Thursday, March 5, 2009

You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe

For the past 20 years or so, popular-science books have attempted to explain to an incredulous public the latest preposterous theories concocted by scientists to explain mystifying stuff such as quarks, God particles, matter being in two places at the same time, or nowhere at all, electrons on the far side of the universe that seem to know what you're up to, cats that are simultaneously alive and dead, or neither, and so on. Reading these noble attempts to get the message across - in Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, or Martin Rees's Just Six Numbers - you occasionally note a tone of slight impatience from the author when the really tricky stuff comes along. “Look, you dummies, it just is, ok?”


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