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Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universeby Charles Seife
Synopses & Reviews
Humankind has grappled for millennia with the fundamental questions of the origin and end of the universe--it was a focus of ancient religions and myths and of the inquiries of Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. Today we are at the brink of discoveries that should soon reveal the deepest secrets of the universe.
Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from the front lines of the cosmological revolution that is being waged at observatories and laboratories around the world-in Europe, in America, and even in Antarctica--where scientists are actually peering into both the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists--including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are on the trail of dark matter, dark energy, and the growing inhabitants of the particle zoo-now know how the universe will end and are on the brink of understanding its beginning. Their findings will be among the greatest triumphs of science, even towering above the deciphering of the human genome.
This is the book you need to help understand the frequent front-page headlines heralding dramatic cosmological discoveries. It makes cutting-edge science both crystal clear and wonderfully exciting.
- Zero won the PEN/Albrand Award for first nonfiction and was a selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club
Includes bibliographical references (p. 269-276) and index.
About the Author
Charles Seife, a U.S. correspondent for the international magazine New Scientist, has also written for Scientific American, The Economist, Science, Wired UK, The Sciences , and numerous other publications. He holds an M.S. in mathematics from Yale University and his areas of research include probability theory and artificial intelligence. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The First Cosmology [The Golden Age of the Gods] 1
Chapter 2: The First Cosmological Revolution [The Copernican Theory] 10
Chapter 3: The Second Cosmological Revolution [Hubble and the Big Bang] 25
Chapter 4: The Third Revolution Begins [The Universe Amok] 49
Chapter 5: The Music of the Spheres [The Cosmic Microwave Background] 63
Chapter 6: The Dark Universe [What's the Matter with Matter?] 90
Chapter 7: Darker Still [The Enigma of Exotic Dark Matter] 103
Chapter 8: The Big Bang in Our Backyard [The Birth of Baryons] 116
Chapter 9: The Good Nus [The Exotic Neutrino] 132
Chapter 10: Supersymmetry [Fearlessly Framing the Laws of Matter] 150
Chapter 11: Seeing the Invisible [MACHOs, WIMPs, and Illuminating the Darkest Regions of the Universe] 163
Chapter 12: The Deepest Mystery in Physics [&Lambda, the Vacuum, and Inflation] 182
Chapter 13: Wrinkles in Spacetime [Gravitational Waves and the Early Universe] 199
Chapter 14: Beyond the Third Revolution [Voyage to the Ends of Time] 215
Appendix A: Tired Light Retired 225
Appendix B: Where Does Matter Come From? 229
Appendix C: Nobel Prizes in Physics--Past and Future 235
Appendix D: Some Experiments to Watch 241
Select Bibliography 269
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