Universe in Creation: A New Understanding of the Big Bang and the Emergence of Life

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9780674976078: Universe in Creation: A New Understanding of the Big Bang and the Emergence of Life
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We know the universe has a history, but does it also have a story of self-creation to tell? Yes, in Roy R. Gould's account. He offers a compelling narrative of how the universe-with no instruction other than its own laws-evolved into billions of galaxies and gave rise to life, including humans who have been trying for millennia to comprehend it. Far from being a random accident, the universe is hard at work, extracting order from chaos. Making use of the best current science, Gould turns what many assume to be true about the universe on its head. The cosmos expands inward, not outward. Gravity can drive things apart, not merely together. And the universe seems to defy entropy as it becomes more ordered, rather than the other way around. Strangest of all, the universe is exquisitely hospitable to life, despite its being constructed from undistinguished atoms and a few unexceptional rules of behavior. Universe in Creation explores whether the emergence of life, rather than being a mere cosmic afterthought, may be written into the most basic laws of nature. Offering a fresh take on what brought the world-and us-into being, Gould helps us see the universe as the master of its own creation, not tethered to a singular event but burgeoning as new space and energy continuously stream into existence. It is a very old story, as yet unfinished, with plotlines that twist and churn through infinite space and time.

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Review:

Exciting, original, and extremely well written, Universe in Creation offers a philosophically novel perspective on the nature of the universe.--Avi Loeb, Harvard University

The universe could not have dreamt up a better press agent for its story than Roy Gould. From what connects katydids and elephants, through the natural evolution of RNAs, to exoplanets and the Mandelbrot set--the author's sense of wonder at what is around us is absolutely infectious. Gould's explanation of how order is naturally created by using disorder at all scales is the best I have seen, making sense of purposefulness without purpose. A joyous romp through a cosmos full of wonders, and changing still!--Roald Hoffmann, chemist and writer

When we wonder where we came from, or ponder the meaning of our lives, our thoughts might go back to childhood. In his search for meaning, Roy Gould rewinds further to where everything began: the birth of the cosmos. He is the universe's joyful biographer, recognizing that its story and ours are intertwined, and that one of the most extraordinary things about the universe is that it created beings that can observe and appreciate it. Universe in Creation asks whether or not the universe's creation of stars, galaxies, living cells, and human beings reveals an unfolding plan. It is a delightful, spirited, and brilliant inquiry.--Molly Bentley, Executive Producer, Big Picture Science

An engaging book that clearly explains many fundamental concepts in cosmology, astrophysics, biology and chemistry, and is a must-have for all avid popular science fans.--Astronomy Now (10/01/2018)

There are details throughout Universe in Creation that highlight fascinating and mysterious coherences in the fabric of existence.--PopMatters (09/17/2018)

Gould...proposes a fascinating thesis about life's emergence in this eloquent debut... His thought-provoking closing arguments highlight three observations of life: 'that it is extremely robust across billions of years, that it is extremely diverse across millions of species, and that it is ubiquitous across the planet's many environments.' ...Readers will appreciate Gould's erudition and his new way of looking at the universe.--Publishers Weekly (06/11/2018)

Gould writes the deepest scientific thoughts with the ease of a skilled raconteur...[His] book is filled to overflowing with fascinating, imaginative detail...It is cosmology at its most intricate and explanation at its simplest. A wonderful book.-- (05/17/2018)

A fascinating synthesis...Gould artfully describes various...highlights in universal history, like the formation of stars and planets. Many of these moments are majestic.-- (11/01/2018)

In a unique take on the cosmos, Gould makes the case that the emergence of a great many things are not only pre-ordained, but predictable...An interesting read that's equally, fundamentally sound and correct.--Ethan Siegel"Forbes" (12/14/2018)

About the Author:

Roy R. Gould is Principal Investigator and Education Analyst at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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