The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

by Richard Panek
3.8 30

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4 Percent Universe 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Winterlight00 More than 1 year ago
Panek's in top form here and done something rare, he's written the nearly perfect popular science book. Theres lots of deep hard core science here and interestingly written but with nary an equation. More than that Panek shows a cast of real human beings doing that science, even giving a clear image of the sometimes cut throat high stakes culture they inhabit. Theres even some suspense thrown in as you watch competing teams vie to find supernovae with fragile new techniques. If your a fan of science and read these sorts of popular science books, you'll love this.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Cosmology, the science of the origin, evolution and the ultimate fate of the Universe, is a surprisingly young scientific discipline. For the most of history cosmological questions were dealt with through a philosophical or theological inquiry, but in the early part of the twentieth century it became possible to inquire about these things in a more systematic and scientific manner. The research in Cosmology really gained steam since the 1960s, when the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) put the Big Bang Theory on a very firm footing. However, the subsequent inquiry revealed something really intellectually curious and potentially disturbing about the Universe: we can only see a very tiny fraction of it. The vast proportion of the “stuff” that makes up the Universe, about 96% of it to be more precise, is invisible. We can only infer its existence from the gravitational effects it has on the “visible” matter. This “invisible” stuff came to be known by a very prosaic couple of names: dark matter and dark energy.  The aim of “The 4% Universe” is to explain our best current understanding of what the dark matter and the dark energy are. The book provides some good physics background to all of these phenomena, and tries to explain how the observation and the research into these topics have progressed over the last half a century or so. Unfortunately, this book goes way overboard in taking the inside look at the workings of the physicists and the astronomers who do research on dark matter and dark energy. It narrates, in painful details sometimes, the comings and goings of the select groups of scientists as they conduct their research, grapple with work-family balance, and engage in petty turf wars with their colleagues and other competing research collaborations. For the most of the book I found myself bored to death with these minutiae – and I am a scientist! Furthermore, I found the information on the actual science, and physics aspects of it in particular, incredibly thin. Reading the Wikipedia articles on this topic is way more informative. This is definitely not a book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about the Universe and its dark secrets. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent book intended for an adult audience that wants to better understand modern cosmology. The presentation of the people active in this area and how it contributed to the evolution of our knowledge was fascinating, although occasionally the transition from one person to another was a little rough. A book that I'd recommend to anyone interested in the universe and its development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book way to boring, it's like 10% science facts, the rest is just pointless historiesabout how people reach X theory.
Kim_Painter More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book that presents the current cosmological facts and opinions! Well written and the author presents the background, the facts, the theories and the extrapolated results in a manner that makes me want to read on. The author keeps the reader engaged and reading on to see what is on the next page - and the next (just like a good thriller). Clearly written, and well documented, I was never bogged down with mathematical discussions or explanations that involved too much science. Just enough for the lay person to accept what was presented as well documented. Really good read - I rank it as one of my favorite books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You feel the flow of ideas. I particlarly liked the competative nature of the scientific community.
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Very good read. I read several chapters so far and learned a couple things already.
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