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‘Cosmological Koans’ Review: Matter and Mystics

Many koans are familiar to us: What is the sound of one hand clapping? Anthony Aguirre draws our attention to lesser known but equally meaningful ones, like “Who cleans the Universe?” and “How much of your fate have you made?” He uses these to jump-start discussions of agency and free will, respectively. The author covers the big cosmic questions, from the nature of time to the possibility of multiple universes, cleverly explaining complicated scientific concepts. Each brief chapter begins with a short narrative of his own invention, written in the second person, which presents a puzzle that he then goes on to connect to a fundamental idea in physics.

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