Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

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9781847923066: Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

In this brilliant exploration of our cosmic environment, renowned particle physicist and bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven's Door, Lisa Randall uses her research into dark matter to illuminate the startling connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth.Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the solar system passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs. Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings--established and speculative--regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the history of the cosmos and our own history, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.

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From the Back Cover:

The groundbreaking work from bestselling author and renowned particle physicist Lisa Randall—a dazzling adventure into the interconnectedness of our universe.

Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city crashed into Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and two-thirds of the planet’s species. Challenging the usual assumptions about the simple makeup of the unseen material that constitutes 85 percent of the matter in the Universe, Randall explains how a disk of dark matter in the Milky Way plane might have triggered the cataclysm.

But Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs does more than present a radical new research idea. With clarity and wit, Randall explains the nature of the Universe, dark matter, the Milky Way galaxy, comets, asteroids, and impacts. This breathtaking synthesis, illuminated by pop culture references and social and political viewpoints, reveals the deep relationships among the visible and the hidden, as well as the astonishing beauty of the connections that surround us. It’s impossible to read this book and look at either the Earth or the sky again in the same way.

About the Author:

Lisa Randall is a professor of physics at Harvard University. She is one of today's most influential and highly cited theoretical physicists, and has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions. Her work has been featured in Time magazine, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vogue, the Economist, Scientific American, and elsewhere. Randall is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society, and is the recipient of several honorary degrees. When not solving the problems of the universe, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or contributing to art-science connections. Hypermusic Prologue, a small opera for which she wrote the libretto, premiered in the Pompidou Center in 2009, and Measure for Measure, an art exhibit she co-curated, opened in Los Angeles in 2010.

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