The Cosmic Machine
Energy, Entropy, Atoms, and Quantum Mechanics form the very foundation of our universe. But how do they govern the world we live in? What was the difficult path to their discovery? Who were the key players that struggled to shape our current understanding?“The Cosmic Machine” takes you from the earliest scientific inquiries in human history on an exciting journey in search of the answers to these questions. In telling this fascinating story of science, the author Scott Bembenek masterfully guides you through the wonderment of how scientific discoveries (and the key players of those discoveries) shaped the world as we know it today. With its unique blend of science, history, and biographies, “The Cosmic Machine” provides an easily accessible account without sacrificing the actual science itself. Not only will this book engage, enlighten, and entertain you, it will inspire your passion and curiosity for the world around us.

The Cosmic Machine Details

TitleThe Cosmic Machine
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 15th, 2017
PublisherZoari Press
Number of pages358 pages
Rating
GenreScience, Physics, Nonfiction, History, History Of Science, Chemistry, Biography, Astronomy, Reference, Popular Science

The Cosmic Machine Review

  • Max
    March 21, 2017
    This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the author.Bembenek’s goal is to make learning physics interesting for the non-scientist. In this he largely succeeds with a proviso. This is not a light read. It is for the lay reader with a deep interest in physics. The difficulty is not the included equations. These are straightforward, well explained and help clarify the text. Rather it is that complex concepts are not glossed over. They are presented in detail that goes beyond many This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the author.Bembenek’s goal is to make learning physics interesting for the non-scientist. In this he largely succeeds with a proviso. This is not a light read. It is for the lay reader with a deep interest in physics. The difficulty is not the included equations. These are straightforward, well explained and help clarify the text. Rather it is that complex concepts are not glossed over. They are presented in detail that goes beyond many popular books. Bembenek does not try to make something simpler than it is. Many times I realized my understanding was exactly that.Given books with similar sounding titles, some might think this is a book about cosmology or astrophysics. It’s not. We don’t learn about the beginning or end of the universe, the multiverse or string theory. Bembenek reviews basic concepts in energy, entropy, atoms and quantum mechanics covering considerable ground in 300 pages. For this reader the level of detail was very welcome. Already familiar with simpler explanations of these topics, The Cosmic Machine hit my sweet spot. The material was often presented in ways I had not seen in other books.We also get a history of physics thought and discoveries. We are introduced to a myriad of scientists. And while there are biographical sketches, more than people we are following their ideas. If you want to trace the concept of the atom through history from Democritus to Einstein, The Cosmic Machine is an excellent way to do it. When Bembenek explains classical mechanics he painstakingly takes us through Galileo’s experiments. We learn by seeing how great scientists frame problems to find solutions. The human interest factor helps you maintain attention.The four sections (energy, entropy, the atom, and quantum mechanics) are presented in that order. It is beneficial to read them in the order presented. Energy as depicted in classical mechanics and thermodynamics is critical to understanding entropy and in turn concepts and tools used to define entropy such as an ideal gas and statistical mechanics are important to Planck’s, Einstein’s and Schrodinger’s exploration of the of the atom. Bembenek connects the dots showing how modern concepts developed. The following four paragraphs outline the discussions in each topic. ENERGY: In the early seventeenth century Galileo experiments with pendulums and inclined planes demonstrating kinetic and potential energy and its relationship to work. Later that century Descartes, Huygens, Leibniz and Newton further define the relationships of force and matter. Newton establishes the conservation of momentum. Next we come to heat. In the late eighteenth century Laplace and Lavoisier believe heat is a fluid called caloric followed by Count Rumford who sees heat as motion. Nineteenth century experiments by Joule show heat can produce work winning a belated but vigorous endorsement by William Thomson. In 1847 Helmholtz holds that heat is a form of energy and establishes “the conservation of energy”, the first law of thermodynamics.ENTROPY: In the early nineteenth century Carnot visualizes an ideal reversible heat engine from which he builds a theory of heat efficiency opening the door for thermodynamics. In 1852 Thomson builds on Joule’s work with his Law of Dissipation, essentially the second law of thermodynamics. Clausius then formulates the second law mathematically and later in 1865 coins the term entropy which he viewed as “heat over temperature”. In 1860 Maxwell pioneers statistical mechanics with his kinetic energy distribution of an ideal gas. In 1868 Boltzmann then defines a total energy distribution which presumes the existence of atoms, a concept not commonly accepted at the time.THE ATOM: We begin reviewing ancient concepts of matter including Democritus prescient concept of the atom. However it wasn’t until the late seventeenth century that the chemist Boyle recognizes individual elements. In the late eighteenth century John Dalton recognizes compounds formed in definite proportions leading him to postulate atoms, atomic weights and molecules. Gay-Lussac and Avogadro refine Dalton’s theories and then Cannizzaro establishes a reliable system for determining atomic weights in 1858. Finally Einstein proves that atoms really do exist in his 1905 paper on Brownian motion.QUANTUM MECHANICS: Kirchhoff in 1859 shows that an object both emits and absorbs thermal radiation at the same frequencies indicating a single process is involved. Kirchhoff searches for the spectrum of an idealized object that would emit and absorb all frequencies, a blackbody. In 1900 Max Planck describes that spectrum and establishes that an exchange of energy is quantized. In 1905 Einstein explains the photoelectric effect holding that light is a quantum particle, a photon. In 1909 he realizes that light’s momentum also possesses the properties of a wave, a duality. In 1913 Bohr finds that changes to energy states of electrons in atoms equal Einstein’s light quanta. In 1923 de Broglie holds that matter also has wave characteristics. In 1925 inspired by de Broglie and applying the statistical techniques of Bose to an ideal gas, Einstein again shows the duality of light. That year Schrodinger builds on de Broglie’s work to develop a wave equation and wave function for matter suggesting the motion of quantum particles is subject to a new quantum probability. That same year Heisenberg shows the more we knew about a particle’s positon the less we knew about its momentum and vice versa. If these topics interest you and you are a physics buff ready to step beyond the typical pop science book, The Cosmic Machine may be your cup of tea. Bembenek’s combination of history and theory make difficult concepts more accessible. Showing how each scientist’s findings were used by the next gives you the background to better understand their work. The equations become clearer because you see the logic that went into constructing them. Thus what they represent has more meaning. Based on what I got out of The Cosmic Machine I give it five stars. I came away with a better understanding of many challenging concepts. I think other physics fans could as well.
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  • Hirdesh
    July 9, 2017
    More than 5 shining stars.Just Awesome ! ! ! Review to come.
  • Matthew Barnes
    April 25, 2017
    Sometimes very difficult to follow, for example with quantum mechanics, but some really interesting physics here. Full review: https://booksmjb.blogspot.com/2017/04...
  • Becky
    March 12, 2017
    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.This is a well written overview of several fundamental chemistry and physics topics, conveniently organized into bite sized chunks within four major categories: energy, entropy, atoms, and quantum mechanics.At first, I found myself wondering who the target audience was, since the subjects felt a bit basic for someone with a strong science background, but at times felt a bit abstract for the general layman. To that extent, I think the book could I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.This is a well written overview of several fundamental chemistry and physics topics, conveniently organized into bite sized chunks within four major categories: energy, entropy, atoms, and quantum mechanics.At first, I found myself wondering who the target audience was, since the subjects felt a bit basic for someone with a strong science background, but at times felt a bit abstract for the general layman. To that extent, I think the book could benefit a great deal from some additional well placed diagrams or illustrations. That said, this is absolutely one of the better descriptions of quantum mechanics (particularly Schrodinger's wave function) that I've read, especially with most of the math removed and what is left made very accessible in context.The book truly comes into its own, though, when it integrates the science with the history of discovery that accompanied it. This is particularly the case in the latter half of the book. Dr. Bembenek has done an exceptional job of portraying the back and forth nature of scientific discovery, as different researchers confirm, expand, or try to refute​ the works of others in their field. Overall an enjoyable read for afficianados of science and the history of science.
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  • Mbogo J
    March 11, 2017
    I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This presents a challenge in writing the review, you do not want to be that sycophant who gives a false glowing review neither do you want to be that jerk who thinks that a negative review is more 'honest.' That aside, a good book pleads its own cause and this is a good book. It is one of the best popular science 'starter' books I have ever come across.Scott chose four pillars which in his opinion are the key to understanding I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This presents a challenge in writing the review, you do not want to be that sycophant who gives a false glowing review neither do you want to be that jerk who thinks that a negative review is more 'honest.' That aside, a good book pleads its own cause and this is a good book. It is one of the best popular science 'starter' books I have ever come across.Scott chose four pillars which in his opinion are the key to understanding science; energy, entropy, atoms and quantum mechanics (I still think fields should have made the list) He then proceeds to give what I thought was a worthy treatment on the topics. The equations might seem a bit daunting but the more I thought of it, the more I realized they were crucial to the explanation and getting rid of them might add 100 pages more of explanations to get across what an equation could do in a quarter page.What I enjoyed most about the book, is the rich history it presented. I don't know whether Scott is that passionate or it was good research, whatever the reason, the historical material was a lulu. It made the story more alive and put the faces to the ideas. If you happen to be fazed quantum mechanics and its classical cousins at the very least you will get a good history lesson. I would recommend this to everyone.
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  • Deepak Pitaliya
    March 11, 2017
    4.5 stars actually.First of all my thanks to Scott for sharing the review copy with me. A very good book for all popular science book lovers. There are not many books which deal with energy,entropy and thermodynamics written for ordinary public. Book is written in a very simple language but subject matter sometimes is not as easy to understand specially towards end when Schrodinger's wave function appears. History part of progress made in science is most absorbing and one can see how much resear 4.5 stars actually.First of all my thanks to Scott for sharing the review copy with me. A very good book for all popular science book lovers. There are not many books which deal with energy,entropy and thermodynamics written for ordinary public. Book is written in a very simple language but subject matter sometimes is not as easy to understand specially towards end when Schrodinger's wave function appears. History part of progress made in science is most absorbing and one can see how much research author has done. Overall not only I enjoyed the book but also learned some interesting things, for example, I was surprised to find that concept of atoms and molecules existing physically was not accepted by so many scientists till as late as early 20th century.
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  • Eric Wurm
    April 26, 2017
    In attempting to make science available to everyone the chemical physicist Scott Bembenek thoroughly covers the history of physics for the lay person. While many physics books can be loaded with jargon and beyond the grasp of the non-physicist, "The Cosmic Machine" adeptly and deftly explains the methods behind the development of physics. Much like the show "Cosmos", this book covers many famous names and their work, such as Galileo, Christian Huygens, LaPlace, Bohr, Rutherford, Copernicus, Jame In attempting to make science available to everyone the chemical physicist Scott Bembenek thoroughly covers the history of physics for the lay person. While many physics books can be loaded with jargon and beyond the grasp of the non-physicist, "The Cosmic Machine" adeptly and deftly explains the methods behind the development of physics. Much like the show "Cosmos", this book covers many famous names and their work, such as Galileo, Christian Huygens, LaPlace, Bohr, Rutherford, Copernicus, James Clerk Maxwell, Democritus, Aristotle, Boltzmann, Leibniz, Avagadro, Newton, Einstein, Planck, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, et al. It's a veritable "Who's who" of chemistry and physics. Not only do we meet the game-changers in the evolution of the empirical sciences, but the book explains concepts in an accessible way. Topics covered include energy, conservation, force, matter, heat, atomic theory, philosophy of nature, Newtonian and quantum mechanics, and entropy. If you liked "Cosmos" but want to go a little more in depth, then this book is for you. For readers that have perused a diverse array of physics books, much of this may be a refreshing of topics you have covered before. For the physics reader that typically covers more modern material who wishes to know the history of the subject, this would be something to pick up. This is an excellent choice for the lay person with an interest in science who wishes to begin their education in physics. Since I've covered what the book is, I should also say what this book is not. It is not an ultra-modern reader in advanced topics. If you're looking for the latest particle physics from the Large Hadron Collider, a breakdown of string theory, an explanation of multiverse theory, or an argument about whether the passage of time is a real property of the universe, etc. then you'll want to look elsewhere. Even though this is Bembenek's first attempt as a science writer, he accomplishes his mission of making his work accessible to all with an interest. The book is well-written and organized into categories. It's not only something to read, but something you'll want to keep on the shelf as a reference. The table of contents is clear and concise, making it easy to go directly to a topic that one might wish to review or revisit. If one considers the goal of the author and the quality of the writing, then this work merits a high rating. Disclaimer: An electronic copy of this book was provided directly by the fine author free of charge for the purpose of advance review. Since this is an advance review copy, the material may have changed by the time it is released. Further disclaimer: Any author who provides me with a quality book free of charge will be referred to as a "fine author".
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  • Sam
    March 24, 2017
    The author kindly sent me a preview copy of this and I am so glad to have had the chance to read it. Having done A level physics and been constantly intrigued by the discoveries of the subject but frequently confused by the whole thing I was hoping that this would bring a bit of sense to it all. And it did just that. By focusing on four main areas and passing the information across as a story of discovery Bembenek makes the confusing and complicated understandable. He takes you through the first The author kindly sent me a preview copy of this and I am so glad to have had the chance to read it. Having done A level physics and been constantly intrigued by the discoveries of the subject but frequently confused by the whole thing I was hoping that this would bring a bit of sense to it all. And it did just that. By focusing on four main areas and passing the information across as a story of discovery Bembenek makes the confusing and complicated understandable. He takes you through the first theories and experiements for each subject area, showing the process followed and logic trail that each physicist went down. This breaks the whole lot down into smaller parts which makes the principles so much easier to follow and understand. There were still bits that I had to re-read a couple of times but that could well just be me as on the whole the writing kept things simple and explained everything it needed to. I think this would be enjoyable for anyone with an interest in the subject regardless of what level of background knowledge you have. And it still has all the formula, diagrams and indices that you would expect from a physics book, they're just referenced in a less scary manner.
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  • Mark
    June 17, 2017
    Thoroughly engaging. I particularly enjoyed the section on entropy; he did a great job making accessible a very difficult concept. And it's refreshing to learn some of the real stories behind these real people.
  • Sergey Batusov
    March 10, 2017
    I got a review copy of this book directly from the author. Although I’m more or less familiar with most physical concepts covered in this book, it was very interesting to read a consistent and almost mathematics-free explanation of the most fundamental conceptions that form the basis the modern physics was evolved from. Even more I was interested to read about actual scientists that developed these theories, how they influenced each other, how one discovery became a starting point for another, l I got a review copy of this book directly from the author. Although I’m more or less familiar with most physical concepts covered in this book, it was very interesting to read a consistent and almost mathematics-free explanation of the most fundamental conceptions that form the basis the modern physics was evolved from. Even more I was interested to read about actual scientists that developed these theories, how they influenced each other, how one discovery became a starting point for another, leading to the better understanding of the nature of matter.I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the main concepts of the modern physics and the history of science. Don’t be afraid, there is no much math in this book, used formulae aren’t complicated and are well explained. I really enjoyed this book. Many thanks to the author for the great book and for the chance to read it even before an official release.
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  • Shane Phillips
    March 1, 2017
    I enjoyed the book. While it may have more math in it than other similar books, the math is straight forward an explained very well. Thank you to the author for sharing a review copy.
  • Padmé
    December 1, 2016
    1st ebook excerpt: PART IV - Uncertainty: Quantum Mechanics - Chapter 15, The Quantum Atom: Revisiting the Atom// THE COSMIC MACHINE: The Science That Runs Our Universe and the Story Behind Itby Scott Bembenek (Goodreads Author)Paperback, First, 350 pagesExpected publication: June 2017 by Zoari PressDr. Bembenek, I just finished reading the above excerpt of your (nothing short of a) masterpiece. Literally, to say the least, am waiting eagerly to read the entire book. THE COSMIC MACHINE very much 1st ebook excerpt: PART IV - Uncertainty: Quantum Mechanics - Chapter 15, The Quantum Atom: Revisiting the Atom// THE COSMIC MACHINE: The Science That Runs Our Universe and the Story Behind Itby Scott Bembenek (Goodreads Author)Paperback, First, 350 pagesExpected publication: June 2017 by Zoari PressDr. Bembenek, I just finished reading the above excerpt of your (nothing short of a) masterpiece. Literally, to say the least, am waiting eagerly to read the entire book. THE COSMIC MACHINE very much accomplishes its mission: spark an interest in science via a captivating story as it relates to physics and chemistry. When I was lecturing @ uni (& subsequently in required academic counselor modes for students "randomly" assigned to me), I would have enthusiastically recommended THE COSMIC MACHINE to all students who were undecided in what studies to pursue. For that matter, to all students, in general. Although I'm already quite familiar with most of the topics described in this book, I was enthralled by the engaging presentation style and weave of the story. Hurry June, 2017!!! You cannot be thanked enough for all those years you labored with TLC (& OCD) on this book. Well, done, Dr. Bembenek!!
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  • Bita
    March 23, 2017
    For anyone who has a love for science and history, this book is a must read. It introduces readers to abstract topics in science and successfully discusses them in a simplified and captivating manner. The history that spans the book keeps the reader continuously intrigued even as the topics being discussed can be quite complex. Dr. Bembenek, however, does a phenomenal job of not only simplifying these complex topics but keeping the reader engaged at all times during this journey across time.
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  • John Keith
    July 30, 2017
    Dr. Bembenek’s The Cosmic Machine takes the reader on a fascinating journey that follows the evolution of our understanding of the universe in which we live. From early philosophers authoritatively declaring the nature of nature, to the first controlled experiments examining the most basic of physical phenomena. The struggle to define energy and how its conserved, and the enigma of entropy are all part of a narrative which eventually leads the reader to the smallest gears of the universal machin Dr. Bembenek’s The Cosmic Machine takes the reader on a fascinating journey that follows the evolution of our understanding of the universe in which we live. From early philosophers authoritatively declaring the nature of nature, to the first controlled experiments examining the most basic of physical phenomena. The struggle to define energy and how its conserved, and the enigma of entropy are all part of a narrative which eventually leads the reader to the smallest gears of the universal machine; the bizarre and counterintuitive world of quantum mechanics.In addition to describing the progression of the physical sciences, Dr. Bembenek adds historic context to the discoveries as well as perspective regarding the general intellectual biases of the time. Additionally, the author included numerous footnotes that contribute to the flavor and depth of our understanding of the time periods and key scientific personalities described in, or peripheral to, the body of the text.As told, the story of the physical sciences is rife with cautionary messages concerning intellectual authoritarianism, unreasonable attachment to ideas, and being wrong. Throughout history, philosophers and scientists conceived and developed concepts that were ultimately unsupported by data. The tenacity with which many have clung to their intellectual creations, and in some cases actively sabotaged or buried the work of rivals, is a testament to the difficulty humans experience in being wrong, and that even the brightest of minds aren’t immune to vanity and insecurity. Such behavior has repeatedly been an impediment to scientific progression. Hopefully, budding scientists reading this work will absorb this message and learn to carefully evaluate data based on its quality, and not dogma or their biases.In all, The Cosmic Machine is a gripping and thought-provoking read for science enthusiasts. I look forward to future works by Dr. Bembenek.
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  • Steve Pauls
    June 30, 2017
    This review is based on an advanced copy provided by the author. Writing a science book pitched at the general audience is often a difficult task. The author, Scott Bembenek, of “The Cosmic Machine” does a wonderful job of drawing the reader in by telling the story of the major concepts in physics through its historical figures. From Democritus to Galileo and Newton to Schrodinger the story of “interesting ideas” in science emerges in front of your eyes as he weaves together a comprehensive, acc This review is based on an advanced copy provided by the author. Writing a science book pitched at the general audience is often a difficult task. The author, Scott Bembenek, of “The Cosmic Machine” does a wonderful job of drawing the reader in by telling the story of the major concepts in physics through its historical figures. From Democritus to Galileo and Newton to Schrodinger the story of “interesting ideas” in science emerges in front of your eyes as he weaves together a comprehensive, accessible narrative for the reader. There is something here for everyone interested in the science of our universe. You do not have to be a science major to appreciate these everyday concepts and ideas. As Isaac Newton is attributed to saying, “We stand on the shoulders of giants” and this book will help you understand the historical puzzle of how these overlapping concepts were pieced together by scientists over time. If you are a science major, or happen to teach science it is through the lens of history these physics topics will take on a new textured meaning given the reader a new “frame of reference” to appreciate the universe in which we live. The Cosmic Machine: The Science That Runs Our Universe and the Story Behind It
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  • Pauljames Dimitriu
    July 28, 2017
    This book is a great read for anyone who has a passion for science and history. When you come across the title, you automatically think this book is only for those with PhD's (and me with only a Master's degree) This is not true. Scott presents all of his information in a way the average person can understand thus making this a very easy read while very much respecting the source material. Rather than giving a detail of only science, Scott introduces the user to the history of the discoveries, w This book is a great read for anyone who has a passion for science and history. When you come across the title, you automatically think this book is only for those with PhD's (and me with only a Master's degree) This is not true. Scott presents all of his information in a way the average person can understand thus making this a very easy read while very much respecting the source material. Rather than giving a detail of only science, Scott introduces the user to the history of the discoveries, which makes both subjects come to life.I highly recommend this book.
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  • Laura
    May 20, 2017
    Review based on an preview copy provided by the author.The author presents a good overview of physics and physical chemistry with some history thrown in, written for a general audience. I don't know how well the reader would be able to follow along without already having a background in science, though. I think they might drift away after a while.One slightly irritating aspect of the book was the tremendous amount of footnotes. I felt they interrupted the flow of the text and didn't always provi Review based on an preview copy provided by the author.The author presents a good overview of physics and physical chemistry with some history thrown in, written for a general audience. I don't know how well the reader would be able to follow along without already having a background in science, though. I think they might drift away after a while.One slightly irritating aspect of the book was the tremendous amount of footnotes. I felt they interrupted the flow of the text and didn't always provide a worthwhile tidbit.
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  • Jim
    July 31, 2017
    Had an opportunity to read an advanced copy! LOVED it! Scott uses language easy to understand and engages the reader to make you want to know more. Thanks Scott for sending me the book!
  • Feroz Khan Hamid
    January 28, 2017
    I got this book as a review copy, and thanks to Scott for that. I've read many books on the topics traversed through this book, but most of them explain the equation parts of it too technically and claim they are in layman's terms. This book was the first that actually did explain them in a way that I understand, and I felt it really did open up a small, though significant world to me. It really does a good job of going through different relevant scientists and splitting the work they did and th I got this book as a review copy, and thanks to Scott for that. I've read many books on the topics traversed through this book, but most of them explain the equation parts of it too technically and claim they are in layman's terms. This book was the first that actually did explain them in a way that I understand, and I felt it really did open up a small, though significant world to me. It really does a good job of going through different relevant scientists and splitting the work they did and the way they influenced each other. The way it is 'narrated' did actually feel easier for the mind, so much infact I decided to go ahead and read many books I shelved to read at a later date when I'm able to understand them better. Thanks again for the book, and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the scientific journey of physical sciences in a very interesting way. Really happy I decided and read this
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  • Nick Evergates
    April 9, 2017
    The Cosmic Machine is a great read for anyone who is interested in having a better understanding of the science of the universe and the history behind the science. Recommended for novices and experts alike. Bembenek does a good job of staying within the bounds of appealing to avid science readers while keeping the concepts palatable for the newbie.
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  • Frank Axe
    July 8, 2017
    The Cosmic Machine presents the pivotal theoretical advances in science that have occurred in the past Century or two that are the foundation of much of today’s modern understanding of the principles that guide the universe like a machine. It not only describes the key theories but why they are relevant to today’s world. Furthermore, the text provides a historical and chronological view of the events that shaped these theories and the lives that brought them into focus for the first time.Bembene The Cosmic Machine presents the pivotal theoretical advances in science that have occurred in the past Century or two that are the foundation of much of today’s modern understanding of the principles that guide the universe like a machine. It not only describes the key theories but why they are relevant to today’s world. Furthermore, the text provides a historical and chronological view of the events that shaped these theories and the lives that brought them into focus for the first time.Bembenek tells these stories in a matter of fact way that is not only didactic but captivating for the reader. In particular his chapters on quantum theory provides the essential description of the theory, including equations when necessary, but often includes the personal details of the lives of those who built these theories. I did not know Erwin Schrodinger suffered from tuberculosis while he was developing the famous wave equation that bears his name.It is this combination of description and story telling that makes this book a great read for both scientists and non-scientists. I highly recommend it.
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