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Richard Osborne
The Universe
122 pages
Little introduction to the enormous subject of the galaxy. A rather poignant guide to the universe in a mere 122 pages.

Richard Osborne's style is relentlessly chatty and cheery. "This is the funny thing," he says. "Here we are wafting around in the middle of nowhere and we try to make the Universe fit our bug-eyed small-brained view of everything." Or "Thales of Anaximander is credited with pointing out that an eclipse of the sun was not a mystical thing but probably due to the movement of the planets - and bingo! you have the beginnings of a scientific theory of the Universe." Or again, in a breathtaking series of mixed metaphors, "Space is like the glue in which time sloshes about and sometimes it sticks in different ways; it gets bedy like when you're really really drunk."

However, if this sort of writing is the glue in which difficult concepts slosh about and somehow get stuck in the mind of the timid lay reader, that must be to the good. Since "in the last 50 years, almost everything people had thought about the nature of the Universe has proved to be wrong", therer is the excitement of some very open-ended questions. Richard Osborne has the frankness to admit that he can do no more than introduce the various scientific and intellectual controversies.

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