Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite, or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world's greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos, from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the big bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory.
Human life is a staggeringly strange thing. On the surface of a ball of rock falling around a nuclear fireball in the blackness of a vacuum, the laws of nature conspired to create a naked ape that can look up at the stars and wonder where it came from. What is a human being? Objectively, nothing of consequence. Particles of dust in an infinite arena, present for an instant in eternity.
From Schrodinger's cat to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, this book untangles the weirdness of the quantum world. Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you're not shocked by it, you don't understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half alive and half dead at the same time?
"This is a truly excellent read!"
Audie Award, History/Biography, 2016. On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Based on in-depth interviews with 23 of the 24 moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail.
"A great book"
"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Wolfson at the outset of these 24 lectures on what may be the most important subjects in the universe: relativity and quantum physics. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic ideas behind them are, in fact, simple and comprehensible by anyone. These dynamic and illuminating lectures begin with a brief overview of theories of physical reality starting with Aristotle and culminating in Newtonian or "classical" physics. After that, you'll follow along as Professor Wolfson outlines the logic that led to Einstein's profound theory of special relativity and the simple yet far-reaching insight on which it rests. With that insight in mind, you'll move on to consider Einstein's theory of general relativity and its interpretation of gravitation in terms of the curvature of space and time.From there, you'll embark on a dazzling exploration of how inquiry into matter at the atomic and subatomic scales led to quandaries that are resolved-or at least clarified-by quantum mechanics, a vision of physical reality so profound and so at odds with our experience that it nearly defies language.By bringing relativity and quantum mechanics into the same picture, you'll chart the development of fascinating hypotheses about the origin, development, and possible futures of the entire universe, as well as the possibility that physics can produce a "theory of everything" to account for all aspects of the physical world. But the goal throughout these lectures remains the same: to present the key ideas of modern physics in a way that makes them clear to the interested layperson.
"Pitched at just the right level, very engaging."
Black holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science? You do? Well fear not, for help is at hand. Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots, to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff that you really need to know, not only because it matters, but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you.
"Science for Every-one"
What forces molded the universe? Are those forces still at work, removing, changing, or adding heavenly bodies even as we gaze upward? Will humanity, and Earth itself, one day be gone? Are we alone? In an era when science journalism is perhaps more thorough and ambitious than ever before, fascinating explorations of questions like these seem available to us almost every day - provided we have a working understanding of the scientific theories on which they're based.
As recently as 1990, it seemed plausible that the solar system was a unique phenomenon in our galaxy. Thanks to advances in technology and clever new uses of existing data, now we know that planetary systems and possibly even a new Earth can be found throughout galaxies near and far.
"A wonderful listen. Highly recommended!"
Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.
Scientists have made astounding progress in their grasp of the universe. But what remains to be understood? Investigate some perplexing aspects of space that science has uncovered in the last half-century. Learn about the mysterious trajectory of the Pioneer spacecraft (known as the "Pioneer anomaly"). Explore two of the longest-standing problems in astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy. And even try to map the shape of space-time.
NASA's history is a familiar story, culminating with the agency successfully landing men on the moon in 1969. But NASA's prehistory is a rarely told tale, one that is largely absent from the popular space-age literature but that gives the context behind the incredible lunar program. America's space agency wasn't created in a vacuum; it was assembled from preexisting parts, drawing together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer.
"Excellent book, very well researched."
Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had 80 seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did he would make history as the world's first commercial astronaut. The spectacle defied reason, the result of a competition dreamed up by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, whose vision for a new race to space required small teams to do what only the world's largest governments had done before.
How many Carl Sagan fans know that while the renowned scientist was at Stanford University, he produced a controversial paper, funded by a NASA research grant, that concludes that ancient alien intervention may have sparked human civilization? Author Donald L. Zygutis lays out a compelling case that points to a cover-up by the Pentagon and NASA, who may have buried it soon after it was written. How significant is the Stanford paper?
Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable. It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within 20 years, humans will live on Mars. We'll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen.
This course chronicles the history of Earth and life on Earth from the point of view of the minerals that made it all happen. A major theme is how minerals and life coevolved, leading to the unprecedented mineral diversity on our world compared to the other planets in the solar system. Professor Hazen tells this epic story in 48 action-packed lectures that take you from the big bang to the formation of the solar system to the major milestones that marked the evolution of Earth and life.
Who are we, and how did we get here? These are two of the most fundamental and far-reaching questions facing scientists and cosmologists alike and have rested at the center of human intellectual endeavor since its beginning. They are questions that stretch across numerous disciplines. Philosophy, theology, evolutionary biology, and mathematics are just some of the fields looking to explain the emergence of human life.
"well written and thought provoking."
In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.
Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?
The heart of this course examines the planets themselves, and reveals how they are constructed and how they differ from one another. By studying the physical astronomy of all the planets in the Solar System, we can attempt to understand their true nature. Ultimately, these lectures will bring us to a greater understanding of the Solar System's creation, which brings us again back to the beginning and what it means to us as we look outward from our rotating Earth.
The European Space Agency released a map of the afterglow of the big bang map, which contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Will we ever know what happened before the big bang? What's at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?
All life as we know it is carbon-based and reliant on sources of liquid water and energy for its survival; it is also, of course, known from just one planet: the Earth, a world perfectly suited to host life. But across a universe of at least 100 billion habitable, earthlike worlds, life cannot be restricted to just this one place. Or can it?
"Just a synopsis of others"
"Houston, we've had a problem here." On the evening of April 13, 1970, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 were just hours from the third lunar landing in history. But as they soared through space, two hundred thousand miles from earth, an explosion badly damaged their spacecraft. With compromised engines and failing life-support systems, the crew was in incomparably grave danger.
In 1929, Edwin Hubble announced the greatest discovery in the history of astronomy since Galileo first turned a telescope to the heavens. The galaxies, previously believed to float serenely in the void, are in fact hurtling apart at an incredible speed: the universe is expanding. This stunning discovery was the culmination of a decades-long arc of scientific and technical advancement.
An accessible look at the mysteries that lurk at the edge of the known universe and beyond. The observable universe, the part we can see with telescopes, is incredibly vast. Yet recent theories suggest that there is far more to the universe than what our instruments record - in fact, it could be infinite. Colossal flows of galaxies, large empty regions called voids, and other unexplained phenomena offer clues that our own "bubble universe" could be part of a greater realm called the multiverse.
In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept - "look-back time" - to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time.
"Disappointing - attempt at accessible style, fails"
Dr. Philip C. Plait sets the record straight on many modern hoaxes and myths. Appalled that millions of Americans don't believe in the moon landing, or that an egg stands on its end only on the vernal equinox, Plait hilariously spills the truth and informs us of scientific inaccuracies in our everyday vernacular.
"A fun and informative bit of mythbusting"
Black holes are a constant source of fascination to many due to their mysterious nature. This Very Short Introduction addresses a variety of questions, including what a black hole actually is, how they are characterized and discovered, and what would happen if you came too close to one. Professor Katherine Blundell looks at the seemingly paradoxical, mysterious, and intriguing phenomena of black holes.
We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: Why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth's climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four-billion-year stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others.
Everyone wonders what it's really like in space, but very few of us have ever had the chance to experience it firsthand. This captivating collection brings together stories from dozens of international astronauts - men and women who've actually been there - who have returned with accounts of the sometimes weird, often funny, and awe-inspiring sensations and realities of being in space.
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe - from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars - constitute only 5 percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science - what is the universe made of? - told by one of today's foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter.
Written in simple and accessible language, this non-technical introduction to cosmology, or the creation and development of the universe, explains the discipline, covers its history, details the latest developments, and explains what is known, what is believed, and what is purely speculative. In addition, the author discusses the development of the Big Bang theory and more speculative modern issues, like quantum cosmology, superstrings and dark matter.
This is a fascinating introduction to the history of Western astronomy, from prehistoric times to the origins of astrophysics in the mid-19th century. Historical records are first found in Babylon and Egypt, and after two millennia the arithmetical astronomy of the Babylonians merged with the Greek geometrical approach to culminate in the Almagest of Ptolemy.
The fascinating science behind the eventual end to everything - from the individual to all existence. Although we may try to keep it tucked at the back of our minds, most of us are aware of our own mortality. But few among us know what science, with the help of insights yielded from groundbreaking new research, has to say about death on a larger scale. Enter astronomer Chris Impey, who chronicles the death of the whole shebang.
Astronomers have determined that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. How exactly did they come to this precise conclusion? How Old Is the Universe? tells the incredible story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in science and, along the way, introduces listeners to fundamental concepts and cutting-edge advances in modern astronomy.
Some see dust as dull stuff, useless at best, and sneeze-inducing at worst. But in the hands of writer Hannah Holmes, dust becomes a dazzling and mysterious force. As Holmes says, dust is a messenger, and air is its medium. And by the end of this fascinating journey through The Secret Life of Dust, we cannot help but agree.
"Disappointing list of lung diseases"
An extraterrestrial colony, in some form, may already exist, just awaiting discovery. But the greatest impediment to such an important scientific discovery may not be technological, but political. No scientific endeavor can be launched without a budget, and matters of money are within the arena of politicians. Dr. Ben Bova explores some of the key players and the arguments waged in a debate of both scientific and cultural priorities.
On June 3, 1769, the planet Venus briefly passed across the face of the sun in a cosmic alignment that occurs twice per century. Anticipation of the rare celestial event sparked a worldwide competition among aspiring global superpowers, each sending their own scientific expeditions to far-flung destinations to time the planet's trek.
Of all the natural disasters that could befall us, only an Earth impact by a large comet or asteroid has the potential to end civilization in a single blow. Yet these near-Earth objects also offer tantalizing clues to our solar system's origins, and someday could even serve as stepping-stones for space exploration. In this book, Donald Yeomans introduces listeners to the science of near-Earth objects - its history, applications, and ongoing quest to find near-Earth objects before they find us.
It takes a certain amount of courage to step beyond one's day-to-day experiments and look at the big picture - and the origin of the Moon is a big picture question par excellence. Perhaps it makes sense that William Hartmann, one of the two scientists who unraveled the Moon's biggest mystery, is not only a scientist but also a part-time artist and science fiction writer. It took someone with an artist's eye and a fiction writer's speculative temperament to see the big picture....