The View From the Center of the Universe : Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos
In this strikingly original book, a world-renowned cosmologist and an innovative writer of the history and philosophy of science uncover an astonishing truth: Humans actually are central to the universe. What does this mean for our culture and our personal lives? The answer is revolutionary: a science-based cosmology that allows us to understand the universe as a whole and our extraordinary place in it.
If greeting card poet Susan Polis Schultz wrote about physics and the universe, this is the book she would produce. Filled with simplistic observations ("In their hearts most people are still living in an imagined universe where... we humans have no special place and often feel insignificant") as well as romantic cheerleading ("We need to overflow with gratitude that our universe... is filled with light and possibilities"), it offers cosmology disguised as a self-help guide to the universe. The authors--Primack is a physicist at UC-Santa Cruz, and Abrams is a philosopher of science--contend that Newton's picture of the universe as shapeless and endless left humans feeling cosmically homeless, but in response they articulate a Peter Pan physics in which humans are intimately related to the universe because we are made of stardust, i.e., we're an integral part of the cosmos. Our place in the universe is extraordinary, they claim, because the universe will never be in this moment of time again, and we have a responsibility to take care of the Earth since there is still time to solve some of our cosmic problems. Attempting to weave science and spirituality into one cosmic fabric, the authors satisfy the reader in neither realm. B&w illus. (Apr.)
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August 06, 2007
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