Our Cosmic Habitat

By Rees, Martin

Publishers Summary:
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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ISBN
978-0-69111-477-4
Publisher
Princeton University Press


REVIEWS

Library Journal

Reviewed on May 1, 2003

The cosmos depicted in this fascinating exploration of astrophysics, now in paperback, is mind-boggling--vast and old and full of supernovae, black holes and mysterious dark matter. But its greatest conundrum is how delicately attuned and"biophilic" a habitat it is. If the laws of nature had been configured just a bit differently--if gravity were slightly stronger, the electron a smidgen heavier, the texture of ripples in the universe a bit rougher or smoother, or the infinitesimal imbalance between matter and anti-matter of...Log In or Sign Up to Read More

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