Review of The Universe is a Machine by James Michel Hughes

Posted by in netgalley copy

In which Meghan judges requests books by their cover and finds herself reading a self-published physics manifesto.

See this cover:

It reminds me of this cover:

even though the blue and green are inverted and the first is about physics and the second about modern algebra. The second I bought when I was eleven or twelve at the Port Charlotte public library, thinking I was so smart because I totally knew what algebra meant. Me thinking algebra meant the elementary algebra of solving linear equations. The book thinking algebra meant abstract algebra starting by defining what I vaguely recall as a group and going from there. Smack down to eleven-year old Meghan. I think my copy of Modern Algebra might be somewhere. Geoff's office maybe? I always meant to go through it and be super smart. Then I went and got some math degrees, so I probably don't really *need* to go through it any more, especially since I don't know where it ended up.

Is any of this relevant to The Universe is a Machine? No. Not really, other than I am interested in things that remind me of other things I didn't read.

So here's the rub: The Universe is a Machine is a self-published book about classical mechanics, specifically centrifugal forces, which acted on the (cutest nomenclature ever) baby universe, giving the universe an ellipsoid shape, which one can infer through imaging of the CMB in which a doppler effect is observed. Spinning at startling speeds at its outset, all matter was flung to the edges, while anti-matter was not. So somewhere in the center of the universe is a big glob of antimatter, while at the edges is matter. If we assume a big crunch, then eventually matter and anti-matter will meet, EXPLOSION, and possibly cause global warming.

It all sounds ... plausible maybe? I have no idea. I'm not a cosmologist. It definitely sounds science-y enough, but I can't shake the feeling that, while I shouldn't discount outsider scientists, wouldn't you rather share your ideas in a peer-reviewed setting? Or even on arXiv? How do I know you're not just cherry-picking the examples and numbers that support your hypothesis rather than taking a look at everything to find a hypothesis that best suits the data? You know that feeling you get when your grocery bill is a whole dollar amount (like $63.00) and you think Wow! How rare is that!, even though it's just as rare as getting a decimal of $0.89 or $0.12 or $0.45, except we tend not to notice the other decimals, only the times when it's $0.00. Felt that way the whole book.

So I have no idea. It's dry and it attempts to sound scientific. But without peer review by people who actually know astrophysics, I can't say much. Even though I did. A whole lot. Up above.

The Universe is a Machine by James Michel Hughes went on sale September 28, 2016.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.