How Old Is the Universe?

How Old Is the Universe?

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by David A. Weintraub
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691147310

ISBN-13: 9780691147314

Pub. Date: 11/15/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Astronomers have determined that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. How exactly did they come to this precise conclusion? How Old Is the Universe? tells the incredible story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in science and, along the way, introduces readers to fundamental concepts and cutting-edge advances in modern astronomy. The age

Overview

Astronomers have determined that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. How exactly did they come to this precise conclusion? How Old Is the Universe? tells the incredible story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in science and, along the way, introduces readers to fundamental concepts and cutting-edge advances in modern astronomy. The age of our universe poses a deceptively simple question, and its answer carries profound implications for science, religion, and philosophy. David Weintraub traces the centuries-old quest by astronomers to fathom the secrets of the nighttime sky. Describing the achievements of the visionaries whose discoveries collectively unveiled a fundamental mystery, he shows how many independent lines of inquiry and much painstakingly gathered evidence, when fitted together like pieces in a cosmic puzzle, led to the long-sought answer. Astronomers don't believe the universe is 13.7 billion years old--they know it. You will too after reading this book. By focusing on one of the most crucial questions about the universe and challenging readers to understand the answer, Weintraub familiarizes readers with the ideas and phenomena at the heart of modern astronomy, including red giants and white dwarfs, cepheid variable stars and supernovae, clusters of galaxies, gravitational lensing, dark matter, dark energy and the accelerating universe--and much more. Offering a unique historical approach to astronomy, How Old Is the Universe? sheds light on the inner workings of scientific inquiry and reveals how astronomers grapple with deep questions about the physical nature of our universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691147314
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: 13.7 Billion Years 1

PART I. The Age of Objects in Our Solar System

Chapter 2 4004 bce 9

Chapter 3 Moon Rocks and Meteorites 16

Chapter 4 Defying Gravity 27

PART II. The Ages of the Oldest Stars

Chapter 5 Stepping Out 43

Chapter 6 Distances and Light 55

Chapter 7 All Stars Are Not the Same 61

Chapter 8 Giant and Dwarf Stars 78

Chapter 9 Reading a Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) Diagram 94

Chapter 10 Mass 101

Chapter 11 Star Clusters 111

Chapter 12 Mass Matters 126

Chapter 13 White Dwarfs and the Age of the Universe 133

Chapter 14 Ages of Globular Clusters and the Age of the Universe 159

PART III. The Age of the Universe

Chapter 15 Cepheids 175

Chapter 16 An Irregular System of Globular Clusters 191

Chapter 17 The Milky Way Demoted 202

Chapter 18 The Trouble with Gravity 209

Chapter 19 The Expanding Universe 217

Chapter 20 The Hubble Age of the Universe 235

Chapter 21 The Accelerating Universe 245

Chapter 22 Dark Matter 261

Chapter 23 Exotic Dark Matter 282

Chapter 24 Hot Stuff 301

Chapter 25 Two Kinds of Trouble 319

Chapter 26 The WMAP Map of the CMB and the Age of the Universe 333

Chapter 27 A Consistent Answer 360

Index 365

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