(Full text of review, unless indicated otherwise)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars:
“What a wonderful book for anyone interested in both Astronomy and Physics. I never had the opportunity to take Physics as my school schedule was filled. So reading this book has given me insights into some of what I missed. Also, there are no surprise quizzes or tests and some astronomy as well.
“Did you know that a typical galaxy contains at least 100 billion stars? That approximately 200 billion galaxies exists in our universe and that our sun is one of 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in this universe?
“Did you know that our universe moves and is expanding every day with stars and planets getting farther apart as it expands; that as stars and planets move in their orbits, the space around then is expanding? How about this one, scientists do not really know what space is but do know it is more than just an emptiness.
“Scientists still have not decided what existed before the Big Bang, could time exist or was all just Is, Endless Beingness? What do you think or are you like most and never gave it a thought? I known what my sense Is but it may not be yours.
“Black Holes, what are they, what causes them? They have both mass and can bend the space around themselves, distorting the path of whatever is in their range of influence. They are in the center of all galaxies, swallowing all matter around then as they continue growing in size. If one was able to actually see into one, they would notice that time simply does not exist within it.
“Could, as Scientists theorize, two black holes aligned under the “right conditions” create a worm hole providing a shortcut through space?
“The Inflaton is most interesting to me as it shows how a universe is created by taking a different set of values in different areas of space. Some of these values result in new and rapid expansion, while in other, observable areas the value drops or lessens to ordinary expansion. Each of these expansion areas is a universe. All of these worlds or universes are what is known as the multiverse.
“Such interesting topics as gravitational waves, life on other planets, time and space, entropy, something instead of nothing, telescope to microscope, atoms, quarks, neutrinos, dark matter, the string theory and the quantum world are discussed.
“I would give this book 7 stars if I could as it is not just full of mostly easy to understand language but it explains and gives answers that text books do not. From the depth of the material covered and the bibliography cited, the author has spent considerable time, effort and diligence in putting the material into a comprehensive package of interesting, cohesive information, theories and scientific discoveries.”
—Faith S. Michael, NetGalley, November 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars—I love it!
“I’m loving this book. It’s fascinating. I’m being brought to an appreciation of something I’ve known so little about, and it’s coming to me in a warm, gentle way. It feels as though I’m being introduced to an astonishingly impressive stranger by a trusted friend.”
—Mike Farrell, on Amazon, December 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars–Want to know what a multiverse is? How about string theory?
“This is a fine, very readable book that acquaints a non-scientist reader with many, many 20th and 21st century scientific theories and discoveries, told in a much more engaging way than Stephen Hawking managed in A Brief History of Time. The book won’t make an instant scientist of anyone, but every reader will come away with a passing acquaintance with current thinking about the nature of the universe and its elements — everything from black holes to gluons and of course the Higgs boson, otherwise known as the God particle.”
–Lisa Lerman, on Amazon, December 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars—”What a fun romp through space and time, the micro and the macro. Dieter masterfully tackles the awesome task of explaining to a lay audience the mysteries of quantum mechanics; the intricacies of evolution; and the unknowable basic units of light, matter, and gravity. Even though I have a glancing familiarity with these topics, Dieter’s perspective is fresh and provides new insight.”
—Michael Lasher, on Amazon January 2020
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars—”I enjoyed Reflections on a Surprising Universe very much. I have a strong interest in science and have read a lot about the topics covered in this book, so I’m clearly not its intended audience. It has been written for the person who has an interest in these topics without much of a background. That being said, though, it is a delight to read and gives a beautiful “bird’s eye” view of much of what has always fascinated me about science and the universe. It is quite approachable, easy to read and presupposes no prior knowledge of the topics covered. I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing curiosity about the wonders of our universe.”
—Verified Purchaser, on Amazon, December 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars—Science and Ordinary Eyes
“Reflections on a Surprising Universe by Richard Conrad Dieter has the subtitle, ‘Extraordinary Discoveries Through Ordinary Eyes.’ In one sense, the title accurately describes this short, easy read: a summary of the surprising physical universe in which mankind finds herself. With the help of ever more powerful telescopes and microscopes – and searing human intellectual pursuit – we now purvey a world that has previously only been grounds for speculation by the Greek philosophers through Newton, and even through Einstein.
“But this book also successfully expands the notion of ordinary eyes. Through carefully worded introductions and segues, ordinary eyes expressly include people of religious faith. One of the excellent contributions of this book is the framing of modern cosmology as a human pursuit that has born much fruit, but in no way contradicts the ordinary experience of faith. In fact, extraordinary discoveries, like these, lead ordinary people of faith to deeper faith. How great Thou art!”
—Brian Hunter, on Amazon, December 2019
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Split into ten fascinating chapters and each starting with a relevant quote from some of the most prominent and respected scientific minds, Reflections on a Surprising Universe is an accessible and profoundly interesting read. It explores a plethora of different scientific topics and gives the basics about each of them so I feel it would be a great buy for someone perhaps interested in reading an introduction to said topics. It covers theories surrounding how our universe came to be, its constant evolution, black holes, bending space, gravitational waves, multiverses, searching for life on other planets, time and space, DNA, particles, quantum computers and string theory. If you have even a passing interest in astronomy and/or physics this is a fantastic and insightful book to pick up. The author should be lauded for the sheer amount of research and hard work that went into creating such an intriguing and highly readable book which allows a layman to comprehend all they are being told. Everything is explained fully and simply and the text flows smoothly from one topic to the next. Highly recommended.”
—Lou @readers_retreat, NetGalley, December 2019
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“This is well written. If you know nothing about physics or astrophysics you’ll probably like this. I’m no scientist and don’t study science so I was surprised that I knew most of the info presented. I must have picked up the knowledge over time. Anyway, it’s a good read, and you’re bound to learn some very interesting stuff. I really appreciate the ARC!!”
—Paul Van Ness, NetGalley, December 2019
“A great read and a great gift with the holidays upon us. It takes the majestic complications of the universe and presents them in understandable and fascinating terms. It’s the quick and handy guide to our universe. Written in an informative style reminiscent of Bill Bryson. MUST-READ!”
—Event Horizon Radio, November 2019
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
“I found this book to be a wonderful insight on what is going on in science right now. It was a nice read!”
—Stephanie Cassidy, NetGalley, November 2019
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
“For a complete layman. . . this would be the perfect book. It explains the things it goes over quite simply, efficiently and attractively. . . it’s all quite fascinating.”
—Evelina (avalinah, AvalinahsBooks), NetGalley, November 2019
“A good, ‘popular science’ introduction to quite a few concepts, including quantum physics, DNA, string theory and black holes. … I have no doubts that a reader wanting the ‘beginner’s version’ of these scientific ideas, before branching into more in-depth reading about them, will find Reflections on a Surprising Universe fairly useful, and easy to approach. … [A] fascinating read, if only for the author’s obvious (and contagious) passion for the subjects covered here. It is also a reminder that there is still so much we don’t know …Conclusion: Consider this a 4 stars if you want to get into physics/astrophysics but have little or no knowledge about it yet, and could do with a good primer in layperson’s terms.”
—Yzabel Ginsberg, NetGalley, March 2020
“Not many authors have the skill and breadth to masterfully explain the mysteries of science, and do so in literate language, but Richard Dieter easily ranks as one of them.”
—Colman McCarthy, former Washington Post columnist
“In clear prose, Richard Dieter lays out a vision of the universe filled with curiosity and wonder. Dieter’s layman vision of the universe brings the majesty of the cosmos down to the level of the everyday in census of the weirdness that surrounds us on all sides. From the smallest particles to the vastest super-structures, this book is a great read for anyone looking up in the sky and wondering what’s out there.”
—John Wenz, former Associate Editor, Astronomy magazine
“This book is like a 2019 version of ‘Powers of Ten’ that takes you 13 billion light years away, then brings you back to the DNA in your hand and leaves you in awe of the beauty and complexity of our universe. Dieter accompanies you on this trip with clear, concise explanations of extraordinary discoveries.”
—Paul Lyons, CEO Zapotec Energy, Inc., Cambridge, MA