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Matthew willey

Palmerston North
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 8
  • ratings
  • Three Roads to Quantum Gravity

  • By: Lee Smolin
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

In Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin provides an accessible overview of the attempts to build a final "theory of everything." He explains in simple terms what scientists are talking about when they say the world is made from exotic entities such as loops, strings, and black holes and tells the fascinating stories behind these discoveries: the rivalries, epiphanies, and intrigues he witnessed firsthand.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great overview.

  • By Matthew willey on 28-12-2018

A great overview.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-12-2018

I really enjoyed my first run through. The overview of current thinking is accessible and informative. It also left me with a sense of progress that the field of quantum cosmology is making. We are at an exciting point and Smolin conveys this excitement very well.
I will listen to this a few times, I imagine, and glean more from it on each occasion.
Highly recommended!

  • The Joy of Science

  • By: Robert M. Hazen, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert M. Hazen
  • Length: 30 hrs and 29 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 42

Science is humanity's greatest achievement. It ranges from the study of the universe itself to the smallest particles of matter contained within it - and everything in between. If you want to better understand our physical world, as most of us do, gaining a basic understanding of science itself is profoundly important - yet many are intimidated by the breathtaking scope of such an endeavor. Now an award-winning science teacher has taken out the intimidation, harnessing that breathtaking scope into a series of 60 exciting, comprehensive, and accessible lectures.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing book

  • By Muhammad Emad on 01-12-2018

A geat span

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-2018

This is a brilliant series with real breadth, depth and accessibility. I loved the parts of science that I love (astronomy, particle physics, but also enjoyed and got fresh insights into aspects of science I don't pay much attention to (cell biology).
The supplementary materials really helped. The lectures have been performed before a live audience, so some of it is directed at visual illustrations such as the mechanics of rolling balls across a table. But for the most part, you can work out what he is doing without having to see it.
Most of the science is still relevant and important knowledge, but as other reviewers have pointed out, the course is outdated in many areas. It just goes to show that twenty years is a long time in science, such is the rate of progress. I'd love to hear this lecturer's reaction to the discovery of the Higgs boson, the population of exoplanets, the ubiquity of human genome sequencing and the immediacy of climate change.

  • The Smoke

  • By: Simon Ings
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Humanity has been split into three different species. Mutual incomprehension has fractured the globe. As humans race to be the first of their kind to reach the stars, another Great War looms. For you that means returning to Yorkshire and the town of your birth, where factories churn out the parts for gigantic spaceships. You're done with the pretentions of the capital and its unfathomable architecture. You're done with the people of the Bund, their easy superiority and unstoppable spread throughout the city of London and beyond.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great first audible title for Simon Ings

  • By Matthew willey on 15-06-2018

Great first audible title for Simon Ings

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-2018

This is a great book to have in your audible library. The story is captivating, and the narration is perfect for the characters and the place. I have read this author’s works for years; he strikes off in unexpected directions which keeps his output fresh and surprising. This book is no exception.
He has created a vision of humanity with a loss of control over itself and a speciation that seems a parable for our own fragmented times. The sense of hurtling towards a terrible outcome pervades the book, as it does our newspapers. It’s difficult to park this in any particular genre, steampunk perhaps? Science fiction? Romance? It is a novel that parallels Brexit and Trump, though different calamities have occurred in the world Ings has created.
The division of humanity into three species, each incomprehensible to each other, is at once alien and too close for comfort. That partition is set in a well-acquainted world of a fractured England and it highlights the foreboding. We even visit, briefly and in an alternate reality, my old neighbourhood park in Huddersfield. Vast forces are at work, the direction of history is revealed to be chaotic, yet love is central to how we define ourselves and Greenhead Park still stands.
The worth of people, what it means to be human, the universal need for love and our ever-present hubris are all themes. The narration is spot on. An earthy Yorkshire lilt telling tales of calamitous events on the other side of the world, and far away from the world. It is largely told in the second person and after a while the question arises about who is narrating, who is telling us what we did? It eventually becomes clear that this is not just a literary conceit but integral to the plot. Loose ends tie together neatly in a surprising conclusion.
So, add this to your library, and let Audible know that we look forward to seeing other Simon Ings titles. There are other great books by this author.

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition

  • By: Richard Wolfson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Richard Wolfson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 120

"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Wolfson at the outset of these 24 lectures on what may be the most important subjects in the universe: relativity and quantum physics. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic ideas behind them are, in fact, simple and comprehensible by anyone. These dynamic and illuminating lectures begin with a brief overview of theories of physical reality starting with Aristotle and culminating in Newtonian or "classical" physics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • engrossing!

  • By Mars on 10-10-2015

Fantastic series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-12-2017

A wonderful nontechnical introduction to relativity and to quantum physics. Each lecture is about half an hour and deals with a simple topic. They are short enough to revisit if you want to go back and check on your understanding.
I have long been interested in these ideas and the course succeeded in dispelling erroneous ideas and adding new ones to my already good background knowledge. The course is about twenty years old and is in need of updating with the new discoveries in physics, notably gravitational waves and the Higgs boson.
He also uses some quaint analogies that would be lost on millennials, who can't tune their digital TVs into static to observe the hiss of radiation from the cosmic microwave background. Ah well.
One bad note is the professor's pronunciation of the word "atom", which in his American accent becomes "adam". Since this word is used repeatedly this small niggle became quite large by the end of the course, like a piano with a dud key. Ah well. We can't all have perfect enunciation.
Apart form that, I intend to go back to this course many times. Now that I have listened to the whole thing I can dip in and out of it. I know that this will become one of my treasured possessions.

  • The Algebraist

  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Geoff Annis
  • Length: 24 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

For short-lived races like humans, space is dominated by the complicated, grandiose Mercatoria. To the Dwellers who may live billions of years, the galaxy consists of their gas-giant planets - the rest is debris. Fassin Taak is a Slow Seer privileged to work with the Dwellers of the gas-giant Nasqueron. His work consists of rummaging for data in their vast, disorganised memories and libraries. Unfortunately, without knowing it, he's come close to an ancient secret of unimaginable importance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic addition to the Iain M. Banks Audiobook

  • By Matthew willey on 27-11-2017

Fantastic addition to the Iain M. Banks Audiobook

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-11-2017

Thank goodness audible returned to this book and decided to re-record an unabridged version of it. Having had the abridged for many years I now realise what I have been missing.
There are many intersecting storylines and only together do you get as good impression of the novel as a whole. There is one scene in particular, where a couple stand looking at an evening sky, and begin to see bright points of light appear. It's a sign of terrible things but it is months away still, and their calm evening continues. Touches like that are brought back to life in this new version.
The narration is good and well paced, the range of voices is wide but not over emphatic. I will forever know the system as "Ooloobis" rather than his pronunciation "Ullabis" but I can live with that.
Without having prior knowledge of the book, the abridged version would be almost incomprehensible. This is a lovely reintroduction to a vast, sprawling classic.
Thanks guys!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,098
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,048
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,046

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic!

  • By Jacob on 23-01-2017

Overly fond of the marines

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-09-2017

It's a great but not very original idea for a science fiction book, the Earth finds itself in between two vastly superior foes. But this book relies really heavily on gun-totin' redneck marine corps fatigues and rations and ammo fetishism to be readily accessible to anyone who has subtler sensibilities.
Think Independence Day and the US of A saving the world. Interesting to start with, but then tedious because it is one noe played over and over. Maybe it's because I'm not american.