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Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth... and Beyond

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  380 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Now in paperback: the book in which the author of the national bestseller The Physics of Star Trek traces the history of the cosmos by telling the story of a single oxygen atom -- from the beginning of time to the present moment and deep into the future. Writing with grace and wit, Lawrence Krauss explicates cutting-edge science as he takes us on a thrilling, millennia-spa ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 11th 2001 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30)
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John
Oct 24, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science

First, “Atom” is one of the two best science books I’ve ever read. (*) Krauss is both an excellent writer and an outstanding story-teller. The majority of this book is compelling, at least to a science geek like me. Carl Sagan famously said, “We are all star-stuff.” Krauss uses the fictional life of an oxygen atom to explain to the reader HOW we all came to be made from star-stuff – how we came to be here – and speculations about the future and fate of the Universe.

Second, this is definitely a g
...more
Gijs Grob
Aug 23, 2012 Gijs Grob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fictieve reis door de tijd vanaf net na de big bang tot het einde der tijden, aan de hand van een zuurstof-atoom en zijn bouwstenen (het zuurstof-atoom wordt pas laat in het boek gevormd). Fantasierijk, helder, komisch en enthousiast geschreven, met vele zijstapjes naar het onderzoek dat de gebruikte kennis heeft gevonden.

Omdat de schrijver graag de spanning erin houdt, is het niet altijd even duidelijk wáár hij het eigenlijk nu over heeft en 'wanneer' we zijn. Bovendien wordt het boek gaandeweg
...more
Tomas
Dec 08, 2016 Tomas rated it really liked it
"An accident of nature, 12 billions years ago, is likely to have led to a slight imperfection in the universe, a small departure from equilibrium. This resulted in the existence of matter, and ultimately of atoms in our universe. This imperfection is likely to be repaired in 10^35 years into the future."
So long, and thanks for all the fish ...
Rama
Feb 20, 2014 Rama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stars are the cosmic incubators for all natural elements

This book requires basic knowledge of physics and chemistry. Chapters 1 - 7 introduce cosmology; Chapters 8 - 9 describes evolution of stars, and physical and chemical process for the production of chemical elements; Chapters 10 - 13 addresses the evolution of life on hospitable planets such as earth. Chapters 8, 9 and 11 provide significant amount of information, while some chapters are too descriptive and boring.

When the universe was at
...more
Sid_A
Sep 18, 2016 Sid_A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is nothing short of amazing. Krauss explains the hardships atoms have had to endure, and what lies in store for them in a language that the everyday person can understand. He does this so well that the reader becomes the atom, experiences its life, and glimpses its future, all in a humorous and logical style that will leave any reader gripped until the final page. This book will leave any reader truly appreciating our uniqueness in the universe, as well as the myriad events that, hones ...more
Haya Dodokh
Jan 03, 2016 Haya Dodokh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew from the second I laid my eyes on this book that I'm gonna love it and give it 5 stars! If I want to summarize my review, I'll pick 3 words; LAWRENCE FU**ING KRAUSS!!!!

So wonderful to have such a smart scientist who is able to translate heavy science for those of us with less pedigree. I loved physics because of him and what I'm loving the most that everyday I know something new, thanks to him!

Atom tells the story of our universe starting from the Big Bang. But it does so from the persp
...more
Aubrey
Apr 23, 2008 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-the-past
It's an overview of cosmology following the life of an atom from the Big Bang onward....

It, of course, assumes the Big Bang was a viable theory, but aside from that basic point of misinformation... It is engaging and well written. It's an overview, touches on phsyics/astrophysics/and scientific principle in an easy to understand laymans term kind of way. It is a book for the masses, so you won't find eloquent equations in it, but it was certainly an entertaining read, well, if you're a super sci
...more
Nicky
Apr 27, 2012 Nicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science-lovers, humanists
Fascinating, fascinating, fascinating... I learned more than I could have ever hoped about the universe through the perspective of an atom of Oxygen. More than anything it cemented for me how incredibly complex the universe it and how grand the time-frame of action is - our universe has been around for more time than my own mind could ever conceive. Atom makes me excited to be living - a small collection of atoms rushing through space.
Lukas Szrot
Dec 05, 2013 Lukas Szrot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book hard to put down. High drama, from the perspective of an oxygen atom making its way through the universe--who'd've thought? Brilliant. I am admittedly drawn to these 'tales of everything' type science narratives. This work filled a much-needed niche, providing a particle physics-based take on such a tale.
Dave Peticolas

Krauss constructs the history of an oxygen atom from the Big Bang to far into the future. Absolutely engrossing.

I think we may be living through a golden age of popular science writing. There is so much quality work to be read in so many scientific fields it is hard to know where to begin.

Denise
Jul 23, 2011 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Read Physics of Star Trek years ago and liked it. Started this book, switched over to A Universe from Nothing for a book club, and now finally finishing. With three books, I think I'm officially a fan. Atom covers a lot of ground and is a great set up for further exploration.
Lo
Jan 11, 2014 Lo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little tedious at times, but overall, it is a pleasant book about physics. I think it would be understandable for most people; I found it a little simplistic at times, and I would like to see writing by Krauss in the future targeted for a more science literate audience.
Madeline
Feb 16, 2014 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of popular science, and I usually enjoy it, but this one was just boring.
i couldn't finish it.
Ibis3
Aug 03, 2010 Ibis3 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: na-od
Edition irrelevant.
*Redacted*
Went away from the physics and got overly philosophical at times, still an interesting math-free physical history of the universe.
Rich Neal
Jul 05, 2013 Rich Neal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hitting full force with relevant data. A 7-course meal of information. Outstanding!
Todd Charlton
Jan 07, 2012 Todd Charlton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sometimes difficult read but very rewarding.
Jeff Rudisel
I also saw a lecture on it my Krauss and Cal-tech with Shermer.
Scott
Dec 01, 2010 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoying this book so far.
Potter Earle
Disappointing. Nice concept, but awkward writing made it difficult to get through.
Scott Kirkwood
Jan 27, 2017 Scott Kirkwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoying this book so far.
Jim
Dec 12, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book-I don't think I understood 10% of the material but I feel smarter for having read it! The history of the universe as seen from the perspective of a single atom.
Frank Astuto
Frank Astuto rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2015
Mark Brouwer
Mark Brouwer rated it really liked it
May 25, 2014
Benny Soetens
Benny Soetens rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2017
Joshua Ellison
Joshua Ellison rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2014
Cory
Cory rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2012
Nageen
Nageen rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2015
Ashok
Ashok rated it it was amazing
Sep 26, 2015
Lorie
Lorie rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2012
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Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of a ...more
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