The Light at the Edge of the Universe: Leading Cosmologists on the Brink of a Scientific Revolution

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Ever since the announcement of the Big Bang theory in the 1970s, cosmologists have been struggling to find answers (and the data to support them) to the question of how the universe evolved from a primitive, albeit unimaginably concentrated burst of energy some 15 billion years ago into today's complicated cosmos of galaxies and stars. Simply put, there are phenomena in deep space that no contemporary model of the universe can account for. Cosmology's most fundamental concepts are being destroyed and re-formed, ...
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Overview

Ever since the announcement of the Big Bang theory in the 1970s, cosmologists have been struggling to find answers (and the data to support them) to the question of how the universe evolved from a primitive, albeit unimaginably concentrated burst of energy some 15 billion years ago into today's complicated cosmos of galaxies and stars. Simply put, there are phenomena in deep space that no contemporary model of the universe can account for. Cosmology's most fundamental concepts are being destroyed and re-formed, resulting in a revolution in the field, a state many have called a crisis. Now, prize-winning Time magazine writer Michael D. Lemonick unravels the complicated work surrounding the mysteries of the cosmos by introducing us to the top scientists on the cutting edge. From Harvard there are the talented astronomers John Huchra, Margaret Geller, and Robert Kirshner. Not to be outdone, MIT presents the equally esteemed Alan Guth, John Tonry, and Jacqueline Hewitt. The Institute for Advanced Study gives us the inimitable David Weinberg and John Bahcall, while its neighbor Princeton University offers a whole slew of brilliant scientists, including David Wilkinson, Edwin Turner, Jeremiah Ostriker, James Peebles, Robert Dicke, Neta Bahcall, J. Richard Gott, Suzanne Staggs, Bohdan Paczynski, David Spergel, Neil Turok, and Lyman Page. Nearby you can find the exceptional Tony Tyson at the AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. The West Coast has its share of genius too, with Sandra Faber, Joel Primack, and George Blumenthal at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Bernard Sadoulet and George Smoot at Berkeley. The University of Chicago offers the gifted duo of Michael Turner and David Schramm, while the ground-breaking Vera Rubin holds forth at the Carnegie Institution. In The Light at the Edge of the Universe we watch them and many others as they work on theories and projects concerning such subjects as the Great Attractor, the COBE satellite,
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lemonick, an editor at Time , creates a theme park of cosmological theory, matching concepts and proponents like so many rides and characters, e.g., George Blumenthal and Ed Turner in Cold Dark Matter Land. Lemonick journeys through the night skies of physical astronomy with working observers and theorists, discussing in easy-going prose the impact of new discoveries on current models of the universe at a level aimed toward a general audience. Readers more cosmologically literate, who might find the interviews with this generation of cosmologists like strings of structure in a book missing much of its mass, are directed to Robert Wright's study, Three Scientists and Their Gods . On the whole, however, Lemonick nicely balances the vastness and profundity of his subject with an engaging, accessible treatment. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Library Journal
Journalist Lemonick has based his book on a number of interviews with leading theorists and observational astronomers whose work is at the heart of the dynamic field of cosmology. The issues discussed include the age and size of the universe and the problem of ``missing mass.'' Lemonick enlivens his narrative by including descriptions of the weather, the physical appearance of various scientists, and the scenic setting of some observatories, none of which has much relevance to scientific questions. Also, his book is devoted almost entirely to the work and the opinions of Americans and a few foreign-born astrophysicists at work here. Despite these shortcomings, this is an interesting summary of the present state of cosmology; by volume's end, it is clear that important new developments were occurring even as the book went to press. For both lay and informed readers.-- Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
From Barnes & Noble
An award-winning science writer unravels the complicated work surrounding the mysteries of the cosmos by introducing scientists on the cutting edge. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679413042
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/11/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 325

Table of Contents

Preface (1995)
Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
Who Needs Dark Matter? 20
Where the Galaxies Are 63
The Edge of the Universe 98
Weighing the Universe 141
How Old Is the Universe? 184
New Physics 223
New Searches 253
"It's Like Seeing God" 273
Epilogue (1995) 315
Index 329
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