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ISBN:0691096570
Author: Janna Levin
ISBN13: 978-0691096575
Title: How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space
Format: txt lrf azw lrf
ePUB size: 1367 kb
FB2 size: 1536 kb
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Language: English
Category: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 31, 2002)
Pages: 224

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space by Janna Levin



You might have come across Janna Levin's How the Universe Got Its Spots the same way that I did-by seeing it show up in io9's "20 Science Books Every Scifi Fan (and Writer) Should Read", or some such similar list of "must read" science books. Nutshell version? Levin brought us a beautiful book about modern cosmology, and about the life of a young scientist; and I recommend it to everyone with even a passing interest in science, and especially as a companion piece to Lee Smolin's The Trouble with Physics. - : Levin's and Smolin's book should be distributed as a box-set.

Her engaging writing style and excellent examples makes complex topics such as Einstein's theories easier to understand. It's interesting to learn how much we know and how much we still don't know about our universe. Is the universe finite or infinite? We really don't know.

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How the Universe Got its Spots, subtitled Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space, is Janna Levin’s first book. Written in a diary format and initiated by a desire to explain to her mother what she does – I’m writing to you because I know you’re curious but afraid to ask – Levin sets out to answer the question ‘is the universe infinite?’. Or at least to show her mother, and us, why this question is so intriguing that it’s worth leading a rootless and chaotic life that leaves Levin constantly wondering whether she has her priorities right.

In the remainder of How the Universe Got Its Spots, which is unbearably beautiful in both intellectual elegance and stylistic splendor, Levin goes on to explore questions of quantum relativity and freewill, death and black holes, spacetime and Wonderland, and more.

Janna Levin is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University with a grant from the Tow Foundation. Levin is the author of the popular science book How the Universe Got Its Spots: diary of a finite time in a finite space Levin has written a series of essays to accompany exhibitions at several galleries in England, including the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art and the Hayward Gallery. Levin was featured on Talk of the Nation on July 12, 2002.

author : Janna Levin. How the Universe Got Its Spots. How the Universe Got Its Spots: diary of a finite time in a finite space. This is their story, and the story of the most sensitive scientific.

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space" – аўдыякніга аўтараў Janna Levin. Чытае Christine Williams. Атрымайце імгненны доступ да ўсіх сваіх любімых кніг. Без штомесячнай аплаты. Слухайце ў інтэрнэце або па-за сеткай з дапамогай прылад Android, iOS, камп'ютара з доступам у інтэрнэт, Chromecast і Памочніка Google. Паспрабуйце аўдыякнігі Google Play!

As Levin sets out to determine how big ''really big'' may be, she gives us an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist, complete with jet lag and romantic disturbances.

Is the universe infinite, or is it just really big? Does nature abhor infinity? In startling and beautiful prose, Janna Levin's diary of unsent letters to her mother describes what we know about the shape and extent of the universe, about its beginning and its end. She grants the uninitiated access to the astounding findings of contemporary theoretical physics and makes tangible the contours of space and time--those very real curves along which apples fall and planets orbit.

Levin guides the reader through the observations and thought-experiments that have enabled physicists to begin charting the universe. She introduces the cosmic archaeology that makes sense of the pattern of hot spots left over from the big bang, a pursuit on the verge of discovering the shape of space itself. And she explains the topology and the geometry of the universe now coming into focus--a strange map of space full of black holes, chaotic flows, time warps, and invisible strings. Levin advances the controversial idea that this map is edgeless but finite--that the universe is huge but not unending--a radical revelation that would provide the ultimate twist to the Copernican revolution by locating our precise position in the cosmos.

As she recounts our increasingly rewarding attempt to know the universe, Levin tells her personal story as a scientist isolated by her growing knowledge. This book is her remarkable effort to reach across the distance of that knowledge and share what she knows with family and friends--and with us. Highly personal and utterly original, this physicist’s diary is a breathtaking contemplation of our deep connection with the universe and our aspirations to comprehend it.

Reviews: 7
Sermak Light
After listening to an interview with Janna Levin on the NPR program Speaking of Faith, I became interested in reading her books. Levin is an astrophysicist and author interested in sharing her interest in topics from quantum mechanics to a Theory of Everything.

In the book How the Universe Got Its Spots, Levin uses a diary/letter style to explain contemporary theoretical physics in a way that is accessible to a layperson like me. She weaves the science through stories from everyday life. Her engaging writing style and excellent examples makes complex topics such as Einstein's theories easier to understand. It's interesting to learn how much we know and how much we still don't know about our universe. Is the universe finite or infinite? We really don't know.

One of the most amazing aspects of the book is her interest in cosmic archaeology which examines the patterns of hot spots left over from the big bang. I was also fascinated by her explanations of topology and geometry of the universe. I've always been interested in the idea of more than three dimensions, but it wasn't until I read this book that I began to understand how these other dimensions might work.

It's been nearly a decade since this book was written. I look forward to reading her newer, award-winning book titled A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…there are no walls built in the human mind making some of us scientists and some of us artist. They are branches of the same tree, rooted in a common human essence. Maybe it’s our ability to step between the different disciplines, weaving strange loops all the while, that’s the core of our creativity.” (p. 193)
Samutilar
I had hope for this book, since the topic is fascinating and I very much enjoyed her TV documentary about black holes. But the book was a disappointment: what began as a rather coherent overview of physics and the search for a single theory, mixed with some somewhat interesting life reflections, degenerated into confused personal rambling and endless pages about topology that was dry and uninteresting. The central question she addresses is whether the Universe is finite; but most of what she has to say consists of innumerable variations of why we don’t know. Overall, her treatment of these fascinating topics is just not that interesting, and while there are some original thoughts and good phrases here and there, they're lost in the rambling detail and many, often uninformative figures. Perhaps physicists find her lengthy stream of consciousness about topology and the curvature of the Universe compelling; I doubt most general readers would.
Deorro
Very disappointing. I LOVED Janna Levin's "Moth" storytelling story, and her other TED Talks, etc. So I was surprised when I got her book just how unreadable it is. The narrative does not flow, and instead jumps from the day-to-day and interpersonal, to the cosmic, but without fully pursuing either. So it feels jumbled and jumpy--neither one becomes a satisfying narrative arc.
Abuseyourdna
OK this book is written differently than most other physics or science books I've read. Its not all fact after fact and science science science. The book is written like a journal, with stories about the author's personal life mixed in with her science exploits. So be prepared for that! But the writing is good and the science and math is fun to learn about. Honestly, I had to get about a third of the way through the book before I fully accepted the fact that this book is different. But I didn't want to put it down, kept me up late at night many times finishing the read. Thanks Janna Levin!
Ximinon
Not being either a mathematician or a physicist, this was a heavy challenge for me, but the author does such a good job of alleviating these parts with her human interest story, as well as with charts and graphics, that I was very glad I persevered. Very provocative as to origins.
Malara
Engaging short letters explaining the universe. Painless, entertaining learning about what often is a dreary rendering of a fascinating topic.
The audio book is excellent as is the printed book. Both make the subject intimate and personal.
Rocksmith
Janna Levin has a gift for explaining complex ideas. She intersperses a fair amount of personal anecdote, which makes the book more interesting. The personal reflections do not detract from the science. Rather, these reflections help craft a narrative lens and move the book forward.
Too hard for me. I gave it to my 13 yo grandson. Maybe I can get a review from him.