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In Cosmic Numbers, mathematics professor James Stein traces the discovery, evolution, and interrelationships of the great numbers that define our world. Some numbers, like the speed of light and absolute zero, are well known to the general public. Others, such as Boltzmann’s constant and the Chandrasekhar limit, are known only to those with a deep knowledge of science. But these numbers do far more than the average person might dare to imagine: they tell us how this world began, the way we were and the way we are, and what the future holds. Stein reveals the manner in which certain cosmic numbers came to light, the dramatis personae involved, and cutting-edge developments associated with these numbers. Many are the cornerstones of grand discoveries and theories. They represent landmarks in the history of intellectual achievement. And the stories of these numbers offer a novel understanding of physics, chemistry, and astronomy. Much more than a gee-whiz collection, Cosmic Numbers illuminates why particular numbers are so important—both to scientists and to the rest of us.
Astronomer Royal Martin Rees shows how the behaviour and origins of the universe can be explained by just six numbers. How did a single genesis event create billions of galaxies, black holes, stars and planets? How did atoms assemble - here on Earth, and perhaps on other worlds - into living beings intricate enough to ponder their origins? This book describes the recent avalanche of discoveries about the universe's fundamental laws, and the deep connections that exist between stars and atoms - the cosmos and the microscopic world. Just six numbers, imprinted in the big bang, determine the essence of our world, and this book devotes one chapter to explaining each.
The physicist-author of The Mind of God looks at cutting-edge scientific discoveries to explore why many of the fundamental features of the physical universe--from the speed of light to the carbon atom--seem tailor-made to produce life, offering a revealing study of the radical multiverse theory and its implications in terms of the nature of reality, time, life, and the cosmos. 35,000 first printing.
THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE is a riveting biography of the universe which describes for the first time five distinct eras that Adams and Laughlin themselves defined as a result of their own research. From the first gasp of inflation that caused the Big Bang, through the birth of stars, to the fading of all light, THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE describes the death of our own sun, tremendous fiery supernovae explosions, dramatic collisions of galaxies, proton decay, the evaporation of black holes and the possibility of communications when there are no planets or stars or even black holes left. This is a voyage to a land of red giants, white dwarfs, brown dwarfs, great walls larger than galaxies and WIMPs. With daring uncharacteristic of most scientists, the authors have applied themselves to the question of what precise kind of biology could possibly exist when, say, carbon atoms no longer exist. What, ultimately, is a lifeform? Their insight into the fundamental physics that allows life is both fascinating and provocative. Readers will find all the strange colour of science fiction with none of the fiction in this awesome scientific epic.
Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place. “Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?” One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.
RETURNING TO TELEVISION AS AN ALL-NEW MINISERIES ON FOX Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science. Praise for Cosmos “Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.”—The Plain Dealer “Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third—his mind’s—on the human condition.”—Newsday “Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions . . . shimmers with a sense of wonder.”—The Miami Herald “Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.”—Cosmopolitan “Enticing . . . iridescent . . . imaginatively illustrated.”—The New York Times Book Review NOTE: This edition does not include images.
The constants of nature are the numbers that define the essence of the Universe. They tell us how strong its forces are, and what its fundamental laws can do: the strength of gravity, of magnetism, the speed of light, and the masses of the smallest particles of matter. They encode the deepest secrets of the Universe and express at once our greatest knowledge and our greatest ignorance about the cosmos. Their existence has taught us the profound truth that Nature abounds with unseen regularities. Yet, while we have become skilled at measuring the values of these constants, our frustrating inability to explain or predict their values shows how much we still have to learn about the inner workings of the Universe. What is the ultimate status of these constants of Nature? Are they truly constant? Could life have evolved and persisted if they were even slightly different? And are there other Universes where they are different? These are some of the issues that this book grapples with. It looks back to the discoveries of the first constants of Nature and the impact they had on scientists like Einstein. This book also tells the story of a tantalising new development in astronomy. For the first time astronomical observations are suggesting that some of the constants of Nature were different when the Universe was younger. So are our laws of Nature slowly changing? Is anything about our Universe immune from the ravages of time? Are there any constants of Nature at all?