Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe

Princeton University Press
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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.

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About the author

Jeremiah P. Ostriker is professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. His books include Formation of Structure in the Universe and Unsolved Problems in Astrophysics (Princeton). Simon Mitton is affiliated research scholar in the history and philosophy of science and a fellow of St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge. His books include Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science and The Young Oxford Book of Astronomy.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 22, 2013
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Pages
328
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ISBN
9781400844647
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Astronomy
Science / Cosmology
Science / General
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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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This book makes good background reading for much of modern magnetospheric physics. Its origin was a Festspiel for Professor Jim Dungey, former professor in the Physics Department at Imperial College on the occasion of his 90th birthday, 30 January 2013. Remarkably, although he retired 30 years ago, his pioneering and, often, maverick work in the 50’s through to the 70’s on solar terrestrial physics is probably more widely appreciated today than when he retired.

Dungey was a theoretical plasma physicist. The book covers how his reconnection model of the magnetosphere evolved to become the standard model of solar-terrestrial coupling. Dungey’s open magnetosphere model now underpins a holistic picture explaining not only the magnetic and plasma structure of the magnetosphere, but also its dynamics which can be monitored in real time. The book also shows how modern day simulation of solar terrestrial coupling can reproduce the real time evolution of the solar terrestrial system in ways undreamt of in 1961 when Dungey’s epoch-making paper was published.

Further contributions on current Earth magnetosphere research and space plasma physics included in this book show how Dungey’s basic ideas have remained explanative 50 years on. But the Festspiel also introduced some advances that possibly Dungey had not foreseen. One of the contributions presented in this book is on the variety of magnetospheres of the solar system which have been seen directly during the space age, discussing the variations in spatial scale and reconnection time scale and comparing them in respect of Earth, Mercury, the

giant planets as well as Ganymede.
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