By Charles Seife
From the writer of interpreting the Universe and Zero
Humankind has grappled for millennia with the basic questions of the beginning and finish of the universe—it used to be a spotlight of historical religions and myths and of the inquiries of Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. at the present time we're on the verge of collapse of discoveries that are supposed to quickly display the private secrets and techniques of the universe.
Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from front strains of the cosmological revolution that's being waged at observatories and laboratories round the world-in Europe, in the US, or even in Antarctica—where scientists are literally peering into either the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists—including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are at the path of darkish topic, darkish power, and the turning out to be population of the particle zoo-now understand how the universe will finish and are near to knowing its starting. Their findings should be one of the maximum triumphs of technology, even towering above the interpreting of the human genome. this can be the ebook you must aid comprehend the widespread front-page headlines heralding dramatic cosmological discoveries. It makes state of the art technological know-how either crystal transparent and fantastically intriguing.
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Additional resources for Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe
Darwin noted that the fossil record of the history of life is necessarily somewhat patchy, as the conditions needed to preserve fossils for millions of years are rare. A century and a half of further fossil collecting, though, has provided innumerable examples filling in gaps in the record of Darwin’s day, clearly tracing the slow change of species over millions of years of evolution. New evidence continues to come to light, with recent discoveries like the limbed fish Tiktaalik shedding new light on the transition from purely ocean-dwelling fish to land-dwelling tetrapods.
Luis W. Alvarez, Alvarez: Adventures of a Physicist (New York: Basic Books, 1987). indd 28 9/22/14 11:24 AM Scientific Cuisine Reigns Supreme P 29 that make clicking sounds when a radioactive particle passes through a sealed tube. The instrument had only just been invented in Europe by Hans Geiger, so Alvarez’s counters were the first built at Chicago. By his own account, they weren’t very good, often clicking even when no radiation was present. Arthur Holly Compton, one of Alvarez’s mentors at Chicago, suggested a way to make these noisy counters useful.
Vesto Slipher and Edwin Hubble noted that distant galaxies all appear to be receding from us, as you would expect in an expanding universe. And Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the “cosmic microwave background radiation,” a remnant of light left over from when the universe was only 300,000 years old. The existence of this background radiation had been predicted by Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman as a necessary consequence of the Big Bang. indd 20 9/22/14 11:24 AM Collecting the Origin of Species P 21 been directly detected.
Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe by Charles Seife