The New Scientist

Beware Invisible Cows: My search for the soul of the universe by Andy Martin

Published by: Simon & Schuster Price: £12.99

Part cosmology, part memoir, this book is a strange cross-breed. Writer and surfer Andy Martin visits the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the LIGO gravitational wave observatory in Washington, and Mount Wilson in California in his quest to understand the origin of the universe. His writing ranges from tiresomely hyperbolic to transcendent, with funny and touching moments in between, but his genuine wonder at the universe and our place in it continually shines through. Although Martin doesn’t always get scientific details right, his philosophising is contagious, and he beautifully captures all that is narcissistic and endearingly human, both in his own journey and in the efforts of cosmologists; he describes them as wranglers of invisible cows, ever dreaming of “transcending the human condition”.

For one man’s wacky and profound take on the nature of reality, surf’s up.