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The Universe Within

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  83 reviews
“With [The Universe Within’s] deeply thoughtful reflections on the place of science in society, on the need to educate the underserved, and on plenty of other topics rarely addressed in this sort of book, Turok takes you where no physicist has gone before. It’s well worth making the journey with him.” — TIME Magazine



Winner of the Lane Anderson Award, longlisted for the Cha
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Paperback, 292 pages
Published September 29th 2012 by House of Anansi Press (first published September 5th 2012)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  598 ratings  ·  83 reviews


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Ben Babcock
Certain things just make Canadian public broadcasting awesome, and the Massey Lectures are one shining example. For one week, since 1961, with a few exceptions, CBC radio has broadcast annual lectures on a topic from philosophy or culture by notable figures. These lectures now get published in book format. Douglas Coupland’s most recent novel, Player One , is an adaptation of the lectures he gave in 2010. Now Neil Turok, a noted physicist and current director of the Perimeter Institute, has had ...more
Patrick Andersen
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some background: I attended the Calgary Massey lecture (chapter 4 of the book)and have a degree in Chemistry and I consider myself reasonably comfortable with quantum mechanical theory.

The good: I really, really enjoyed his potted history of physics. He does a good job of explaining complex ideas in accessible terms. His overall style works.

The bad: Nearly half of the Calgary lecture (this book is essentially the transcript, so half of chapter 4 and good portions of other chapters) are autobiogr
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Tom
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction

It appears that those seeking answers to the big questions around ontology and epistemology are more likely to be found in physics than philosophy. Neil Turok is the Director of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario and a protégé of Stephen Hawking (who is also on faculty at the Perimeter Institute). This book represents the Massey Lectures for 2012.
I began with great hopes that I would emerge with a better understanding of modern physics, but found the first half of the book almost impen
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Beth
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Really 4 1/2 stars, because the author is repetitious in some parts.

Loved this book. Although it was right at the edge of my ability to understand parts of it, it was fascinating. Every 10 years or so, I like to catch up with the latest developments in the quantum world. This book is based on this year's Massey Lectures, a Canadian institution that always delivers an in-depth, thoughtful look at an interesting topic by a speaker who is knowledgeable and good at communicating.

This latest look a
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Stefany GG
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-div
Un repaso de la física moderna, con un lenguaje sencillo y esperanzador, como una llamada de atención para dejar de ser testigos desinformados y dar ese paso a tomar acciones e involucrarte en la ciencia. Plantea la necesidad de mantener una mente inquisitiva, ahondar en las profundidades de todo aquello que damos por sentado y ser partícipes de lo que está por venir. El autor, además, nos llama a abogar por una ciencia más humana donde las ideas sean llevadas a cabo por mentes brillantes conect ...more
Anna
In spirit of #NonFictionNovember2016.
Listened to the final brilliant lecture today. Loved it!
I've never been good at physics, unfortunately, but this book gives me hope. Wish I've been taught by Neil Turok... He rocks!
Al
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that got me hooked onto the Massey lectures, which will present me with many joyful insights in the future. In case the name is not familiar at once, as was the case with me, just remember the name of the Hawking-Turok theorem, which he already has under his portfolio. And Neil Turok's in his 40s!

The storytelling is totally immersive, and yes I completely understand that a lot of it is due to the format in which the book is intended to follow, namely a series of public lectures.
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Jason Williams
The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos by Neil Turok

I had not heard of Neil Turok before, but as a book from the Massey Lectures it was sure to be thought provoking.

While not as in-depth as some of the more popular recent physics books, it does illuminate the names of some researchers and scientists that I had not encountered before.

Turok is enthused about the potential of recent finds in the field, and the book is incredibly up-to-date with summations of the recent CERN discoveries about t
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Chrissy
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairly quick read, enjoyable as a refresher on modern physics and inspiring as a call to arms for more-- better!-- scientific discovery. I do feel as though the tone failed at times to toe the line between being layman-accessible and being fully explanatory. I was occasionally bored by what seemed to me to be over-explanations of simple classical physics, but otherwise occasionally overwhelmed by the complexity of string theory; being a scientist myself, I have a hard time watching de ...more
Kaitlyn
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Turok explains concepts clearly and conversationally. His approach is that science should be accessible to all and scientists should engage with those in the fields of history, art, literature, and music—we all share the same goal, to explore and appreciate the universe and cooperation is the way of the future. An incredibly inspiring book.
Daniel Kukwa
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An expansive look at what physics reveals to humanity, that manages to present a beautiful overview without completely shredding my brain. That said, it gets a point off for an odd and out-of-tune swipe at the Dawkins' brigade in the conclusion...as it chiding them for their bold temerity.
Brooke Graham
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cried twice in the first chapter.
Stephane
The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos
Neil Turok.

I readily confess that I am not necessarily an optimist. When presented with a positive outcome in any given situation, I try to find ways it can go bad. Likewise, when someone paints a bleak picture of something, I try to find some good. I don’t know what that makes me, probably annoying, but I generally think that the best and the worst outcomes of any complex situation are equally possible.

Neil Turok, however, is clearly an optimist. He a
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Louis
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, science
On a bit of a space and science kick recently and this the best out of what was on the shelf at the library fun. COuld be a bit preachy at times but it does line up with his message of needing all minds to look at bigger problems. wasn't really trying to guess at how quantum computers will be used but was more abstract about it. sounds both fascinating and terrifying. if you can prove that 2 things are linked no matter how far apart then prove that one is doing the opposite of the first when doe ...more
Ann
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice trippy book that swoops from formation of stars to the carbon and molybdenum in our bodies. There are many fascinating ideas and conjunctions, and it's fun to read. HOWEVER, right in the middle the author states, "Bodies are pulled to earth to a degree that is proportional to their mass.... Lighter animals accelerate less during a fall than do big ones for these same reasons."
Wait a minute, this was shortly after a discussion of Galileo. Didn't he disprove this theory from the Tow
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Diane
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find it as easy a read as suggested and I do have a fair amount of prior knowledge in these areas, but as a lay person not a scientist. Definitely still worth the read to gain an understanding of some of the areas of interest in today's physics. Maybe I just need to read it again!
Krysta Sutton
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a book the geek in me enjoyed. It accurately describes the reasons people get drawn into the world of physics and studying the universe. It makes you want to go out and discover the answers for yourself.
Jerry Wall
Good on science and what it does but, more, what it has done and can do. Science would do better if it were better understood by the masses. The populace seems to be intimidated by the math and involved reasoning going into scientific evolution
Monica Penthor
This was not an easy read by physicist Neil Turok. He describes in detail how technology around us was created by us.
He explains quantum theory and all sorts of other scientific facts which were quite beyond me. All in all I still enjoyed the book.

Bob
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written book with clear explanations, and it is highly credible. Any information stated is presented in terms of the relevant facts, with the limitations clearly acknowledged.
Morgan
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE: http://wp.me/p345dm-T

This book will make you think.

The CBC Massey Lectures are an annual series given by key thinkers, the latest series given by noted theoretical physicist Neil Turok. The Universe Within is an exploration of physics, from classical to quantum, where Turok takes us by the hand and guides us through the history of science right up to string theory and quantum computing.

Turok’s easy style makes this book remarkably approachable: the tone is neither patr
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Tlaura
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reprints with some modifications a series of lectures the author gave on quantum mechanics in modern physics. I get the feeling it would be more successful in lecture format, but in book form Turok's style is frustrating and repetitious. To be sure: in the few places where the physical arguments become almost comprehensible it's riveting. But Turok is so determined to avoid equations and technical exposition at all costs that you just can't get any kind of feel for how physicists think and work. ...more
Johannes C
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well prepared and interesting. I especially enjoyed the history and philosophy of science stuff. I also found the quantum computing stuff interesting, which I did not feel as taken with when I encountered it briefly in school. One of my favourite things was the little part about universal scales (from the Plank length scale at 10^-35 meters to the size of the known universe at 10^25 meters scale, and the scale of cells at 10^-5 meters as the geometric mean.)

I'm not as optimistic about scien
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Scotchneat
This is the book from Turok's Massey Lectures series. I have an enriched reading experience with this one, since a) I've seen/heard him speak many times, so I can hear him in head and b) Perimeter Institute is 5 minutes away, so we get to go to PI lectures frequently.

In this series of lectures, Neil covers a wide range of topics to do with Physics and Cosmology, but he does it in a Neil way - always tying it to human experience. Real people doing science.

I'm pretty sure that Turok sees scientifi
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Gendou
The author is a scientist who works in the field of cosmology and string theory. This makes him uniquely qualified to write a mediocre popular science book, which he has done. He covers Einstein, relativity, big bang cosmology, the standard model, and string theory. I like that he stays away from anthropic arguments and multiverse explanations. Though, these topics are ever so lightly touched upon. There is an autobiographical theme woven in there. Blink and you'll miss it. After dishing out his ...more
Larry Markley
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this author (Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario) from the YouTube channel MinutePhysics (operated by Henry Reich, also of PI). This book is fascinating; it is part record of the achievements of modern physics, specifically cosmology, part memoir of Turok who was a witness and part of many achievements. Turok also writes about his own endeavor to set up institutes for the study of STEM subjects in sub-Saharan Africa (Turok was born in South Africa if I'm not ...more
Chris H-C
Ah, science fact. Such a different kind of read from science fiction.

This author falls into the 'endlessly optimistic' camp. He picks out anecdotes from physics history to paint a picture of geniuses and collaborators being inspired and confounded by the mysteries of each age. Up-to-date as of last year, it is quite interesting for its view on modern advances in cosmology.

Good stuff, even though I disagree with some of his points (like how we're nearly done understanding the world. I have a feel
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Chris H-C
Ah, science fact. Such a different kind of read from science fiction.

This author falls into the 'endlessly optimistic' camp. He picks out anecdotes from physics history to paint a picture of geniuses and collaborators being inspired and confounded by the mysteries of each age. Up-to-date as of last year, it is quite interesting for its view on modern advances in cosmology.

Good stuff, even though I disagree with some of his points (like how we're nearly done understanding the world. I have a feel
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Bill Swan
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is long on personal anecdotes and a bit shorter (than I wanted) on what quantuum physics actually might mean. Turok talks about quantuum computers, for example, but assumes that we all know how quantuum reality (is there such a thing?) will be applied to create the supercomputer of the future. Most of us need a bit more info on the technical challenges, and how these are being overcome.

The limitations may say more about the limitations of the reader, of course. The science of today see
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Thomas
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now here’s a book that’ll peak your curiosity. In the latest lecture in the CBC Massey Lectures, Neil Turok installs a deeps sense of wonder through a fairly detailed story of the cosmos and physics’ attempt to understand it. Don’t let the details of electromagnetic fields, vacuum energy, or the multitude of -tons and -icules scare you off. Throwing yourself into a the foreign world of science and physics can be a humbling and a wondrous experience. Don’t worry, it’s not all talk about protons a ...more
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Neil Geoffrey Turok is a South African physicist, and the Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His work has been in the area of mathematical physics and early universe physics, including the cosmological constant and a cyclic model for the universe.

Turok was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Mary (Butcher) and Latvian-born Ben Turok, who were activists in the anti-aparthei
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