THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE by Michael D. Lemonick

THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

Leading Cosmologists on the Brink of a Scientific Revolution

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A reader-friendly survey of the current state of astrophysics and cosmology, weaving together up-to-the-minute observations, the most recent theories, and profiles of the major figures in the field--along with enough rudimentary background to make it all comprehensible to an intelligent lay reader willing to invest some effort. Only 50 years have passed since Edwin Hubble proved the existence of galaxies beyond the Milky Way, and only 25 since the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation pointed to the Big Bang. Cosmology, Time-writer Lemonick says, remains ``pretheoretic [like] geology...before plate tectonics, or physics before Newton--just a collection of facts.'' Yet however unconfirmable, theories abound, and the author takes us around the world to the great observatories where new data is compiled and to quiet campuses where the stars of the field spin their theories to encompass such unexpected finds as the Great Wall, the Great Void, and the Great Attractor--all anomalous galactic structures of a scale too large to have been formed since the Big Bang, given our understanding of the universe's mass. Thus comes the question of ``missing matter'' and the cold-dark-matter, warm-dark-matter, and hot-dark-matter schools of thought to resolve it. Eschatological issues are covered as well: The theory of inflation--stating that a growth spurt occurred during the first seconds of time-- addresses, among other matters, the ``flatness problem''--Will the universe expand forever, achieve equilibrium, or mirror the Big Bang in a ``Big Crunch?'' Immensely informative--and lots of fun. (Thirty b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-41304-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




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