Tweeting the Universe
In Tweeting the Universe: Tiny Explanations of Very Big Ideas, by Marcus Chown and Govert Schilling, two great science writers set themselves the challenge to describe the biggest theories in science – each in just 140 characters.
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In 140 pages, two masterly popularisers present 140 explanations of the biggest questions in physics – in the form of 10 or so tweets per page. They set themselves the challenge of boiling down what is essential on each subject into sentences of 140 characters, and the results are both entertaining and brilliantly informative. Not a word is wasted. The reader is not patronized and learns something on every page. If only all science writing could be so precise and so economical.
Only science writers of a very high calibre could achieve such compression. Marcus Chown – ‘the finest cosmology writer of our day’ (Matt Ridley) – has known the Dutch writer Govert Schilling for twenty years. Schilling pioneered this very swift form of explanation in a Dutch newspaper, and suggested to Chown that they collaborate on bringing it to a wider audience. Tweeting the Universe is unlike any other science book.
One has to marvel at the innovative way in which writers Chown and Schilling have compressed big subjects ... Tweeting the Universe is not without humour and will make a useful and fun stocking filler.
It's ridiculous but ingenious, and wholly successful. The extreme compression forced upon the writers makes clarity imperative: the discipline seems to have liberated them. Everything you failed to understand in Stephen Hawking's ridiculous books suddenly makes sense. You may learn more in an afternoon reading this book than you did in a whole childhood of science lessons.
Great for quickly getting up to speed on topics like dark matter.
Chown and Schilling have done a fine job condensing the universe into bite-sized morsels of text.
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