A break down of the great debate over the Big Bang and the continuing quest to understand the fate of the universe. 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.
Halpern skillfully brings [Gamow and Hoyle's] fascinating stories to light ... Halpern also poses fundamental questions about how science should be done ... Throughout the book, Halpern provides many helpful metaphors and analogies ... Halpern doesn’t shy away from the characters’ flaws. In particular, he shows how Hoyle’s work later in life lay on the fringes of physics.
An expert and entertaining account of the first great controversy in cosmology ... Halpern’s nuanced biographies give equal space to [his subject's] other accomplishments, which were not only important, but Nobel-worthy ... Two iconic scientists come together in an outstanding dual biography.
[An] uneven survey ... Halpern provides an ample grounding in physics, astronomy, and quantum mechanics to allow general readers to grasp the complexities of the competing theories. But while he shows how each scientist held a crucial missing piece for the other...he’s less successful in bringing his principle subjects to life, and offers relatively little insight into their personalities or what made them tick ... Those looking for a colorful biography won’t find it here, but Halpern’s treatment of a critical period in science makes this worthwhile for readers interested in the history of physics.