cover image We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe

Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. Riverhead, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1151-3

Cham, creator of PHD Comics, and Whiteson, professor of experimental particle physics at UC-Irvine, take their YouTube talent to the page for this lucid and irreverent survey of the many unsolved mysteries of our universe. The authors set a brisk pace as they charge fearlessly across the shadowy terrain of modern physics and cosmology, covering gravity and fundamental particles as well as the Big Bang and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. An opening section on dark matter and dark energy explores the 95% of the universe that seems impervious to human curiosity. Continuing their journey, they ask such questions as: What are cosmic rays? Where’s our universe’s antimatter? Why does time only move forward? And just how big is the universe anyway? The book’s cast includes hamsters, evil twins, Doctor Who, and others. Black holes, the Higgs boson, and theories of everything rub elbows with Pi charts, pop culture, and Lego philosophy. Cham and Whiteson mesh comics, lighthearted infographics, and lively explanations to painlessly introduce curious readers to complex concepts in easily digestible chapters. This fun guide is just the ticket for science fans of any age. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (May)