How To Make an Apple Pie from Scratch: In Search of the Recipe for Our Universe, from the Origins of Atoms to the Big Bang

Doubleday. Aug. 2021. 30p. ISBN 9780385545655. $400. SCI
Cliff (particle physics, Univ. of Cambridge) says that he was inspired by astronomer Carl Sagan to write this book, his first work of popular science. In the introduction, Cliff refers to an episode of the popular 1980 TV series Cosmos, where Sagan says, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Cliff aims to do just that, by breaking down the apple pie into its most basic ingredients to uncover the fundamental elements of matter and tell the story of the origin of the universe. To do so, he visits various scientific sites around the globe (including the Geneva particle physics lab CERN) and delves into the groundbreaking contributions of the scientists who helped attain our current understanding of the universe. He examines the major cosmological events that eventually formed the biological materials that make up an apple pie (including the big bang, the creation of stars, and the formation of heavy elements).
VERDICT Cliff is an expert writer who artfully takes on a complex subject in a comprehensible, entertaining, and humorous manner. He even describes his own childhood attempt to uncover the chemical composition of an apple pie. This fascinating work is highly recommended.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing