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Susan Stepney
Baltimore City Paper
PhysicsWeb
AmericanScientist.org
Simon McLeish
Andy Hone (pdf)

Janna Levin

How the universe got its spots

The study of Cosmology needs knowledge of several areas of physics - special and general relativity and quantum theory as well as much of classical physics. This requirement can be intimidating to the beginner. Janna Levin took this into account in writing 'How the universe got its spots', which is based on a collection of letters to her mother. Hence it will be useful for those readers who would like a gentle introduction to those the ideas of modern physics required for cosmology as well as anyone wanting an insight into the life of a (perhaps not so typical) cosmologist.

In the book Levin puts forward the idea that the universe might be finite, and in particular that its topology might mean that if we travelled far enough then we would return to our starting point even if the geometry doesn't force this to be the case. Although we haven't seen any copies of ourselves in the universe, such finiteness might also show up in the cosmological microwave background radiation as certain patterns (the spots of the title of the book). The book didn't actually convince me that the universe is finite, but I felt that Levin puts the case for it in a well thought out and understandable way.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0753813769
Salesrank: 2300114
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2003 Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Marketplace:New from $24.57:Used from $5.99
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0753813769
Salesrank: 208776
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2003 Phoenix
Marketplace:New from £40.35:Used from £4.80
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 0753813769
Salesrank: 2423973
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2003 Phoenix
Amazon price CDN$ 186.76
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 41.50:Used from CDN$ 3.36
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
Conventional wisdom says the universe is infinite. But could it be finite, merely giving the illusion of infinity? Modern science is beginning to drag this abstract issue into the realm of the real, the tangible and the observable. HOW THE UNIVERSE GOT ITS SPOTS looks at how science is coming up sharp against the mind-boggling idea that the universe may be finite. Through a decade of observation and thought-experiment, we have started to chart out the universe in which we live, just as we have mapped the oceans and continents of our planet. Through a kind of cosmic archaeology and without leaving Earth, we can look at the pattern of hot spots left over from the big bang and begin to trace the 'shape of space'. Beautifully written in a colloquial style by a world authority, Janna Levin explores our aspirations to observe our universe and contemplate our deep connection with it.