The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos / Edition 1

The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos / Edition 1

by Robert P. Kirshner
     
 

ISBN-10: 069111742X

ISBN-13: 9780691117423

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

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Overview

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 universe—once a daring interpretation of sketchy data—is now the standard assumption in cosmology today.

This measurement of dark energy—a quality of space itself that causes cosmic acceleration—points 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 constant—or something just like it—dominates 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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691117423
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/16/2004
Series:
Princeton Science Library Series
Edition description:
With a New epilogue by the author
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
785,027
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

PREFACE ix

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

NOTES 263

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 275

INDEX 277

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