Review of The Book of Universes [TBU]

By: John Barrow

(Published 2011)

Review by: G. Haven d'Amaury III

How do I start? Well, firstly, this is the fifth most important book I have ever read.

The first four there were:

1.    Brave New World [BNW] by Aldous Huxley
2.    Albert Einstein’s two papers
3.    one of several by Sigmund Freud

(All read by me as a pre-teen ager). And, one

  1. by S. I. Hayakawa I read as a thirty year old (mainly as a lesson in writing simple and under-standable papers and books)

At my early eighty years of age, John Barrow’s TBU caught me up with the historical discoveries of (theoretical) physicists and mathematicians up to page 222 (so far) of 354 pages (including the index). Up to this point, he has not mentioned:

But later some more on

Barrow leaned heavily on Einstein’s papers and associations, But. did not mention C. P. Snow’s The Two Cultures, now pushed down into sixth place for me, after I read Snow’s books, attended his lecture, and discussed it with him, at the Carolton Club in London.

Many of the books I did not mention above were very interesting to read, but not so memorable as the books I did mention. Those (other) books, though fiction, hooked me to finish; to find out how the plot turned, twisted and finally ended. And, I could share some aspect(s) of the plot(s) through some coincidences with my life or experience.  Many times I did not deeply remember, want to re-read nor study those books, but enjoyed having read them.

TBU’s factual (but not factional) TBU, perhaps its glazing coincidence with Barrow’s obvious interests, with mine and my late favourite writer’s interests, hooked me. And, Barrow is very close to landing me (so far).

Please let me explain my background, to focus on the coincidences:

  • ·       My college education, although my BSs and MS, are more technology and engineering basics, rather than sciences.
  • ·       But, my experience leaned heavily on computing, sandwiched between electronics, physics and information technology [IT].
  • ·       I read and write widely, but,
  • ·       when I worked for international corporations, they did not allow/like me to publish externally: information which would help their competitors, and
  • ·       As a naval officer (quiet reasonably) the US Navy (also) discouraged publishing anything which could help national enemies.
  • ·       My 40-year partner (and late wife), Shirl, supported my career and I supported hers (a leading children’s book author), helping her apply computer technology to writing, not as subject matter in her stories.


1.    Shirl,
2.    and I to some extent, got interested in Cats, first Truffle (before she died) and then
3.    Ami and Amber [A&A].
4.    I entertained Shirl and A&A with the story of the theoretical physicist’s cat, which died, or hasn’t died.
5.    In the late 1990s, we both discovered news about Experimental Physicists superpositioning of
6.    electrons, then
7.    atoms,
8.    molecules and (possibly)
9.    A&A (and still more possibly
10.homo sapien sapiens [hss]).

We both became intrigued with the possibility of thus communicating instantaneously.

  1. 11.This way Shirl’s ambitions, to publish her books to more children: “to teach children to love to read and to love to learn to read” was exploded! to trillions of trillions of (hss) children.
  2. 12.Sic parvis magna, possibly, in one or a few hundred years.

Barrow, Barrow, Barrow: Wherefore art though?

 Coincidences: Barrow’s many and cultivated familiarity with the discoveries of and working with talented theoretical physicists led him to conclude that:

“The conjunction of super-computer power to simulate the complexities of clustering galaxies with observations of extraordinary sensitivity from new telescopes has mapped out a universe that is understandable but baffling.

We are asked to accept that our universe is a member of a never ending multiverses of actual universes displaying different properties. Our universe may be special in ways that are essential for our own existence, and that of any other forms of intelligent life. Today, our universe exhibits a second burst of accelerated expansion that began less than 5 billion years ago.”