This may sound a little off the wall, but bear with me. I have always had an interest in science, probably going back to my teen years as a sci-fi geek, and realizing that the greats created their tales by extrapolating from actual scientific phenomena. Besides reading books by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Phillip K. Dick - I was also quite intrigued by science fiction on TV, especially Star Trek.
Then there was the rise of “pop science.“ Carl Sagan’s enormously successful Cosmos is one example of this. Later, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was published to wide acclaim. Here’s the embarrassing part. I have been watching the sit-com The Big Bang Theory lately, and have learned that the incredibly complex equations they use at times are vetted by physicists to make sure that they are absolutely valid. The knowledge to actually understand this stuff is something I would love to have, but they represent a world that is light-years beyond my comprehension. I guess majoring in English was not exactly the route to go if I ever wanted to grasp quantum mechanics.
Still, while watching the predictable, (if generally humorous) escapades of these super-smart people, my interest in “real” science has been piqued. With this in mind, I happened upon Martin Bojowald’s new book Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe (Vintage) and was instantly intrigued.
Bojowald’s main thrust is a bold new theory of the origins and direction of the universe. Even with my limited scientific knowledge, I realize that this is a departure from the Big Bang theory. Making material that is this complex understandable to a mook like myself is quite a task, but Mr. Bojowald does a good job.