Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Jeff Foust
Daily Kos
Los Angeles Times

Paul J Steinhardt and Neil Turok

Endless Universe

The idea that the universe started with a big bang, including a period of inflation, is the consensus view amoungst cosmologists today. However, Paul J Steinhardt and Neil Turok think differently. In Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang they describe their alternative, Ekpyrotic model. Here the universe consists of two branes, and what we know as the big bang was actually the result of these colliding. This caused them to move apart, but eventually they will approach each other again, and the whole story will begin again. Hence the universe did not begin with the big bang- this is just one of a possibly infinite number of cycles.

The book examines the properties of both the inflationary big bang model and the ekpyrotic model, and along the way the authors describe their involvement in the coming together of particle physics and cosmology. The important thing to note is that this is not just an idle speculation - the ekpyrotic model agrees with current observations just as well as the inflationary big bang model. Most importantly, the authors look forward to the improvements in observations which will happen over the next few years, and should be able to decide between the two. The book is written in an easy to read style, and is not too technical. Hence I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in cosmology, as a pointer to a possible shake-up in the subject in a few years time.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 304 pages  
ISBN: 0385509642
Salesrank: 866361
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2007 Doubleday
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Hardcover 304 pages  
ISBN: 0297845543
Salesrank: 1468074
Weight:1.3 lbs
Published: 2007 Orion
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 304 pages  
ISBN: 0385509642
Salesrank: 423319
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2007 Doubleday
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 26.36:Used from CDN$ 1.66
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Product Description

Two world-renowned scientists present an audacious new vision of the cosmos that “steals the thunder from the Big Bang theory.” —Wall Street Journal

The Big Bang theory—widely regarded as the leading explanation for the origin of the universe—posits that space and time sprang into being about 14 billion years ago in a hot, expanding fireball of nearly infinite density. Over the last three decades the theory has been repeatedly revised to address such issues as how galaxies and stars first formed and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up today. Furthermore, an explanation has yet to be found for what caused the Big Bang in the first place.

In Endless Universe, Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, both distinguished theoretical physicists, present a bold new cosmology. Steinhardt and Turok “contend that what we think of as the moment of creation was simply part of an infinite cycle of titanic collisions between our universe and a parallel world” (Discover). They recount the remarkable developments in astronomy, particle physics, and superstring theory that form the basis for their groundbreaking “Cyclic Universe” theory. According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets.

Endless Universe provides answers to longstanding problems with the Big Bang model, while offering a provocative new view of both the past and the future of the cosmos.  It is a “theory that could solve the cosmic mystery” (USA Today).