cover image Cosmic Coincidences

Cosmic Coincidences

John R. Gribbin / Author, Martin J. Rees / With Bantam Books $

As a followup to his other popular science books, including the bestselling In Search of Schrodinger's Cat , astrophysicist Gribbin now collaborates with astronomer Rees for a New Age look at science's recent discoveries about the universe. Aided by charts, diagrams and M. C. Escher graphics, the authors range from the subatomic activity of what they call the ``particle zoo'' to quasars, black holes and superstring theory. Their favorite topic, though, is the perplexing question of dark matter: the gravity needed to form galaxies and keep them in motion requires a mass 10 times greater than that which can be observed. Although most of the book is able, straightforward science writing, the mystery of the missing mass is a keystone leading to the proposition that our carbon-based life was not haphazardly arrived at, but the deliberate end of a universe ``tailor made for man.'' Yet the writers' sense of perspective (admitting that this may be a ``parochial'' view of cosmic events) and clearly reasoned argument render their volume a knowledgeable introduction for believers and skeptics alike. (Aug.)