Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book review: "The Edge of the Sky" by Roberto Trotta

The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is
Roberto Trotta
Basic Books (9. Oktober 2014)

It's two days before Christmas and you need a last-minute gift for that third-degree-uncle, heretofore completely unknown to you, who just announced a drop-in for the holidays? I know just the right thing for you: "The Edge of the Sky" by Roberto Trotta, which I found as free review copy in my mailbox one morning.

According to the back flap, Roberto Trotta is a lecturer in astrophysics at Imperial College. He has very blue eyes and very white teeth, but I have more twitter followers, so I win. Roberto set out to explain modern cosmology with only the thousand most used words of the English language. Unfortunately, neither "cosmology" nor "thousand" belongs to these words, and certainly not "heretofore" which might or might not mean what I think it means.

The result is a nice little booklet telling a story about "big-seers" (telescopes) and "star-crowds" (galaxies) and the "early push" (inflation) with a couple of drawings for illustration. It's pretty and kinda artsy which probably isn't a word at all. The book is also as useless as that price-winning designer chair in which one can't sit, but better than the chair because it's very slim and will not take up much space, or money. It's just the right thing to give to your uncle who will probably not read it and so he'll never find out that you think he's too dumb to know the word "particle". It is, in summary, the perfect re-gift, so go and stuff it into somebody's under-shoe-clothes - how am I doing?


  1. " but I have more twitter followers, so I win"


    It's all about product. Nobody ever tells the truth about process. Reality is messy and disheartening in process. It's the only way to squeeze in footnotes.

  2. Happy Holidays "Uncle AI". I am sure your fine mind would focus and read it, regifting to us only your stark distillations of wisdom. :-)

  3. At least Upper Goer Five would look good on one's wall.

  4. Happy Holidays! I read your interesting blog quite often. Your views on science and religion may be clouded by your familiarity with Christianity (in general Abrahamic religions) only. The concept of God in eastern religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) is completely different. In these religions, God is not like a king emperor sitting outside the universe and dictating how the universe should run, but is present in every particle and is pretty much synonymous with laws of nature. It is impossible to explain this religion in a short comment. In case you have time and interest, you might look at my blog :
    http://www.motls.blogspot.com/2014/04/hinduism-for-physicists.html. I know, unfortunately, you two do not get along for whatever reasons. Also this may look like a shameless personal advertisement! But I do want scientists to make comments on my views on science and religion. I do not see any other way.
    By the way, I vaguely remember to have given this reference on another physics blog. If I have given this link on your blog before, then I apologize. It will be fine to delete this comment in that case.

  5. Sorry.The above comment belongs to the post "Merry Christmas". I posted it here by mistake.Please ignore it!!!


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