- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470636246
- ISBN-13: 978-0470636244
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond 1st Edition
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"Outstanding title! Edge of the Universe is a unique addition to the plethora of cosmology books written for the well-versed layperson. Highly recommended."
"Halpern writes for the educated layperson, and excels at using analogies to describe abstract astronomical concepts in terms easier to understand ... This book offers a useful, highly readable overview of the topic."
--The Space Review
"Halpern breaks down complex concepts such as the big bang, dark energy, dark flow, dark matter and why the edge of the universe is speeding farther and farther away from us."
--The Washington Post
"A fantastic romp along the frontiers of modern cosmology--and beyond."
--Dr. Cliff Pickover, author of The Physics Book
"A delightful introduction to all the major topics in modern cosmology. In user-friendly language, Halpern manages to describe the ins and outs of this complex subject, from the well-established to the highly speculative. Truly a remarkable accomplishment."
--Gino Segre, author of Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics
"Cosmology today is more exciting than it has ever been in its 2500-year history. In this lively book, Halpern explains why and leaves us desperate to see what surprises the universe has in store."
--Graham Farmelo, author of The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom
"Edge of the Universe is a breezy romp through the universe as we know it. Paul Halpern covers all the big topics in cosmology with a crisp and engaging tone, at a level that even a novice can follow, and pairs it with pop cultural references and very engaging scientific history."
--Dave Goldberg, author of A User's Guide to the Universe
From the Author
What mysteries lurk beyond the edge of the observable universe? Could the observable universe represent a mere drop in an endless cosmic sea? If so, could there be signs of outside influences in the relic radiation leftover from the Big Bang? Modern astronomy's astonishing achievements have placed it in an ideal position to tackle such profound riddles.
These are extraordinary times for humanity's quest to understand the universe. Cosmology has entered an age of unprecedented precision. Long sought questions such as the age and shape of the universe have finally been resolved. We now know that the time since the Big Bang is 13.8 billion years. In contrast to earlier views that space could be curved or saddle-shaped, we now know that it is as flat as a pancake.
Yet, despite these tremendous advances, science has come to realize that much of the universe is made of unknown substances and influences. Approximately 95 percent of the universe is made of dark energy and dark matter, with about 5 percent constituting the familiar stuff of atoms, molecules, people, and planets. Dark energy makes itself felt through its unseen influence on galaxies, causing them to move away from each other at a faster and faster pace. Dark matter, on the other hand, steers the outer stars of galaxies, binding them to galactic cores. It also supplies the gravitational "glue" needed to keep clusters of galaxies intact. Experiments have failed so far to reveal the true nature of these mysterious entities.
These are far from the only cosmological enigmas. A strange dark flow seems to be driving galaxy clusters toward an unknown destination. Scientists wonder if it could be a sign of tugs from regions beyond the observable universe. Indeed the theory of inflation, the leading explanation for why the observable is relatively uniform, offers the intriguing possibility that our universe is a mere bubble in an immeasurably vast multiverse. Researchers are examining the cosmic microwave background searching for signs of collisions with other universes.
The cosmic microwave background offers ample conundrums. A strange alignment, called the "axis of evil," has perplexed astronomers. While other oddities, such as Stephen Hawking's initials displayed in the radio sky, can be explained by coincidence, could the "axis of evil" represent a preferred direction in the cosmos? Cosmic dragons, unidentified sources lurking in the gamma-ray fog, offer another intriguing puzzle.
Is time travel possible? Does the universe have unseen extra dimensions? Could an advanced civilization construct traversable wormholes to expedite interstellar travel? What is the fate of the universe? Could there have been cycles of time before the Big Bang?
Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond explores these mysteries and more. It offers a passport to the frontiers of contemporary cosmology, examining the latest discoveries and debates in the scientific quest to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
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I bought this book on Amazon.
It has been many years since I enjoyed a scientific book as much as this one. I have to start by heartily agreeing with a statement from Space Review: " "Halpern writes for the educated layperson, and excels at using analogies to describe abstract astronomical concepts in terms easier to understand..." This just touches on the skill and art that Mr. Halpern displays throughout this book. He takes you from early theories to the latest, identifying and crediting the researchers by name as the theories are presented. They fit in as if characters in a novel, playing their part. As theories are changed, no aspersions appear, just a healthy respect for the different people and what they could prove or what their revelations led to.
Halpern makes it seem like you could understand anything in astrophysics, etc., if only you had the time to read, or listen to him and/or his books. There is no condescension, but an acceptance of the reader as an equal who is just not knowledgeable in this particular area. Delightfully, the notes at the end of each chapter allows the reader could follow up more details if desired.
The analogy use is probably not unique to Halpern, but the success of the model guarantees the success of the book's goals.
The story of the Edge of the Universe is that the universe(s), large and small, beyond our everyday sight, is/are brought together as an epic fantasy, filled with dragons, phantom energy, dark energy, dark matter, and references to such as "the Goldilocks zone."
"The Goldilocks zone is the region near a star that is temperate enough (at least according to Earth standards) for there to be reasonable odds that a planet within it might be habitable."
At the end of the book I can say I really understand what these terms and many more mean. A pretty high achievement for a teacher who must communicate only through the written format. I may not be ready to pass a test on the book, but I am very pleased with it, and the fact that Halpern makes it possible for me to be proud of myself for being able to understand such material.
Halpern is a gifted writer who gifts the reader with an intelligent understanding of this material. I never thought I would be able to understand so much without a vast knowledge of mathematics. Thank you so much, Mr. Halpern, for this book.
I probably didn't say this as succinctly or in as polished a manner as I'd like. But I hope my enthusiasm and appreciation for it show through brightly.
P.S. This is science the way it should be. No creationist slamming or advocating. Just that much alone is commendable!