Something or Nothing: A Search for My Personal Theory of Everything by Anthony Marson
|Something or Nothing: A Search for My Personal Theory of Everything by Anthony Marson|
|Category: Popular Science|
|Reviewer: Peter Magee|
|Summary: A search for the answer to the perennial question of why we are here and what it all means. Difficult concepts discussed in an entertaining way. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 104||Date: March 2017|
|Publisher: Melrose Books|
Most thinking people have their own theory of the meaning of the universe, and of why they - we - exist within it. It's a natural extension to wonder whether life was created, or, if not created, how was life formed? In Something or Nothing Anthony Marson develops his own theories. The journey began when the author was on a touring holiday in Tasmania, gazed up at a clear night sky and asked himself how and why all the stars came to exist. Although this subject has been explored countless times by scientists, theologians and philosophers, Marson wanted an answer which satisfied him and he begins his search by quite openly admitting that he has only a limited scientific education. It was good to know - for once - that I was on the same footing as the author and we could explore together.
Most people have heard of the concept of the Big Bang but terms such as 'the Big Crunch', 'Big Freeze' and 'Big Rip' were all new to me but were explained in sufficient detail: I had several lightbulb moments and all are intriguing theories as to how the universe will progress. Perhaps the clearest explanation for me came when Marson was discussing matter and antimatter ,subjects which I had previously preferred to think existed only in science fiction, but the author tells me that I'm wrong. All became clear when the analogy of double-entry bookkeeping was used. In other words, everything must lead to zero in the end.
The author discusses what existed before Big Bang. Cosmologists and physicists will disagree. Put simply, did nothing exist before Big Bang, or did something exist? Did time exist? Marson cannot comprehend nothingness and I have great sympathy for his approach. He touches on quite tricky subjects such as subatomic particles and quantum mechanics and I confess that I found these concepts challenging, but eventually the meaning became clear. He also discusses religious theories of the beginnings of the universe and contrasts these with beliefs held by other cultures. No one, including scientists have found a definitive answer.
It was also refreshing to find that the book was interspersed with amusing asides, for example whilst Marson explained what he was hoping to achieve to his wife, she was more interested in planning the remodelling of the garden. This is an author who takes what he's doing seriously, but doesn't take himself too seriously, not least because his wife might require his help in the garden.
You will be intrigued by Marson's own choices of probabilities at the end of the book - but these you should read for yourself.
It's a short book and given the subject a surprisingly easy read for a non-scientist, but perhaps its greatest attribute is that it's inspirational. I found that my mind had delved into long-unexplored corners and I'm determined to find out more and expand my knowledge. There's a helpful section of notes for reference at the end of the book and I was delighted to find a usable index. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
One of the books which Marsons recommends for further reading is Why Does E Equal mc Squared? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.
You can read more about Anthony Marson here
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You can read more book reviews or buy Something or Nothing: A Search for My Personal Theory of Everything by Anthony Marson at Amazon.com.
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