MixedWall Street JournalScientists are obstinate creatures, however, especially when faced with unanswered questions...The dogged persistence of physicists and astronomers facing a seemingly insurmountable task is the underlying theme of Mr. Schilling’s latest work, The Elephant in the Universe: Our Hundred-Year Search for Dark Matter...Across 25 chapters, each devoted to a specific observation or experiment seeking clues to dark matter’s existence or composition, Mr. Schilling, who has previously written about the discovery of exoplanets and gravitational waves, presents an impressively comprehensive birds-eye view of a research topic that is both many decades established and yet still at the very cutting edge of astronomy and physics...I would have also liked to have seen more discussion of how a scientific consensus is reached—why exactly so many physicists are so convinced dark matter is real, despite the fact that a smoking-gun particle has yet to be detected...Taking only the astrophysical evidence for dark matter’s existence, which is both compelling and, unfortunately, all we have to go on, it’s quite possible that dark matter will remain undetectable...Yet even if all the experiments come up empty, it won’t make the existing data go away...Putting aside these issues, if you’re after a non-technical overview of why dark matter is so important and what we’ve been doing all this time to try to understand it, The Elephant in the Universe will fit the bill...What it will not and cannot do is provide a thrilling, climactic story arc or even a moderately satisfying conclusion...Dark matter is a fascinating mystery to wrestle with, but it is also deeply frustrating in its uncertainty and the seeming lack of progress toward an answer.
RaveThe San Francisco Book ReviewMack explains each possible ending with plenty of detail but also in very clear language and plenty of comparisons and metaphors to make it as understandable and digestible as possible. I can honestly say my mind was blown at one point by an apparent paradox that Mack elucidated brilliantly. Plus, once you understand Vacuum Decay, you also get to know that our universe could wink out of existence at any moment. At only two hundred and forty pages, this book is a great stocking stuffer!