Merlin's Tour of the Universe: A Skywatcher's Guide to Everything from Mars and Quasars to Comets, Planets, Blue Moons, and Werewolves

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry comes a fascinating guide to the most popular questions about the universe.

In Neil de Grasse Tyson's delightful tour of the galaxies, his fictional character Merlin responds to popular astronomy questions asked by adults and children alike. Merlin, a visitor from Planet Omniscia in the Andromeda Galaxy, has been friends with many of the most important scientific figures of the past, including da Vinci, Magellan, Doppler, Einstein, and Hubble—and he often recounts his conversations with these historical figures in his explanations. Merlin's illuminating answers feature a unique combination of wit and poetry along with serious science explained in refreshingly clear, reader-friendly language.

Dear Merlin: Can a person cross our galaxy in a spaceship during one human lifespan?

Merlin: In 1905, Merlin's good friend Albert Einstein introduced the "Special Theory of Relativity," which predicts that time will tick slower and slower the faster you travel. Were you to embark on such an adventure you could conceivably age as little as you wish, depending of course, on your exact speed. The problem arises when you return to Earth, which will have moved several hundred thousand years into the future and everyone will have forgotten about you.

A timeless book for lovers of the universe by one of its greatest lights.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Main Street Books
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Published on
Mar 23, 2011
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Pages
316
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ISBN
9780307784087
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Astronomy
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Science / Space Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Why"? Why is the world, the Universe the way it is? Is space infinitely large? How small is small? What happens when one continues to divide matter into ever smaller pieces? Indeed, what is matter? Is there anything else besides what can be seen? Pursuing the questions employing the leading notions of physics, one soon finds that the tangible and visible world dissolves — rather unexpectedly — into invisible things and domains that are beyond direct perception. A remarkable feature of our Universe is that most of its constituents turn out to be invisible, and this fact is brought out with great force by this book.

Exploring the Invisible Universe covers the gamut of topics in advanced modern physics and provides extensive and well substantiated answers to these questions and many more. Discussed in a non-technical, yet also non-trivial manner, are topics dominated by invisible things — such as Black Holes and Superstrings as well as Fields, Gravitation, the Standard Model, Cosmology, Relativity, the Origin of Elements, Stars and Planetary Evolution, and more. Just giving the answer, as so many books do, is really not telling anything at all. To truly answer the "why" questions of nature, one needs to follow the chain of reasoning that scientists have used to come to the conclusions they have. This book does not shy away from difficult-to-explain topics by reducing them to one-line answers and power phrases suitable for a popular talk show. The explanations are rigorous and straight to the point. This book is rarely mathematical without being afraid, however, to use elementary mathematics when called for. In order to achieve this, a large number of detailed figures, specially developed for this book and found nowhere else, convey insights that otherwise might either be inaccessible or need lengthy and difficult-to-follow explanations.

After Exploring the Invisible Universe, a reader will have a deeper insight into our current understanding of the foundations of Nature and be able to answer all the questions above and then some. To understand Nature and the cutting edge ideas of contemporary physics, this is the book to have.

Contents:SynopsisFieldsThe Geometry of SpaceGravityBlack HolesCosmologyDark UniverseGalaxies, Stars and PlanetsThe Life of StarsThe Origin of the ElementsElementary ParticlesFundamental InteractionsThe Standard ModelSuperstring UnificationSuperstring GravityEpilogue
Readership: Students and general public with knowledge of high school level physics and mathematics, who are interested in theoretical physics including cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics.
Key Features:Breadth, depth, rigor (without being mathematical)Keywords:Geometry;Gravity;Elementary Particles;Fundamental Forces;Star and Planetary Formation;Stellar Nucleosynthesis
New York Times Bestseller

An exploration of the age-old complicity between skywatchers and warfighters, from the best-selling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

In this fascinating foray into the centuries-old relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and writer-researcher Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. "The overlap is strong, and the knowledge flows in both directions," say the authors, because astrophysicists and military planners care about many of the same things: multi-spectral detection, ranging, tracking, imaging, high ground, nuclear fusion, and access to space. Tyson and Lang call it a "curiously complicit" alliance. "The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds," they write. "Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it’s a laboratory for one and a battlefield for the other. The explorer wants to understand it; the soldier wants to dominate it. But without the right technology—which is more or less the same technology for both parties—nobody can get to it, operate in it, scrutinize it, dominate it, or use it to their advantage and someone else’s disadvantage."

Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power that will introduce Tyson’s millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.

Two world-renowned scientists present an audacious new vision of the cosmos that “steals the thunder from the Big Bang theory.” —Wall Street Journal

The Big Bang theory—widely regarded as the leading explanation for the origin of the universe—posits that space and time sprang into being about 14 billion years ago in a hot, expanding fireball of nearly infinite density. Over the last three decades the theory has been repeatedly revised to address such issues as how galaxies and stars first formed and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up today. Furthermore, an explanation has yet to be found for what caused the Big Bang in the first place.

In Endless Universe, Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, both distinguished theoretical physicists, present a bold new cosmology. Steinhardt and Turok “contend that what we think of as the moment of creation was simply part of an infinite cycle of titanic collisions between our universe and a parallel world” (Discover). They recount the remarkable developments in astronomy, particle physics, and superstring theory that form the basis for their groundbreaking “Cyclic Universe” theory. According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets.

Endless Universe provides answers to longstanding problems with the Big Bang model, while offering a provocative new view of both the past and the future of the cosmos.  It is a “theory that could solve the cosmic mystery” (USA Today).
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