Physicists, philosophers, science geeks and anyone with an insatiable sense of curiosity concerning the origins of the cosmos may wish to read "The Universe" (Harper Perennial, 379 pages).
The book is a collection of essays composed by some of the leading theoretical physicists and mathematicians, and edited by acclaimed science writer John Brockman.
In what is touted as the "Golden Age of Cosmology," scientists explain
such intricate (and difficult) subjects as Inflationary Universe theory, the nature of time, string theory, dark matter, quantum gravity, empty space, etc., in a series of chapters.
While quite a bit of this left this reviewer's mediocre mind in a black hole, there are elements that seem to have registered.
Seth Lloyd's "Quantum Monkeys" argues that "life is ... the mother of all information-processing revolutions" for at its most basic level, "(T)he universe computes" is oddly reminiscent of the intelligent design theory held by many theists.
As to Neil Turok, who proposes a cyclical universe (a ramification of string theory), this does sound a bit like Cosmic Buddhism or Reincarnation on a Universal scale.
There are those who may be challenged by the notion that the Big Bang was not the ultimate beginning; but merely another beginning in an eternal cosmic story filled with infinite possibilities.
If modern physics appears too challenging, one can always look up and marvel at the truly awesome beauty of the starlit sky in summer.