An awe-inspiring, unforgettable journey of scientific exploration from Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, the top ten bestselling authors of The Quantum Universe.
We dare to imagine a time before the Big Bang, when the entire Universe was compressed into a space smaller than an atom. And now, as Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw show, we can do more than imagine: we can understand. Over the centuries, the human urge to discover has unlocked an incredible amount of knowledge. What it reveals to us is breathtaking.
Universal takes us on an epic journey of scientific exploration and, in doing so, reveals how we can all understand some of the most fundamental questions about our Earth, Sun, Solar System and the star-filled galaxies beyond. Some of these questions - How big is our solar system? How fast is space expanding? - can be answered from your back garden; the answers to others - How big is the Universe? What is it made of? - draw on the astonishing information now being gathered by teams of astronomers operating at the frontiers of the known universe.
At the heart of all these questions - from the earliest attempts to quantify gravity, to our efforts to understand what dark matter is and what really happened at the birth of our universe - is the scientific process. Science reveals a deeper beauty, connects us to each other, to our world, and to our Universe; and, by understanding the groundbreaking work of others, reaches out into the unknown. What's more, as Universal shows us, if we dare to imagine, we can all do it.
Acclaimed British physicists Cox and Forshaw (The Quantum Universe) team up once again in this accessible, lucid, and entertaining introduction to cutting-edge astrophysics and cosmology. Revealing how scientists explore the universe, the authors celebrate the scientific method as much as the scientific discoveries they address. They begin close to home, asking How old is the Earth? That simple question leads naturally through discussions of plate tectonics, atomic structure, and radioisotope dating while demonstrating the roots of the scientific method: observing and collecting evidence, and applying logic to reach conclusions. From here, it s smooth sailing through increasingly complex topics. Determining astronomical distance introduces such concepts as Cepheid variable stars, supernovas, and redshift. Pondering the Earth s weight leads to measuring gravity with a watch, a ball, and a ruler. The authors also proffer an inventory of the universe and dig into the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. At the book s core are the Big Bang and considerations of relativity theory, gravity, and curved spacetime. The minimal-math approach progresses from simple to complex ideas, and detailed diagrams and colorful photographs help illuminate concepts. Curious readers will appreciate how Cox and Forshaw celebrate the scientific process as heartily as they embrace the wonder of the universe. Illus.
Clear and comprehensive
A great overview with enough detail to inform without confusing.