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The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality Paperback – October 18, 2011
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“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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If you're interested in the story check this book out, you won't be disappointed. If you're interested in the science, better look elsewhere.
I had no technical or formatting problems with this Kindle edition.
Evidently, there is a conflict between the current theory of gravitation and the observed rotational speeds of stars in other galaxies. You could either throw out the theory or posit some new facts; physicists, being a very confident group, choose the latter. There must be a huge amount of matter that does not interact with anything, except through gravity. Later observations of the expanding universe led to the conclusion that there is lots of dark energy pervading all of space. So far, the search for the missing matter and energy is unsuccessful. Nor is there a theoretical understanding of why all this should be so.
Perhaps cosmology is really just theology for people who can do math. Still, it's lots of fun to read about.
Richard Panek's book covers the historical development of the dark matter/energy theory. He describes the scientists and their nerdy competitions very well. All in all, this is an excellent science book for us non-professionals, or for someone straying out of their field.
Most recent customer reviews
I have had an abiding interest in physics and astronomy for most of my life.Read more
I have two points beyond that.Read more