Introducing the Universe Paperback – November 19, 2002
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Looking back in time
1. Each planet moves in an ellipse, with the sun at one focus
2. The radius vector from the sun to the planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times
3. Kepler's ratio
Galileo and the Church
Shapley Milky way sketch
Hubble Spiral nebulae and Hubble's constant
Penzias and Wilson in 1965 discover cosmic background radiation as radio noise
Atomic nucleus (protons [+1 charge] and neutrons [0 charge] [made of quarks]. Electrons [-1].
The 4 forces
The theory of electromagnetism
Forms of energy Kinetic energy, Potential energy, Electromagnetic radiation, Photon, and Thermal energy.
Waves and Particles
Redshift - blueshift
Mass and Weight
All bodies equally fast
Planck's density (when universe is compacted) is 10(93) times the density of water and Planck's time 10(-43) seconds.
The Standard Cosmological model
A big crunch
The Horizon Problem
I bought this book because I thought that the wealth of illustrations would help me better understand some of the very difficult concepts in contemporary physics. Now, this book is full of illustrations of people and dogs, but very few are actually about the physics. It would be helpful to have illustrations of, say, inflation, black-body radiation, the development of the universe since the big bang, clusters of galaxies, the multiverse, rolled-up hidden dimensions, string theory, etc., but this book provides none of this.
In addition, there are several mistakes and inaccuracies which probably stem from the "ground rule of this book" on p. 4: "the Universe is as it is because it was as it was [?], not because Anybody made it so". Many of today's leading cosmologists disagree of course, but the rest of the book is crafted so as to fit the conclusion stated at the beginning.
Some examples of these mistakes and inaccuracies: Copernicus said "let's publish and be damned" on his deathbed (p. 29); A portrait of Calvin is marked Luther, and vice-versa (p. 31); it was forbidden to teach heliocentrism or the existence of sunspots at the papal universities (p. 36 - the reference provided is a pop-history book from 1897); Galileo was tortured (p. 39); the author makes no bones about the fact that he doesn't like big-bang cosmology, but there is no real assessment of what big-bang cosmology does or does not say (pp. 55-62); that the laws of nature are valid everywhere is a "basic assumption" (no, it was an unexpected discovery); the notion of "laws of nature" came from the Hanseatic league (p. 64); fine-tuning is quickly brushed aside with a reference to Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle (p. 160-161), but this is by no means the same thing.
Finally, Pirani and Roche admit that one of their books was "condemned by a Parliamentary motion for inciting children to alcoholism and violence" (p. 175). Maybe these are the wrong people to entrust with crafting such a book.
Not least, there is not much information, and non-scientists with a general education won't learn much from this book.