Review of Before Time Began by Helmut Satz

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 138, 1262, 34–35 (February 2018)

This is a book review of Before Time Began: The Big Bang & the Emerging Universe by Helmut Satz. This book is in the tradition of small cosmology books which don't attempt to be comprehensive, but rather cover a few aspects in somewhat more detail than more general popular accounts. Written by an emeritus professor of theoretical physics at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, it focusses on phase transitions, the multiverse, and the connection between entropy and gravitation. Though the details of all of these are quite technical, the book provides a good popular account. All three are topics of current research but usually not covered in books at this level. Although he points out that not everyone shares his views, the author presents the multiverse as fact, likening it to a second Copernican Revolution. While there is not (yet) complete consensus on that, I think that this point of view is fine for a popular-science book. The eight chapters cover inflation and what preceded it, particle physics in the early universe, phase transitions, the CMB and cosmological parameters, structure formation, dark matter and the cosmological constant, and the ultimate fate of the Universe. I recommend the book since it fills on otherwise rather vacant niche

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