The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

Princeton University Press
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The inside story of the epic quest to solve the mystery of dark matter

The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe—from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars—constitute only 5 percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science—what is the universe made of?—told by one of today's foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter.

Blending cutting-edge science with her own behind-the-scenes insights as a leading researcher in the field, acclaimed theoretical physicist Katherine Freese recounts the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky—the Swiss astronomer who coined the term "dark matter" in 1933—to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. Freese describes the larger-than-life characters and clashing personalities behind the race to identify these elusive particles.

Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving the mystery. The Cosmic Cocktail provides the foundation needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind’s quest to understand the universe.

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About the author

Katherine Freese is director of Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Stockholm, and professor of physics at the University of Michigan.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
May 4, 2014
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400850075
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Cosmology
Science / General
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an accessible and eye-opening look—in the bestselling tradition of Sean Carroll and Carlo Rovelli—at the five different ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in physics.

We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from dark matter to black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life. But what happens at the end of the story? In billions of years, humanity could still exist in some unrecognizable form, venturing out to distant space, finding new homes and building new civilizations. But the death of the universe is final. What might such a cataclysm look like? And what does it mean for us?

Dr. Katie Mack has been contemplating these questions since she was eighteen, when her astronomy professor first informed her the universe could end at any moment, setting her on the path toward theoretical astrophysics. Now, with lively wit and humor, she unpacks them in The End of Everything, taking us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos’ possible finales: the Big Crunch; the Heat Death; Vacuum Decay; the Big Rip; and the Bounce. Guiding us through major concepts in quantum mechanics, cosmology, string theory, and much more, The End of Everything is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.
Our universe seems strangely ''biophilic,'' or hospitable to life. Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: ''What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently.'' This highly engaging book explores the fascinating consequences of the answer being ''yes.'' Rees explores the notion that our universe is just a part of a vast ''multiverse,'' or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be no more than local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge.

Rees begins by exploring the nature of our solar system and examining a range of related issues such as whether our universe is or isn't infinite. He asks, for example: How likely is life? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Rees then peers into the long-range cosmic future before tracing the causal chain backward to the beginning. He concludes by trying to untangle the paradoxical notion that our entire universe, stretching 10 billion light-years in all directions, emerged from an infinitesimal speck.


As Rees argues, we may already have intimations of other universes. But the fate of the multiverse concept depends on the still-unknown bedrock nature of space and time on scales a trillion trillion times smaller than atoms, in the realm governed by the quantum physics of gravity. Expanding our comprehension of the cosmos, Our Cosmic Habitat will be read and enjoyed by all those--scientists and nonscientists alike--who are as fascinated by the universe we inhabit as is the author himself.

One of The Barnes and Noble Review Editors' Picks: Best Nonfiction of 2012

Selected by The Christian Science Monitor as one of "21 smart nonfiction titles we think you'll enjoy this summer"

Selected by The New Scientist as one of 10 books to look out for in 2012

We've long understood black holes to be the points at which the universe as we know it comes to an end. Often billions of times more massive than the Sun, they lurk in the inner sanctum of almost every galaxy of stars in the universe. They're mysterious chasms so destructive and unforgiving that not even light can escape their deadly wrath.

Recent research, however, has led to a cascade of new discoveries that have revealed an entirely different side to black holes. As the astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals in Gravity's Engines, these chasms in space-time don't just vacuum up everything that comes near them; they also spit out huge beams and clouds of matter. Black holes blow bubbles.

With clarity and keen intellect, Scharf masterfully explains how these bubbles profoundly rearrange the cosmos around them. Engaging with our deepest questions about the universe, he takes us on an intimate journey through the endlessly colorful place we call our galaxy and reminds us that the Milky Way sits in a special place in the cosmic zoo—a "sweet spot" of properties. Is it coincidental that we find ourselves here at this place and time? Could there be a deeper connection between the nature of black holes and their role in the universe and the phenomenon of life? We are, after all, made of the stuff of stars.

Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field, Jeremiah Ostriker, and his coauthor Simon Mitton.

From humankind's early attempts to comprehend Earth's place in the solar system, to astronomers' exploration of the Milky Way galaxy and the realm of the nebulae beyond, to the detection of the primordial fluctuations of energy from which all subsequent structure developed, this book explains the physics and the history of how the current model of our universe arose and has passed every test hurled at it by the skeptics. Throughout this rich story, an essential theme is emphasized: how three aspects of rational inquiry--the application of direct measurement and observation, the introduction of mathematical modeling, and the requirement that hypotheses should be testable and verifiable--guide scientific progress and underpin our modern cosmological paradigm.


This monumental puzzle is far from complete, however, as scientists confront the mysteries of the ultimate causes of cosmic structure formation and the real nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy.

The sleek BlackBerry Storm is more than good looks—it also boasts a number of powerful features, including advanced SurePress typing technology, WiFi access, and video recording capabilities. With BlackBerry Storm 2 Made Simple, you’ll explore all the features and uncover valuable techniques—from emailing and scheduling to GPS mapping and using apps—through easy-to-read instructions and detailed visuals. Written by two successful BlackBerry trainers and authors, this is simply the most comprehensive and clear guidebook to the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2 smartphones available. What you’ll learn Sync your Storm with a PC or Mac Master the keyboard and trackpad navigation Everything email: setup, basics, and pro techniques Text messaging: SMS, PIN, and more Set up a three-way conference call Get work done: Manage your calendar, contact list, and memopad Understand connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Use Google Sync for true “Wireless Sync” without an Enterprise Server Support for both BlackBerry Internet Service and Corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server Have fun with music, photos, and videos Explore the BlackBerry App World and utilize apps Use GPS and mapping to get around Update your Facebook and Myspace pages right from your Storm Who this book is for

This book is for those who want to get the most out of the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2 devices. It is perfect for beginners but will also teach advanced users new techniques and shortcuts.

Table of Contents E-mail Setup Windows PC Setup Windows PC Media and File Transfer Apple Mac Setup Apple Mac Media and File Transfer Typing, Spelling, and Help Save Time with AutoText Personalize Your Storm Sounds: Ring and Vibrate Phone and Voice Dialing Advanced Phone Social Networking E-mail Like a Pro Your Contact List Manage Your Calendar Get Tasks Done MemoPad: Sticky Notes SMS Text and MMS Even More Messaging Add Memory and Media Your Music Playe Snapping Pictures Fun with Videos Connect with Wi-Fi BlackBerry App World Connecting As a Tethered Modem Connecting with Bluetooth Web Browser Adding or Removing Apps Traveling: Maps & More Other Applications Searching for Lost Stuff Securing Your Data Fixing Connection Problems Boost Your Battery More Resources
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind.

“Hawking’s parting gift to humanity . . . a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read.”—NPR

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Forbes • The Guardian • Wired

Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues.

Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe’s greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet—including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence—he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us.

Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? ​​These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.

Praise for Brief Answers to the Big Questions

“[Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind.”—The Washington Post

“Hawking’s final message to readers . . . is a hopeful one.”—CNN

“Brisk, lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Hawking pulls no punches on subjects like machines taking over, the biggest threat to Earth, and the possibilities of intelligent life in space.”—Quartz

“Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and—where it matters—witty.”—The Guardian

“This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above.”—The Telegraph
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