Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall

    I was excited to start reading Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs because I’ve seen it around a few places and for whatever reason I wanted to start reading a couple books on the dinosaurs. Essentially, this book is a grand explanation of a new theory that the author and her colleagues are putting forward regarding dark matter, namely that there is a plane of dark matter conforming roughly inside the Milky Way. The gravitational effects of this disk of dark matter then may alter Oort cloud objects around the solar system on a periodic basis which then leads to potentially more Earth impacts from these objects. The period of this movement through the dark matter disk would also match up with the K-Pg extinction event. (The asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs among many other species of life on Earth.)

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    This book deals with quite a bit of science in it. While the author does do a good job at explaining the cosmology, physics, astronomy, astrophysics, etc. that is in the book, it is simply too much. A majority of the book is explaining scientific principles and theories and setting the context of her own new theory. Many tangents are explored and if there is long way to explain something it is always taken in lieu of a shorter route of thought. While some of this was necessary, much of it probably could have been left out or at least condensed.
    On the plus side, as stated earlier, most everything is explained quite thoroughly so someone who has not studied particle physics can still follow along. Also, very new and recent technologies and studies are detailed and examined in the book (though it could be argued that not all of them really needed to be brought up and only added to the length of the book.) The theory put forth is intriguing and the author does a particularly good job explaining dark matter and what it could be and what it isn’t. She also dispels quite a few myths and popular assumptions about dark matter. Lastly, I found her chapters regarding the discovery and acceptance of the Chicxulub impact as very interesting and readable (even if they were a little roundabout.)
    Overall, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs put forth a new theory and explained dark matter in a clear way. However, there really was an overabundance of science (from multiple disciplines) throughout the book and the page count could definitely have been reduced significantly and explained the theory. Still, this book was a good work of scientific nonfiction and much can be learned from this book.
     3.5 out of 5 stars.