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Summary

From the hosts of the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme comes this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels - a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms.

Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince take the musings of the great and the good of British science, producing an insight into the multifaceted subjects involved in building a universe, with pearls of wisdom from leading scientists and comedians peppered throughout.

Covering thousands of concepts and conundrums, they tackle everything from the big bang to parallel universes, fierce creatures to extraterrestrial life, brain science to artificial intelligence. Bringing together the best, most unusual and hilarious of the inquisitive minds that help us shape and understand our world, from Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dara Ó Briain to Sir Patrick Stewart, Tim Minchin, Stephen Fry and more, How to Build a Universe is an illuminating and inspirational celebration of science - sometimes silly, sometimes astounding and very occasionally facetious.

©2017 Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"A witty and irreverent look at the world according to science." ( Independent)
"Cox's romantic, lyrical approach to astrophysics all adds up to an experience that feels less like homework and more like having a story told to you. A really good story, too." ( Guardian)
"He bridges the gap between our childish sense of wonder and a rather more professional grasp of the scale of things." ( Independent)

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What listeners say about How to Build a Universe

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Must listen to the entire book - brilliant

The book stumbles a bit in the beginning, and you start to wonder if it’s going to be any good, as the book starts with a lengthy comedy bit which is a bit half-baked (hence only 4 stars. But once they get into the meat of the science it is a really great book to listen to. I particularly like the way they present the information so that a lay person can understand it without dumbing it down. I also like the discussions about the need to be skeptical of the pseudo sciences, and the deep analysis that Brian makes on the scientific methods and why they are important. From the Big Bang to the heat-death of the universe in the unimaginably distant future, it’s all covered. I’m a fan of the monkey cage podcasts, and I’m glad I’ve bought this book too. Gonna start at the beginning again and enjoy it once more

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Should be mandatory.

Some of this is a bit flippant and jokey. And I don't mind that at all.

But there are many key ideas about how science works and the human endeavour to expand and explore, that I feel charging for this isn't ideal. It's preaching to the choir. This stuff (choice quotes of, at least) should be part of any science curriculum.

I'd have no hesitation to recomend it to anyone with an interest in anything cosmological or scientific.

But I'd love to force flat-Earthers and the recent black hole deniers to listen, contemplate, and consider their position given the content of this book.

Because this stuff is, I feel, monumentally important. And (jokes aside) very serious in today's world.

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Fascinating and hilarious

An absolute treat for fans of Infinite Monkey Cage, both Brian Cox and Robert Ince contribute to this audiobook, bringing extra levels of humour to an already brilliant view on modern physics. Even illustrated sections of the book are described or acted out, often with hilarious consequences. The details of the science aren't glossed over, but Brian's talent for making these tricky concepts easier to grasp mixed with Robert's light hearted take on them make this a very informative and enjoyable read for both newcomers and more advanced readers alike

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Realtín

Stellar performances and as hugely entertaining as the show. The comic strip descriptions are class!

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Complex and Simple

Brian had a knack of being able to explain complex subjects in a refreshing way that can be more easily understood. Of course, some of it still went over my head, but I enjoyed listening to the whole thing. It’s well delivered, informative, funny and entertaining. I’d never heard their Monkey Cage show before, but am now searching it out to listen to them some more.

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Engrossing

I really didn’t fancy this seeing as it was podcast. I am really glad I bought it though and it is up there with some of the best listening in the STEM audiobook range. Professor Cox is just as soft on the ear whilst demanding attention and intrigue simultaneously as ever.

Talking points are were interesting ranging from quantum field theory to people dressing up in Bigfoot costumes with glass eyes. Can’t recommend it enough, especially with the added humour to break up the sometimes difficult subjects in a ver well compact and comprehend able way.

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Sjhdhdyshwhevdhsusjhe

Well It appears these monkeys were not the lucky ones. Oh. Well that’s a shame.

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thank you

astonishing amazing helped me through the pandemic. I thank you robin and cox. x x

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A superb explanation of everything

Both Professor Cox and Robin Ince provide humour and context to a tricky subject. Approached with a serious side too it brings into focus the fragility of life, the futility of life but highlights how lucky we are to be right here right now. A wonderful enlightening listen.

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Space time and mind bendingly good

Fans of The Infinite Monkey Cage will love this. Those who just know Brian from 'off the telly' might find this a bit much as it goes quite deep in the science, followed by reassuring 'I don't understand it either' cameos from sidekick underling Robin Ince. Fans of science, physics, quantum stuff and Monkey Cagers will love it. Everyone can sod off anyway.

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  • Ealin Patel
  • 27-07-21

Infinite monkey cage n+1

As a long time listener of the BBC radio 4 show, I got what I expected and much more. It had Brian and Robin's usual banter with a touch of Sagan and Feynman packaged in humorous yet informative stories.

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  • N
  • 18-09-19

Inspiring. 100x better than its cover!

Thought Provoking and Inspiring. Don't judge it by its cover!
A great explanation of the fundamentals and foundations of modern Science with a good bit of philosophy thrown in. I loved this book.