Picocosmographia by William Van Hecke

The Biggest Ideas in the Universe — Space, Time and Motion

Author: Sean Carroll
Finished: 2023-01-13
Started: 2022-12-05
Status: Read

For decades I’ve been reading physics books that purport to explain the nature of the universe without including inscrutable equations, but that end up requiring the reader to trust that the math undeniably and elegantly leads to this or that conclusion. It came gradually clear that in order to feel the significance of what we know, one really needs to understand the math at least somewhat, not just stories about the math and the people who discovered it. This book is the first of a promised trilogy from Sean Carroll, who was already one of my favorite science explainers. I appreciate his willingness to at least sometimes start from the most fundamental principles of what we know rather than defaulting to telling the historical sequence of who discovered what when and then who later found something more fundamental. The idea of the series is to cater to people who want to make the effort to understand the math, but don’t plan to study it at an academic or professional level. That’s me! After reading this I feel a dramatically deeper understanding of what is going on in the universe than any physics book has ever given me, and understanding the universe is one of my elementary particles of meaning.