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Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe

Brian Clegg, Author
Brian Clegg, Author . St. Martin's $25.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-312-38547-7
Reviewed on: 06/08/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-8742-4
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-312-68028-2
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The title of well-known science writer Clegg's newest is a bit of a teaser: as Clegg (A Brief History of Infinity ) himself admits: “we may never have a definitive answer to the question, “What came before the Big Bang?” But there are lots of theories running around waving their hands to be noticed and get funding. Clegg devotes the first half of his book to the problems that face big bang theorists (when did the bang happen? How big was it? what caused it?). He then gives equal time to those who are looking to send that theory the way of phlogiston. Many alternative origin-of-the-universe theories postulate either that there have been cyclical universes—each ending in a Big Crunch, followed by another Big Bang, or that our universe really exists in a giant black hole,or that universes can bud off one another.Most astronomy and science fiction buffs will bl familiar with this material, but Clegg's relatively jargon-free style makes for a good introduction for general readers, even if it leaves them still wondering what did come before the big bang. (Aug.)

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