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Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos


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Modern cosmology--the science of superstrings, wormholes, and Grand Unifications Theories--has been popularized in such recent books as Stephen Hawking's semitechnical A Brief History of Time ( LJ 4/15/88) and David Darling's fanciful Deep Time ( LJ 5/15/89). Overbye, the editor of Discover magazine, focuses on the people who contributed to contemporary theories of the universe. Through interviews and personal anecdotes, Overbye presents an insider's view of the lives, works, and personalities of such legendary figures as Hawking; John Wheeler, the ``father of the black hole''; and Alan Guth, architect of the ``inflationary universe'' concept. This approach depicts science as a human process and, in a sense, brings cosmology with all of its rarefied concepts ``down to earth.'' For more formal biographical and technical information on the work of a greater number of leading cosmologists, see Alan Lightman and Roberta Brawer's Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists ( LJ 6/1/90).-- Gregg Sapp, Mon tana State Univ. Lib., Bozeman

"Superb....It is by mixing the personal and the cosmic in his reporting, just as the scientists mix them in their lives, that Mr. Overbye has managed to write such a good book". -- ECONOMIST

Unexpected discoveries, seething rivalries and inspired guesswork are all in a day's work for modern cosmologists, several of whom are profiled here. ``Overbye's personal narrative makes complex realms of conflicting theory and observation accessible to the layperson,'' said PW. Photos. (Jan.)

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