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Invisible Worlds: Exploring the Unseen

Invisible Worlds: Exploring the Unseen

by Piers Bizony, Jim Al-Khalili

ISBN-10: 0297843427

ISBN-13: 9780297843429

Pub. Date: 09/28/2004

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group, Limited

Take an amazing and truly awe-inspiring visual voyage, courtesy of 100 incredible images made from the most sophisticated, cutting-edge technology, and see what can’t be seen with the naked eye.

It’s an eye-opening experience: from the smashing of atoms to the diffraction of X-rays skimming through a crystal of DNA, the deepest patterns of


Take an amazing and truly awe-inspiring visual voyage, courtesy of 100 incredible images made from the most sophisticated, cutting-edge technology, and see what can’t be seen with the naked eye.

It’s an eye-opening experience: from the smashing of atoms to the diffraction of X-rays skimming through a crystal of DNA, the deepest patterns of nature’s building blocks are revealed to thrilling effect thanks to revolutionary technology. These thoroughly breathtaking images delve deep into the invisible world, letting us peer into the hidden secrets of heat, sound, and all manner of exotic energies and radiations. View the human body as seen in a colored Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan; a photo of a huge solar prominence, taken by an Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope; an enhanced electron scan of tiny dust mites; and striking spots of light from the distant galaxies. Computer simulations, powered by 21st-century mathematics, hint that there are still greater truths out there. It’s as unbelievable as the best science fiction—and it’s all true.

Product Details

Orion Publishing Group, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.32(w) x 11.72(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface: invisible worlds12
Introduction: the hidden rainbow14
1A cloud of uncertainty18
First images of the invisible: iron filings reveal magnetic fields20
More than meets the eye: early encounters with unknown radiations22
Lively molecules: the lessons of Brownian motion24
Clouds & bubbles: tell-tale trails from subatomic collisions26
Atom smashers: particle accelerators28
Matter in the mirror: the discovery of antiparticles30
Fundamental physics: searching for the simplest entities32
The particle zoo: mesons, fermions, bosons, leptons, muons, gluons ...34
Electronic physicists: smart computers interpolate particle trails36
Recreating the cosmic dawn: searching for the origins of matter38
Crystals of creation: X-ray diffraction of molecular arrays40
Virtual chemistry: building molecular models with computers42
The limits of vision: scanning tunnelling microscopy of atoms44
The duality of matter: are particles objects or waves?46
Subatomic shimmer: images of quantum waves48
Circuits in action: the hidden life of a microchip50
The nano-world: reshaping matter at the smallest scales52
2Bugs in the machine54
The borderlines of life: are viruses truly alive?56
Cells & bacteria: biological organisms at microscopic scales58
The organic glow: fluorescence microscopy60
The greenness of greenery: turning sunlight into life62
No two alike: the distinctive geometry of pollen grains64
A monster menagerie: insects in extreme close-up66
When science becomes art: false colours in electron microscopy68
A disconcerting ecology: the secret life of dust70
The traffic inside us: blood cells in unprecedented detail72
Capturing the essence: living samples under the scanner74
Electron illusions: microscopic life from Mars?76
3Anatomy without knives78
The X-ray: a century of medical successes80
Painting over the cracks: works of art dissected by radiation82
Slicing the subject: computerised axial tomography84
Archaeology without tears: scans of delicate artefacts86
The Tutankhamun case: an ancient murder probed with new tools88
Seeing like a dolphin: ultrasound images of the human body90
Reading the human code: do genes control our behaviour?92
The transparent body: magnetic resonance imaging94
A rush of blood: magnetic resonance angiography96
The brain at work: capturing a thought98
Searching for the self: the brain's electrical field100
God in the head: images of transcendental states of mind102
The digital human: a multilayered model of the entire body104
The ultimate scanner: exploiting the 'terahertz gap'106
What we do see: the human eye's abilities110
Being a bee: insects & ultraviolet vision112
The revealing glow: ultraviolet's forensic uses in criminology114
Pseudo-science? Kirlian photography & the paranormal116
Hot pursuit: thermal detection of humans118
Going with the flow: the hidden dynamics of air120
Under observation: the impossibility of privacy122
No place to hide: backscatter X-ray technology124
Living cities: time-compressed images of traffic & people126
Big Brother: routine surveillance of our daily lives128
5Echoes in the ether130
Finding the range: the classic sweep of a radar132
Watching the world: detailed observation from orbit134
Radar archaeology: hunting for the traces of lost civilisations136
The ultimate maps: realistic models of landscape via radar138
Crowded skies: air traffic control versions of the outside world140
Lighting up the night: humanity's spread across the planet142
Seeing the wind: visualising dynamic weather systems144
A storm brewing: images of extreme weather146
Warning signs: chemical clues reveal climate change148
Into the abyss: mapping the ocean floors with sound150
Hidden impact: seismic modelling of impact craters on Earth152
Cracks in the fabric: movement stresses in the Earth's crust154
Prospecting for gold: space spectroscopy of mineral deposits156
Bumps in the field: unevennesses in the Earth's gravity158
6Our place in the cosmos160
The delicate balance: the Earth as a living entity162
Looking back: can life on Earth be detected at a distance?164
Alien landscapes: Venus mapped by radar166
As good as being there: virtual models of Martian terrain168
Water on Mars: intensive chemical mapping from orbit170
Restless giants: the electromagnetic lives of planets172
Mysterious moons: startling discoveries on small worlds174
Beneath the glare: the Sun's amazing structures revealed176
Simulating the spark: modelling star formation178
Dying stars: supernova explosions180
Cosmic monsters: the terrible power of black holes182
Seeing the generation gap: ultraviolet images of galaxies184
A trillion suns: the mysterious energy of gamma ray bursts186
The loud universe: making pictures with radio waves188
The echo of creation: the microwave residue of the Big Bang190
Most of everything is missing: the hunt for dark matter & energy192
7Beyond light194
The golden ratio: is mathematics embedded in nature?196
Mathematical telescopes: computers reveal the patterns in equations198
The turbulent world: the complexity of fluids in motion200
Ideal objects: are mathematical abstract shapes 'real'?202
The electronic garden: simulations of natural growth204
Is life a game? cellular automata & the natural world206
More real than life: how we judge the realism of digital effects208
A universe of strings: thinking beyond four dimensions210
The multiverse: is there more to existence than this one universe?212
Is reality beautiful?: the temptations of symmetry & neatness214
What does it mean to see?: the 'qualia' of human vision216
The universal computer: is reality an illusion?218
Predicting the apocalypse: visualising our possible end220
Our quest to be seen: messages sent into space222
Picture credits231

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