In this first book in a projected series of six, the author interweaves creation myths, history, physics and mathematics to present a seamless, multifaceted view of the foundation of modern science. The acknowledgement page reads like a list of Who’s Who of the academic physics world, thanking the many experts who helped with fact checking and provided advice.
The book is well organised and the multidisciplinary approach apparent right from the table of contents.
Dividing the text into sections with zingy titles (Why Mars Is a Little Loopy), Hakim livens the writing with questions, asides and changes of tense; recaps, restates and refers back to important points; strews colourful illustrations with substantial captions thickly throughout; and sprinkles it all with fresh insights. She respects the ability of young readers to absorb difficult ideas — whether that deals with early developments in physics, or the discovery and refinement of mathematics and geometry. She keeps visual learners rapt, too, with lucid diagrams, photos and art reproductions.
The account of modern science’s dawn, up to the revolution engendered by the moveable type, presents a rare mix of visual appeal, intellectual content and a lively personal voice that will propel readers to the end, leaving them impatient for more.