October 21, 2005

Big Bang

[Books_] Simon Singh's latest (and he claims last) book on how the Big Bang theory was painstakingly developed in about a half century. It is well written and I would put it in the must read list for people trying to understand or explain what science is and what seperates it from non-science (along with "Night comes to the Cretaceous", my other favorite on this subject). I didn't enjoy Big Bang as much as I did Simon Singh's previous two books because I knew most of the stuff about the Big Bang history. (His previous books - "Fermat's last theorem", and the "Codebook" are among my all time favorites.)

I think these two stories, (big bang, dinosaur killing comet) and the founding of geology - discovery of deep time would make a great trio for a lecture. On this last subject, there seems to be several books telling the story of several people:

- the map that changed the world (william smith 1769-1839)
- the man who found time (james hutton 1726-1797)
- the seashell on the mountaintop (nicolaus steno 1638-1686)

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1 comment:

Deniz Yuret said...

Just finished reading "The man who found time". Hutton proposed a uniformist mechanism for the formation of rocks and suggested a vast age, but was not very specific. It turns out that the 4.6 billion year age and the concept of plate techtonics did not appear until 1950s.