412 pages, 8 plates with 14 colour photos and colour illustrations; 101 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Gravity: Cracking the Cosmic Code is the follow-up to Nicholas Mee's Higgs Force. It is the story of gravity and the heroic efforts to make sense of this mysterious feature of all our lives. The book takes a historical approach beginning with early attempts to understand astronomy leading up to Newton's theory of gravity and its publication in his masterpiece the Principia, the book that launched the modern scientific age. The book describes how Newton's theory ruled for over two hundred years until it was superseded by Einstein's very different theory based on the curvature of space and time.
One mind-bending result of Einstein's theory is that there are regions of space that operate like one-way trapdoors from which nothing can escape, not even light. These objects are known as black holes. Gravity: Cracking the Cosmic Code looks at their properties and the ideas of Stephen Hawking who showed that they might not be totally black after all. The puzzle that physicists now face is how to marry gravity and quantum mechanics. Many believe that success in this endeavour will bring about the ultimate Theory of Everything. The final chapter of the book presents the dramatic recent discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
0. Can You Feel the Force?
1. The Cosmic Puzzle
2. The Secret of the Universe
3. The Magic Spyglass
4. Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought
5. The Great Ocean of Truth
6. Let's Do the Time Warp Again
7. A Brief History of Black Holes
8. Ringing the Changes
9. The Endless Knot
10. Across the Universe
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Nicholas Mee is the author of the award-winning book Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered. He received his PhD in theoretical particle physics from the University of Cambridge. Dr Mee is the director of software company Virtual Image and the author of many maths and science multimedia CD-ROMs. He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.