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Other titles in the Science Essentials series:
Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials)by Jeremiah P. Ostriker
Synopses & Reviews
"The invisible rules the visible while the infinitesimal determines the cosmic. This is not fuzzy mysticism. It is the clear-eyed logic of the world observed by astronomers, described here with precision and verve by Ostriker and Mitton. Read this book and let them guide you to enlightenment."--Robert P. Kirshner, author of The Extravagant Universe
"If you want a clear and fair assessment of the astonishing recent progress in understanding the cosmos--and of the mysteries that remain to be addressed--then this is the book for you. Ostriker and Mitton write with authority, and with style as well."--Martin Rees, Master of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and Astronomer Royal
"Heart of Darkness offers an engaging historical perspective on cosmology, and fluently moves onto the key modern issues in the dark sector. It is full of anecdotes and insights that will intrigue a general readership."--Joseph Silk, author of On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe
"Heart of Darkness offers a fresh perspective on the development of cosmology from one of its pioneers and most original thinkers, Jeremiah Ostriker, in collaboration with an exceptional science writer, Simon Mitton. This engaging history introduces nonexperts to the discoveries and basic concepts behind our current understanding of the universe."--Abraham Loeb, author of How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?
"Heart of Darkness is a penetrating and thorough narrative of how humans discovered the universe. Ostriker and Mitton are strong advocates for the tenacity and creativity of physicists and astronomers. This is an upbeat and inspiring story, told with vigor and enthusiasm."--Alan Dressler, author of Voyage to the Great Attractor: Exploring Intergalactic Space
"For Conrad, it was the Congo; for Ostriker (Formation of Structure in the Universe) and Mitton (The Young Oxford Book of Astronomy), it's deep space, dark matter, and dark energy. In this stimulating study, the Princeton astrophysics professor and University of Cambridge scholar offer a compelling insider's take on how astronomers have worked to reveal the mystery that is our universe. After a quick review of the long history of astronomy, the duo dive headlong into the 20th century and Einstein's paradigm-crushing work on relativity, gravity, and time, which — coupled with technological improvements — laid the foundations for a modern cosmology based on 'expansion — of vision, mind-set, and of the physical universe itself.' Indeed, the Big Bang sent galaxies racing outward, and the resulting universe is a 'quantum soup' riddled with 'Â Ã¢Â€Â˜holes,' Ã¢Â€Â˜filaments,' and Ã¢Â€Â˜walls.'Â ' Here the authors prove their scientific mettle, exploring current research into the structure of the universe, including dark matter that holds galaxies together, and mind-boggling dark energy, whose strength uniquely increases in proportion to expanding intergalactic distances. Ostriker and Mitton's knowledge is vast, and while they acknowledge that our understanding of the universe is far from complete, this thought-provoking presentation is as accessible as it is exciting. Photos & illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field, Jeremiah Ostriker, and his coauthor Simon Mitton.
From humankind's early attempts to comprehend Earth's place in the solar system, to astronomers' exploration of the Milky Way galaxy and the realm of the nebulae beyond, to the detection of the primordial fluctuations of energy from which all subsequent structure developed, this book explains the physics and the history of how the current model of our universe arose and has passed every test hurled at it by the skeptics. Throughout this rich story, an essential theme is emphasized: how three aspects of rational inquiry--the application of direct measurement and observation, the introduction of mathematical modeling, and the requirement that hypotheses should be testable and verifiable--guide scientific progress and underpin our modern cosmological paradigm.
The story is far from complete, however, as scientists confront the mysteries of the ultimate causes of cosmic structure formation and the real nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy.
About the Author
Jeremiah P. Ostriker is professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. His books include "Formation of Structure in the Universe" and "Unsolved Problems in Astrophysics" (Princeton). Simon Mitton is affiliated research scholar in the history and philosophy of science and a fellow of St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge. His books include "Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science" and "The Young Oxford Book of Astronomy".
Table of Contents
Prologue: From Myth to Reality 1
One: Einstein's Toolkit, and How to Use It 27
Two: The Realm of the Nebulae 52
Three: Let's Do Cosmology! 89
Four: Discovering the Big Bang 102
Five: The Origin of Structure in the Universe 130
Six: Dark Matter--or Fritz Zwicky's Greatest Invention 174
Seven: Dark Energy--or Einstein's Greatest Blunder 202
Eight: The Modern Paradigm and the Limits of Our Knowledge 229
Nine: The Frontier: Major Mysteries That Remain 253
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