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The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By: Michael Hanlon


Paperback | Jul 2006 | #160654 | ISBN: 0230008909
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $21/€18 approx

About this book

Ever wondered what the end of the Universe might actually look like? Why the number 42 is so significant? Or whether time travel really would put a stop to history as we know it? If so you are clearly a fan of Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

Much of the book was sheer whimsy: talking mattresses, the Vogons, triple-breasted whores and that Ol' Janx Spirit. But like all good science fiction, it contained more than a grain of scientific fact. Adams was a science and technology enthusiast and his books were inspired by - prefigured even - many of the great scientific debates of our times.

"The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is a light-hearted, accessible and informative tour of the real cutting-edge research behind a much-loved classic - from the Big Bang to the end of the Universe, via probability, parallel universes, alien life, instant translation and more.

'Hanlon's book probes the possibilities inside the fiction with wit and scientist humour...not that you have to be a boffin to enjoy these ruminations, merely curious, as the late Adams himself clearly was.' - The Herald 'Adopting Adams' witty, punchy style, Hanlon's guide is a fun and vivid read. The science twinkles a little more than usual in such a zany setting...he tackles a wide range of cutting-edge topics with depth and authority.' - Nature 'Good stuff...It's great the way Hanlon flits from one topic to another, weaving a web of scientific and technological ideas...his light style is ideally fitted to exploring the products of Douglas Adams' mind.' - 'FOUR STARS: If you want to find out why the number 42 is so important catch the new movie. For a look at the facts it's based on you won't find many books more entertaining than this.' - Flipside Magazine 'Hanlon is a witty writer, able to lucidly explain the intricacies of quantum physics, theoretical physics and the peculiarities of a 'multiverse' in some depth. He spans astronomy, philosophy and engineering and topics such as growing steaks in test tubes, time travel and the possibility of life on other planets.' - The Engineer 'Hanlon has produced a very good book...readable, concise and easy flowing. If he continues writing in this informed and competent manner, it won't be long before he's as popular as Hawking or Dawkins.' - SFCrowsnest [Europe's most popular science fiction and fantasy site] 'Hanlon has a remarkable ability to simplify complicated concepts and make the vast numbers employed in modern science manageable for the reader. His light touch and ear for metaphor help transform difficult concepts into language that's understandable.' - Chemical & Engineering News 'Enlightening and thought provoking - like having a pint with Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Johnny Ball.' - Daily Mail


Acknowledgements - Introduction - Where are the Aliens? - Deep Thought - The Existence of God - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - The Big Bang Burger Bar - The Infinite Improbability Drive and Other Unlikely Ways to Get Around - Teleportation - The Babel Fish - Time Travel - Meat with a Clean Conscience - The Total Perspective Vortex and Artificial Universes - Parallel Worlds - The Whale that Came from Nowhere - Forty-two - Life, the Universe, and Everything

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MICHAEL HANLON is one of Britain's most successful science writers. He has been Science Editor at The Daily Mail for more than four years; prior to this he was at The Daily Express, The Independent and The Irish News. He contributes regularly to magazines such as The Spectator and New Statesman, and appears on TV and radio as a science pundit. He has written two popular science books to date: The Worlds of Galileo (Constable, 2001) and The Real Mars (Constable, 2004). He has helped London's Science Museum put together an exhibition celebr

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