THE RED LIMIT: The Search for the Edge of the Universe by Timothy Ferris

THE RED LIMIT: The Search for the Edge of the Universe

Email this review


This is yet another good popularization to add to the recent duster of books on the new astronomy/cosmology. The author, a journalism teacher and free lance, sketches the major developments of the 20th century with considerable fleshing out of the personalities involved. So there are good anecdotes about the haughty Hubble, the feisty Shapley, the ""super-Hubble"" Sandage, along with tales that don't always get told out of school: Gamow's irritation at not being credited with predicting background radiation from the Big Bang when the first confirmatory reports came out; Gold's annoyance with Hoyle; the Arp-Bahcall debate on quasars; and so on. In moving to the present core problems, Ferris reviews the early attempts at estimating sizes and distances in the universe, the contributions of astrophysics and nuclear physics in giving time dimensions, and the importance of the big telescopes, spectroscopic measurements (which provide the measures of the red ""limit""), and radio astronomy. There are some meaty quotes and several high spots excitingly recounted. Addressed--as in other books of this genre--are questions of the fate of the universe and the present bizarre/byzantine constructs of time reversal, antimatter, black holes, and other cosmological speculations. It's a fine survey, combining concise reporting and intelligent commentary with enough salt to make clear that astronomers, while often ""stars,"" have the same mortal passions as the rest of us.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1977
Publisher: Morrow