ideas, but I do have some trouble with understanding the concepts involved. This is nothing to do with the book, rather, my own abilities! Fascinating all the same.
Vikky
Jan 23, 2015 Vikky rated it liked it
This book proves that some scientists are in fact... mad! lol
Janine
Feb 16, 2010 Janine rated it really liked it
Mindblowing, putting science into perspective
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Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is currently cosmology consultant of the weekly science magazine New Scientist. He is the author of the bestselling Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, The Never Ending Days of Being Dead and The Magic Furnace. He also wrote The Solar System, the bestselling ap ...more
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