Wednesday, December 23, 2015
[Book Review] The Universe Within by Neil Shubin
Philip, Cordova Library
Philip reviews THE UNIVERSE WITHIN: DISCOVERING THE COMMON HISTORY OF ROCKS, PLANETS, AND PEOPLE by Neil Shubin (Pantheon Books, 2013)
In The Universe Within, Neil Shubin says that we encounter bodies, rocks, and stars every day of our lives. But he says if we train our eyes each of these entities can reveal deep realities about the nature of our existence and can become "windows to a past that was vast almost beyond comprehension, occasionally catastrophic, and always shared among living things and the universe that fostered them." Inside each of us and inside rocks is the history of the universe, Shubin asserts, and of the events that shaped the natural world and us.
Shubin traces these events in this book. He offers explanations and descriptions of the Big Bang, the formation of the Solar System, the creation of the moon, of the global carbon cycle, of catastrophes that during different periods of the history of the earth have caused mass extinctions of life forms, of plate tectonics, and of other natural events, which have shaped our planet and us. And he does so from the expert view of a scientist but in language comprehensible to the lay reader.
I found the book engrossing and very enjoyable. It is a book dealing with complex scientific subject matters but one that is actually a fast read because of the clarity of Shubin's writing style. It is a profound book because it explains how we can know the reasons why the natural world is as it is and why people are as they are.
I highly recommend this book, as well as Shubin's other book, Your Inner Fish : A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.
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