Earlier this year, I was asked to review Ethan Siegel’s, upcoming book Beyond the Galaxy, shown in figure 1. I got an advanced copy and dug in and I really loved what I found. With Ethan’s permission, I wanted to repost my review here so you can all read it.
The history of science is filled with ideas that were once compelling, but have since been ruled out by empirical evidence. Ethan Siegel’s Beyond the Galaxy understands this fundamental truth of science. With eloquence and clarity, Siegel tells us the story of the universe, from the (inferred) cosmic inflation and the Big Bang at the very beginning to the (predicted) Big Freeze at the very end. In the process, Siegel also tells us the story of the sciences that study the universe.
Many authors describe how we learned that obsolete ideas like geocentrism and tired light are wrong. However, Siegel also illustrates why these ideas were widely accepted in the first place: They explained the world well. Given the limited knowledge of their time, they were good ideas.
And modern science is just as susceptible to revision. Siegel speculates about how our current best ideas may be wrong and enthusiastically describes the mysteries that plague us. In doing so, Siegel teaches readers about both the study of cosmology and the nature of scientific inquiry. Beyond the Galaxy is one of those rare books that not only communicates scientific ideas, but communicates what science itself is all about.
Whet your appetite?
As far as I’m aware, you can’t buy Ethan’s book yet. But here’s the links anyway.