Another book I won in Goodreads Giveaways. (This is so strange, for quite a while I received nothing and then suddenly there were like four of them within a week).
I feel a little bit bad, since half-way through the book I decided to stop. It was not because of the book but rather because of me. I think I am not the targeted audience. The Universe in the Rearview Mirror
is book on physics, which focuses on Symmetries and how beautiful this trait is found in many laws around us, in many levels of micro and macro.
However, the book was a bit advanced for my taste and background. I suppose I could still continue reading it and could follow it, but then I feel my eagerness drying out quickly. Goldberg's explanations and uses of analogies, I am sure are very carefully chosen, but sometimes still prove to be too obscure for a non-natural-science major like me. After a bit of re-read, I got it, but well, I'm not that crazy to continue the journey, each puzzle every 20-page (note that I have much love physics and the wild and beautiful imagination of physicists and mathematicians, and yet...). For the right audience (which I guess to be undergraduate level science-major/geek), the book should be a great read - for all of those passions and humors and jokes about nerdiness and scientists' badasseries. Goldberg is genuinely in love with his field, which I admire.
This shows the difficulty that pure sciences face when they want to reach the general audience. There is so much progress being made in this century, but much of it remains in its own circle. We all knew about the development in finding Higgs boson (*minor correction), but then we are just vaguely aware of its "significance" and its application. It is not because experts do not try to widen their bases (they are trying, this book is one of such efforts), but it is just because all stuffs become too complex and abstract to digest. Not to mention that we are often more concerned with things that present their effects on us directly. Perhaps an injection of more advanced material in natural sciences in lower-level education would help improving the backgrounds of us readers, but, well, that would take quite some times.
A minor problem I encountered in this book is Goldberg's treatment of "ancient" scientists. Well, they were not correct in their interpretations, but I wish the audience could appreciate more their legacies (and we should). There are some nice and fun anecdotes about scientists from the Enlightenment onwards (Newton for sure, then Galileo for instance), but history-lovers, beware! Sciences, for instance, were not so much differentiated from alchemies in early16-17th, the church was not so against the new progress in science, such as the introduction of the heliocentric system, as it was against Galileo's condescending and self-centered behavior. (But of course, these things do not interfere so much with the content and purpose of this book - they are just some sidenotes, I just want to give a few warnings)