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Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy



Martin Rees’s Compelling, Unified View of the Universe Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe Martin Rees Basic Books (Perseus Group), New York, 2000. 173 pp. $22.00 hc ISBN 0-465-03672-4 Reviewed by Edward W. Kolb In the world of astrophysics, Martin Rees is the summarizer of choice for major international meetings. His clear, reasoned concluding remarks often make the most complicated and confusing astrophysical problems seem tractable. Rees brings the same clarity of exposition to Just Six Numbers, his most recent book. Few people see the big picture as Rees does, and he paints a big picture indeed. Just Six Numbers offers much more than just six numbers. Rees uses the seeming “fine tuning” of six numbers, ranging from the cosmological constant to the ratio of the electric force and gravitational force between two electrons, as threads that weave a tale of the shaping of our universe by a few fundamental forces and concepts. In explaining how our existence depends on six numbers having values in a surprisingly narrow range of possibilities, Rees connects the nature of fundamental forces with the development of the universe. Rees’s breadth of vision and his ability to synthesize apparently



Physics TodayAmerican Institute of Physics

Published: Dec 1, 2000

DOI: 10.1063/1.1341924

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