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Faster Than the Speed of Light: The Story of Scientific Speculationby Joao Magueijo
Synopses & Reviews
Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and light travels at one fixed speed. This idea is considered a foundation of modern physics, but what if it is wrong?Theoretical physicist Magueijo presents the idea that light traveled faster in the early universe than it does today. The varying speed of light theory solves some of the most intractable problems in cosmology, and could have major implications for the study of physics.
"The speed of light is generally taken as the one absolute of physics. So messing around with it is, roughly speaking, the physicist's equivalent of the Pope saying that Christ wasn't the Son of God as such, more a close personal friend; or the Chief Rabbi deciding that the world made a lot more sense if you assumed there were at least four or five different gods, rather than just one." Independent
"One of the twentieth century's great monuments, the General Theory of Relativity, may soon be debunked by a [university] lecturer..." The Times (London)
"Magueijo, a 35-year-old native of Portugal, is opinionated and can seem immature and almost bratty in his diatribes against the banalities of academia or the hypocrisy and backbiting of peer review. But his science is lucidly rendered, and even his penchant for sturm und drang sheds light on the tensions felt by scientists incubating new ideas. This book shows how science is done-and so easily can be undone." Publishers Weekly
Book News Annotation:
In traditional Big Bang theories, there is a problem in describing why separate "regions" of the early Universe were able to homogeneously and simultaneously expand when they couldn't "communicate" because light hadn't had time to travel between them. Magueijo (theoretical physics, Imperial College, UK) has sought to resolve this and other contradictions of physics by controversially suggesting that the speed of light is in fact not an Einsteinian constant, but is instead a variable. Writing for a lay audience, he explains some of the implications of his theory, describes the path that led him to his conclusions, and discusses the reactions of the scientific community and others to his idea.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Destined to be one of the most hotly debated books of the year-the fascinating story of how one brilliant young physicist's heretical idea may dethrone Einstein and forever change the way we see the universe
Cambridge University-trained theoretical physicist Magueijo puts forth an extraordinary speculation: light traveled faster in the early universe than it does today. His theory of the varying speed of light (VSL) solves some of the most intractable problems in cosmology--specifically the flatness problem, the horizon problem, and the energy of space itself.
About the Author
João Magueijo is a lecturer in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College, London, where he was for three years a Royal Society Research Fellow. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton University, and received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. Magueijo was featured in a British television documentary, "Einstein's Biggest Blunder," which was broadcast last year. Visit the author's website at http://theory.ic.uk/~magueijo/.
Table of Contents
Very silly — pt. 1. The story of C: Einstein's bovine dreams — Matters of gravity — His biggest error — The sphinx universe — God on amphetamine — pt. 2. Light years: On a damp winter morning — Goan nights — Middle age crisis — The Gutenberg battle — The morning after — Altitude sickness — Epilogue : faster than light.
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