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We Have No Idea
Cover of We Have No Idea
We Have No Idea
A Guide to the Unknown Universe
Borrow
Prepare to learn everything we still don't know about our strange and mysterious universe.

Humanity's understanding of the physical world is full of gaps. Not tiny little gaps you can safely ignore —there are huge yawning voids in our basic notions of how the world works. PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to explore everything we don't know about the universe: the enormous holes in our knowledge of the cosmos. Armed with their popular infographics, cartoons, and unusually entertaining and lucid explanations of science, they give us the best answers currently available for a lot of questions that are still perplexing scientists, including:
* Why does the universe have a speed limit?
* Why aren't we all made of antimatter?
* What (or who) is attacking Earth with tiny, superfast particles?
* What is dark matter, and why does it keep ignoring us?
It turns out the universe is full of weird things that don't make any sense. But Cham and Whiteson make a compelling case that the questions we can't answer are as interesting as the ones we can.
This fully illustrated introduction to the biggest mysteries in physics also helpfully demystifies many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humor and delight, Cham and Whiteson invite us to see the universe as a possibly boundless expanse of uncharted territory that's still ours to explore.
Prepare to learn everything we still don't know about our strange and mysterious universe.

Humanity's understanding of the physical world is full of gaps. Not tiny little gaps you can safely ignore —there are huge yawning voids in our basic notions of how the world works. PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to explore everything we don't know about the universe: the enormous holes in our knowledge of the cosmos. Armed with their popular infographics, cartoons, and unusually entertaining and lucid explanations of science, they give us the best answers currently available for a lot of questions that are still perplexing scientists, including:
* Why does the universe have a speed limit?
* Why aren't we all made of antimatter?
* What (or who) is attacking Earth with tiny, superfast particles?
* What is dark matter, and why does it keep ignoring us?
It turns out the universe is full of weird things that don't make any sense. But Cham and Whiteson make a compelling case that the questions we can't answer are as interesting as the ones we can.
This fully illustrated introduction to the biggest mysteries in physics also helpfully demystifies many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humor and delight, Cham and Whiteson invite us to see the universe as a possibly boundless expanse of uncharted territory that's still ours to explore.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1110
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    7 - 9

Recommended for you

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 13, 2017
    Cham, creator of PHD Comics, and Whiteson, professor of experimental particle physics at UC-Irvine, take their YouTube talent to the page for this lucid and irreverent survey of the many unsolved mysteries of our universe. The authors set a brisk pace as they charge fearlessly across the shadowy terrain of modern physics and cosmology, covering gravity and fundamental particles as well as the Big Bang and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. An opening section on dark matter and dark energy explores the 95% of the universe that seems impervious to human curiosity. Continuing their journey, they ask such questions as: What are cosmic rays? Where’s our universe’s antimatter? Why does time only move forward? And just how big is the universe anyway? The book’s cast includes hamsters, evil twins, Doctor Who, and others. Black holes, the Higgs boson, and theories of everything rub elbows with Pi charts, pop culture, and Lego philosophy. Cham and Whiteson mesh comics, lighthearted infographics, and lively explanations to painlessly introduce curious readers to complex concepts in easily digestible chapters. This fun guide is just the ticket for science fans of any age. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2017
    How did we end up in "a nonbland universe full of structure" instead of somewhere else? No one can yet say: that's the organizing principle of this lively, agnostic book on physics and its discontents.Cham, an online cartoonist with a doctorate in robotics, and Whiteson (Experimental Particle Physics/Univ. of California, Irvine), who conducts research at the Large Hadron Collider, combine forces to explore all the things that we cannot say with any confidence about the universe in which we live, an engaging conceit for a book that wears its considerable learning lightly. One question is what the universe is made of, most of it what physicists call "dark matter" or "dark energy"--in fact, only about 5 percent of it is anything we can explain with our current knowledge. "Most of the universe is made of something else": quite a daunting concept, and by the time Cham and Whiteson get around to explaining what happens, quantum mechanistically speaking, when a particle meets its antiparticle, it's mind-bogglingly complex. That's where the cartoons come in. Though the authors are occasionally silly--the notion of filling space with cilantro being one such moment--the overarching spirit is one of helpfulness. After reading this book, general readers without much background in physics will be able to speak knowledgeably about, for example, how quarks relate to leptons. But with a proviso, bearing in mind the book's premise: yes, with up and down quarks we can make neutrons and protons, but what do the other nine of the dozen known particles do? Write the authors, "why are they there? We have no idea." Indeed, we do not, but Cham and Whiteson brightly foresee a time in which we have the answers and "today's philosophy questions are tomorrow's precision science experiments." An entertaining and educational review for anyone seeking to brush up on or build his or her knowledge--or, perhaps better, lack of knowledge.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2017

    Accompanied by funny cartoons, this title takes readers on a mind-expanding, exhilarating trip through everything scientists don't know about the universe, which turns out to be quite a lot. Cham and Whiteson start with the humbling fact that 27 percent of the universe is made up of dark matter-which we can't see, interact with, or measure. A staggering 68 percent of the universe is dark energy, which the authors point out is just a convenient and possibly misleading term for something we know even less about. The rest of the book explores the remaining five percent, detailing our incomplete understanding of everything from mass to space-time to gravity and more. Fortunately, Cham and Whiteson present a wealth of information about what physicists do know, and their excitement about scientific advancement and their optimism about future discoveries are infectious. Their stabs at levity are a bit grating (although they're aware how lame their jokes are) and unnecessary, since their prose is lucid, even when the concepts become almost impossible to grasp. VERDICT An enjoyable and thought-provoking read for older teens with at least a cursory understanding of physics.-Mark Flowers, Springstowne Library, Vallejo, CA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2017
    How many dimensions are there? What happened during the big bang? What is dark energy? Who is shooting superfast particles at the earth? These are simple questions with complicated answers that we don't yet understand. But Whiteson, a particle physicist, and Cham, a Ph.D. in robotics and creator of the webcomic PHD Comics, team up to explore them anyway, emphasizing how little we knownot to demoralize readers, but to excite them about the incredible amount of uncharted territory left to explore. The authors' enthusiasm for the subject matter is evident, as is their skill at distilling such heavy matter to a palatable level of comprehension. Helping this are Cham's cheeky and pun-riddled illustrations sprinkled liberally throughout the book. (An example: in the section about how to measure gravity, there's a drawing of a personal scale with the caption Everyone's favorite gravitometer. ) Its irreverent sensibility, clearheaded writing, and optimistic outlook make this a great read for reluctant science readers and even for young adults interested in the big ideas on the scientific horizon.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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We Have No Idea
We Have No Idea
A Guide to the Unknown Universe
Jorge Cham
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