The Cyclical Serpent: Prospects for an Ever-Repeating Universe

Paul Halpern, Author Plenum Publishing Corporation $27.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-306-44923-9
In this survey for lay readers, physicist Halpern (Cosmic Wormholes; Time Journeys) shows how present notions of cosmology, the natural history of the universe, have evolved. He explains the main findings and hypotheses of modern astrophysical work against a counterpoint of relevant philosophical and religious concepts. Chapters proceed from examination of Hindu and other ancient images of the cosmos to presentation of current studies and debates concerning the origin, shape, composition and fate of the universe, including the essence of time. (Is the nature of the cosmos linear, cyclical without boundary?) While occasional segments are too long and some titles are cryptic, the text maintains a level of clarity that holds attention. Accounts of recent scientific findings and models are not overly technical, and Halpern often clarifies difficult concepts with apt analogies and metaphors (even conceptualizations from science fiction find their place). Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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