"The Magic Furnace" by Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown is a Cosmologist who writes books that reveal the magic in cutting edge scientific beliefs. "The Magic Furnace" is the story of our existence in three parts.
The first part is a historical account of the concept of atoms. From Democretis to Prout to Bacqueral, he reveals snippets of their everyday existence, and how they went about their investigations.
The second part starts with a study of the sun... and mankind's early attempts at exploring the stars. The book traces scientific thought, through Einstein's relativity, how light was discovered to be be more constant than space or time, how nuclear weapons were developed, through what channels scientific thought travelled during the war, how matter was discovered to behave like both waves and particals, and how pigeon shit lead to the finding of the absolute proof of the big bang.
The third part, plunges into the heart of the matter, and explains the creation of our universe as current science believes it. The book concludes with an extra-ordinary point: that the very atoms that make up humans and everything around them, were forged in the middle of stars. It is a long story that needs to be told, the book meanders through the false beliefs as neutrally as it treats the real ones. Its one of those books thats makes one feel clever, and therefore, is a must read.

All humans are brothers. We came from the same supernova.
-Allan Sandage.

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