Regular price: £20.29

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

The gifted young cosmologist Janna Levin sets out to determine the size of the universe, along the way providing an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist. Nimbly synthesizing geometry, topology, and chaos and string theories, Levin shows how the pattern of hot and cold spots left over from the Big Bang may one day reveal the size and shape of the cosmos. She does so with such originality, lucidity, and even poetry, that How the Universe Got Its Spots becomes a thrilling and deeply personal communication between a scientist and the lay listener.
©2002 Janna Levin (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Lovely and utterly original....makes a reader long to meet the author." ( American Scientist)
"[A] gift to those people who want to think big but came to a screeching halt about two dozen pages into... A Brief History of Time." ( Discover)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nothing like the book I expected

There is very little science in this book, it is mostly dull travelogue about the author's life in the UK and California. Nothing necessarily wrong with that but there are much better writers in that genre.

The narrator was weirdly robotic, making the long sections about the shape of the author's boyfriend's hands (!) even more painful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for wendy
  • wendy
  • 30-08-11

Loved this story

I went in looking for a lot of hard physics, since the previous audiobook I'd listened to was "The Black Hole War". This touched on some physics, but not a lot - it was mostly a story of Janna Levin's life in CA and England. As a woman engineer, it was interesting to hear from another woman scientist about conferences, and career/family tradeoffs, and so forth. It's written as a series of letters to her mother, which was a neat way to present it.

The story's presentation was pretty neat. The narrator did a very good job, it was very approachable and lyrical.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robert
  • Robert
  • 06-11-09

Original, Entertaining and Informative

I've read several of the books that Dr. Levin references in this book so I was a little worried that this one might be a tiresome rehash of these previous works. Not so! Dr. Levin's explanation of even the more predictable topics (Flatland) are new and interesting. I found her discussion of topology particularly enlightening. The narration was also first rate. Ms. Williams didn't just read the text, she rendered an interpretation of the work that captures the passion that Dr. Levin clearly brings to her work.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 17-01-10

Good for the non-techical listener

This is an odd book. The book tells the story of cosmology to the author’s mom (non-scientist) mom blending that story with stories of her life. I found little new or interesting in this book. The level and tone might be perfect for non-technical listeners.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Danny
  • Danny
  • 30-08-11

More art than science...

More art than science, but art for those with some understanding of the science. And I think that may have been the author's intent. I expected science, but credit the author for doing well that which she chose to do.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-11-17

good story, irritating narration

Cleverly written, weaving a personal journal with lessons about the universe in a way that's not too difficult to understand but not dumbed down too much either. Levin is likeable and interesting, like the Patti Smith of the astrophysics world. At first I liked the narrator's voice but as book went on, the super emotive style really grated on my nerves. I know she's trying to sound like she's talking naturally to a friend, but the change in intonation from sentence to sentence is distracting. In the end I bought the actual book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William
  • William
  • 26-01-15

interesting but....

cool scientist with depressing boyfriend problems. get over it girl !! its a bummer when super smart and talented women become "mothers" of weakling boyfriends... theres wayyyy to much of that in this book. its a very frustrating sidestory with a deplorable ending.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful