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

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

by Lisa Randall
3.8 19

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

“Science has a battle for hearts and minds on its hands….How good it feels to have Lisa Randall’s unusual blend of top flight science, clarity, and charm on our side.”
—Richard Dawkins

“Dazzling ideas….Read this book today to understand the science of tomorrow.”
—Steven Pinker

The bestselling author of Warped Passages, one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and one of Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century,”  Lisa Randall gives us an exhilarating overview of the latest ideas in physics and offers a rousing defense of the role of science in our lives. Featuring fascinating insights into our scientific future born from the author’s provocative conversations with Nate Silver, David Chang, and Scott Derrickson, Knocking on Heaven’s Door is eminently readable, one of the most important popular science books of this or any year. It is a necessary volume for all who admire the work of Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, Simon Singh, and Carl Sagan; for anyone curious about the workings and aims of the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest and most expensive machine ever built by mankind; for those who firmly believe in the importance of science and rational thought; and for anyone interested in how the Universe began…and how it might ultimately end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062096890
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 542,819
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University, where she is Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees. Professor Randall was included in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2007 and was among Esquire magazine's "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century." Professor Randall's two books, Warped Passages (2005) and Knocking on Heaven's Door (2011) were New York Times bestsellers and 100 Notable Books. Her stand-alone e-book, Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space, was published in 2012.

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Knocking on Heaven's Door 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Randall makes the complexities of physics not only understandable, but most importantly, enjoyable!
Phillip Harler More than 1 year ago
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.
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
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
Angela_J_R More than 1 year ago
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.
Standancer More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
cisco940 More than 1 year ago
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 any format ...but by all means do not miss this masterpiece!
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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.
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Ms Randall wonders off topic and spends too many words glorifing herself. Did anybody edit this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.