Book picks similar to
The Red Limit by Timothy Ferris
The Unknown Universe: A New Exploration of Time, Space, and Modern Cosmology
Stuart Clark - 2015
Taking in 440 sextillion kilometres of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: we will never see the early universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology, on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct. The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten; if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms? Can we ever know what happened before the Big Bang? What’s at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?
Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going
Neil deGrasse Tyson - 2021
In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world''s most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast.In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia--How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?--and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories.Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos.For all who loved National Geographic''s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond.
The Higgs Boson and Beyond
Sean Carroll - 2015
The hunt for the Higgs was the subject of wide media attention due to the cost of the project, the complexity of the experiment, and the importance of its result. And, when it was announced with great fanfare in 2012 that physicists has succeeded in creating and identifying this all-important new particle, the discovery was celebrated around the world.And yet, virtually no one who read that news could tell you what, exactly, the Higgs boson was, and why its discovery was so important that we had to spend 10 billion dollars and build the single largest and most complex device in the history of mankind in order to find it. When you understand the details, this story ranks as one of the most thrilling in the history of modern science.Award-winning theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, a brilliant researcher as well as a gifted speaker who excels in explaining scientific concepts to the public, is perfectly positioned to tell this story. In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this discovery, including the basics of quantum mechanics; the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics; how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and the importance of symmetry in physics.You also get an in-depth view of the Large Hadron Collider - the largest machine ever built, and the device responsible for finally revealing the concept of the Higgs boson as reality. By the end, you'll understand how the Higgs boson verifies the final piece in the Standard Model of particle physics, and how its discovery validates and deepens our understanding of the universe.
Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos
Caleb Scharf - 2012
Often billions of times more massive than the Sun, they lurk in the inner sanctum of almost every galaxy of stars in the universe. They're mysterious chasms so destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their deadly wrath.Recent research, however, has led to a cascade of new discoveries that have revealed an entirely different side to black holes. As the astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals in Gravity's Engines, these chasms in space-time don't just vacuum up everything that comes near them; they also spit out huge beams and clouds of matter. Black holes blow bubbles.With clarity and keen intellect, Scharf masterfully explains how these bubbles profoundly rearrange the cosmos around them. Engaging with our deepest questions about the universe, he takes us on an intimate journey through the endlessly colorful place we call our galaxy and reminds us that the Milky Way sits in a special place in the cosmic zoo—a "sweet spot" of properties. Is it coincidental that we find ourselves here at this place and time? Could there be a deeper connection between the nature of black holes and their role in the universe and the phenomenon of life? We are, after all, made of the stuff of stars.
Black Holes and Warped Spacetime
William J. Kaufmann III - 1979
They infinitely warp space and time, allowing nothing to escape: not matter, not even light. They are stellar corpses that have crushed themselves into oblivion, seemingly suspending the traditional laws of physics. The Big bang may have peppered the universe with primordial black holes, as small as protons but as massive as mountains. The universe itself may be disappearing into the final black hole. Black holes (BHs) and their warping effect on spacetime are described, beginning with a discussion on stellar evolution that includes white dwarfs, supernovas and neutron stars. The structure of static, rotating, and electrically charged BHs are considered, as well as the general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Rosen bridge, and wormholes in spacetime. Attention is also given to gravitational lenses, various space geometries, quasars, Seyfert galaxies, supermassive black holes, the evaporation and particle emission of BHs, and primordial BHs, including their temperature and lifetime. The author's engrossing, non-technical explanations are enhanced by numerous illustrations.
Einstein's Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable
Seth Fletcher - 2018
But Shep Doeleman and a global coalition of scientists are on the cusp of doing just that.With exclusive access to the team, journalist Seth Fletcher spent five years following Shep and an extraordinary cast of characters as they assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual radio observatory the size of the Earth. He witnessed their struggles, setbacks, and breakthroughs, and along the way, he explored the latest thinking on the most profound questions about black holes. Do they represent a limit to our ability to understand reality? Or will they reveal the clues that lead to the long-sought Theory of Everything?Fletcher transforms astrophysics into something exciting, accessible, and immediate, taking us on an incredible adventure to better understand the complexity of our galaxy, the boundaries of human perception and knowledge, and how the messy human endeavor of science really works.Weaving a compelling narrative account of human ingenuity with excursions into cutting-edge science, Einstein’s Shadow is a tale of great minds on a mission to change the way we understand our universe—and our place in it.
Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (For the Cosmically Curious)
Michael Wall - 2018
It's impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? Books, movies and television shows proliferate that attempt to answer this question and explore it. In Out There Space.com senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers, for instance, the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth (an eventuality which, top NASA officials told Wall, is only drawing closer). What would the first aliens we meet look like?Would they be little green men or mere microbes?Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away?Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it?And might they already have visited?Out There is arranged in a simple question-and-answer format. The answers are delivered in Dr. Wall's informal but informative style, which mixes in a healthy dose of humor and pop culture to make big ideas easier to swallow. Dr. Wall covers questions far beyond alien life, venturing into astronomy, physics, and the practical realities of what long-term life might be like for we mere humans in outer space, such as the idea of lunar colonies, and even economic implications. Dr. Wall also shares the insights of some of the leading lights in space exploration today, and shows how the next space age might be brighter than ever.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe (Hot Science)
Brian Clegg - 2019
The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced. Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should fly apart, but something concealed holds them together. That ’something' is dark matter – invisible material in five times the quantity of the familiar stuff of stars and planets. By the 1990s we also knew that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Something, named dark energy, is pushing it to expand faster and faster. Across the universe, this requires enough energy that the equivalent mass would be nearly fourteen times greater than all the visible material in existence. Brian Clegg explains this major conundrum in modern science and looks at how scientists are beginning to find solutions to it.
The Birth of Time: How Astronomers Measure the Age of the Universe
John Gribbin - 1999
Research astronomer John Gribbin tells the story of the struggle to determine the age of the universe and offers an insider's view of the thrilling breakthrough of the 1990s, when Hubble Space Telescope data revealed that the universe is between 13 and 16 billion years old -- older by at least one billion years than the oldest stars.
Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time—and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything
George Musser - 2015
Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time: nonlocality-the ability of two particles to act in harmony no matter how far apart they may be. It appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't come to terms with it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance." More recently, the mystery has deepened as other forms of nonlocality have been uncovered. This strange occurrence, which has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity, holds the potential to undermine our most basic understandings of physical reality. If space isn't what we thought it was, then what is it? In Spooky Action at a Distance, George Musser sets out to answer that question, offering a provocative exploration of nonlocality and a celebration of the scientists who are trying to explain it. Musser guides us on an epic journey into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers finding galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. He traces the often contentious debates over nonlocality through major discoveries and disruptions of the twentieth century and shows how scientists faced with the same undisputed experimental evidence develop wildly different explanations for that evidence. Their conclusions challenge our understanding of not only space and time but also the origins of the universe-and they suggest a new grand unified theory of physics. Delightfully readable, Spooky Action at a Distance is a mind-bending voyage to the frontiers of modern physics that will change the way we think about reality.Long-listed for the 2016 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award“An important book that provides insight into key new developments in our understanding of the nature of space, time and the universe. It will repay careful study.” —John Gribbin, The Wall Street Journal “An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Calculating the Cosmos: How Mathematics Unveils the Universe
Ian Stewart - 2016
He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos: How Kepler's laws of planetary motion led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. How, two centuries later, tiny irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein to devise his general theory of relativity. How, eighty years ago, the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the development of the Big Bang theory of its origins. How single-point origin and expansion led cosmologists to theorize new components of the universe, such as inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. But does inflation explain the structure of today's universe? Does dark matter actually exist? Could a scientific revolution that will challenge the long-held scientific orthodoxy and once again transform our understanding of the universe be on the way? In an exciting and engaging style, Calculating the Cosmos is a mathematical quest through the intricate realms of astronomy and cosmology.
How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe
Chris Impey - 2012
Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe.The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote: we travel from the Moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy. Impey gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history. His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind-bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes.A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its readers with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.
Measuring the Universe: Our Historic Quest to Chart the horizons of Space and Time
Kitty Ferguson - 1900
Today, scientists are attempting to measure the entire universe and to determine its origin. Although the methods have changed, the quest to chart the horizons of space and time continues to be one of the great adventures of science.Measuring the Universe is an eloquent chronicle of the men and women– from Aristarchus to Cassini, Sir Isaac Newton to Henrietta Leavitt and Stephen Hawking–who have gradually unlocked the mysteries of "how far" and in so doing have changed our ideas about the size and nature of the universe and our place in it. Kitty Ferguson reveals their methods to have been as inventive as their results were–and are–eye-opening. Advances such as Copernicus's revolutionary insights about the arrangement of the solar system, William Herschel's meticulous creation of the first three-dimensional map of the universe, and Edwin Hubble's astonishing discovery that the universe is expanding have by turns revolutionized our concept of the universe. Connecting centuries of breakthroughs with the political and cultural events surrounding them, Ferguson makes astronomy part of the sweep of history.To measure the seemingly immeasurable, scientists have always pushed the boundaries of the imagination–today, for example, facing the paradox of an ever-expanding universe that doesn't appear to expand into anything. In Kitty Fergeson's skillfill hands, the unimaginable becomes accessible and the splendid quest something we all can share.
Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos
Alan W. Hirshfeld - 2001
Not until the nineteenth century would three men, armed with the best telescopes of their age, race to conquer this astronomical Everest. Parallax tells the fast-moving story of their contest, which ended in a dead heat. Against a sweeping backdrop filled with kidnappings, dramatic rescue, swordplay, madness, and bitter rivalry, Alan W. Hirshfeld brings to life the heroes -- and heroines -- of this remarkable chapter in history. Characters include the destitute boy plucked from a collapsed building who grew up to become the world's greatest telescope maker; the hot-tempered Dane whose nose was lopped off in a duel over mathematics; a merchant's apprentice forced to choose between the lure of money and his passion for astronomy; and the musician who astounded the world by discovering a new planet from his own backyard.Generously illustrated with period engravings and paintings, Parallax is an unforgettable ride through time and space.