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The Fifth Essence: Search for Dark Matter in the Universe (Radius Books) Hardcover – Import, 1990

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Product Details

  • Series: Radius Books
  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Radius (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091742110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091742119
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,119,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in New York City and shortly afterward moved to Toronto, spending my childhood in Canada. I received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics from Carleton University, and my Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.

After a stint in the Harvard Society of Fellows, I became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985 and Associate Professor in 1988. I moved in 1993 to become Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, professor of astronomy, and Chairman of the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University In August 2008 I joined the faculty at Arizona State University as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Director of the University's Origins Initiative. In 2009 we inaugurated this this initiative with the Origins Symposium [] in which 80 of the world's leading scientists participated, and 3000 people attended.

I write regularly for national media, including The New York Times, the Wall St. Journal, Scientific American (for which I wrote a regular column last year), and other magazines, as well as doing extensive work on radio and television. I am strongly committed to public understanding of science, and have helped lead the national effort to preserve sound science teaching, including the teaching of evolution. I also served on Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign science policy committee. In 2008 I became co-chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and in 2010 was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists.

I became a scientist in part because I read books by other scientists, such as Albert Einstein, George Gamow, Sir James Jeans, etc, when I was a child, and my popular writing returns the favor. One of my greatest joys is when a young person comes up to me and tells me that one of my books motivated them to become a scientist.

I believe science is not only a vital part of our culture, but is fun, and I try and convey that in my books and lectures. I am honored that Scientific American referred to me as a rare scientific public intellectual, and that all three three major US Physics Societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics, have seen fit to honor me with their highest awards for research and writing.

My research focuses on the beginning and end of the Universe. Among my contributions to the field of cosmology, I helped lead the search for dark matter, and first proposed the existence of dark energy in 1995.

When I have the chance, I love to mountain bike, fly fish, and scuba dive. I spend a tremendous amount of time on planes now, alas, and enjoy flying, but hate airports..

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By on November 3, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In The Fifth Essence, Lawrence Krauss provides a thorough retelling of the theories relating to dark matter in the Universe. Each example is explained with carefully chosen analogies that are comprehensible to the average academic. While complex and somewhat technical, this collection is well worth the attention of the passionate amateur or professional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Culmer on November 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found Krauss's writing about a very difficult and enigmatic subject remarkably accessible. What has to be grasped is that no one -- NO ONE -- knows to any degree of certainty what makes up dark matter, nor how many forms it might take. It is the job of particle physicists and astrophysicists to, yes, speculate about what it could be, come up with a model that just might work, and then try to find ways to quantify and prove that model. New particles are being discovered on a regular basis: just because the concept is beyond our realm of understanding doesn't mean it's "science fiction" or that these discoveries are deserving of scorn because they don't seem to affect our daily lives. Krauss delivers his information in an engaging way that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator, nor does he shy away from challenging his reader. I found The Fifth Essence to be one of the best examples I've read of science writing for the general public. Cheers!
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By LF on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are accustomed to having our questions answered. This book discusses a question without giving the answer. The subtitle is The Search For Dark Matter In The Universe. That's right. It's about the search. Reading this book is like spending a few weeks with a flashlight, poking around in the dark. When the last page is done, you still, as U2 sang, haven't found what you're looking for.

Before reading this one, I read a book that told me that the dark matter consisted of Jupiter-sized black holes in space, millions of them, formed in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

This book mentions that possibility but doesn't buy it. The answer here is that the dark matter consists of sub-atomic particles speeding through space, flying through planets and stars without being stopped by them. They also fly right through our skin and bones, constantly. Do I have that right? Who the hell knows.

On the back cover, the author is described as a "superbly clear writer". I wouldn't go that far. Consider the source - another physicist. Clear to him. He knows this stuff already. Clear as mud to me. Well, some of it, anyway.

We now believe that from 90% to 99% of the stuff in the universe is invisible to us and undetectable by our technology. And we think that stuff is ... umm ... chocolate pudding. We're testing for it. Maybe that stuff is heaven. Or maybe the calculations are way off and there is no dark matter, and we shall soon prove that we don't exist.

I was surprised to see how the processes of physics and cosmology seem to work. We fantasize. We imagine. What if ... ummm ... what if there was a particle that was such and such a size and had such and such properties .... would that explain anything?
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