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Rees, Lord Martin Our Cosmic Habitat ISBN 13: 9780691089263

Our Cosmic Habitat - Hardcover

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9780691089263: Our Cosmic Habitat
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Our universe seems strangely ''biophilic,'' or hospitable to life. Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: ''What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently.'' This highly engaging book explores the fascinating consequences of the answer being ''yes.'' Rees explores the notion that our universe is just a part of a vast ''multiverse,'' or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be no more than local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge.


Rees begins by exploring the nature of our solar system and examining a range of related issues such as whether our universe is or isn't infinite. He asks, for example: How likely is life? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Rees then peers into the long-range cosmic future before tracing the causal chain backward to the beginning. He concludes by trying to untangle the paradoxical notion that our entire universe, stretching 10 billion light-years in all directions, emerged from an infinitesimal speck.


As Rees argues, we may already have intimations of other universes. But the fate of the multiverse concept depends on the still-unknown bedrock nature of space and time on scales a trillion trillion times smaller than atoms, in the realm governed by the quantum physics of gravity. Expanding our comprehension of the cosmos, Our Cosmic Habitat will be read and enjoyed by all those--scientists and nonscientists alike--who are as fascinated by the universe we inhabit as is the author himself.

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From the Back Cover:

"This book is original, stimulating, and charmingly modest while sketching some grand ideas. There may be better guides to thinking about the universe than Martin Rees, but not on our planet!"--Robert P. Kirshner, Harvard University and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"Our Cosmic Habitat is certain to be widely quoted and widely read. It is beautifully written, using inspiring and stimulating analogies. While the book is intended for the nonscientist, it provides an accurate guide to the best current thinking about the nature and constitution of our universe. If I wanted to give a gift to a person I would like to become a close friend, this is the book I would choose."--John N. Bahcall, Institute for Advanced Study

"In this book, Martin Rees, one of the leading figures in theoretical astrophysics, offers the reader his unique perspective on the field and introduces many of the most exciting new results and ideas in astronomy."--David N. Spergel, Princeton University

About the Author:
Martin Rees is Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge University, Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, and author, most recently, of the bestselling Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe.

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  • PublisherPrinceton University Press
  • Publication date2001
  • ISBN 10 0691089264
  • ISBN 13 9780691089263
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages240
  • Rating
    3.87 avg rating
    ( 234 ratings by Goodreads )

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