Patterns encoded in microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang can provide the answers to some of the great unanswered questions of cosmology: What is the universe made of? What is its geometry? How much of it consists of the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that continue to baffle astronomers? How fast is it expanding? And did it undergo a period of inflationary hyper-expansion at the very beginning? This book tells the story of the Microwave Anisotropy Probe, a satellite designed, in effect, to read the genome of the universe, which has now given definitive answers to these mysteries.
The exciting story of the quest to detect, record, and understand [cosmic background] relic radiation from the creation of the cosmos. In the book, Time magazine's senior science writer, Michael D. Lemonick, gives a concise but complete background on the birth of cosmology in the early 20th century. He covers everything from Hubble's observations of the expanding universe to the theoretical predictions of the afterglow... Echo of the Big Bang is well written and nicely paced, and in addition to the science coverage, readers get an inside view of NASA and the social interactions (sometimes strained) of the scientists who work there. -- Jennifer Birriel Astronomy The author clearly has a flair for writing about popular science. His explanations of the (sometimes difficult) physics are admirably clear and the text is peppered with well turned phrases. As a breezy and engaging introduction to the basics of Big Bang cosmology it is highly recommended. -- Peter Coles Physics World Lemonick tells the epic story of MAP and the dedicated band of scientist and engineers who made it happen. -- Marcus Chown New Scientist Michael Lemonick has admirably documented a space mission that fulfilled its promise... Echo of the Big Bang should be welcomed by aficionados of popular-level cosmology. It explains with remarkable clarity numerous key concepts... It amply illustrates the importance of crossing disciplinary boundaries. -- Joshua Roth Sky & Telescope Lemonick has written an exciting story of both science and personal politics. Choice This is a stunning revelation. A bombshell for theorists trying to figure out a theory of everything. When, and if, the nature of the invisible ingredients of the cosmos is unmasked it is obvious that physics will never again be the same... [A] fascinating story ... brilliantly told by Michael Lemonick. -- Colin Keay The Physicist I found this book to be simply wonderful. Lemonick uses broad strokes to paint the cosmologists' view of the universe, and he lets us see the inside story of those who seek answers to the big questions. It would be a great read for anyone wishing to keep current on where cosmology is headed. -- Terry Johnson Planetarian
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