Reviewer Ian H Redmount is disappointed with The Universe, complaining that it contains “glaring errors of facts and interpretation,” involves “enthusiastic and uncritical acceptance of some questionable ideas and some unfettered speculation,” and neglects the renaissance in scientific cosmology driven by advances in observing technology.
Science is increasingly able to address big questions like why is there something instead of nothing, reviewer Gordon Kane contends, and A Universe from Nothing offers a “basically fair and critically impartial” treatment of such progress: “The reader can learn about the developments and issues, and in general should assume that the situation in theoretical physics is at least as promising as Krauss suggests,” although Kane suggests that Krauss somewhat underestimates string theory and the idea of the multiv
“The underlying theme of Life’s Ratchet is how random thermodynamic fluctuations at the molecular level (what Hoffmann calls the ‘molecular storm’) are harnessed by molecular machines—biomolecules such as molecular motors, enzymes, and DNA—to generate the ‘purposeful motion’ that characterizes living cells,” writes reviewer Sonya Bahar, who praises the book as “a singular achievement,” adding, “The idea of an essential tension between chance and necessity has been explored before, … but I have never seen it
“The central thesis of this elegant manifesto is not unfamiliar: the impact of human population growth and ‘wasteful consumption’ on the biological diversity of our planet has been nothing short of disastrous,” writes the reviewer for The New Yorker.
Composed as a series of letters to a Southern Baptist pastor, The Creation tries to rally the resources of both science and religion in the service of maintaining biodiversity. “I suggest that we set aside our differences in order to save the Creation,” Wilson pleads. “The defense of living Nature is a universal value. It doesn’t rise from, nor does it promote, any religious or ideological dogma.
Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts and Company, 2007. 480 pages.
Peter R. Grant writes, "Trevor Price takes up the challenge to explain how birds speciate, and succeeds magnificently. It is a comprehensive review of all the major ideas, beautifully illustrated with pictures of birds. More than 1300 works are cited, but more impressive is the range of subjects, from genetics to biogeography, from the reconstruction of phylogeny to ecology and the causes of reproductive isolation, all discussed with admirable clarity.
San Francisco (CA): W. H. Freeman, 2005. 720 pages.
The leading textbook in its field, now in its third edition, Ornithology begins, appropriately, with a section on origins, discussing the diversity of birds, their evolutionary history, and their systematics. "The power of evolution by natural selection is the central theme of this book," Gill explains.
The companion volume to the NOVA special, Origins astonishingly compresses the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, in 288 fascinating pages. Michio Kaku describes it as "a remarkable text which is bound to set the gold standard for cosmology book for years to come.