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Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate

Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate

by Paul Halpern

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A respected physics professor and author breaks down the great debate over the Big Bang and the continuing quest to understand the fate of the universe. Today, the Big Bang is so entrenched in our understanding of the cosmos that to doubt it would seem crazy. But as Paul Halpern shows in Flashes of Creation, just decades ago its mere mention caused sparks to fly. At the center of the debate were Russian American physicist George Gamow and British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. Gamow insisted that a fiery explosion explained how the elements of the universe were created. Attacking the idea as half-baked, Hoyle countered that the universe was engaged in a never-ending process of creation. The battle was fierce. In the end, Gamow turned out to be right -- mostly -- and Hoyle, along with his many achievements, is remembered for giving the theory the silliest possible name: "The Big Bang." Halpern captures the brilliance of both thinkers and reminds us that even those proved wrong have much to teach us about boldness, imagination, and the universe itself.  

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541673618
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 08/17/2021
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 275,139
File size: 24 MB
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About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of sixteen popular science books, including The Quantum Labyrinth, Einstein's Dice and Schrodinger's Cat, and Synchronicity. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Quest for the Origin of Everything 1

Chapter 1 Children of an Expanding Cosmos 17

Chapter 2 Preparing the Battlefield: Anticipations of a Cosmological Clash 47

Chapter 3 Unlocking the Nucleus 75

Chapter 4 Recurrence in the Dead of Night: The Theory of Continuous Creation 107

Chapter 5 Alpha to Omega: A Fiery Beginning 129

Chapter 6 Building the Elements 149

Chapter 7 Triumph of the Big Bang 173

Chapter 8 The Point of No Return 191

Chapter 9 Life on the Fringes 211

Conclusion The Legacies of Gamow and Hoyle 241

Acknowledgments 255

Further Reading 257

References 261

Index 277

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