A review of:

Stardust: Our Cosmic Origins By Stephen Welch

I enjoy reading books which make the latest scientific thoughts in diverse topics such as astronomy, particle physics, computers and artificial intelligence, biological evolution etc. accessible to non-specialists in the relevant fields.

Having read several books by Dawkins, Gould, Penrose, Barbour, Hawkins and others on these subjects, I approached reading Stephen Welch's book with some trepidation, wandering how it would compare with these `heavyweights'. I need not have worried - in less than 200 pages Stephen covers an incredible variety of subjects. Whilst not as rigorous and detailed in the treatment of its subject matter as some of the other authors, it is very readable and accessible for everybody. Whether you are 16 or 86, you are likely to enjoy this book if you have an open and enquiring mind, as it takes you on a whirlwind tour of the universe, from its farthest reaches to its basic building blocks of matter.

There are fascinating chapters on Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology that I found particularly informative and enjoyable. Whether you are an atheist or a religious believer, you will find a lot of interesting thoughts to ponder. If you are a believer it may not convince you to change your mind, but at the very least it will make you question those beliefs.

The author has clearly spent a lot of time researching the material for the book and has successfully pulled together a wide range of topics into a coherent whole. I would thoroughly recommend it!

Peter Ludvik FFA
Financial Actuary