The Universe Within by Neil Shubin

The Universe Within

**Kirkus Best Books of the Year (2013)** From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us? In Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human bodies—our hands, heads, and jaws—and the structur...

Details The Universe Within

TitleThe Universe Within
Release DateJan 8th, 2013
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Biology, Evolution, History, Geology

Reviews The Universe Within

  • Jaylia3
    When the continent of India slammed into Asia creating the Himalayas it changed the world climate which altered the plants available for food eventually leading to our ability to perceive color. How? This fascinating book, a sort of big history/big science blend, is exactly as its title describes it. The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets and People explores how the properties of our bodies and the course of our liv...
  • Brendon Schrodinger
    I've had Your Inner Fish on my to-read shelf for a while now, but I thought I'd give Neil's new one a try first. What a little condensed power-house it was.As a fellow scientist I'm well-versed in the theories presented here; but teh book offered much more. Firstly, it ties together multidisciplinary sciences in a neat little dialogue. One moment you're reading about biology, the next geology, but it all ties together. Science as a spectrum is we...
  • Nikki
    I like sense-of-wonder science, like Carl Sagan’s assertions that we are “starstuff”. This sounds as if it’s going to be in that vein, and in a way it is — certainly it brings home that it’s only possible for us to have iron in our blood because of ancient fusion in the hearts of stars — but on a more banal level, it’s the perfect way of revising what you’ve learnt in the Open University’s introduction to science module, S104....
  • Gendou
    This book reminded me of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Except, it isn't as well written, or as comprehensive. Shubin introduces the formation of the planets and our moon. He talks about circadian rhythms. He talks about oxygen and how it allows for big bodies and mammals, etc. He tries to be Carl Sagan, with pontification on how stars go supernova and make the chemical elements that find their way into out bodies. That's ab...
  • Andrea
    I have a bit of a nerd crush on Shubin, having now read both of his books this year. What I like about his writing, is that it is as smart and informative as it is accessible. I don't know about your average Joe, but I do not have a degree in evolutionary biology, astronomy, or tectonics, so it was sure nice to find an author who can really explain the tricky details. I've read explanations of Carbon 14 dating of fossils in both this book and Nic...
  • Tanja Berg
    Very solid 4 out of 5 *. Fascinating content, well-written, personal and easily digested. Popular science at its best!"Ours is a species that can extend its biological inheritance to see vast reaches of space, know 13.7 billion years of history, and explore our deep connections to planets, galaxies, and ohter living things. There is something almost magical to the notion that our bodies, minds, and ideas have roots in the crust of Earth, water of...
  • Lauren
    Not perfect, but pretty darn good. Rounded up to a full 5 stars because it was so full of memorable tidbits. Shubin may be a paleontologist, but you'll learn about astronomy, physics, microbiology, social sciences... And so many things in between. Accessible science writing that offers a solid starting point to many additional disciplines.
  • Lois
    I had this book on my pile to read for a while now, but didn't happen until I found a used copy of the audiobook and was able to listen to that while I worked. This was a good, but obviously compact, look on how life started and evolved on Earth, using astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry and paleontology to tell the story. The best part is while telling the parts of the story, some of the people and scientists mentioned aren't the usual ones t...
  • Jarod
    A really great introduction to basic sciences. Does a wonderful job of connecting the dots between cosmology, physics, biology, geology, etc. Recommend it to anyone with an interest in science without formal education in it.
  • Susan
    Some aspects of this book were entertaining and the science seems very up-to-date. But overall it was too disjointed. I think the best part of this book is going to be the suggestions for further reading, because there is such a wide range of topics he touched on.
  • Chris, the Dalek King
    This was very entertaining, but I couldn't help but feel by the end that is was a bit lacking in substance. Maybe it is just because I came off a monster of an 19hours audiobook, but by the time we got to the end, it felt like it was just starting to get going. I kinda wanted it to go into further detail about a lot of this stuff. It was very easy to listen to, though, so I have to give it points for readability.3.5 stars
  • Stephen
    I don't understand how this book gets its name. It is really a geological/biological/astronomical survey of earth over time. 13.7 billion years ago - The formation of the universe and how the different elements were created. This chapter includes a nice write up of how scientist estimate the age of the universe and the odd fact that all of the stars are red-shifted indicating they are moving away and why that radio telescope in New Jersey was imp...
  • Bahjat Fadhil
    الكون داخلنا ، فلا زالت بعض العناصر المكونة للجسم الإنساني هي نفسها داخل النجوم ، فما نحن إلا بقايا منها ، فنحن نحمل في ذمتنا حياة نجم ما قد انفجر في وقت ما . في هذا الكتاب يعود بنا "نيل شوبين" إلى النقطة التي خرج منها هذا الكون، بدراسة شاملة في الجيلو...
  • Arvind Balasundaram
    In this lively book, Neil Shubin (noted author of Your Inner Fish), makes paleontology, carbon chemistry, and climate science all come together in explaining our lives and the world around us. Drawing on the deep connectivity between our chemical composition and the natural processes in our universe, Shubin makes an immediate case of how dependent we are on almost everything around us. He explains how the state of the planet is greatly dependent ...
  • PEI Public Library Service
    Shubin’s book is subtitled Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People, and that pretty well sums up what the books is about.  It is a discussion of how astronomical events that took place billions of years ago have led to the human species as we know it today. Beginning with our very molecular composition, he shows how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth and  marked ...
  • Jessica
    3.5 starsWhat I liked:- context-rich factoids interweaving geology, astronomy, chemistry, biology, physics, and the history of science- the extensive, descriptive "further reading" section. Love that stuff, especially in overviews like this where I sometimes want more info.What I didn't like:- the interdisciplinary interweaving sometimes felt like mental ping-pong, which made it hard to maintain focus at times- I didn't get the point of all the p...
  • Julie Davis
    All the galaxies in the cosmos, like every creature on the planet, and every atom, molecule, and body on Earth are deeply connected. That connection begins at a single point 13.7 billion years ago.This book takes a big scientific fact and then links it back to life on Earth and our lives specifically. For example, the Big Bang created particles that exist on Earth and in living creatures today (including us). Along the way he tells the stories of...
  • Arianne
    completely beautiful book. It might sound silly to say but at leas to me, this book is perfect in every single way. The universe, our galaxy, the earth and all the wonderful developments that have come into fruition are all such beautiful things and processes to admire! We have such a deep connection to our environment, yet it doesnt feel like it? Through this book, I've felt like I've solidified a mysterious missing piece... a sort of lost-famil...
  • Heather Marshall
    I really enjoyed this book. I dove into The Universe Within by Neil Shubin with no expertise in the subject. It was easy for me to follow and understand. In this book Neil Shubin had a way of making me the reader so interested and always wanting to know what was going to be around the corner. I love how he broke everything down, explaining the different scientists and how there different ideas originally came about. My only criticism for this boo...
  • Kathryn Bashaar
    I love readable scientific books that are written in an entertaining style and at a level that someone with a non-science college degree can understand. This book really filled that bill for me. It starts with the big bang and traces developments since then that led to human beings: how solar systems formed, how the earth's atmosphere came to contain so much oxygen, and so on. I am a person of faith and it disappoints and perplexes me that so man...
  • Koen Crolla
    Neil Shubin, you'll remember, is the guy (or at the face of the team) who discovered Tiktaalik, which was all over the news a while ago. He wrote a book about that, which I quite enjoyed.The Universe Within is more generic pop-sci, which is a bit disappointing; it's certainly not bad pop-sci, but there's also little to set it apart from a hundred other such books. Still, if you're looking for a low-difficulty thing under two hundred pages about t...
  • Joe Iacovino
    This was a fun book to read. I was little hard on Shubin with "Your Inner Fish" as I was expecting a more technical read but this this time I expected a popular science book and with that expectation I was very pleased. The book jumps off to a pretty quick start and is a real smooth read. I would have liked to see a little more chemistry just to tie everything together a bit tighter. Also, I prefer footnotes that serve as little asides. Regardles...
  • Ashley
    As my first non-fiction in years, I couldn't be happier with my choice. Neil Shubin does a superb job of taking complex theories, histories, and stories and folds them into manageable and easily understood packages. Though I'm not currently working in the field of Earth sciences, this book brought me back to my childhood explorations in creek beds and forests, finding connections between myself and our planet. A big thank you to Shubin for re-ope...
  • Troy Neujahr
    Shubin's science, anecdotes, and warmly friendly writing style make "The Universe Within" an intriguing read. While I as a conservative Christian and pastor cannot agree with Shubin's evolutionary scientific conclusions, I nevertheless appreciated hearing his voice in this book, and found the breadth of topics to be sufficiently satisfying. All in all, a good read if you appreciate a scientist who is able to speak from his worldview with articula...
  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    Fun and easy to follow listen. Ties together Darwin's evolution of man with the evolution of the universe and some of its constituent parts. If your like me and you just can't get enough about evolution and our place in the universe (who among us can?), than I would recommend this short, well written and informative book.
  • Rhys
    In the great Goodreads competition of books named The Universe Within, the results just in, we have to say that this was the more enjoyable one to read. I was hoping to feel more connected to rocks after this book - not that I have anything against rocks, mind you - but they just didn't come to life for me.
  • Daphne Miller
    Although not as fantastic as Your Inner Fish (Shubin's previous book) this book is a great reminder of just how intimately our biology (and our health) is connected to our environment and our planet.
  • Dominic
    I liked his first book a lot because it was packed with facts and interesting things about our biology. This book takes a slightly more "Gee whiz, isn't the universe amazing" approach which left me feeling a little pandered to.