Pages from a novel on the universe

A book about the universe should at least possess one of the virtues of its subject: enigmatic charm or apparent simplicity. Giorgos Grammatikakis’s «Autobiography of Light» (published by Crete University Press) boasts much more. It has everything: all that man has thought probable, suspected, believed, proved or rejected regarding the cosmic universe. The book intrigues new readers and has been on the best-seller list for several weeks. Readers can start from any chapter, move in any direction and start a new quest unimpeded. They can abruptly change course and ride on a light particle a billionth of a second after the Big Bang to gallop into the birth of the universe, see temporal space weave its warp of nothingness, see matter and non-matter emerge from clean energy, or they can participate in the dance of the galaxies and the tug of war between gravity and anti-gravity. They can observe the never-failing light, see the colors blossoming on a parrot’s wings, the chlorophyll of life pulsating, Newton lying down for his afternoon nap under the apple tree, and Einstein deciding to put E and not mc2 first in the equation that turned everything upside down. Everything is bathed in light, thousands of queries lead to millions of answers. Is this the poetry of light, a novel on the universe, or thirst for knowledge? How have they managed to make such a complex book a global publishing event of the kind only experienced by Hawking’s «A Brief History of Time»? Perhaps it is of little significance. What matters is that the salt of the earth has not dried up, that the need for poetry, myth and legend can still separate the wheat from the chaff.