Invisible Worlds: Exploring the Unseen

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Overview

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780297843429
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 11.72 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: invisible worlds 12
Introduction: the hidden rainbow 14
1 A cloud of uncertainty 18
First images of the invisible: iron filings reveal magnetic fields 20
More than meets the eye: early encounters with unknown radiations 22
Lively molecules: the lessons of Brownian motion 24
Clouds & bubbles: tell-tale trails from subatomic collisions 26
Atom smashers: particle accelerators 28
Matter in the mirror: the discovery of antiparticles 30
Fundamental physics: searching for the simplest entities 32
The particle zoo: mesons, fermions, bosons, leptons, muons, gluons ... 34
Electronic physicists: smart computers interpolate particle trails 36
Recreating the cosmic dawn: searching for the origins of matter 38
Crystals of creation: X-ray diffraction of molecular arrays 40
Virtual chemistry: building molecular models with computers 42
The limits of vision: scanning tunnelling microscopy of atoms 44
The duality of matter: are particles objects or waves? 46
Subatomic shimmer: images of quantum waves 48
Circuits in action: the hidden life of a microchip 50
The nano-world: reshaping matter at the smallest scales 52
2 Bugs in the machine 54
The borderlines of life: are viruses truly alive? 56
Cells & bacteria: biological organisms at microscopic scales 58
The organic glow: fluorescence microscopy 60
The greenness of greenery: turning sunlight into life 62
No two alike: the distinctive geometry of pollen grains 64
A monster menagerie: insects in extreme close-up 66
When science becomes art: false colours in electron microscopy 68
A disconcerting ecology: the secret life of dust 70
The traffic inside us: blood cells in unprecedented detail 72
Capturing the essence: living samples under the scanner 74
Electron illusions: microscopic life from Mars? 76
3 Anatomy without knives 78
The X-ray: a century of medical successes 80
Painting over the cracks: works of art dissected by radiation 82
Slicing the subject: computerised axial tomography 84
Archaeology without tears: scans of delicate artefacts 86
The Tutankhamun case: an ancient murder probed with new tools 88
Seeing like a dolphin: ultrasound images of the human body 90
Reading the human code: do genes control our behaviour? 92
The transparent body: magnetic resonance imaging 94
A rush of blood: magnetic resonance angiography 96
The brain at work: capturing a thought 98
Searching for the self: the brain's electrical field 100
God in the head: images of transcendental states of mind 102
The digital human: a multilayered model of the entire body 104
The ultimate scanner: exploiting the 'terahertz gap' 106
4 Supersenses 108
What we do see: the human eye's abilities 110
Being a bee: insects & ultraviolet vision 112
The revealing glow: ultraviolet's forensic uses in criminology 114
Pseudo-science? Kirlian photography & the paranormal 116
Hot pursuit: thermal detection of humans 118
Going with the flow: the hidden dynamics of air 120
Under observation: the impossibility of privacy 122
No place to hide: backscatter X-ray technology 124
Living cities: time-compressed images of traffic & people 126
Big Brother: routine surveillance of our daily lives 128
5 Echoes in the ether 130
Finding the range: the classic sweep of a radar 132
Watching the world: detailed observation from orbit 134
Radar archaeology: hunting for the traces of lost civilisations 136
The ultimate maps: realistic models of landscape via radar 138
Crowded skies: air traffic control versions of the outside world 140
Lighting up the night: humanity's spread across the planet 142
Seeing the wind: visualising dynamic weather systems 144
A storm brewing: images of extreme weather 146
Warning signs: chemical clues reveal climate change 148
Into the abyss: mapping the ocean floors with sound 150
Hidden impact: seismic modelling of impact craters on Earth 152
Cracks in the fabric: movement stresses in the Earth's crust 154
Prospecting for gold: space spectroscopy of mineral deposits 156
Bumps in the field: unevennesses in the Earth's gravity 158
6 Our place in the cosmos 160
The delicate balance: the Earth as a living entity 162
Looking back: can life on Earth be detected at a distance? 164
Alien landscapes: Venus mapped by radar 166
As good as being there: virtual models of Martian terrain 168
Water on Mars: intensive chemical mapping from orbit 170
Restless giants: the electromagnetic lives of planets 172
Mysterious moons: startling discoveries on small worlds 174
Beneath the glare: the Sun's amazing structures revealed 176
Simulating the spark: modelling star formation 178
Dying stars: supernova explosions 180
Cosmic monsters: the terrible power of black holes 182
Seeing the generation gap: ultraviolet images of galaxies 184
A trillion suns: the mysterious energy of gamma ray bursts 186
The loud universe: making pictures with radio waves 188
The echo of creation: the microwave residue of the Big Bang 190
Most of everything is missing: the hunt for dark matter & energy 192
7 Beyond light 194
The golden ratio: is mathematics embedded in nature? 196
Mathematical telescopes: computers reveal the patterns in equations 198
The turbulent world: the complexity of fluids in motion 200
Ideal objects: are mathematical abstract shapes 'real'? 202
The electronic garden: simulations of natural growth 204
Is life a game? cellular automata & the natural world 206
More real than life: how we judge the realism of digital effects 208
A universe of strings: thinking beyond four dimensions 210
The multiverse: is there more to existence than this one universe? 212
Is reality beautiful?: the temptations of symmetry & neatness 214
What does it mean to see?: the 'qualia' of human vision 216
The universal computer: is reality an illusion? 218
Predicting the apocalypse: visualising our possible end 220
Our quest to be seen: messages sent into space 222
Index 224
Acknowledgements 230
Picture credits 231
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