The View from the Center of the Universe
Discovering our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos
Joel R.Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams
"What is remarkable, indeed unique, about this book is that it tells the story of the cosmos, tells it with the authority of those who have ingeniously figured it out, tells it with the clear (and successful) intent of wanting us to understand. And in telling connects matters of cosmic significance with the environment and human life on planet Earth. Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams move easily between matter and spirit. To me this book, as gentle, thoughtful, and interesting as its authors, builds the conditions for being human."
-- Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, Nobel Prize-winner in Chemistry
"Joel Primack is one of the pioneers in the development of modern ideas of cosmic evolution. He combines his scientific distinction with a long-standing concern and involvement with societal issues. These qualities, allied with his skill as an expositor, make him superbly qualified to write with Nancy Abrams a book that presents an original synthesis and distinctive perspective on humanity's place in the cosmos."
-- (Lord) Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal (UK) and President of the Royal Society
"Now that science has established the first well-tested cosmology in the history of humankind, it is crucial that the main parameters of this world picture be communicated to society as a whole in an accessible manner. Primack and Abrams use both science and art to communicate the relevance of the new cosmology to human ethical and spiritual concerns."
-- Philip Clayton, Professor of Philosophy and of Religion, Claremont Graduate University
"The reality maps provided by traditional religions and traditional political ideas no longer fit our world, and the confusion and violence that result from trying to live by clashing images in a single global culture are only getting worse. Nothing could be more important than to break out and discover our true potential and thus to renew our traditions and make them relevant to our emerging cosmic view. ... Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack are performing a great service by revealing that it is possible to interpret the astounding truths coming out of cosmology as being about ourselves -as, in fact, they must be."
-- Rabbi Zalman M. Schacter-Shalomi, founder of the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal, author of Jewish With Feeling
"Primack and Abrams have the knack of true storytelling, conveying the romance of cosmology without compromising scientific accuracy and balance. This is an inspirational journey through a wonderland, from the cosmic origin to a destiny limited only by our imagination. A delight to read!"
-- Paul Davies, cosmologist, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, author of The Mind of God and 25 other books
"Who better to offer us this connection between science and religion than the authors Joel Primack, a renowned cosmologist, and Nancy Abrams, a brilliant artist and poet."
-- Robert John Russell, founder and director, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and Minister in the United Church of Christ
"In a time when cultures and religions clash and threaten world peace and order, it seems essential to look for means to establish common grounds. Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams have made a remarkable contribution to communicate the results of advanced exploration into deep space and the origin of the universe and to interpret these results in terms of concepts, symbols, imagery and artistic expression that are relevant to different cultures. As director of the Icelandic Research Council, I use their work in my own work nationally on the relation between religion and science, and it makes a considerable impression on others. I warmly recommend it!"
-- Vilhjalmur Ludviksson, Minister of Science, Iceland
"Too many people see cosmology as an esoteric field with little relevance to daily life. Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack are proposing to change that with a book that not only takes us right up to the state-of-the-art in understanding the development and structure of the universe, but also shows how that knowledge, and the perspective it brings can change the way we think and act here on Earth. Joel Primack, who thirty years ago helped to launch the enormously successful AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program, and who more recently chaired the Advisory Committee for the AAAS Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, and Nancy Abrams, a talented writer with degrees in law as well as history and philosophy of science, are about the only people I know who could pull off a feat like this."
-- Al Teich, Director, Science & Policy Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science
"I cannot think of two people better qualified to write such a book. In my own field of environmental science, I have often wondered how to communicate to people what the "down home" implications are from seemingly remote fields such as cosmology or particle physics. Now come two author/scholars ready to do just that. Readers can anticipate a delectable feast."
-- John Harte, Professor, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley, author of Consider a Spherical Cow
"While much has been written about the great breakthroughs in modern cosmology, I believe it is now time to step back and try to put them in a larger intellectual context. This book does just that!"
-- Rocky Kolb, theoretical astrophysicist, University of Chicago, author of Blind Watchers of the Sky
"One of the world's leading cosmologists joins forces with a scintillating writer to offer us a scientific vision and a practical yet spiritual philosophy of life. Read this book if you've wondered about the perennial questions: 'How did it all begin? What does it all mean?'"
-- Daniel C. Matt, translator, The Zohar: The Pritzker Edition, author of God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality and The Essential Kabbalah
"For Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack, our universe and the story of the ideas that attempt to comprehend it, is more than the subject of a fascinating inquiry, it is an abiding wonder. Here is a hard-headed, scientific vision that reads like the confessions of an ecstatic mystic. Using cutting edge cosmology, the authors of this deeply spiritual book (re-) place us in the center of the universe and summon us to awareness."
-- Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of River of Light and Kabbalah: A Love Story
"The View from the Center of the Universe brings cosmology down to Earth and impacts upon many concerns of people today. It should reach into a new seam of readers who might not otherwise delve into books of popular science as well as attracting the large core audience."
-- John Barrow, Cambridge University cosmologist, author of many popular science books including Constants of Nature, Pi in the Sky, The Artful Universe, Theories of Everything, The Book of Nothing, The Origin of the Universe
Joel R. Primack
Nancy Ellen Abrams