I'm in awe of the universe. It's all thanks to The Universe Inside You

Jessica Powell (Top Santé)

Brian Clegg

Built from the debris of exploding stars that floated through space for billions of years, home to a zoo of tiny aliens, and controlled by a brain with more possible connections than there are atoms in the universe, the human body is the most incredible thing in existence.

In the sequel to his bestselling Inflight Science, Brian explores mitochondria, in-cell powerhouses which are thought to have once been separate creatures; how your eyes are quantum traps, consuming photons of light from the night sky that have travelled for millions of years; your many senses, which include the ability to detect warps in space and time, and why meeting an attractive person can turn you into a gibbering idiot.

Bursting with eye-popping facts and the latest mind-bending theories, the book takes you on journey through the mind-boggling science of the human body:

  • Every atom in your body was either produced in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago or made in a star between seven and twelve billion years ago
  • Your body contains around 10 times as many bacterial cells as it does human cells
  • When you make a decision to do something your brain fires up about 1/3 of a second before you are consciously aware of making the decision.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Reviews


The perfect gift for people who want to explore science without being bored by academic jargon. The Citizen - South Africa (Amanda Patterson)

I'm in awe of the universe. It's all thanks to science writer Brian Clegg's new book The Universe Inside You, which explains the inner workings of your body in order to explore the outermost workings of the universe. I'm completely gripped. Top Santé (Jessica Powell)

If you like QI you will love this book. Like the TV show, it takes a basic theme and then delights in finding all the strange and wonderful reality that can be discovered from that concept... Without over-simplifying, this all comes across at a level that would work for secondary school students as well as the general adult reader... I very much liked the linked website which includes a number of experiments you can try online, whether watching a video, trying an optical illusion or interacting with an artificial analyst. This is an Alice in Wonderland trip through science. But where Alice encounters absurdity, on our trip through the looking glass, we discover and enjoy the wonders of science. Brilliant stuff. ***** (Jo Reed)

By exposing the extreme science found in the human body, Clegg eloquently passes through the basics of physics, biology and chemistry. He sporadically inserts intriguing facts - from dogs that can work cash machines to why humans can't walk on water but can on custard... if you are ever plagued with thoughts about the size of a human egg - roughly the size of the full stop at the end of this sentence - or why our bodies contain atoms from the beginning of life itself, you will find it is worth a dip. New Scientist (Helen Thomson)

I thought that I knew a fair bit about the human body and how it works: it seems that I’m wrong... Clegg includes a number of experiments that you can do to demonstrate his points (some on the Internet and some in the home) and these add significant value and work well in ensuring you understand the subject. To satisfy your own simple curiosity or answer the questions from a bored eight year old child on a rainy Sunday (I speak from experience), I would recommend this book. Not being a science type myself, I did not think that I would enjoy reviewing this book but I was wrong, as the author has a talent for rendering potentially complex subjects much simpler and uses good examples to ensure that it is understood. It is an excellent read which I enjoyed very much. British Army Rumour Service (

It's fantastic… it hurts to set it down. (Hamish Muiry, radio presenter)

When you update yourself with latest scientific developments, you get a jaw-dropping revelations which slide you into more astonishment…The book "The Universe inside you' by Brian Clegg is such a minefield of scientific information that would surge your scientific temper. Irrespective of stream you studied in your academics , it is a book that must be read to know more about human body and functioning of brain. Here there should not be an argument that my genre is fiction or something other etc. Some books that provide you basic information should be swallowed like hot peanuts. Delhi Book Club (V. Srinivasa Rao)

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Universe Inside Optical Illusions video

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The Universe Inside You: Optical Illusions

From page 95:

The artificial nature of sight is why optical illusions work. Your brain is always constructing images of the way it thinks things should be, rather than the way they are optically. The picture projected on your retina, for example, is upside down – the brain turns it over. This trickery by the brain can be graphically demonstrated by wearing special glasses that flip your vision upside down. After a few hours the brain has had enough of being messed about and turns the image the right way up. Someone wearing these inverting glasses starts seeing things properly again.
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