Annotations for Heart of Darkness : Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe
Baker & Taylor
Describes humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe.
Baker & Taylor
Surveys humanity's accomplishments in understanding the universe from the days of Copernicus to current ideas on dark matter and dark energy.
This book is essentially a history of cosmology that spans the earliest efforts of the ancient Greeks through to Copernicus and Galileo, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum theory and finally modern times. The second half of the book concerns ongoing questions: the roles of dark matter and dark energy; the rapid inflationary expansion of the early universe; the origins of the elements; and the origins, structure, and ultimate fate of the universe. It takes the reader into late 20th and early 21st century attempts to understand these phenomena and some of the technologies needed to investigate them such as the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) and Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) probes. There is a strong emphasis throughout the book on the need for science, particularly cosmology, to stay focused on empirical data gathering, the construction of theoretical frameworks, and the creation of testable theories. This latter element is a special challenge for cosmologies, though supercomputer simulation can be a helpful tool when direct observation is not possible. Though written primarily for the scientific-minded layman there are two short appendices that provide a more detailed and mathematical formalism than the main text. There is a mix of color and b&w figures throughout the book and a helpful glossary of terms near the end. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Princeton University Press
Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field, Jeremiah Ostriker, and his coauthor Simon Mitton.
From humankind's early attempts to comprehend Earth's place in the solar system, to astronomers' exploration of the Milky Way galaxy and the realm of the nebulae beyond, to the detection of the primordial fluctuations of energy from which all subsequent structure developed, this book explains the physics and the history of how the current model of our universe arose and has passed every test hurled at it by the skeptics. Throughout this rich story, an essential theme is emphasized: how three aspects of rational inquiry--the application of direct measurement and observation, the introduction of mathematical modeling, and the requirement that hypotheses should be testable and verifiable--guide scientific progress and underpin our modern cosmological paradigm.
The story is far from complete, however, as scientists confront the mysteries of the ultimate causes of cosmic structure formation and the real nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy.