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Before The Beginning: Our Universe And Others (Helix Books)

Rees, Martin

210 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0738200336 / ISBN 13: 9780738200330
Published by Basic Books, 1998
Used Condition: Fine Soft cover
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Inscribed by Author(s) 0738200336 Nicely inscribed by Rees. Bookseller Inventory # 04041

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Before The Beginning: Our Universe And ...

Publisher: Basic Books

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title

Synopsis:

In this landmark book, one of the twentieth century's greatest astronomers presents scientific evidence that our vast universe may be only a grain of sand on the infinite cosmic shore.It is now widely accepted that our universe exploded around 15 billion years ago from an unimaginably energetic initial event: the big bang. As the primordial material expanded and cooled, it evolved into the exquisite patterns of stars and galaxies we now observe. The mix of energy and radiation that characterizes our universe was imprinted in that initial instant as were the binding forces of nuclear physics and gravity that controlled our universe's evolution.The experimental triumphs and theoretical insights of recent years from the detection of neutrinos from exploding stars to the search for extraterrestrial life offer the most dramatic enlargement in our concept of the universe since astronomers first realized the sun's true place among the stars. In this illuminating work, Sir Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal and one of the most creative and original of contemporary scientists, draws these advances together with up-to-the-minute research on black holes, dark matter, and nucleosynthesis of the elements. He also sheds light on some of the personalities behind the science, offering first-hand impressions of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Stephen Hawking, John Archibald Wheeler, and Fred Hoyle, among others.With stunning clarity, Professor Rees argues that a family even an infinity of universes may have been created, each by its own big bang, and each acquiring a distinctive imprint and its own laws of physics. These baby universes will either live out their immense cosmic cycle, or die because those laws do not allow them to achieve longevity.Our ”home universe,” then, is just one element in a cosmic archipelago where impassable barriers prohibit communication between the islands. But, as Rees demonstrates, our universe is an exceptional member of this infinite ensemble, for it is still near the beginning of a fascinating evolutionary process that will end either in the heat-death of external expansion, or in what scientists call a ”big crunch.” Most remarkable of all, our universe contains creatures able to observe it. The multi-universe revolution in cosmological thought limned by Rees casts a piercing light on man's place in the cosmos, and argues that the conditions permitting the evolution of life stand on the razor's edge between a dead universe and one filled with living beings.

Review:

"Although we cannot observe them (and they may be forever inaccessible), other universes are a natural expectation from current cosmology. Moreover, many features of our universe that otherwise seem baffling fall into place once we recognize this." Sir Martin Rees, the British Astronomer Royal, gives a vivid, occasionally acid tour of current astrophysics and cosmology, with insights into scientific politics, such as the enormous increase in the cost of the space telescope because of its association with the Space Shuttle. He also offers keen observations on personalities such as Subrahmayan Chandrasekhar and Isaac Newton, Yakov Zeldovich and Albert Einstein. Joseph Silk calls Before the Beginning "an unusual blend of wit, asperity and cosmology ... a combination of clarity and conciseness."

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