This book comes garlanded with tributes, headed by the claim, ‘Only Lisa Randall can take us on such a thrilling scientific journey’. I beg to differ. Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen science writers who could do a better job of describing this particular story (and some of them have covered almost all of the material presented here). The clue is in the words ‘science writers’. Randall fits into a particular niche that has recently become overcrowded. She is a professor at Harvard and a world-renowned scientist, and wrote a splendid book, Warped Passages, about her own area of expertise, particle physics and cosmology. So far, so good. But since then, like others in a similar situation, she has strayed, or been encouraged by her publishers to stray, into territory outside her own specialist area, territory that is already well covered by writers who understand science and, at least as importantly, are gifted communicators.
George Musser in the USA and Brian Clegg on this side of the Atlantic are two that spring to mind. If it were not for Randall’s academic standing, her latest book would pass by as just another rather humdrum account of the origin and evolution of the universe (and I