The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos / Edition 1by Robert P. Kirshner
Pub. Date: 03/16/2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
One of the world's leading astronomers, Robert Kirshner, takes readers inside a lively research team on the quest that led them to an extraordinary cosmological discovery: the expansion of the universe is accelerating under the influence of a dark energy that makes space itself expand. In addition to sharing the story of this exciting discovery, Kirshner also… See more details below
One of the world's leading astronomers, Robert Kirshner, takes readers inside a lively research team on the quest that led them to an extraordinary cosmological discovery: the expansion of the universe is accelerating under the influence of a dark energy that makes space itself expand. In addition to sharing the story of this exciting discovery, Kirshner also brings the science up-to-date in a new epilogue. He explains how the idea of an accelerating universeonce a daring interpretation of sketchy datais now the standard assumption in cosmology today.
This measurement of dark energya quality of space itself that causes cosmic accelerationpoints to a gaping hole in our understanding of fundamental physics. In 1917, Einstein proposed the "cosmological constant" to explain a static universe. When observations proved that the universe was expanding, he cast this early form of dark energy aside. But recent observations described first-hand in this book show that the cosmological constantor something just like itdominates the universe's mass and energy budget and determines its fate and shape.
Warned by Einstein's blunder, and contradicted by the initial results of a competing research team, Kirshner and his colleagues were reluctant to accept their own result. But, convinced by evidence built on their hard-earned understanding of exploding stars, they announced their conclusion that the universe is accelerating in February 1998. Other lines of inquiry and parallel supernova research now support a new synthesis of a cosmos dominated by dark energy but also containing several forms of dark matter. We live in an extravagant universe with a surprising number of essential ingredients: the real universe we measure is not the simplest one we could imagine.
This book invites any reader to share in the excitement of a remarkable adventure of discovery.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: The Big Picture 1
CHAPTER 2: Violent Agents of Cosmic Change 15
CHAPTER 3: Another Way to Explode 34
CHAPTER 4: Einstein Adds a Constant 49
CHAPTER 5: Cosmic Expansion 60
CHAPTER 6: What Time Is It? 83
CHAPTER 7: A Hot Day in Holmdel 114
CHAPTER 8: Learning to Swim 136
CHAPTER 9: Getting It First 158
CHAPTER 10: Getting It Right 194
CHAPTER 11: The Smoking Gun? 234
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >