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Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,855 ratings  ·  412 reviews
66 million years ago, a ten-mile-wide object from outer space hurtled into the Earth at incredible speed. The impact annihilated the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. But what if this catastrophe was the sign of something greater: an opening vista onto the interconnectedness of the universe itself?

This is the story of the astounding f
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 5th 2017 by Vintage (first published October 27th 2015)
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Tristan Naramore I'm about 2/3 of the way through this long slog of a book, and this is exactly how I feel. …moreI'm about 2/3 of the way through this long slog of a book, and this is exactly how I feel. (less)
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Will Byrnes
Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. - D. Vader
Lisa Randall, a Harvard Science professor, member of the National Academy of Sciences, named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2007, and author of three previous books, likes to think big. She also likes to think small. Her areas of expertise are particle physics and cosmology, which certainly covers a range. The big look she offers here is a cosmological take on not only how it cam
Riku Sayuj
Our Souls are Dark

It is an increasingly accepted speculation that souls might in fact be made of dark matter. According to our latest models, they (dark souls) condense first and allow life to settle down around them. Of course, they can't be detected since they are not detectable by ordinary matter science.

On death, the souls depart from the body, and can go to heaven/cause rebirth via re-agglomeration depending on religious practices of the ordinary matter person associated with the soul. It
I really enjoy science books that are well-written, by a scientist who has personally contributed to the field. This book certainly fits into this category, as Lisa Randall is a good writer. This book relates some of the research that she and her collaborators have been doing. Much of the book sets the stage so that lay readers can understand her speculative new hypothesis, and put it into perspective.

Randall’s hypothesis is that dark matter is not exclusively arranged in a big halo around the
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What is the speed of dark?”
- Lisa Randall, Dark Matter


Lisa Randall is smart. But she is also able to take topics that most people know very little about (dark matter, dark energy, etc) and translate the hard science into books for the unwashed masses. She's good. I believe part of what makes Randall one of a handful of our country's great public intellectuals is her ability to translate and to transfer her specialized knoweldge into books that are largely accesssable to the layman. Also, she is
David Katzman
I quite enjoy reading cutting-edge physics books, particularly about the latest premises of quantum theory and cosmology. So I thought this was right up my alley. Turns out it wasn't my alley, it was a dead end. I did not enjoy Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: the Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe.

I’m not a physicist but as long as you leave the maths out, I can follow most complex arguments. I got lost in the first half of DMATDTAIOTU. The first half of the book is primarily about why
John Gribbin
Adapted from the Literary Review:

This book comes garlanded with tributes, headed by the claim “Only Lisa Randall can take us on such a thrilling scientific journey.” I beg to differ. Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen science writers who could do a better job of describing this particular scientific story (and some of them have covered almost all of the material presented here). The clue is in the words “science writers”. Randall fits into as particular niche which has recently
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
Randall offers an exotic hypothesis to explain the demise of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. She argues that the solar system passing through a disk of dark matter in the galactic plane perturbed Oort cloud objects resulting in a large comet crashing into earth. She admits the theory is highly speculative and says her real purpose is to share the underlying science. To make her case she ties together diverse scientific disciplines including cosmology, particle physics, astronomy, geology and ...more
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I have read previous books by Lisa Randall, and liked them well enough, but her new book is in some sense unique, and extraordinary. In order to show us how she has come to think that there’s a connection between galactic dark matter and Earth’s periodic extinctions (a somewhat long-shot hypothesis) she takes us in an amazing tour of our Solar System and the universe, like no other science-for-the-layperson book has ever undertaken. It’s both a look at how a scientist deeply thinks about ideas a ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs' was over my pay grade. I'm afraid I understand only half of the book completely - the rest was an exercise in futility. However, it seems up-to-date and on the cutting edge of theory as much as a non-scientist reader like myself, who reads pop science magazines, can comprehend!

National Academy of Sciences member Lisa Randall's book was published in 2015. 'Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs', one of many books she has written, recognized for their quality in describing
Fascinating, intriguing, thought-provoking yet also confusing and complicated.

Lisa Randall has done a good job of taking a very complex subject and helping folk like me to understand the science, theory and conjecture.

It is, as she says, a theory but one she ably links the connection and influence of dark matter (not dark energy, black holes or anti-matter) to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

There were, it is true, parts of this book I had to re-read and also just recognise I didn't understand,
Randall is the first to warn her reader that her new hypothesis is speculative and in need of more testing. However, she is excited about the kinds of questions this new direction is taking her. Randall has been investigating how dark matter might be involved in not only the creation of matter itself, but possibly in the evolution of humans as well. The presence of dark matter is not at all speculative. It has been detected using a variety of tools and methods. What is speculative is the notion ...more
Leo Walsh
I picked this up after NPR's "Science Friday" recommended it. I found it diffuse. Which is odd given Randall's core thesis -- that science is exciting when findings from one field cross-fertilize an unrelated field... and positively amazing when that feedback loop can illuminate other features of the original subject.

The problem is, Randall does a ho-hum job connecting her research as a particle physicist and cosmologist studying dark matter to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Instead, the prop
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am glad I bought this book. I have WAY too many pencil marks as I found interesting details I did not know about our universe. I appreciated the honest candor with which Lisa Randall writes. She talks of wrong paths taken, and of right paths taken that came by pure chance. You can hear the true 'scientist' in her voice - "show me new data and we will adjust our scientific theories".
I need to now go back over all my pencil marks and make a powerpoint presentation for my HS Physics classes that
Shabbeer Hassan
Let's play an imagination game, yes this is supposed to be a "popular science" book, but let's not worry about it being in the non-fiction universe as of now. You see the game is important! So...

1). Imagine a new kind of matter, which is invisible, omnipresent and makes up everything you do see aka normal, mundane, everyday matter!

2). Now continuing our little game of imagination further on, let's have our entire solar system like other star systems out there be surrounded by a dark matter fiel
Laura Noggle
*What is the speed of dark?*

So reads Lisa Randall's fortune cookie fortune that her Roomba almost picked up. And the day she decided to write this book, a meteor burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Fortuitous timing?

For humans on the brink of a possible 6th extinction, possibly not.

But also, it's hard to say ... because ... we're still in the dark. About many things, primarily, dark matter.

Dark matter is quite the enigma. Who can say what it is or what it does? Randall does a great job of presenti
Steven Peck
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely amazing book. Some rollicking good information, with clear explanations about extinction, the structure of the solar system, comets, and galaxies. She's best when she gets to particle physics and dark matter. While the science is fantastic, interesting and well informed (as an evolutionary biologist I noticed a couple of glitches, nothing wrong, just misleading), but the very best part of the book is explaining how science is done. She goes through some of the best writing I've see ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2017
Sixty-six million years ago another day dawned over a Cretaceous earth. Life was carrying on as normal, but everything was about to change because heading towards the planet at an astounding speed was a ten-mile wide object. The impact of this object left a crater, traces of which can still be detected and managed to obliterate the dinosaurs and 75% of all the other species on the planet. The few that survived evolved into the huge variety that we have today and provided an opportunity for the m ...more
Kara Babcock
I very much enjoyed Lisa Randall’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door , which provided a layperson like me with a cogent explanation of the Standard Model that underpins modern particle physics. Randall is a physicist with a knack for explaining things both enthusiastically and clearly; she’s a good storyteller who doesn’t get too bogged down in trying to get all the details right for us. So I was intrigued enough to put Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs on my to-read list, even if that was years and year ...more
Jim Crocker
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay! So I didn't actually finish this wonderful book. I just ran out of time on the library book and realized that I'd need to buy a copy. This isn't the sort of thing you just rush right through. It's necessary to chew over some of these strange things that we are apparently surrounded by and composed of and that pass right through us all the time. It's not the kinda thing you should necessarily read while trying to fall asleep. This is too complicated for a sleepy brain. Then on the other han ...more
I read this in support of my Grade 8 son who for some unknown and incomprehensible reason was assigned this as his year-long inquiry “novel” for English class. He struggled along with it for a couple of months until I couldn’t take his moaning and whinging about it anymore so I sat down to read it in the hopes that I can decipher it for him. Well. I almost need someone to decipher it for me! And I’ve taken two years of university-level physics and one astronomy class so I’m not a complete neophy ...more
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
Did dark matter cause the demise of dinosaurs?

In this book entitled, “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe,” Harvard University Professor Lisa Randall proposes a very speculative idea that the mass extinctions of dinosaurs that occurred 65 million years ago was due to an impact of a comet dislodged from its orbit around the solar system. It’s a tall claim with no experimental support, but the book offers alternative explanation for a seemingly slam-du
Robert Gustavo
Overall, I don't think Dr. Randall has the skill as a writer to pull off a pop-science book like this.

The level of the material is all over the place -- and given the breadth of the material, it is bound to be all over the place for most readers -- and she has done a poor job of explaining what needed to be explained when the material was new to me, and keeping me interested when the material was not.

For instance, there are statements like this: "The percentage of energy in dark matter is about
Emma Sea
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hugely disappointed by this book. I was led astray by the words "astounding interconnectedness" in the title. Do you remember the 1970s series Connections?. In it James Burke links together a whole bunch of developments and changes in technology, climate, finance, politics, geography, and social organization, to show the way "history" is an intricate web in which every affects everything else. Bill Bryson does the same thing in his beautifully readable A Short History of Nearly Everything. ...more
2nd book for 2017.

The central thesis of this book is mostly probably wrong, and it doesn't matter.

In this book, Randall puts forward the argument that as our solar system passes through the central plane of the Milky Way galaxy every 30-35 million years, it passes through disc of dark matter, which leads to gravitational disruption of the Oort (comet) cloud at the edge of our solar system, leading some comets in the cloud hurtling towards the Sun and (occasionally) impacting with the Earth.

Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will read this book again. Randall brings out a very interesting point that has been lifted to be the title statement. She does the usual summarization of the development of the universe but with an emphasis on dark matter -- commonly given little or no consideration in most texts. She then describes dark matter, differentiates it from dark energy and black holes, and talks about it's place in the universe. Note that most of this is based on predictions and hypothetical information gleaned fro ...more
Dr Zorlak
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics, science
This book is exactly 20 chapters too long. You wanna get to the marrow, read or listen to the last two.

Doctor Randall is knowledgeable, thorough, daring, imaginative, a respected scientist... and the worse science-popularizer I've read. How you can take such an intriguing topic as dark matter, marry it to such an exciting one as dinosaurs, throw in Chicxulub, Tunguska, Meteor Crater and other meteoritic visitors, and still manage to turn this book into a vat of molasses, is something of an achie
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I am a big fan of multi-disciplinary works in the humanities, and also a big fan of popular science, so why not read a multi-disciplinary science book?

The author has a witty casual prose that explains many subjects better than most popular science authors can without having to dip into dumbing-down territory. Though she admits quite openly the extremely hypothetical nature of her theories, she still makes a good case for the interconnectedness of dark matter with regular matter events that could
Jim Heter
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading a new book called Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall, Professor of Particle Physics and Cosmology at Harvard.

Here's my take-away from that. (The speculation is my own, not hers.)

The Edge of Our Existence

Reach out and touch something. Go ahead, do it. Not mentally or figuratively, but literally, really. Done that?
You just reached through space that is 26 orders of magnitude more nothing than something.
Space is far more empty than we realize. We are told that air has
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, science
Spellbinding Account of Cutting-Edge Physics, Astrophysics and Geology

Noted theoretical and experimental physicist Lisa Randall offers a spellbinding account of her current research into dark matter and how it relates to other cutting-edge science in astrophysics and geology in her latest book, “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe”. This is a riveting exploration into how science in done, describing in ample detail not only her research, but also nota
A wordy staged account of dark matter. Still, it shows how scientists use testable models to connect fields and resolve discrepancies.
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Date Un Voltio: LIBRO DE MARZO, ya leído. ¿Qué les ha parecido? 6 387 Apr 10, 2018 08:42AM  
Date Un Voltio: LIBRO DE MARZO: ya tenemos ganador 2 337 Mar 03, 2018 08:31AM  
Date Un Voltio: La materia oscura y los dinosaurios - Discusión 1 187 Mar 03, 2018 01:51AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please change page count 12 21 Jan 11, 2017 03:15PM  
Science and Inquiry: * July 2016 - Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs 19 98 Sep 09, 2016 07:51AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book Cover 3 20 Dec 26, 2015 05:37AM  

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LISA RANDALL is Professor of Physics at Harvard University. She began her physics career at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. She was a finalist, and tied for first place, in the National Westinghouse Science Talent Search. She went on to Harvard where she earned the BS (1983) and PhD (1987) in physics. She was a President's Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, a postdoctoral ...more

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“you can’t simply compare a hypothesis to a single competing model and treat that one alternative suggestion as a substitute for all the remaining options.” 3 likes
“We often fail to notice things that we are not expecting.” 2 likes
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