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

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

by Michael D. Lemonick
     
 
Will the universe expand forever? Or will it collapse in a Big Crunch within the next few billion years? If the Big Bang theory is correct in presenting the origins of the universe as a smooth fireball, how did the universe come to contain structures as large as the recently discovered "Great Wall" of galaxies, which stretches hundreds of millions of light years? Such

Overview

Will the universe expand forever? Or will it collapse in a Big Crunch within the next few billion years? If the Big Bang theory is correct in presenting the origins of the universe as a smooth fireball, how did the universe come to contain structures as large as the recently discovered "Great Wall" of galaxies, which stretches hundreds of millions of light years? Such are the compelling questions that face cosmologists today, and it is the excitement and wonder of their research that Michael Lemonick shares in this lively tour of the current state of astrophysics and cosmology.Here we visit observatories and universities where leading scientists describe how they envision the very early stages, the history, and the future of the universe. The discussions help us to make sense of many recent findings, including cosmic ripples, which supply evidence of the first billionth of a second of the universe; anomalous galactic structures such as the Great Wall, the Great Void, and the Great Attractor; and the mysterious presence of dark matter, massive but invisible. Lemonick assembles this information into a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of modern cosmology, and a portrait of its often contentious practitioners."Thoroughly recommended to those who want not only to learn about contemporary cosmology but also to obtain some impression of how cosmologists think and work."-Malcolm S. Longair, Sky & Telescope

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679413042
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/11/1993
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
325

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