Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
This title is not available for you
Sorry, this title is no longer available. Please try using the search feature as another version of this work may be available. If you think we've made a mistake, please contact Audible Customer Care at 1-888-283-5051.
People who viewed this also viewed
People who bought this also bought
|Listening Length||13 hours and 25 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 03, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#334,553 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#211 in Cosmology (Audible Books & Originals)
#402 in Astronomy (Audible Books & Originals)
#584 in History of Science (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In the first part, we are introduced to this thing called dark energy – something that remains constant over time as the universe expands. That's why this type of energy can be called a cosmological constant. We can determine the existence of this stuff via gravitational lensing, the characteristics of the Bullet Cluster, supernovae measurements, and the study of the microwave background radiation.- all explained by Randall. This is important stuff, because dark matter makes up 69 percent of the energy in the universe. We are also given here a history lesson on the universe starting with the Big Bang, for which the author provides us with ample evidence of the event's occurrence. Later, we see the development of stars and galaxies, and how the competition of radiation and matter brought this about. Dark matter also played an important role here.
In the second section, we get an introduction to meteors, asteroids, comets, and the planets. Associated with these objects are the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. There is an excellent primer on how to determine the edge of the Solar System, and an introduction to near-Earth objects. The discussion continues into the five major extinctions that have occurred starting with the Ordovician-Silurian period about 440 million years ago. There were others before this, but these had a major impact on life on Earth. It is the last one, called the K-Pg extinction, that is responsible for the final blow to the dinosaurs, and the author elaborates on this in her book. Actually, it all began with Walter and Luis Alvarez back in 1980 when they discovered a layer of iridium dating back to about 65 million years ago. Over the years, other evidence solidified the findings, such as the discovery of other rare metals, rock droplets called microkrystites, tektites, and other evidence. Eventually the crater at Chicxulub was found clinching the case.
By part three, we are now deciphering the mystery of dark matter. There are a number of possible paradigms for what dark matter is composed of. One prominent candidate are WIMPS. Some others are axions, neutrinos, machos, and asymmetrical dark matter models. Finding the right candidate is the difficult part since “today’s searches rely on a leap of faith that dark matter, despite its near invisibility, has interactions that are sufficiently substantial for detectors built from ordinary matter to register.” We have direct detection method, such as cryogenic detectors, and those that employ noble liquids. Then there are the indirect detections methods that involve looking for the signal that would arise if dark matter particles annihilate with dark matter antiparticles transforming the energy produced into something visible. The author discusses some discrepancies uncovered in the search for dark matter, such as the core-cusp problem, the missing satellite problem, and the too big to fail problem. Further chapters discuss an interesting hypothesis of the author called “double-disk dark matter,” (DDDM) and also something called “partially interacting dark matter,” where you have a small component of the dark matter that interacts through nongravitational forces.
So how is all this related to the dinosaurs? Well, according to the DDDM theory, our galaxy would contain two types of disks, the dark matter disk and the visible matter disk. As the Solar System oscillated through the dark matter disk as we moved through the galaxy, gravitational forces could have slung “comets out of the Oort cloud so that they periodically catapulted into Earth, possible even precipitating a mass extinction.” The Oort cloud is a cloud of icy bodies found beyond Pluto. Who would have known?
Three stars because there are several editing issues that are distracting for this reader. The most egregious error I've found is this sentence on page 216 (hardcover edition): "The ejecta fell exactly on the paleontological boundary, confirming that the impact occurred at the " That's the entire sentence! Where is the end of it? And isn't this kind of an important thought to finish, in a chapter discussing a life-ending impact event? Hopefully the publisher will require a second round of proofreading before the paperback is released.
“Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs” combines stars, galaxies, comets, meteors, particle interactions, and of course dinosaurs. What could be better? The book is well written and totally fascinating. We know of the existence of dark matter by its effects on ordinary matter, in particular, through the rotational speed of galaxies, and also by its role in the gravitational lensing of light. Dark matter permeates the universe. There is five times as much dark matter as there is ordinary matter. We also think that the dinosaurs died 66 million years ago when a large meteoroid, e.g., comet or asteroid, crashed into the Earth.
Is there a connection between dark matter and the extinction of the dinosaurs? Did a dark matter disk lying in the plane of our galaxy nudge the meteoroid into a collision course with the Earth? As an atomic/nuclear physicist I am captivated by the idea that dark matter may form atom-like objects. Once you have self-interacting dark matter, everything else follows: the galactic disk, period passage of the solar system through the disk, the meteoroid nudge, and the tragic end of the dinosaurs. However, I think that we will have to learn more about dark matter. Satellite observations of the motion of stars may tell us about the disk of dark matter. More about the nature of dark matter may be revealed at the LHC or at the bottom of a gold mine in South Dakota, a land once ruled by dinosaurs.
Top reviews from other countries
Raising these questions leads to a discussion of the formation of the Universe itself, our galaxy and solar system, and the intriguing role of Dark Matter. Her theory is that the Dark Matter may have helped nudged an asteroid out of its usual orbit, putting it on a direct path to Earth.
She is clearly a very knowledgeable scientist and passionate about her field of study and to her credit, she doesn't oversell her theory. Her passion and enthusiasm comes through in her writing. She also does her best to breakdown very complex concepts of physics and cosmology for the ordinary layperson. Nevertheless, Dark Matter, for me at least, was a very elusive and difficult concept to grasp. There were many times I felt like the character of Penny in the episode of the Big Bang Theory where Penny asks Sheldon to explain to her "what does Leonard do?". I think in the end, as much as I applaud her for trying to grapple with these big questions of "why" and "what", I felt overwhelmed.
Und von Dunkler Materie natürlich auch nichts, diesem so ebenso elusiven wie ambivalenten Stoff, der einerseits die Welt im Innersten zusammenhält, andererseits dazu beizutragen scheint, dass das Leben auf der Erde in regelmäßigen, wenn auch langen Abständen brutal zurechtgestutzt wird, und bei dem es auch unter Wissenschaftlern immer noch ein paar Zweifler gibt, ob er überhaupt existiert. Lisa Randall, weltweit anerkannte elementarteilchenphysikalische Frontfrau und 2007 einer der 100 einflussreichsten Timesmenschen, ist fest davon überzeugt, dass sich ohne die Schwerkraft einer gigantischen Scheibe Dunkler Materie (nicht zu verwechseln mit Schwarzen Löchern!) Aufbau und Dynamik der Milchstraße nicht erklären ließe, und das periodisch wiederkehrende Aufschlagen zerstörerischer Kometen auf der Erde auch nicht (das aber manchmal auch sein Gutes hatte, jedenfalls aus anthropozentrischer Sicht, denn solange Dinosaurier die Nahrungskette anführten, war an die Entwicklung größerer Säugetiere nicht zu denken).
Es begeistert mich immer wieder, wie es englischsprachigen Wissenschaftlern gelingt, ihre Leser behutsam an komplexeste Sachverhalte heranzuführen und Unerklärbares so zu erklären, sodass sie schließlich auch von etwas so Rätselhaftem wie der unsichtbaren und unberührbaren Dunklen Materie eine gewisse Vorstellung entwickeln. Lisa Randall zeichnet dabei ein höchst anschauliches Bild, wie Wissenschaftler denken und arbeiten und wie dramatisch sich unser Verständnis für den Aufbau des Universums in den letzten Jahrzehnten weiterentwickelt hat, durch enge Zusammenarbeit zwischen Astrophysikern, Teilchenphysikern und Geologen. Ein spannendes, lehrreiches und mitreißend geschriebenes Buch, auch und gerade für Leser von außerhalb der drei genannten Fakultäten.