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Download The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself Audiobook, by Sean Carroll Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sean Carroll Narrator: Sean Carroll Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9780399565076
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Caltech physicist and author of the award-winning The Particle at the End of the Universe gives a sweeping new perspective on how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview.

This is a book that will stand on the shelf alongside the great humanist thinkers from Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan to Daniel Dennett and E. O. Wilson. It is a new synthesis of science and the biggest questions humans ask about life, death, and where we are in the cosmos.

Listeners learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level; the emergence of causes from underlying laws; and ultimately how human values relate to scientific reality. This tour of, well, everything explains the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe, but it also shows how an avalanche of discoveries over the past few hundred years has changed the world for us and what we think really matters.

As Carroll eloquently demonstrates, our lives are dwarfed by the immensity of the universe and redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Never hectoring, always tolerant, the author…gives us a highly enjoyable and lucid tour through a wide range of topics.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Vivid…Impressive…Splendidly informative.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Intensely insightful.”

    Scientific American

  • “Carroll’s holistic vision accommodates the sciences and the humanities and has a high probability of provoking readers into clarifying their own views about the complex relations among science, religion and morality.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “A tour de force that offers a comprehensive snapshot of the human situation in our infinitely strange universe, and it does with with highly accessible language and engaging storytelling.”


  • “Listening to theoretical physicist Sean Carroll narrate his own book is akin to hearing a brilliant college lecturer explain the mysteries of the universe…It all makes perfect sense, thanks to the author’s sensible, grounded explanations…[and] friendly, conversational voice. His evocative writing, combined with his cheerful and clear narration, makes these complex subjects come to life even for listeners who have never contemplated the deep mysteries of the universe. Winner of AudioFIle Earphones Award.”


  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of Best Nonfiction of 2016
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Sean Carroll, PhD, is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. After receiving his doctorate at Harvard, he pursued his research at MIT, the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago. His books include From Eternity to Here and The Particle at the End of the Universe. He lives in Los Angeles.