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Masters of Time chronicles the sudden unraveling of modern cosmology from its heyday in the early 1980s, when the ultimate secret of the origin of the universe seemed all but in hand, to the confused scientific picture of the 1990s. By following each major theory from its origins to the point at which it is overtaken by contradictory or nonexistent evidence, Boslough offers the clearest explanation ever offered of what we know and still do not know about the origin and structure of the universe.
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As befits a National Geographic writer, Boslough literally traveled around the world in the last decade to gather material for this analysis of cosmology today. The result was an end to the author's own innocence: He admits to an earlier romanticism and awe in the presence of eminent cosmologists, as evidenced in his 1984 Stephen Hawking's Universe. Not anymore. The truth, as Boslough reports it, is that observational astronomy is way ahead of the theorists. With more and better instruments to scan the far reaches of the universe, facts are accumulating that defy theorists' armchair/computer visions: The Great Wall (or walls) of galaxies that give the lie to homogeneity in the universe; the Great Attractor that holds our local cluster of galaxies in gravitational sway; quasars of fantastic brilliance out there at 14 billion light-years (too soon after the birth of the universe by current conventions)...and when you combine that with the fact that nobody has come up with a plausible explanation for the so-called ``dark matter'' (estimated to represent 90 percent of the mass of the universe) or proven the existence of black holes, or been able to unite gravity with electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces in any Grand Unification Theory, the time for a new paradigm must be at hand. Boslough doesn't leave the reader in suspense, saying at the outset that cosmology is in deep trouble. And to prove his point, he gracefully backs and fills, providing sketches of the key players and ideas that have colored 20th-century visions of astro- and-quantum physicists (and revisions, too, as he notes the many fixes and even about-faces in the various models proposed). All this is told in an informative, congenial, and nonvindictive style: After all, you never know where the next paradigm will come from. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Boslough, a National Geographic writer, presents here a popular account of the current confusion in cosmological theory. Just a few years ago, scientists appeared to have achieved a stunning synthesis of "big bang" cosmology and elementary particle theory, which spelled out the history of the universe from an infinitesimal fraction of a second after the big bang until the present. However, new observational evidence had until recently put the big bang model under severe pressure. Boslough has interviewed most of the leading theorists and observational astronomers and has interwoven their comments into his colorful account of the frantic efforts of theoretical physicists to come up with new models that will fit all the evidence. Despite a few blunders in historical and biographical details, his book is generally a very good review of the situation that should be comprehensible to lay readers.
- Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Basic Books, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0201622378
Book Description Basic Books, 1993. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0201622378
Book Description Basic Books, 1993. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110201622378