Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe

Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe

by Marcus Chown

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A mind-bending journey through some of the most weird and wonderful facts about our universe, vividly illuminating the hidden truths that govern our everyday lives.

"The tone is consistently light and addictive, intriguing, and entertaining read...a handy guide for anyone yearning to spice up their conversational skills." — Booklist

Fact: You could fit the whole human race in the volume of a sugar cube.
Fact: The electrical energy in a single mosquito is enough to cause a global mass extinction.
Fact: You age more quickly on the top floor than on the ground floor.

So much of our world seems to make perfect sense, and scientific breakthroughs have helped us understand ourselves, our planet, and our place in the universe in fascinating detail. But our adventures in space, our deepening understanding of the quantum world, and our leaps in technology have also revealed a universe far stranger than we ever imagined.

With brilliant clarity and wit, bestselling author Marcus Chown examines the profound science behind fifty remarkable scientific facts that help explain the vast complexities of our existence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635765939
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 355,530
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is cosmology consultant of New Scientist. His books include The Ascent of Gravity (named the Sunday Times' 2017 Science Book of the Year), What A Wonderful World, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and We Need to Talk About Kelvin (shortlisted for the 2010 Royal Society Book Prize). Marcus has also tried his hand at apps and won the Bookseller Digital Innovation of the Year award for 'Solar System for iPad'.

Table of Contents

Foreword 1

Part 1 Biological Things

1 The Common Thread 7

2 Catch Me if You Can 10

3 The Oxygen Trick 13

4 Seven-year Itch 18

5 Living With the Alien 21

6 The Dispensable Brain 24

Part 2 Human Things

7 Interaction, Interaction, Interaction 31

8 The Grandmother Advantage 34

9 Lost Tribe 38

10 Missed Opportunity 41

Part 3 Terrestial Things

11 The Alphabet of Nature 47

12 Rock Sponge 50

13 Deep Impact 52

14 Secret of Sunlight 55

Part 4 Solar System Things

15 Celebrating Mass 61

16 Killer Sun 65

17 Light of Other Days 69

18 A Brief History of Falling 72

19 The Planet That Stalked the Earth 75

20 Please Squeeze Me 79

21 Hex Appeal 82

22 Map of the Invisible 84

23 Lord of the Rings 87

24 Stargate Moon 91

Part 5 Fundamental Things

25 Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand 97

26 Bungalow Benefits 101

27 The Incredible Exploding Mosquito 105

28 The Unknowable 108

29 Double Trouble 113

30 Loopy Liquid 119

31 Unbreak My Heart 122

32 Who Ordered That? 126

33 A Wonderful Thing Is a Piece of String 130

34 No Time Like the Present 133

35 How to Build a Time Machine 136

Part 6 Extraterrestial Things

36 Ocean Worlds 143

37 Alien Garbage 147

38 Interplanetary Stowaways 151

39 Stardust Made Flesh 154

40 The Fragile Blue Dot 157

Part 7 Cosmic Things

41 The Day Without a Yesterday 161

42 Ghost Cosmos 165

43 Heart of Darkness 168

44 Afterglow of Creation 171

45 Masters of the Universe 175

46 Flipping Gravity 180

47 The Voice of Space 183

48 Pocket Universe 187

49 Credit Card Cosmos 190

50 The Universe Next Door 194

Notes 199

Acknowledgments 213

About the Author 214

Customer Reviews

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Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
lee2staes More than 1 year ago
Infinity In the Palm of Your Hand is a real pleasure to read. It presents interesting and unbelievable facts about humans, Earth and universe in small bits and pieces. This is a wonderful book about science curiosities and facts. It is great book to update yourself about where we stand in the universe. This book is fascinating, thought provoking and fun. A wonderful book. My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Lynda Zadeskey More than 1 year ago
I quite enjoyed this fun, enlightening and thought provoking gem from science writer, Marcus Chown. Within these pages are fifty incredibly amazing features of our universe, both near and far, very far away. The book is written in laymen's terms so whether Chown is talking about the ingredients required to make a time machine, the moons of Jupiter or dark matter, it all seems plausible and easy to understand. Interesting nuggets run the gamut and offer conversation starters at your next cocktail party or trivia night. I highly recommend this to anyone curious about our universe. It's a great stepping stone to the next level. Thank you NetGalley, Diversion Books and the author for the opportunity to read and advanced copy of Infinity in the Palm of your Hand. Available in April, 2019.
SchizanthusNerd More than 1 year ago
Although I’ve had the best of intentions I haven’t studied science as an adult and currently sit firmly in science nerd wannabe territory. My wannabe status is probably what drew me to this book and its conversational tone and lack of complex mathematics equations makes it accessible to readers without prior knowledge of the scientific discoveries and theories it explains. There’s a smorgasbord to enjoy within each of the seven parts: • Biological Things • Human Things • Terrestrial Things • Solar System Things • Fundamental Things • Extraterrestrial Things, and • Cosmic Things. Given the bite size chunks of information each contain, they provide a taste of some of the marvels the universe has to offer. While I learned enough about some topics to satisfy me I was able to narrow down some areas of interest to explore further. Each of the fifty chapters begins with a single sentence statement that may or may not give you a clue about what’s to come, followed by a quote and then several pages of explanation. My favourite opening statements of the book were: • “You are born 100 percent human but die 50 percent alien” • “In the future, time might run backwards” • “The universe may have at least ten dimensions”, and • “Time travel is not ruled out by the laws of physics”. My main problem with this book was its repetitiveness. If you are only reading single chapters over a significant length of time, this would not be a problem. However, if you’re reading from cover to cover, the multiple instances of repetition become tedious. Thank you to NetGalley and Diversion Books for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 3.5 stars.