Physics & Astronomy

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space

Mixing memoir and visionary science, a leading astrophysicist’s groundbreaking personal account of her life and ideas


Published (US):
Jan 10, 2023
Published (UK):
Mar 7, 2023
5.25 x 8 in.
68 b/w illus.
Physics & Astronomy
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Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, cosmologist Janna Levin announces the central theme of this book, which established her as one of the most direct, unorthodox, and creative voices in contemporary science. As Levin sets out to determine how big “really big” may be, she offers a rare intimate look at the daily life of an innovative physicist, complete with jet lag and the tensions between personal relationships and the extreme demands of scientific exploration. Nimbly explaining geometry, topology, chaos, and string theory, Levin shows how the pattern of hot and cold spots left over from the big bang may one day reveal the size of the cosmos. The result is a thrilling story of cosmology by one of its leading thinkers.

Listen in: How the Universe Got Its Spots