…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
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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
“Starred Review. As exciting as it is informative.”
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.”
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.”