The Prophet and the Astronomer: A Scientific Journey to the End of Timeby Marcelo Gleiser
An astrophysicist guides us through the celestial apocalypse, from Revelations to the Big Crunch. From the beginning of time people have looked to the heavens to find order in the universe, to divine meaning and direction from celestial events. The same skies that used to instill fear in our ancient prophets today spawn a rich apocalyptic science for awestruck stargazers. This remarkable book explores the shared quest of prophets and astronomers to explain the strange phenomena of our skiesfrom the apocalypse foretold in Revelations to modern science's ongoing identification of multiple cataclysmic threats, including the impact of comets and asteroids on earthly life; the likelihood of future collisions; the meaning of solar eclipses and the death of stars; the implications of black holes for time travel; and the ultimate fate of the universe and of time. 30 illustrations.
Author Biography: Marcelo Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College and the author of The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang.
When Alexander the Great met the Celts on the banks of the Danube in the fourth century B.C., he asked their chieftains what frightened them most. "We fear only that the sky will fall on our heads," Marcelo Gleiser relates in The Prophet and the Astronomer . Gleiser's book is a careful amalgam of philosophy, physics, and astronomy, tracing our contemplation of the cosmos from the big bang to the big crunch. "Time," Gleiser writes, "is the absence of perfection," and mortality creates a desire for knowledge. The search for answers to unknowable questions places the prophet and the physicist on the same side. Both Levin and Gleiser credit Einstein for his help in reframing our relationship to the sky: he theorized that space is curved, because time and space conform to accommodate the constant of the speed of light. As such, as long as time allows, we are drawn toward illumination. (Lauren Porcaro)
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 6.38(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.07(d)
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