Barrow, John. The constants of nature: from Alpha to Omega--the numbers that encode the deepest secrets of the universe. Pantheon Books, 2003 (c2002). 352p index ISBN 0-375-42221-8, $26.00.
Choice: Barrow (mathematics, Univ. of Cambridge) offers an interesting combination of history, physics, and philosophy...Recommended. General readers." Economist: “The digressions that pepper the book are sometimes fascinating. Mr Barrow’s familiarity with the material allows him to glide from Pascal to Pasadena in smooth, informative paragraphs…a thoughtful survey of recent theory.” Booklist: “spices the story with lively biographical sketches and epigrams…an exemplary popular presentation of high-level science.” Library Journal: “Strongly recommended for college and larger public libraries.” Kirkus: “Scholarly though always accessible…good stuff.” Magill: “an intriguing read for anyone interested in the history and future of our universe and our place in it…lay readers may struggle with some of the equations, as well as descriptions of theoretical physics. Barrow’s prose also tends to be cumbersome and rather difficult to follow in places. To offset the negatives, Barrow includes numerous analogies and examples to aid understanding, as well as many interesting biographical sketches, charts, and graphs.” Publishers Weekly: “Lively…fascinating…Barrow explores these issues in erudite but lucid prose that draws on an array of thinkers from Einstein to Freud, and, because he withholds his answer to the changing constants question until the end, his book has surprising narrative pull. His account makes some of the most challenging frontiers of science accessible, even enthralling, to laypeople.”