Particle physicist Tonelli was one of the leading scientists in the discovery of the Higgs boson. In Genesis, he explores the origins of the universe, producing an accessible and highly engaging account of the latest theories and discoveries. In seven chapters, mimicking the biblical creation story, he takes us on a journey from the big bang to the evolution of humans, blending Greek mythology with scientific exploration in a narrative that’s lyrical and exhilarating in equal measure.
All is forgiven, though, when Tonelli leaps — often in one paragraph — from minutiae to cosmic grandeur. He explains superbly how minuscule variations in the density of that first fleck of a universe are now written across the immensity of space, to be read by us in background radiation and in the patterns of the galaxies themselves. The heavy elements of which we are made were forged in those stars, and he takes an infectious joy in the implications: “If we can begin to accept the idea that we are literally children of the stars, we should also accept the fact that we are great-grandchildren of those quantum fluctuations.”