I finished the book The End of Everything (Astronomically Speaking) by Katie Mack. I got a Kindle copy on sale on Amazon at the top of the year, figured it was a good way to kick off a year of hopefully reading more books. This is a short review.
I figure it’s probably not a spoiler to tell you the book is all about how the universe ends. Or at least, the many possible ways it could end. The book gives a surface-level walkthrough of what we know about the nature, history and future of our universe through the lenses of physics and cosmology.
It took me more than a couple of weeks to get through the book, as each chapter does discuss some challenging topics and I wanted to make sure I mostly got my head around it before continuing. I suspect those with less background in the sciences might have a bit of trouble with the text, but the author tries her best to not be too complicated (which can be challenging given the subject matter).
Not that the text or prose is boring mind you. The author spices things up with a few humorous jabs here and there, although it might depend on your sense of humor. The author’s wit reminds me a bit of British-style humor, like in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so YMMV.
If you are able to power through the book, you are rewarded with a fascinating view of the current state of our knowledge of physics and cosmology, of how far we’ve come and much we still don’t know and how much there is yet to be discovered. Perhaps those who have not much background in science will come away with a deeper understanding of how scientific theories are formed, improved, discarded, iterated upon, and so on. I came away with a better understanding of things like the cosmic background radiation, dark matter, dark energy, and so on. Fascinating stuff.
Overall, I’d recommend the book to anyone with even a passing interest in physics. And even if you didn’t have such an interest, you could try it anyway, and maybe that will change.