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P C W Davies

The Goldilocks Enigma

The laws of physics sometimes look as if they have been set up to allow for the emergence of life. In 'The Goldilocks Enigma' Paul Davies looks at the various explanations of why this should be so. For some people it is clear evidence of the existence of a deity. Others point to the idea of a multiverse - lots of universes exist, so some are bound to be 'just right' for life. Davies' preferred explanation takes a different tack - mind is central to the universe and participates in its existence. In summary, this book is easy to read but contains plenty of thought provoking material.

Davies devotes much of the first half of the book to explaining the concepts of modern physics and cosmology. Remember, however, that this is a speculative book, rather than one designed to teach you physics. For instance Davies mentions the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems, but a few pages later says 'A disorderly arrangement of particles moving according to general relativity will generally not all converge to a point' - well my impression is that singularity theorems were proved to show that they will. Now Davies may be justified in saying what he did, but I felt that an opportunity was lost to clarify a difficult subject.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews