In the Beginning

In the Beginning : Birth of the Living Universe

3.53 (45 ratings by Goodreads)
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Ripples in space collected by the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite in 1992 clearly confirmed current ideas about the Big Bang. But why do matter and nature's fundamental forces seem specially designed to produce our kind of universe? Some scientists see the hand of God, others call this a non-question, but Gribbin suggests a new answer. Going far beyond the Gaia hypothesis, that the Earth is a single living organism, he claims that galaxies may "operate as supernova nurseries", that one universe can "bud" from star-death and "black hole bounce" into another, and that such "offspring" are being steadily refined by more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 20mm | 199.58g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • reading, index
  • 0140177922
  • 9780140177923

Table of contents

Part 1 The birth of the universe: our changing universe; COBE in context. Part 2 What is life?: life itself; life on Earth; the living planet. Part 3 What is the universe?: across the universe; the goldilocks effect. Part 4 Is the universe alive?: is the galaxy alive?; the living more

Review Text

Not only is there another universe next door; but myriad others across the eons of time and space: That's one conclusion voiced here by this former Stephen Hawking student and popularizer of astronomy (Unveiling the Edge of Time, 1992, etc.). Taking his inspiration from the findings of the COBE (cosmic background explorer) satellite, Gribbin launches happily into discourse on how we now know that the Big Bang happened 15 billion years ago (more or less) - and that the slight differences in background temperature that COBE has detected establish the "ripples in time" that allowed the clumping of matter into galaxies and supergalaxies. Which fits the idea of the universe inflating in the first split second. That said, what else is new? A lot. Never one merely to report the news, Gribbin speculates that the universe is truly alive and that it has evolved subject to the same restraints and random events observed in life on Earth. Mutations in black holes. Small blips on a parent universe becoming baby bubble universes. Eventually, a whoosh that becomes the universe around us. Does anyone else agree? Gribbin alludes to Lee Smolin, at Syracuse University, who's published a few papers. Otherwise, the author tells us that he got the idea by applying Gaian theories about Earth to the universe at large. Incidentally, he dispatches anthropic principles and the unseen hand by invoking a "Goldilocks" principle: The universe does what is "just right" for it Oust as Gala does on Earth). By this reasoning, human beings are a byproduct - and not ton useful a one at that. As usual, Gribbin does a snappy reprise of the relevant theories and history before the whoosh and wow take over. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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45 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 11% (5)
4 42% (19)
3 36% (16)
2 11% (5)
1 0% (0)
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