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Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Humankind has grappled for millennia with the fundamental questions of the origin and end of the universe--it was a focus of ancient religions and myths and of the inquiries of Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. Today we are at the brink of discoveries that should soon reveal the deepest secrets of the universe.Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from the front ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  332 ratings  ·  20 reviews


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M.Emre
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
uçsuz bucaksız evren... madde,karanlık madde,karadelikler,galaksiler,atomun yapısı, her şey çok sade şekilde anlatılmış... akla durgunluk veren büyüklükler uzaklıklar...
Dennis Littrell
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Trying to elucidate a difficult subject

Science writer Charles Seife, author of the award-wining Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (2000), begins with two chapters on pre-modern cosmology followed by a chapter on Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe using the new 100-inch telescope placed atop Mount Wilson in 1917. Seife sees Hubble's discovery as "The Second Cosmological Revolution." In Chapter Four we learn, thanks in part to the Hubble Space Telescope, that the Hubble
...more
Keith Holding
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I mean, I not so smart. Book hard, and had words. I would rate higher than 3, but I cant count that high when the content is this far over my head.
Peter
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very cleanly written investigation into the scientific understanding of the Big Bang (as of 2001), and how the conditions set up by the beginning of the universe also define how the universe will end. While the book is cosmological in scope, the nature of the Big Bang as an infinitely powerful event in an infinitely tiny space, means we get a nice discussion of quantum mechanics as well. I learned quite a lot from this book, and was a great pleasure to read.
Kristen Luppino
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. These days it's a little dated, but I started reading it back right after it came out and have been slowly going through it since then. Seife uses analogies to explain some of the most difficult cosmological concepts. I only hope he does and updated version now that the Higgs boson particle has been indirectly observed, and I am emailing him currently to ask him for so much!
Mike
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really thorough and well-written. If you have little or no exposure to the topic it is a great read. At the publication date it was completely up-to-date, but now 6 years later I long for a sequel! The author ranges far and wide tying together cosmology, astronomy, the "real world" and particle physics. Nicely done.
William Schram
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charles Seife has done it again; he wrote a book that both entertains and informs in equal portions. I read his previous book several years ago, but seem to remember enjoying it. I could always check my previous review of Zero assuming I made one in the first place, but I don’t feel like doing that at the moment.

So Seife begins at the beginning. Originally, before we had the Big Bang Theory and all of that interesting stuff, we only had guesses and stories from books and legends. We have the
...more
Darth
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am hesitant to put a lot of science in the non-fiction category, just because so much of what they do these days feels to me like conjecture / speculation / extrapolation.
Too much is published by those with a point to try and prove, and so any minor, infinitesimal piece of datum collected is then constured as definitive proof of whatever theory (crackpot or intact pot - if that is the opposite of crackpot) the author is pushing.
I acknowledge that some of this is the nature of science, we are
...more
Shubhanjan Das
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
As a book which gives a scientific historical perspective on development of cosmological thought, this is definitely a good read. However, by almost totally omitting anti matter and the nature of arrow of time, Charles fails to place a holistic definite workable model of the alpha and the omega . You can't even think of alpha / omega of the universe without incorporating the concepts of entropy, thermodynamics,antimatter, and nature of time. May be read by beginners but for seekers of higher ...more
Joshua
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really good book on the nature of that whole universe thing. Very understandable. Lots of math, but explained in a very friendly way. Great idea of uncovering the discoveries layer at a time. Might be a little confusing though as different parts of the book can contradict earlier sections, because it it written from a more enlightened perspective.
John Deltuvia
The amount of speculation in this book, including the repeated use of the phrase "Physicists believe", make it more of a religious text than a science text. Many of the ideas presented do not really even reach the hypothesis level, let alone mathematical
Rhett Smith
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
3 stars because I liked it. But, it is not a casual read about Astronomy. The first 3 chapters are light and the context is historical. But, it quickly jumps into in depth science and theory. Unless you are a astronomy buff, skip.
Leif Erik
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in cosmology.
Shelves: science
This is a great introduction to the art of cosmology and strangely enough, quantum theory. It's five years old (at this point) and so is somewhat dated, but the history and descriptions of how and why scientists came to view the origin of the universe holds up.
Grégoire Bali
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A brilliant cosmological history
Erhan Kılıç
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İçerisinde ufak bir kaç hatalı bilgi olsa da gayet güzel bir kitap. Kozmoloji ile ilgili çok güzel bilgiler veriyor.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Out of date now but okay ( has a glossary and ' expirements to watch ' )
Lisa
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
The book is full of great information and ideas, but it's not written as eloquently in layman's terms as Sagan, Hawking, or Gott. Still worth reading if this sort of topic fascinates you.
Veronika
cosmological constant
Einstein
ordinary matter less then 5% of omega
dark energy 65%
exotic dark matter

quark - gluon plasma
nucleosynthesis
recombination, reionization
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CHARLES SEIFE is a Professor of Journalism at New York University. Formerly a journalist with Science magazine, has also written for New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist, Science, Wired UK, The Sciences, and numerous other publications. He is the author of Zero: The Biography Of A Dangerous Idea, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. He holds an M.S. in ...more