Book Reviews · Physics

Simon Singh’s Big Bang: A really important book and why you need to read it

Overall: 8/10

Big Bang, by Simon Singh, is one of the first books I read as a cosmological and physics enthusiast. As a year 12 student in 6th form, it was one of the first experiences of real physics I had outside of my curriculum and I was more than impressed upon reading this book.

Big Bang is a comprehensive summary of all the important advancements in science that led to the discovery of the Big Bang. This story begins in Ancient Greece with the century-long debate about whether the solar system is geocentric or heliocentric and covers the work of many astronomers through the ages such as the likes of Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler and of course Galileo. It details the main milestones in science, such as the discovery of the atom, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the Doppler effect and it’s application by Hubble noticing the redshift of galaxies. From the eyes of an uninformed reader, it was like opening the door to Narnia. It encouraged me to go and research many of these concepts deeper and further my understanding of not just science, but the scientific community, which at times in history has had many instances of politics involved. Competitiveness for funding and recognition has affected science

From the eyes of an uninformed reader, it was like opening the door to Narnia. It encouraged me to go and research many of these concepts deeper and further my understanding of not just science, but the scientific community, which at times in history has had many instances of politics involved. Competitiveness for funding and recognition has affected science in ways that are often under-looked with big names being considered titans, while smaller scientists with often inspiring theories are simply undermined and ignored. It took Albert Einstein years and three groundbreaking papers to be noticed as more than a patent clerk by the scientific community.

I am going to refrain from including a summary simply because I want to encourage you to go and read the book, I would really recommend it for any amateur astronomer or physicist. As the author writes on the front cover, everyone should know about this monumental advancement of human knowledge. Even if you don’t want to read the entire book, the end of each chapter concisely summarises the main points entailed in the prose, and just those summaries are dripping with knowledge.

One of the most impressive things I found about this book was its ability to be comprehensible. The contents of this book contain some of the most important discoveries in physics of all time. While many of them are elegantly simple, as physics often is, some of them can often be construed to be considerably complex. Singh manages to break down these concepts adeptly and explain them in ways that a reader such as myself, fairly simple, can understand fully. He achieves this effect whilst still maintaining much of the actual original research performed by the scientists with many of the figures being original photographs and diagrams.

Whether you’re passionate about physics, looking to expand your knowledge, or are simply looking to sound clever in front of your friends or your boss, I would highly recommend looking into it. The Big Bang is arguably the most important scientific discovery of all time and you need to know about it.

-K

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