Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe

Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe

by Lawrence M. Krauss


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Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe by Lawrence M. Krauss

Will the universe continue to expand forever, reverse its expansion and begin to contract, or reach a delicately poised state where it simply persists forever? The answer depends on the amount and properties of matter in the universe, and that has given rise to one of the great paradoxes of modern cosmology: there is too little visible matter to account for the behavior we can see. Over ninety percent of the universe consists of ”missing mass” or ”dark matter” - what Lawrence Krauss, in his classic book, termed ”the fifth essence.”In this new edition of The Fifth Essence, retitled Quintessence after the now widely accepted term for dark matter, Krauss shows how the dark matter problem is now connected with two of the hottest areas in recent cosmology: the fate of the universe and the ”cosmological constant.” With a new introduction, epilogue, and chapter updates, Krauss updates his classic for 1999 and shares one of the most stunning discoveries of recent years: an anti-gravity force that explains recent observations of a permanently expanding universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465037414
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 12/28/2000
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 871,598
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.59(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Lawrence M. Krauss is Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. He is the only physicist to have received the top awards by the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

What People are Saying About This

Frank Wilczek

PRAISE FOR The Fifth Essence "In The Fifth Essence, Lawrence Krauss, who has made important contributions to the subject, presents an authoritative and accessible guide to this exciting frontier."

Alan H. Guth

"Krauss is a first-rate research scientist who also happens to be a superbly clear writer. The Fifth Essence provides a fascinating and readable account of a puzzle that ties together the large-scale structure of the universe and the fundamental nature of matter."

Clifford Will

"With the precision of a practicing physicist, yet with the exciting style of a seasoned science writer, Lawrence Krauss shows why cosmologists believe that there is more, much more, out there than meets the eye."


Exclusive Author Essay
Like most scientists I know, I got turned on to science by reading popular books written by scientists. This is one of the chief reasons why I devote some portion of my time to writing for a lay audience today. I want to return the favor. Nothing pleases me as much as when young people come to my lectures or book signings, actually having read my books. I don't care if they go on to do science, but the possibility that I may have helped instill in them what can be a lifelong enjoyment of the wonders of the universe is very pleasing.The Physics of Star Trek definitely changed things in this regard. Star Trek and science fiction in general seem to interest a lot of kids (as well as adults, of course), and it seemed to me that I might be able to tap into their excitement to seduce them into learning a bit about the actual universe. I really wasn't prepared for the strong response!

In any case, it is a pleasure to talk about those books that first got me interested in science, and also more recent books that I think are useful for people who are looking for good places to begin to read about the forefront of developments in physics and cosmology.

At the end of the last century and for perhaps the first 40 years of the 20th century, it was not unusual for scientists to write popularizations, because at that time having some basic scientific literacy was considered an essential part of being an educated person. Some wonderful books were written then. In fact, I vividly recall one of the first books that really exposed to me some of the truly deep issues that physics could confront was Physics and Philosophy by Sir James Jeans. Even though it is not current, many of the interesting philosophical issues he addressed are still relevant today. Similarly, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld's classic book The Evolution of Physics is still worth reading. Jumping ahead 50 years or so, one can find several great books by George Gamow, a remarkable physicist and writer who wrote several profoundly important scientific papers that helped lay the groundwork for the Big Bang model. His book One Two Three & Infinity is a great. Also, when I was in high school, Jacob Bronowski had a very influential TV documentary series and also wrote several books that had an impact on me. I think my favorite is his book The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination. Much later, when I was a beginning graduate student, Steven Weinberg's classic book The First Three Minutes introduced me to many of the exciting ideas then just emerging at the interface of particle physics and cosmology, the area of physics I would eventually specialize in. Among the books in the last decade or so that I think can provide readers with good insights into the way physicists think about physics are Feynman's wonderful brief book The Character of Physical Law, and a book by my friend and colleague Frank Wilczek, written with his wife Betsy Devine, called Longing for the Harmonies. Finally, Kip Thorne's book Black Holes and Time Warps is a nice personal introduction into the world of general relativity.

Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss received the 1999 American Association for the Advancement of Science Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award "for his global impact as a scientific communicator, especially his ability to maintain an active scientific career while at the same time writing several accessible books about physics for the general public." Dr. Krauss is the chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University.

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