Is the universe designed for life? Physicists have discovered that many seemingly unconnected phenomena, which took place millions of years apart, played a crucial role in the development of life on Earth. Does such evidence reveal a purpose behind the order of the universe?
NASA senior research scientist Carlos I. Calle explores this tantalizing question and many more in this wide-ranging introduction to the very latest and sundry theories about the origins and evolution of the enormous cosmos. From the big bang to the possibility of a "big crunch" he renders the complexities of theoretical physics beautifully lucid for the lay reader.
Calle begins by reviewing the milestones of 20th-century astrophysics: the confirmation of the big bang theory in the 1960s by the discovery of cosmic background radiation; the inflationary theory of universe expansion, which NASA observations have recently confirmed; the formulation of the essential laws of physics that govern the unfolding of all physical processes, from subatomic fluctuations to the formation of galaxies; and physicists’ attempts to unify all the forces of nature.
Now, at the start of the 21st century, questions have been raised about the origins of the laws of physics. Do they suggest a Grand Designer, or is their existence a natural outcome of some automatic process? Calle lays out the cosmological models based on M-theory, which suggests that our particular universe may be one of an unimaginable number of universes, each with its own set of physical laws. According to one of the most promising models, the big bang may not be the moment of creation but the bridge to a past filled with endless cycles of universe creation and destruction.
Calle also provides an exciting look at Stephen Hawking’s fascinating proposal that the universe had no origin—and that present-day observers may influence the very nature of reality.
Did the universe require a prime mover—the Grand Designer—to create the planets, the stars, and the galaxies? The Universe—Order without Design will give you plenty of food for thought.
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Carlos I. Calle, PhD (Merritt Island, FL), is the director of the NASA Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory, a senior research physicist at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, and the author of Coffee with Einstein, Einstein for Dummies, Superstrings and Other Things, and numerous scientific papers.Review:
"In this excellent book, NASA physicist Carlos Calle tackles the question of whether the universe requires a supernatural "designer" or whether our cosmological theories can explain the wondrous reality around us...." --Marcus Chown, NewScientist.com, 19 May 2009, newscientist.com/article/mg20227081.700-review-the-universe-order-without-design.html
"Modern cosmology is full of mind-bending ideas. Carlos Calle's new book takes you through a whirlwind tour of the best of them, from strings and branes to the wave function of the universe. It's a spirited, accessible introduction, and you'll never look at the universe the same way again." --Dr. Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist at California Institute of Technology and author of From Eternity to Here
Cosmology is a wonderful area of physics today, full of difficult puzzles and weird and fascinating new ideas about solutions. Carlos Calle is just the guide any reader can ask for. His authoritative, substantial, but still very accessible descriptions of the past, present, and possible future of cosmology will stimulate the curiosity of everyone with an interest in science. Calle does not just get to the heart of the concepts at the center of modern physics, he shares the excitement in thinking about the nature of the universe." --Taner Edis, Author of The Ghost in the Universe and Science and Nonbelief
"Understanding the origin and evolution of the universe is the pursuit of modern cosmology. It has taxed our greatest thinkers since the beginning of history. In The Universe--Order Without Design, Carlos Calle provides a delightfully readable and authoritative account of our past and present descriptions of the universe and gives exciting ideas about possible solutions to current cosmological puzzles. Calle shares his excitement about understanding how nature works and provides clear, accurate descriptions of some of the strangest concepts in modern physics and cosmology. This engaging book is accessible to anyone interested in understanding modern science." --Dr. Samuel T. Durrance, Former Astronaut, and Professor of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology
"You are about to read, or at least you are [looking at], a very remarkable book. Calle has put together an amazing and incredible voyage of discovery, one that takes us back to the very beginning of time and space itself. This is an important story that we are all part of, the story of our Universe's very beginnings, its growth, and its possible fates. This informative and entertaining book engages the reader with a perfect balance of broad and deeply compelling discussions. For Calle has the wonderful gift of making the subject of cosmology accessible to all those interested in learning more about the place we call home--our Universe." --Scott Vangen, NASA Alternate Payload Specialist Astronaut for the STS-67 Shuttle Mission
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