Big Bang: A Lady­bird Ex­pert Book

Mar­cus Chown Michael Joseph £7.99 HB

Sky at Night Magazine - - BOOK REVIEWS -

Lady­bird Ex­pert Books rarely dis­ap­point, and Big Bang by Mar­cus Chown cer­tainly doesn’t. This beau­ti­ful pocket-sized book dis­cusses ex­actly what the Big Bang is, how this the­ory came about and how it has evolved over the years given the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, such as the ‘bolt-ons’ of dark mat­ter, dark en­ergy and in­fla­tion.

It’s re­mark­able that the au­thor man­ages to cover ev­ery­thing you would ex­pect in so few pages. Also im­pres­sive is the thought that has gone into the book in terms of its flow and lay­out. Each page of copy is sep­a­rated by a stun­ning retro im­age, which re­ally helps to de­mar­cate the con­cepts and stop the reader from feel­ing over­whelmed.

At times, but not of­ten, the won­der­fully con­cise writ­ing dances around the fine line of need­ing more ex­pla­na­tion. How­ever, the au­thor never loses the au­di­ence. Yes the con­cepts are chal­leng­ing, but the book does ex­plain ev­ery term it in­tro­duces and is ac­ces­si­ble to a non-ex­pert. There are also some lovely analo­gies through­out which I will be bor­row­ing for the next time I in­tro­duce cer­tain top­ics, my favourite be­ing a tanker emerg­ing from the fog to ex­plain the epoch of last scat­ter­ing.

Over­all, this book is a fun in­tro­duc­tion to the Big Bang and one that you can read in a short time; per­haps on a com­mute to work. Be warned, though – it is likely to stim­u­late your in­ter­est in cos­mol­ogy and leave you ea­ger to learn more.

DR LAURA NUT­TALL is a Sêr Cymru MSCA COFUND fel­low at Cardiff Univer­sity and a mem­ber of the LIGO Sci­en­tific Col­lab­o­ra­tion

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