- The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality © 2011
- Mariner Books: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- xviii+297 pages
It turns out physicists and astronomers are not exempt from the squabbles and power-struggles of office politics. That’s Panek’s take-away in The 4 Percent Universe.
It’s sad, really. I expected “one of the most important stories in the history of science” (Washington Post) to be about science, not interpersonal relationships and funding battles! The subtitle, “Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality” turned out be be less about dark matter and more about the race itself.
Panek is a brilliant man with an excellent grasp of the high-end physics involved. He also has a good sense of history and knows how to craft an elegant chapter.
In the end, if you’re a scientist in this field looking for primer on the politics you’re wading into, by all means read this book! If you’re a curious layman wondering about the unseen 96% of our universe, you’ll have to look elsewhere.