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  • Flashes of Creation

  • George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate
  • By: Paul Halpern
  • Narrated by: David Stifel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Flashes of Creation cover art

Flashes of Creation

By: Paul Halpern
Narrated by: David Stifel
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Summary

A respected physics professor and author breaks down the great debate over the big bang and the continuing quest to understand the fate of the universe.

Today, the big bang is so entrenched in our understanding of the cosmos that to doubt it would seem crazy. But as Paul Halpern shows in Flashes of Creation, just decades ago its mere mention caused sparks to fly. At the center of the debate were Russian American physicist George Gamow and British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. Gamow insisted that a fiery explosion explained how the elements of the universe were created. Attacking the idea as half-baked, Hoyle countered that the universe was engaged in a never-ending process of creation. The battle was fierce. In the end, Gamow turned out to be right - mostly - and Hoyle, along with his many achievements, is remembered for giving the theory the silliest possible name: "the big bang". Halpern captures the brilliance of both thinkers and reminds us that even those proved wrong have much to teach us about boldness, imagination, and the universe itself.

©2021 Paul Halpern (P)2021 Basic Books

Critic reviews

"Paul Halpern’s Flashes of Creation introduces us to the human side of the Big Bang: the debate about whether it happened and the effort to develop a consistent mathematical description of the early universe. Flashes of Creation is an engaging look at an important moment in the history of cosmology, and in the era of big data and large, diverse collaborations, it is a valuable retrospective of a distinctly 20th century approach to fundamental physics." (Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, author of The Disordered Cosmos)

"Cosmology today is an established and exciting science, but in the mid-twentieth century it was looked at as somewhat disreputable. This engrossing book tells the story of the two audacious physicists who had the courage to envision the universe as a whole, disagreeing with each other but shaping our modern view of the cosmos." (Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden)

"An astute and deeply researched account of the argument between two of the most colorful characters in twentieth-century science, about the true nature of literally everything in existence. Flashes of Creation shows scientists at their most human, as they struggle to unravel riddles of cosmic importance." (Philip Ball, author of Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics Is Different)

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