Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand

Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand

In a nutshell, the book is 50 Bonkers Things About the Universe….


  1. You could fit the human race in the volume of a sugar cube
  2. If the Sun were made of bananas, it wouldn’t make any difference
  3. You age more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor
  4. Babies are powered by rocket fuel
  5. Slime moulds have 13 sexes
  6. You are a third mushroom
  7. You are born 100 per cent human but die 50% alien
  8. 95% of the universe is invisible
  9. 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: Diversion Books
  • Publication date: May 23, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781635765946
  • 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.

    Rufus Hound

  • 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

  • If you are looking for a science book that is both illuminating and fun for Christmas or any other time, then this is it.

    Misha Glenny, former BBC Central Europe correpondent & author of McMafia

  • A genial tour of the universe and its mysteries… Heavy stuff lightly spun – just the thing for the science buff in the house.

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A real pleasure to read. Presents interesting and unbelievable facts about humans, Earth and universe in small bits and pieces. A great book to update yourself about where we stand in the universe. Fascinating, thought provoking and fun. A wonderful book.


  • This book describes fifty wondrous phenomena of the Universe. Topics range from the indivisibly small to the unknowably vast. No chapter exceeds a half-dozen pages, and readers will never feel bogged down in convoluted or technical language… This popular-science overview of the Universe is perfect for lay readers with inquiring minds.

    Internet Review of Books

  • An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read from cover to cover.

    Midwest Book Review