Book Reviews
  Last update:  May 2010

The force of gravity, the force binding atomic nuclei, the amount of material in the universe, the force of cosmic expansion, the determinant to the structure of the universe, the number of dimensions... what do these all have in common?  As it turns out, if any of these numbers were just slightly different, the universe would not exist the way it does, and we would not be around.

Just Six Numbers is an exceptional effort by Rees to explain to the lay person just how finely tuned our universe really is.  Exactly how or why is the universe so precisely constructed?  Rees offers some intuitions and suggestions for us to contemplate in this work.

I enjoy a good book on the "stuff" of reality - in fact, I have my own thoughts and philosophical point of view - but to find a book that is precise, not verbose, while also being able to explain in easy-to-understand terms how things work, is a rare find.   Such is this book from Martin Rees.

I picked up the book on a Friday evening, and by Sunday I was most of the way through it.  By the next weekend I had finished it and reread most of the points I had marked to come back to.  I read The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene before this one from Rees, and probably would suggest doing it the other way around.  Rees provides the broad but insightful overview, while Greene gets down and dirty.  Both appeal to me, both are brilliant.

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