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"Poetry of the Universe" by Robert Osserman

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The clever Dr. Osserman engages us laymen in a basic cosmological discussion - the twist being his use of Dante's description of the universe. We get by and by to the hypersphere, in which the universe is expanding from the pre-big bang singularity, and we have the imaginary three-torus, which may go some way to allowing the universe to infinite time and finite space. Also, we learn that the curvature of space is very real and a useful tool for measuring relative positions, not something abstract or metaphysical.
Dr. Osserman describes a geocentric map, in which we put, say, San Francisco at the center, and all things lay at a distance from there, on a large circle. The outer rim of the circle, a large circumference, actually represents one point, the farthest point on Earth away from San Francisco. Dr. Osserman then compares this to a trumpet's horn on the way to defining and describing some of the relevant concepts.

We are led by short, simple steps to a rudimentary understanding of some of the abstruse math used to describe the universe. For some of us, that's as much as we can hope for. For anyone interested in gaining a first toehold on the math and physics of current cosmology, take this book up. It will not disappoint, even as it educates.
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