Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity

SpectrumsDavid Blatner

Bloomsbury Publishing, £12.99

If you are at all curious about your place in the universe, or how the very small compares to the very large, then you should read this book. If you have never been curious about the universe, then you should also read this book. I guarantee you will enjoy it and if nothing else you will never again be short of something interesting to say at a dinner party. Spectrums is an excellent read.

It is engaging and highly educational. The author takes the reader on an exploration of the universe, from the smallest to the incomprehensibly large. Blatner covers six spectrums, all chosen to be representative of our everyday experience, namely: numbers, size, light, sound, heat and time. Exploring these areas gives us a fascinating perspective on our place in the universe.

Each chapter is a tour de force,full of interesting facts and figures and making good use of charts, illustrations and tables to help the reader grasp the concepts discussed. For instance, I was intrigued to discover that Isaac Newton originally divided the spectrum into just five main colours (red, yellow, green, blue and violet) and only later included orange and indigo to make seven colours so that the rainbow could be compared to the number of notes in a musical scale. I highly recommend Spectrums. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer.

Dr Oliver Jones CBiol MSB