Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time

Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time

by Tom Siegfried
     
 

ISBN-10: 0309084075

ISBN-13: 9780309084079

Pub. Date: 08/30/2002

Publisher: National Academies Press

Scientists studying the universe find strange things in two places—out in space and in their heads. This is the story of how the most imaginative physicists of our time perceive strange features of the universe in advance of the actual discoveries.

It is almost a given that physics and cosmology present us with some of the grandest mysteries of all. What

Overview

Scientists studying the universe find strange things in two places—out in space and in their heads. This is the story of how the most imaginative physicists of our time perceive strange features of the universe in advance of the actual discoveries.

It is almost a given that physics and cosmology present us with some of the grandest mysteries of all. What weightier questions to ponder than, "How does the universe work?" or "What is the universe made of?" There are any number of bizarre phenomena that could provide clues or even answers to these queries. The strangeness ranges from unusual forms of matter and realms of existence to wild ideas about how time and space are related to one another. Many of these proposals may well turn out to be wrong. But how many will be proven to be right?

This book speaks for the scientific theorists who are bold enough to imagine and predict the impossible. New ideas are percolating in their heads every day. One physicist may dream of subatomic particles that could resolve a variety of cosmological conundrums while another may study the likes of "funny energy," which may explain how rapidly the universe is expanding. This is the stuff of Strange Matters.

In broad terms, this book is about a variety of discoveries that theorists of the past imagined before the observers and experimenters actually saw them. Moreover, it is about the things that today's are now imagining—but haven't yet been discovered or confirmed by the observers. Strange Matters artfully mixes the present with the past and future, reporting from the frontiers of research where history is in the process of being made.

Each chapter examines a different step along the twisted path we've walked to gain our rudimentary understanding of the universe, incorporating historical examples of successful "prediscoveries" with current stories that relate brand new ideas. We come to see the universe not only in terms of what has already been discovered, but also in terms of what has yet to be observed.

Strange Matters is a guide to the discoveries of the twenty-first century, a series of visions dreamt by the most imaginative scientists of our time merged with the achievements of the past—to point the way towards even greater accomplishments of the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780309084079
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publication date:
08/30/2002
Pages:
318
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.07(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
Introduction1
Part 1Strange Matters11
1Strange Matter: From Gell-Mann and Quarks to the Search for Quark Nuggets13
2Mirror Matter: From Dirac and Antimatter to the "Mirror World"39
3Super Matter: From Noether's Symmetry Theorem to Superparticles69
4Dark Matter: From Pauli and the Neutrino to the Universe's Missing Mass99
Part 2Strange Frontiers125
5The Best of All Possible Bubbles: From Friedmann and Cosmic Expansion to the Multiverse127
6The Essence of Quintessence: From Einstein's Greatest Mistake to the Universe's Accelerating Expansion159
7Superstrings: From Maxwell and Electromagnetic Waves to a World Made of Strings183
Part 3Strange Ideas207
8Stretching Your Brane: From Schwarzschild and Black Holes to New Dimensions of Space209
9Ghosts: From Riemann and the Geometry of Space to the Shape of the Universe243
10The Two-Timing Universe: From Einstein and Slow Clocks to a Second Dimension of Time267
Epilogue289
Notes311
Further Reading331
Index335

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