Review of Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist?


There are many intellectually stirring moments in the book, 
and I learned more than I would have thought 
I could about contemporary controversies 
in quantum mechanics and cosmology. 
Holt is an excellent translator of complex ideas and issues. 
But the highlight of his book is his description of rushing home
 to help his dog Renzo, 
who was suffering from advanced cancer.
 Help in this case meant holding the long-haired dachshund for 10 days,
 and then stroking him while a vet administered a lethal injection. 
Holt tells us about a mind game he plays 
with prime numbers to steady himself 
"in moments of unbearable emotion." 
He used the game at the veterinarian's office. 
The next day he called a physicist to talk about why the world exists.

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