PositiveThe Wall Street JournalTwo things make the book stand out, apart from the clear and accessible writing that we have come to expect from Mr. Halpern. First, it rehabilitates the steady-state idea, which is sometimes looked back on with the benefit of hindsight as a cranky notion that flew in the face of the evidence. Far from it: The two rival cosmologies were for a long time on an approximately equal footing, and until the early 1960s the evidence tilted the balance in favor of the steady state. The historical perspective of Flashes of Creation highlights the importance of debating scientific issues and not jumping to premature conclusions. The second stand-out feature of this book deals with the way ideas were developed in those simpler days, only a couple of generations ago, when important insights could come from individuals essentially working alone ... The main problem with Flashes of Creation is that it is far too short to do justice to such a big story, and this is presumably the reason why some of its details are handled rather superficially ... a readable and mostly accurate account of one of the most significant eras in the development of our understanding of the universe. But independent of its actual subject matter, the most important message to take away is that science proceeds not as an orderly progression of insights and discoveries, but as an often messy confrontation with the complexity of the universe.
PanNew Scientist... neither the best book about the search for a unified theory, nor the first. Nor is it by any means the worst; but that simply isn’t good enough when following a path that has been so well trodden by the likes of Paul Davies, John Barrow and Steven Weinberg ... Lindley offers us an absolutely standard account of modern physics ... reads very well as a quick overview of modern physics, but it contains nothing new, and it omits many details which some might regard as rather important.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMs. Levin is herself a scientist, which explains her access, but more than that she is a writer rather than a scientist who writes. Her book touches only lightly upon the nuts and bolts of the theory and technology, but it contains enough to satisfy the reader’s interest in how such measurements can be made. It is more about the people, personalities and politics involved in getting such an expensive and long-gestating (four decades and counting) project to fruition.