A groundbreaking guide to the universe and how our latest deep-space discoveries are forcing us to revisit what we know—and what we don't.
On March 21, 2013, the European Space Agency released a map of the afterglow of the Big Bang. Taking in 440 sextillion kilometres of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: we will never see the early universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology, on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct.
The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten; if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms? Can we ever know what happened before the Big Bang? What’s at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?
Clark (The Sun Kings), an astronomy journalist and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, celebrates and challenges the current state of modern astrophysics with this wide-ranging and accessible look at the field's most cutting edge research. When the European Space Agency published its groundbreaking 2013 image of the universe as it was 13.7 billion years ago, astronomers cheered. Then they started to argue. The map of cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang shows a universe that consists of nothing but a "gigantic cloud of atoms." Somehow that cloud became nonhomogeneous bubbles and filaments of clusters of galaxies, stars, and planets, including a "Great Wall" of superclusters. Observations on the rotation of galaxies and the speed of the universe's expansion have led scientists to postulate the existence of dark matter that can't be seen and dark energy that can't be found, and questioning the current understanding of gravity itself. Stuart explores the arguments, the rivalries, and the triumphs of astrophysics with lively writing and an enviable knack for whittling the most complex topics into clear, crisp ideas. This enthusiastic book will entertain as well as educate pop science readers.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Unknown Universe: A New Exploration of Time, Space, and Modern Cosmology
A great book with significant breadth without getting bogged down in too many extra technical minutia. Very enjoyable but failed to debunk the myth of the acceleration of the expansion rate of the universe.