Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe

Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe

3.8 6
by Evalyn Gates
     
 

"In 1936, Albert Einstein published a paper demonstrating that bending of space caused by gravity would allow massive objects to act like "lenses," amplifying and distorting the images of objects behind them. Even as that work went to press, he dismissed the possibility of any practical applications, concluding that while a star can act as a telescope to magnify a…  See more details below

Overview

"In 1936, Albert Einstein published a paper demonstrating that bending of space caused by gravity would allow massive objects to act like "lenses," amplifying and distorting the images of objects behind them. Even as that work went to press, he dismissed the possibility of any practical applications, concluding that while a star can act as a telescope to magnify a more distant star behind it, there was simply no chance of observing this phenomenon." It turns out that Einstein vastly underestimated the ingenuity of future astronomers and astrophysicists. In Einstein's Telescope, Evalyn Gates takes us to the leading edge of contemporary science where, using the theory of general relativity - the last major revolution in our understanding of the Universe - scientists have discovered that it is possible to use space itself as a telescope. Far more powerful than anything we could ever hope to build here on Earth, "Einstein's Telescope" uses the warps and dimples in Einstein's audacious description of space and time as giant "cosmic lenses" that allow us to see the invisible.

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Editorial Reviews

Marcia Bartusiak - Washington Post
“Cogent review of this intriguing topic.”
Amanda Gefter - New Scientist
“In this highly informative book, Gates offers clear, accessible explanations of how gravitational lensing can…solve the [universe's] biggest mysteries.”
Gilbert Taylor - Booklist
“[...] Gates’ guide to this frontier, supplemented by beautiful astronomical photographs and instructive illustrations, will be as exciting as it is informative to her readers.”
Marcia Bartusiak
…cogent review of this intriguing topic…Gates aims to write for both professional scientists and laypeople, though she openly concedes that to newcomers some of these concepts will be "difficult to digest the first time through." In places her book does read like a textbook, but at least a textbook with style. A dry tome wouldn't ask you to look through the end of an empty wineglass to learn how dark matter can bend light due to the warps it imprints on space-time.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

There is far more to the universe than meets the eye: invisible dark matter and dark energy constitute the vast bulk of the cosmos and are responsible for its accelerating expansion. Gates, assistant director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, explores the science of these invisible phenomena and the questions they raise about the universe's origins, its present and its future. Gates explains how scientists discovered the existence of dark matter and their theories about the nature of the particles (with named like WIMPs) that form it. Astrophysicists have found tools to measure the invisible mass: the stars themselves. Drawing on Einstein's theory of general relativity, scientists can "see" dark matter using "gravitational lensing"-by measuring the deflection of light around a cosmic object, they can measure the object's mass. Presenting complicated topics concisely and clearly, Gates explains what we know about the universe, what scientists wish they knew, and what's at stake-the fate of the universe itself. 8 pages of color and 40 b&w illus. (Feb.)

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Library Journal

Gravity should be slowing the expansion of the universe, but, instead, the expansion is accelerating owing to a force astronomers believe is even stronger than gravity-dark energy. It is the aim of University of Chicago astrophysicist Gates to make accessible to all readers the fascinating discoveries made possible through a new tool based on Einstein's theory of general real, gravitational lensing, or "Einstein's Telescope." In her preface, the author asserts that the cosmos, like music, can be appreciated many ways and at many different levels. She succeeds in presenting mind-boggling ideas with an engaging, readable style that will appeal to nonscientists and scientists alike. Readers are encouraged to appreciate the sheer beauty of the book's astronomical images as they learn how the images were obtained and what they represent. Gates writes with a freshness and clarity that make complex ideas such as relativity, lensing, black holes, and the cosmic web understandable. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries of all sizes.
—Denise Dayton

Kirkus Reviews
An enthusiastic update on the search for the materials that make up the universe. From Newton's gravity to Einstein's relativity, explanations of how matter, energy, time and space behave represent a dazzling triumph of human genius. However, astronomer Gates points out in her first book, they don't explain everything. In the 1930s, scientists studying stars and galaxies discovered that they were moving faster than could be accounted for by the gravitational pull of nearby visible matter. Most mass in the universe must be invisible "dark matter," they concluded. Researchers and theoreticians had been mulling this over for decades when, in 1998, astronomers discovered that expansion of the universe, which Einstein predicted and everyone took for granted, was accelerating. No one had predicted this, and explaining it required immense amounts of what inevitably became "dark energy." It turns out that the matter and energy scientists have studied for centuries make up four percent of the universe. The rest remains a mystery. Gates paints a striking picture of astronomers' efforts to solve this dilemma, emphasizing their use of a fascinating phenomenon she calls "Einstein's Telescope." Gravity, Einstein explained, distorts space, and this deflects the path of any light passing nearby. He theorized-and 50 years later astronomers verified-that when an object lies between Earth and a distant light source such as a star or galaxy, that object's gravity acts as a lens, magnifying the source's image. Gates vividly describes the avalanche of new information revealed by "gravitational lensing." Astronomers now measure the movement and makeup of galaxies far across the universe, but lensing alsoreveals planets orbiting stars in our galaxy and details of peculiar objects such as black holes, neutron stars and brown dwarfs. Splendidly satisfying reading, designed for a nonspecialist audience. Agent: Lisa Adams/The Garamond Agency
Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Gates . . . brings dark matter, dark energy, and even black holes to light . . . with deft humor and grace.”
Robert P. Kirshner
“Engaging, fearless, factual, and kind.”
Booklist
“Starred Review. As exciting as it is informative.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393062380
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/23/2009
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
846,404
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Evalyn Gates is the assistant director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, a senior research associate at the University of Chicago, and the former astronomy director of the Adler Planetarium. Her writing has appeared in Physics Today and the Chicago Tribune.

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Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Blubmin More than 1 year ago
Found beneath the cover of Einstein's Telescope is a book that manages to explain the complex theories behind gravitational lensing in a way that appeals to the layman without dumbing anything down. Assuredly it will appeal to any lover of the cosmic and easily captivates a curiosity of it. Regardless of knowledge of the subject of relativity, author Gates provides an ample exploration into the history of the theories upon which this book is based. It is upon this foundation that the rest of the book (especially the latter chapters) rest upon. 40 illustrations and diagrams dot the pages of the book and are effective tools in understanding many of the basic theories that Gates brings up. Through the course of the book, Gates manages to paint a modern comprehension of what the Universe is made of and where it is going. Gates (Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics) remarks on the works of modern and past scientists and their efforts to explain why the universe is expanding and what that means to our current theories. Many questions are brought up and many are left unanswered. From this we're given a sense that perhaps the more we delve into the mechanics of the universe, the less we will truly know - a fact that is just about as frightening as it is intriguing. One thing is certain, however, that the impact of Einstein on the scientific community will most definitely continue through the use of gravitational lensing (Einstein's Telescope). Overall, this book is a beautiful introduction to something seemingly unreachable by any non-scientist. It flows in a very chronological manner which makes following only that much easier. From 1917 to the 2000's we see a progression in human comprehension that is bound to enthrall all the curious, science-loving people out there.
bareshiyth More than 1 year ago
Great writing, good basic science, and the best skinny on a really useful development in cosmological and astronomical science one could ask for!
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