A Brief History of the Universe |J.P. McEvoy

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The Book

The history of mankind’s understanding of the universe. Broken up into 3 core understandings of the universe – Ptolemy, Newton and Einstein – McEvoy has taken on the task of explaining complicated ideas and histories in an enjoyable and understandable way.

The Good Bits

– covers space – I’m a whore for space.

– It’s incredibly easy to understand. I may be a science nerd, but I have zero background in science, and I was able to read and understand this book.

– There is not a single misinformed idea in this book that is treated as silly or “oh silly geocentric universe-ers, how silly you are” or anything like that. He rather logically informs the reader of the way a person – or group of people – saw the evidence at hand and came up with solutions.

– Despite taking on a difficult topic there is still so much wonder in the book. Maybe it’s just me but McEvoy seemed just as excited about the topic as I am.

The not-so-good Bits

– It  doesn’t cover anything past Einstein. I mean I get that you have to cap it somewhere but we’ve been making great strides in astrophysics since Einstein and unfortunately there wasn’t any of that in the book.

– Because of the above there was nothing about women. I get that in the past there wasn’t a lot of room for women in science, but even Einstein’s wife – Mileva Maríc – was a physicist and I would have loved to hear more about her and her role, even just relating to Einsteins.

Thoughts from the back cover | Why we need science pt 2

I spoke about this before, but I want to write a little more on this if you don’t mind. We all know why a lot of science matters. Engineering, chemistry, biology – all that we know, it has an immediate impact in our lives. But what about Astronomy, why does that matter. What does it matter what another planet 401 million km  away does or doesn’t do?

Well, astronomy started because people wanted to make sense of the world. They saw the sun and the moon and tried to make sense of it. A giant dung beetle rolls the sun from east to west. Okay. The sun moves around the Earth – which stays stationary – also okay. Even The Bible starts off with a cosmology statment. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Gen 1:1) The first thing God does is create light – or the sun as we now call it.

We need Astronomy because looking up at other planets – other worlds – helps us understand our own. It is the oldest science. It doesn’t really matter whether Pluto is or isn’t a planet. Whether we have 8 or nine planets in our solar system. We care – however – because Pluto is a stepping off point. We declassify Pluto as a planet we have to look at why. What makes it less special than it’s admittedly larger brothers?

The human race as we know it hasn’t been around for a super long time. And we’re still learning about ourself and the next step in our address. We don’t even know how many planets there are in our solar system! Is there 8? or 9?

I’ll rant on about this forever, but I’ll stop now and leave you with this quote:

“So welcome, Planet Nine, to human discovery — and please give our regards to our dear friend Pluto.” (Stefan J. Kautsch Nova Southeastern University) (x)

Get Reading. Get Travelling.




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