Books

Short works

Books : reviews

Lisa Randall.
Knocking on Heaven's Door: how physics and scientific thinking illuminate the universe.
Vintage. 2011

We are poised on the edge of discovery in particle physics (the study of the smallest objects we know of) and cosmology (the study of the largest), and when these breakthroughs come, they will revolutionise what we think we know about the universe, and the modern world.

Lisa Randall guides us through the latest ideas, charting the thrilling progress we have made in understanding the universe – from Galileo and Newton to Einstein and the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Yet it’s about more than just physics – Randall explains how we decide what questions to ask; how risk, beauty, creativity and truth play a role in scientific thinking, and how answering the big questions will ultimately tell us who we are and where we came from.

Lisa Randall.
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: the astounding interconnectedness of the universe.
Vintage. 2015

66 million years ago, a ten-mile-wide object from outer space hurtled into the Earth at incredible speed. The impact annihilated the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. But what if this catastrophe was the sign of something greater: an opening vista onto the interconnectedness of the universe itself?

This is the story of the astounding forces that underpin our existence; a horizon-expanding tour of the cosmos that unifies what we know about the universe with new thinking. From the far-flung reaches of space, the makeup of the universe and our solar system’s place within it, to the mysterious and elusive stuff of dark matter and how it affects life here on Earth.