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Alpha and Omega

The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe

Charles Seife - Author

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ISBN 9781101221488 | 304 pages | 01 Jun 2004 | Penguin | 18 - AND UP
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Today we are on the verge of discoveries that should soon reveal the deepest secrets of the universe. In Alpha & Omega, Charles Seife takes us to the front lines of the cosmological revolution to synthesize the discoveries of scientists at observatories and laboratories around the world who are actually peering into both the cradle of the universe and its grave. The cast of characters includes galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are on the trail of dark matter, dark energy, and the growing inhabitants of the particle zoo. Seife’s lucid explanations of scientific theories and current research make cutting-edge science both crystal clear and wonderfully exciting.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1: The First Cosmology [The Golden Age of the Gods] 1

Chapter 2: The First Cosmological Revolution [The Copernican Theory] 10

Chapter 3: The Second Cosmological Revolution [Hubble and the Big Bang] 25

Chapter 4: The Third Revolution Begins [The Universe Amok] 49

Chapter 5: The Music of the Spheres [The Cosmic Microwave Background] 63

Chapter 6: The Dark Universe [What's the Matter with Matter?] 90

Chapter 7: Darker Still [The Enigma of Exotic Dark Matter] 103

Chapter 8: The Big Bang in Our Backyard [The Birth of Baryons] 116

Chapter 9: The Good Nus [The Exotic Neutrino] 132

Chapter 10: Supersymmetry [Fearlessly Framing the Laws of Matter] 150

Chapter 11: Seeing the Invisible [MACHOs, WIMPs, and Illuminating the Darkest Regions of the Universe] 163

Chapter 12: The Deepest Mystery in Physics [&Lambda, the Vacuum, and Inflation] 182

Chapter 13: Wrinkles in Spacetime [Gravitational Waves and the Early Universe] 199

Chapter 14: Beyond the Third Revolution [Voyage to the Ends of Time] 215

Appendix A: Tired Light Retired 225

Appendix B: Where Does Matter Come From? 229

Appendix C: Nobel Prizes in Physics--Past and Future 235

Appendix D: Some Experiments to Watch 241

Glossary 249

Select Bibliography 269

Acknowledgements 277

Index 279 A primer on the history and state of cosmology that is easy to read and understand... Seife’s book shines. (The New York Times Book Review)


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