Neil Turok 2013. The Universe Within. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 292 pp.

A lucid, authoritative and personal tour of how we come to know what we do about physics. Like Carlo Rovelli commences with Anaximander. Highlights among many are: Maxwell; the vacuum energy of the universe (= Einstein’s cosmological constant); Hamilton’s method of seeking the line of least effort across all pathways and wide applicability of this approach, not least Feynman’s “sum over histories” quantum level formulation. Also Dirac and his prediction of anti-matter. And I think I almost understood the explanation of quantum computing, for a few moments. And I’m now convinced of the need to reassess Marshall McLuhan for his prescient insights on what the digital ages would hold. Neil Turok is not a fan of multiverse formulations of string theory as not offering much by way of explanation: more of a “theory of everything”. All this interwoven with his personal story, son of parents refugees from apartheid South Africa and thejourney from there to working with Stephen Hawking and to Director (until recently) of the Perimeter Institute. A great pleasure and often thrilling to read such a simple short and compelling read of material that is hard work in the hands of many.