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Look around you. The reflection of your face in a window tells you about the most shocking discovery in the history of science: that at its deepest level the world is orchestrated by chance; that ultimately, things happen for no reason at all. The iron in a spot of blood on your finger shows you that somewhere out in space there is a furnace at a temperature of 4.5 billion degrees. Static on your TV screen proclaims that the universe had a beginning. The bulb above your head emits light, and the light waves emerging from it are about five thousand times bigger than the atoms that spit them out--as paradoxical a thought as the idea of a matchbox swallowing a forty-ton truck.

Marcus Chown takes familiar features of the everyday world and shows us, with breathtaking clarity, wit, and suspense, how they can be used to explain profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. This is an essential cosmology primer for anyone curious about their surroundings and their place in the universe.

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