How to Love the Uni­verse: A Sci­en­tist’s Odes to the Hid­den Beauty Be­hind the Vis­i­ble World

Ste­fan Klein The Ex­per­i­ment (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $18.95 (240pp), 978-1-61519-486-5

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews | Adult Nonfiction - ANNA CALL

Suf­fused with gen­uine won­der and af­fec­tion for the beauty of par­ti­cle physics, How to Love the Uni­verse is an in­for­ma­tive and en­ter­tain­ing en­try into a chal­leng­ing field.

Con­trary to the im­pli­ca­tions of its ti­tle, How to Love the Uni­verse is the op­po­site of a man­ual. Its chap­ters re­flect the beauty of dark mat­ter and pho­tons in words that of­ten verge on po­etry. From the as­tro­nom­i­cal ori­gins of wa­ter to the mys­tery of the ever-ex­pand­ing uni­verse, Klein touches on sev­eral corners of the­o­ret­i­cal physics.

Klein writes in di­gestible bursts, each chap­ter deal­ing with a new subtopic and ca­pa­ble of stand­ing on its own. Whether draw­ing a fic­tion­al­ized anal­ogy or ex­plain­ing the rel­a­tive size of an atomic nu­cleus, the oth­er­wise com­pli­cated sub­ject mat­ter re­mains ac­ces­si­ble.

The au­thor’s love of his vo­ca­tion and its acolytes is clear from the first chap­ter. Feyn­man seems to be a per­sonal hero, though Ein­stein and sev­eral other fa­mous names come up as well. Klein treats these quasi-mythic fig­ures as full peo­ple, de­scrib­ing the strug­gles of Ein­stein’s early ca­reer and the tragedy of Lud­wig Boltz­mann’s mis­un­der­stood ge­nius. The book draws con­nec­tions be­tween an­cient comets and the dew on a rose petal and paints hu­man­ity’s cu­rios­ity it­self as a re­sult of our par­tic­i­pa­tion in a vast and dy­namic uni­verse. As a re­sult of this ap­proach and the au­thor’s lit­er­ary skill, the book bears an emo­tional heft un­usual among sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture.

How to Love the Uni­verse is likely to have broad ap­peal. Its breadth will en­dear it to au­di­ences that read the news about Higgs bosons and grav­i­ta­tional waves but find them­selves at a loss about what these phe­nom­ena mean to the ad­vance­ment of the hu­man species.

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