Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand
In a nutshell, the book is 50 Bonkers Things About the Universe….
- You could fit the human race in the volume of a sugar cube
- If the Sun were made of bananas, it wouldn’t make any difference
- You age more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor
- Babies are powered by rocket fuel
- Slime moulds have 13 sexes
- You are a third mushroom
- You are born 100 per cent human but die 50% alien
- 95% of the universe is invisible
- In the future, time might run backwards
Each of these is a way into explaining some thought-provoking and profound science. For instance, the fact that, if you squeezed all the empty space out of all the people in the world, you could fit the human race in the volume of a sugar cube illustrates perfectly the mindboggling emptiness of matter. You, me, everyone – we are all pretty much ghosts. And that leads naturally on to quantum theory, the most successful but also the weirdest physical theory ever devised, which ultimately provides the explanation of why atoms are overwhelmingly made of nothingness. The fact that, if the sun were made of bananas, it would be precisely as hot as it is now leads on to the remarkable fact that the temperature of the sun has nothing whatsoever to do with what is powering it. And the fact that 95 per cent of the universe is invisible leads to, well, the extraordinary – in fact, embarrassing – realization that everything scientists have been studying these past 350 years amounts to no more than a minor constituent of the universe. And – even worse – we have pretty much no idea what the major component is!
- Publisher: Michael O'Mara
- Publication date: October 4, 2018
- ISBN: 9781782439493
Taking a moment to praise Marcus Chown’s new book, Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand – it’s wonderful, you need to read it!
Pad Cadigan, award-winning sf writer
As funny and thought-stirring as the rest of Mr Chown’s works… As a fan of QI/No Such Thing as a Fish/science etc this seems like – as is so often the case with Marcus’s work – that it was written just for me.
Greatly enjoying your new book. A thought-provoking, funny guide to the universe which even as science ignoramus like me can understand.
John Simpson, BBC International Editor