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Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe (English Edition) Kindle电子书
According to a recent survey, the most popular question about science from the general public was: what came before the Big Bang? We all know on some level what the Big Bang is, but we don't know how it became the accepted theory, or how we might know what came before. In Before the Big Bang, Brian Clegg (the critically acclaimed author of Upgrade Me and The God Effect) explores the history of this remarkable concept. From the earliest creation myths, through Hershel's realization that the Milky Way was one of many galaxies, to on-going debates about Black Holes, this is an incredible look at the origins of the universe and the many theories that led to the acceptance of the Big Bang. But in classic scientist fashion Clegg challenges the notion of the "Big Bang" itself, and raises the deep philosophical question of why we might want to rethink the origin of the universe. This is popular science at its best, exploratory, controversial, and utterly engrossing.
"Indeed, the existence of so many things, from dark matter to black holes to wormholes all has to be inferred. The Big Bang, too, is only provisional and seems to be waiting for a more graceful model to replace it. In Clegg’s words, the Big Bang theory “has the feeling of something held together with a Band-Aid. Whether what came before our universe was another universe or nothing, or something else yet unconsidered, for now the most accurate answer might be: We just don’t know." -Anthony Doerr Boston Globe, July 19
--此文字指其他 kindle_edition 版本。
- ASIN : B002LA0AS4
- 出版社 : St. Martin's Press (2009年8月4日)
- 出版日期 : 2009年8月4日
- 语言 : 英语
- 文件大小 : 444 KB
- 标准语音朗读 : 已启用
- X-Ray : 未启用
- 生词提示功能 : 已启用
- 纸书页数 : 320页
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What I did not like was the bias against the standard big bang model. Inflation is almost not described, and it is treated as a patch to the main theory. And, on the other hand, other theories that can be qualified (at most) as tentative are treated much better, such as the ekpyrotic Universe. Of course, it is necessary to criticize the incumbent theories, but the alternative must be at least as good. In this book, big bang+inflation are required the highest levels of accuracy, while others do not require to prove even their basics (e.g, existence of branes).
Anyway, it is a good book to have a quick review of the main current theories about the origin of the Universe.
It might be interesting if you haven't read the material that he is repeating. However, I can't suggest it even as a summary of that other material as I find that the book too frequently glosses over concepts that, given how shallowly he treats them, you could not fully understand if you had not read other material on the topics.
I also think he does a poor job of discriminating between likely/accepted and unlikely/unaccepted/outdated theories. E.g., he talks about how you can't measure quantum things without effecting them, and suggests that consciousness (the universe "knows" it is being measured) might play a role there. To quote:
"It is arguable that a universe with life forms might develop differently than a universe without life forms because there was a different class of observer within the universe, so quantum processes would happen in different ways."
That is an idea that is decades old and largely discarded. (It is also the topic of an amusing science fiction book, "Quarantine" by Greg Egan - recommended). It is currently thought that perturbations of quantum systems (e.g., measurement or observation) cause collapse of the waveform, conscious observer or not.
And, in the end he doesn't really address the question of what came before the Big Bang (in any satisfying, as opposed to literal, manner.) He falls back on "answers" like that the universe might be cyclical and "our" Big Bang wasn't the first. Ok, 1st or 1,000,000th, it doesn't answer the question "Whence whatever set the first Big Bang in motion?" A literal answer to the question "What came before the Big Bang?" isn't very interesting if your answer is "Another big bang." Maybe literally true, but it's a cheap way out, just like saying "It's turtles all the way down."