Customer Reviews for

Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

Average Rating 3.5
( 18 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended! Should be read by both students and the general public alike who have an interest in the natural sciences.

Lisa Randall makes the complexities of physics not only understandable, but most importantly, enjoyable!

posted by kmurph on June 18, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Not so good

Ms Randall wonders off topic and spends too many words glorifing herself. Did anybody edit this book?

posted by 9521992 on September 15, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2011

    Highly Recommended! Should be read by both students and the general public alike who have an interest in the natural sciences.

    Lisa Randall makes the complexities of physics not only understandable, but most importantly, enjoyable!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    A Particle Physicist's View of Current Science

    A somewhat wide ranging treatise on the current state of physics. The book starts with the apparently obligatory history lesson and moves through topics that include a detailed description of particle detectors. Eventually the author talks about the physics around the Large Hadron Collider and what is trying to be accomplished. Like many scientists, the author is somewhat skeptical of String Theory but acknowledges it's contributions so far. Generally well written and interesting in places. But no big breakthroughs to relate and, as always lately, we are waiting for the next big experiment.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Writing

    After reading this latest work by Lisa Randall, I was pleased with the overall knowledge I gained into a wide scope of physics areas. In addition, I would highly recommend this book to all of my friends due to the excellent quality of writing, clarity of subject matter and great use of analogies to explain those things that are a bit outside of our mind's ability to wrap around.

    With that said, I did deduct one star as I expected more discussion on multiple universes and especially her take on the holographic universe. Beyond dark matter, dark energy and other deep mysteries, I believe the thinking behind the hologram nature of our existence is the new "spooky action at a distance".

    In my opinion, this book is not for those whose stay up-to-date on the latest scientific developments but rather the casual science/physics reader. The scope is very broad which helps greatly in developing deeper understanding. The depth is in the Goldilocks zone of not too much and not too little. While I would have personally preferred the LHC material limited to a couple of chapters, I did learn a great deal more about this important endeavor.

    As a final word, Knocking on Heaven's Door gave me a grim reminder of the short-sightedness of the United States congress. What absolute buffoons to cut funding for the Texas collider. And now, they have targeted NASA and the overall space program. Will we never learn?

    I hope you find this review/opinion helpful.

    Michael L. Gooch, Author of Wingtips with Spurs

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2014

    Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but I could not tell fro

    Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but I could not tell from the title, subtitle, or jacket that this is primarily a book about the Large Hadron Collider. It's a very good book about the LHC. And probably I would have read it sooner if I had realized that -- it just looked like another general "science is great" book that happened to be overhyped, and I took my sweet time in getting to it.

    My guess is that this was a book she had in preparation for quite a while waiting for the discovery of the Higgs, but as full operations at the LHC got postponed, she added a few chapters to the beginning and end of the book to widen the scope and sent it to the printer. That's not such a bad thing. It just feels like the marketing was a little off.

    The more general chapters at the end about cosmology are her wheelhouse. They're quite good. The general chapters at the beginning were not so good -- I nearly lost my motivation to read the book. The description of the standard model and the Higgs mechanism are okay but have been done better in other popular science books (my favorite description of the Higgs is Sean Carroll's). But the real gem in the heart of this book is the detailed description of the LHC itself, as well at the ATLAS and CMS detectors, the two main general purpose particle detectors at the LHC. I read a lot of popular science books, and I'm always looking for something that young students of physics (like my undergrads) would benefit from and enjoy. That chapter is going on my list of highly recommended reading. One of the best experimental descriptions I've read -- and yes, it's from a theorist. Fantastic.

    So, like any 400+ page science book, there were some great moments and some sections I could have done without. Overall, though, I'd recommend the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    A great read, easily comprehended by a layperson such as myself.

    Lisa Randall is a Harvard physicist who relates, in terms the average person can understand, the constantly evolving and exciting state of modern physics, from the inner workings of the smallest of particles to the vast realms of the cosmos. If you'd like a better understanding of the changes in this field and how they are likely to affect us all, then this is a must read. Can't recommend it highly enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Not so good

    Ms Randall wonders off topic and spends too many words glorifing herself. Did anybody edit this book?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "To infinity and Beyond"

    This work is a must read for anyone who wishes to make any sense of the world we live in and where we are headed..Lisa Randall is the "real deal", poignant and often laconic..but either way I get the sense that she speaks from the heart....I say get it, buy it, love it.. or @ the very least give it as an Xmas gift..in any format ...but by all means do not miss this masterpiece!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Lot of name-dropping and self promotion, boasting which certainl

    Lot of name-dropping and self promotion, boasting which certainly could have been ommitted. Pretty good overview of physics, but uneven. Some paragraphs could use more explanation.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Lifting the Veil of Science Ignorance in America

    Lisa Randall does an excellent job of explaining science as an essential human endeavour. Knocking on Heaven's Door not only explains the science behind the Large Hadron Collider in Cern and what we expect to discover, but more importantly why we should care. The encroaching veil of science ignorance in America is a clear and present danger to our democracy and to our ability to be relevant in the 21st Century. Professor Randall has helped to lift that veil. Everyone should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Goes off topic

    Lisa spoils her book by commenting on recent economic events that have nothing to do with physics. Her understanding of economics seems to come off the editorial pages of newspapers rather than any detailed studies. The yoga teacher Iyengar once said that he had a great knowledge of yoga but other things not so much.

    I wished that she had stayed on topic and did not indulge herself in areas outside her expertise. More science and less social commentary would help this book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 13, 2012

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    Posted October 11, 2011

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    Posted October 20, 2013

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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