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The View From the Center of the Universe : Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos

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A world-renowned astrophysicist and a science philosopher present a new, scientifically supported understanding of the universe, one that will forever change readers personal relationship with the cosmos. Illustrations.

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A world-renowned astrophysicist and a science philosopher present a new, scientifically supported understanding of the universe, one that will forever change readers personal relationship with the cosmos. Illustrations. In this strikingly original book, a world-renowned cosmologist and an innovative writer of the history and philosophy of science uncover an astonishing truth: Humans actually are central to the universe. What does this mean for our culture and our personal lives? The answer is revolutionary: a science-based cosmology that allows us to understand the universe as a whole and our extraordinary place in it.


Penguin Publishing Group
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Nancy Ellen Abrams, Joel R. Primack
Publication Date
August, 2007
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.01 x 1.06 Inches

Customer Reviews

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1-4 of 4 reviews

Joel Primack and his w...

Joel Primack and his wife Nancy do a great job of showing Cosmology in its present form, emphasizing that it is more optimistic than it's ever been. There is a good discussion of Egyptian cosmology involving Nun, Nut, Isis/Sirius, Osiris/Orion, the annual floods, and the birth of geometry. They also discuss cosmic inflation, eternal inflation, the ouroboros, dark matter, dark energy, element evolution, life evolution, human evolution, the cosmiic horizon, benevolent chaos, and angular momentum's counterbalancing of thermodynamic rundown. Their main point is that mankind appears to have an incredibly central place in it all. A big takeaway for me was their revelation of conceptual mistakes based on an ignorance of the importance of scale. To wit, just as a universe is not like a galaxy and a galaxy is not like a solar system, so too humanity is not like a nation, a nation is not like a family, and a family is not like a person. Ignoring scale is ignoring reality, and leads to all sorts of problems. But the biggest was this: the fundamental behavior of the universe has been to grow in complexity.

The authors believe th...

The authors believe that their 21st century readers have lost their way because we don't have a valid cosmology to tell us where we've come from (and presumably where we're going). They give a good summary of Egyptian, Hebrew and Greek cosmologies as an introduction to producing a scientific cosmology based on recent astrophysics research. I found their explanations of dark matter, dark energy, expansion of the universe, etc helpful. I haven't finished yet but my biggest disappointment is their assumption that none of their readers hold a (valid) cosmology.

This is a visionary bo...

This is a visionary book that sets out to change the world by changing how we see our place in the universe, by changing peoples attitudes about the metaphors and stories we use to describe the universe and mans place in it. Instead of seeing ourselves in entrenched Newtonian existential terms (a small rock circling a small star in an average galaxy in a nearly infinite scale universe where nothing that humans do matters in the big picture like a lone plankton floating in the ocean), the authors re-position earth and humans to a central importance, supported by the latest science findings. Incredibly, they make a convincing case, and along the way educate the reader about the latest scientific findings in cosmology. The idea of mans centrality to the universe has been the norm for most of history - the medieval model, Egyptian cosmology, etc.. all saw man and earth at the center of the universe - the first third of the book discusses this. It was with Newtonian physics that our place in the center was over-turned. But incredibly in the past 10-15 years its become apparent we really are at the center - depending on your perspective, as discussed in the middle portion of the book - 1)We are made of the rarest material in the universe (visible matter) 2) We live in the center of a "Cosmic Sphere of Time" (every point in the universe is physically in the middle because there is no middle of the universe) 3) We live in a mid-point of time - most nearby galaxy's are middle age 4) We live in the middle of all possible sizes - there are 14 orders of magnitude difference between the smallest and largest, we are in the middle 5) We live at the mid-point in the age of our planet. 6) We live at a turning point for our species when population and environmental questions are raising serious questions about sustainability. The last third of the book becomes more subjective about going forward into the future how we can change our attitude about the universe to be more optimistic and meaningful: "The choice of attitude is not a casual one.. cosmology is not a game it has the power to overturn fundamental institutions of society.. Once we made this mental shift and opened our eyes to the view from the center of the universe.. it evoked the opposite emotions from the existential stance-not despair but hope, not resignation but excitement. These may be arbitrary emotions, but they lead to non-arbitrary actions."

One of my favorite boo...

One of my favorite books on cosmology.

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Electrode, Comp-805467514, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-13, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-72546e76-e60-16e889b557c5e9, Generated: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 11:38:31 GMT