Review: Big Bang by Simon Singh

A book review by Bobulous.

This is a very nice history of man's various theories and models of the universe, starting with a brief mention of the myths that early civilizations used to explain what they saw in the sky, then moving into the age of reason, which produced the sun-centred model of the universe that was held for so long, before talking about the struggle to persuade the establishment of the merits of the Sun-centred model of the universe. Later chapters detail the arguments about the implications of Einstein's theory of general relativity, and of quantum mechanics.

The history strongly illustrates how science is frequently a battle between two schools of thought. Whether it's Earth-centred universe versus Sun-centred universe, or expanding universe versus static universe, each case has its merits and weaknesses laid out, and the tales of friendly rivalry and bitter disagreement between scientific camps give depth and personality to the famous names associated with cosmology. The characters in this history are people of obsession, people of diligence, and occasionally people who like to party a little too hard.

Simon Singh's writing is very good at gently explaining the science behind each discussion. I'm no dunce, but I'm no scientist either, and I had no trouble understanding the explanations of each scientific model as it was told in the history. This book is an excellent way to learn how man's view of the universe has changed over the millennia, and how it is still being shaped today.