The Astronomer Royal takes the lay reader on a lucid and awe-inspiring guided tour of the universe in time and space - a landmark in popular science writing.Our universe seems strangely 'biophilic,' or hospitable to life. Is this providence or coincidence? According to Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: 'What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently.' This highly engaging book centres on the fascinating consequences of the answer being 'yes'. Rees explores the notion that our universe is just part of a vast 'multiverse,' or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge.
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"This book is original, stimulating, and charmingly modest while sketching some grand ideas. There may be better guides to thinking about the universe than Martin Rees, but not on our planet!"--Robert P. Kirshner, Harvard University and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
"Our Cosmic Habitat is certain to be widely quoted and widely read. It is beautifully written, using inspiring and stimulating analogies. While the book is intended for the nonscientist, it provides an accurate guide to the best current thinking about the nature and constitution of our universe. If I wanted to give a gift to a person I would like to become a close friend, this is the book I would choose."--John N. Bahcall, Institute for Advanced Study
"In this book, Martin Rees, one of the leading figures in theoretical astrophysics, offers the reader his unique perspective on the field and introduces many of the most exciting new results and ideas in astronomy."--David N. Spergel, Princeton UniversityAbout the Author:
Sir Martin Rees is an international leader in cosmology. He is Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge University, and holds the title of Astronomer Royal. Together with his numerous collaborators he has contributed many key ideas on black holes, galaxy formation and high energy astrophysics. His most recent books are GRAVITY'S FATAL ATTRACTION: BLACK HOLES IN THE UNIVERSE (with Mitchell Begelman), BEFORE THE BEGINNING: OUR UNIVERSE AND OTHERS and JUST SIX NUMBERS: THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE.
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