Listen in: How the Universe Got Its Spots

Listen in: How the Universe Got Its Spots

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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 to Chapter 1.

About the Author

Janna Levin is professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University and director of sciences at Pioneer Works, a nonprofit cultural center in Brooklyn. Her books include Black Hole BluesBlack Hole Survival Guide, and a prize-winning novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. She presented NOVA’s Black Hole Apocalypse and has delivered iconic stories at The Moth and TED.