The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

Richard Panek

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0547577575

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

Richard Panek

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0547577575

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“Fascinating . . . One of the most important stories in the history of science.”— Washington Post

In recent years, a handful of scientists has been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only 4 percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.
Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of how scientists reached this cosmos-shattering conclusion. In vivid detail, he narrates the quest to find the “dark” matter and an even more bizarre substance called dark energy that make up 96 percent of the universe. This is perhaps the greatest mystery in all of science, and solving it will bring fame, funding, and certainly a Nobel Prize. Based on hundreds of interviews and in-depth, on-site reporting, the book offers an intimate portrait of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys, that have redefined science and reinvented the universe.

“A lively new account of twentieth-century (plus a little twenty-first-century) cosmology . . . The book is as much about how the science got done as about the science itself.”—Salon

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p. 572. Alvarez looked up: Muller. [>] Year after year: Muller. Science courses: Perlmutter. [>] pair of paleontologists: Raup and Sepkoski. The following year: Davis et al. 1984. his thesis: Perlmutter 1986. the two projects: Perlmutter. [>] In 1981: Kare et al. Muller himself: Muller. Pennypacker commissioned: Newberg. [>] "they are rare": Perlmutter et al. 1995b, p. 2. already testing: Perlmutter. From 1986 to 1988: Kirshner, pp. 168–70. [>] For the members: Perlmutter. The

the correspondence relentless; she always seemed to owe him a letter. But she couldn't complain. As was the case with Gamow, de Vaucouleurs wanted to discuss her master's thesis. He wrote to her that he had noticed a pattern among the galaxies similar to the one she had possibly detected, and in February 1953, midway through her doctoral work, her patience with the persistent de Vaucouleurs paid off. He began an article in the Astronomical Journal with a citation from her work: "From an analysis

objections as referee on that paper held up publication until 1995, when a more sympathetic referee, Allan Sandage, approved it. Breezing into Berkeley from Harvard, Kirshner seemed oblivious to the growing consternation, frustration, and anger not only at his objections but at him. A colleague of his on the External Advisory Board, speaking at a cosmology conference, characterized Kirshner's contribution to the discussion of the LBL approach: "No! This could not work! It couldn't possibly

comet and that it* would return in 1758, long after his own death. It did. No longer would the math have to accommodate the motions of the heavens. Now the heavens had to accommodate the math. Take Newton's law of universal gravitation, apply it to the increasingly precise observations you could make through a telescope, and you had a universe that was orderly and predictable and, on the whole, unchanging—a cosmos that ran, as the most common metaphor went, like clockwork. In the more than three

not to prejudice the result. At one point he beckoned a colleague into his office. Alex Filippenko, who also had been taking advantage of the semester break to catch up on work, greeted Riess with his usual wide and deep smile, rectangular and cavernous. Nobody could be that happy all the time, and Filippenko wasn't. He had once been a member of the SCP, and as an astronomer on a team with a particle physics mentality, he had experienced the clash of cultures probably more acutely than anyone

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