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  • How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch

  • In Search of the Recipe for Our Universe
  • By: Dr Harry Cliff
  • Narrated by: Dr Harry Cliff
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch

By: Dr Harry Cliff
Narrated by: Dr Harry Cliff
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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by Sagan’s famous line, How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch is a brilliantly accessible introduction to today’s physics by academic and educator Harry Cliff. 

We probably all have a vague idea of how to make an apple pie: mix flour and butter, throw in some apples and you’re probably most of the way there, right? Think again. Making an apple pie from scratch requires ingredients that definitely aren’t available in the supermarket, ovens that can reach temperatures of trillions of degrees, and a preparation time of 13.8 billion years.

Physicist Harry Cliff ventures out in search of the ultimate apple pie recipe, tracing the ingredients of our universe through the hearts of dying stars and back in time to a tiny fraction of a second after our universe began. Along the way, he confronts some really big questions: what is matter really made of? How does the stuff around us escape annihilation in the fearsome heat of the Big Bang? And will we ever be able to understand the very first moments of our universe?

In pursuit of answers, Cliff ventures to the largest underground research facility in the world, deep beneath Italy’s Gran Sasso mountains, where scientists gaze into the heart of the sun using the most elusive of particles, the ghostly neutrino. He visits CERN in Switzerland to explore the ‘Antimatter Factory’ where this stuff of science fiction is manufactured daily (and we’re close to knowing whether it falls upwards). And he reveals what the latest data from the Large Hadron Collider may be telling us about the fundamental ingredients of matter.

Along the way, Cliff illuminates the history of physics, chemistry and astronomy that brought us to our present understanding of the world, while offering listeners a front-row seat to one of the most dramatic intellectual journeys human beings have ever embarked on.

A transfixing deep dive into origins of our world, How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch doesn’t just put the makeup of our universe under the microscope, but the awe-inspiring, improbable fact that it exists at all.

©2021 Dr Harry Cliff (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A fascinating exploration of how we learned what matter really is, and the journey matter takes from the Big Bang, through exploding stars, ultimately to you and me." (Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." (Carl Sagan)

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This will be listened to again and again

I have a few books that I listen to repeatedly, I have "Something Deeply Hidden" by Sean Carrol, "A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived" by Adam Rutherford, "The End of Everything" by Katie Mack. These titles I will play again and again, getting something new out them each time. "Apple Pie" is going to be one of them. I love the analogies, the wit and the scientific rigor. His descriptions of the science and the scientists that contribute to the discoveries we are making are rich and fascinating.
It starts off with what we know and ends up in the place it should, with my head spinning at ideas that do not fit inside the ape brain, and which are only expressible through mathematics or analogy. (I lean heavily on analogy, and that's okay).
Not happy to find I share something in common with Piers Morgan at the quantum scale. But I can live with it. 😁

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-06-2023

Delicious

Calmed, patient and friendly. But with zero condescending. Real, honest nice successful communication on an impossible complicated topic.
Of course, for the layman, the book’s achievement is just to provide explanations that barely might leave on us a (false, of course) vague feeling of grasping a remote but very important concept. But if achieved, isn’t this just wonderful? This book does it to a big extent.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-06-2023

What a journey

Very interesting (but so is physics) and made me giggle or even laugh out loud in public (and I guess physics alone should not do this). The decision to listen to it instead of reading was certainly the right one. And the story about those two poor protons from chapter 10 is just 🥹🥹🥹

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  • Mike Brownlee
  • 24-05-2023

Seems slightly harder to make Apple pie than I thought

Brilliant book, very well written and the author has tried to make even the hardest of subjects easier to understand. Great view from someone actually working in the industry of Quantum. I would recommend

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-06-2022

Great science book

I liked to listen this well written and very informative book. Recommended highly. one of the best physics books.

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  • Redd
  • 10-02-2022

A Great Book

Real science and explanations and does not degenerate into metaphysics! I’ve read loads of popular science and this is my favourite so far! Having it read with passion by the author is an added bonus! Well researched and current!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-01-2022

Humorous, accessible, fascinating - highly recommend

Cliff’s skilful, detailed, yet thoroughly accessible telling of the great human endeavour to understand the building blocks of our universe is a joy to listen to.

Guiding the listener chronologically through the history of particle physics, Cliff brings to life the characters and theories that have shaped it along the way. Moving to the current day, the book offers a tantalising peek into the incredible work happening behind the scenes at CERN and beyond, and sheds light on possible future discoveries, explaining some of the most awe inspiring mysteries of our existence that nature hasn’t yet revealed.

Cliff’s deep understanding is translated into relatable and humorous explanations and analogies, making complex ideas accessible for even those of us with a faltering memory of school science lessons. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions and was delighted to find myself understanding even the more difficult concepts explored in the book.

Highly recommend - I know I’ll never look at a slice of apple pie in the same way again.

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  • Rosemary
  • 20-08-2021

A wonderful look at the weird and wonderful

I really enjoyed this book, the first few chapters setting the scene for modern particle physics was a great inclusion, as it lead me into weird and wonderful world of the expliration/detection of smaller and smaller things. it's certainly a book I'll listen to repeatedly as there's do much to taken in. Harry has a amusing writing style for such a scientific topic and trads his own book clearly and brings the subject to life.

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  • Deborah Hollis
  • 19-08-2021

excellent

Dr cliff managed to explain the entire history and future of particle physics, somehow making it entertaining. certainly worth a listen.

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