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About this book
About this book
The Big Questions series enables renowned experts to tackle the 20 most fundamental and frequently asked questions of a major branch of science or philosophy. Each 3000-word essay simply and concisely examines a question that has eternally perplexed enquiring minds, providing answers from history's great thinkers. This ambitious project is a unique distillation of humanity's best ideas.
In Big Questions: The Universe, Dr Stuart Clark tackles the 20 key questions of astronomy and cosmology: What is the universe? How big is the universe? How old is the universe? What are stars made from? How did the Universe form? Why do the planets stay in orbit? Was Einstein right? What are black holes? How did the Earth form? What were the first celestial objects? What is dark matter? What is dark energy? Are we really made from stardust? Is there life on Mars? Are there other intelligent beings? Can we travel through time and space? Can the laws of physics change? Are there alternative universes? What will be the fate of the universe? Is there cosmological evidence for God?
Introduction. What is the Universe? - The human quest to know what' s out there. How big is the Universe? - The cosmological distance ladder. How old is the Universe? - Cosmology's age crisis. What are the stars made of? - The cosmic recipe. How did the Earth form? - The birth of the planet we call home. Why do the planets stay in orbit? - And why the Moon doesn't fall down. Was Einstein right? - Gravitational force versus space-time warp. What is a black hole? - Gobbling monsters, evaporating pin pricks and balls of string. How did the Universe form? - Picturing the Big Bang. What were the first celestial objects? - The beginnings of the Universe as we know it. What is dark matter? - The debate about what holds the Universe together. What is dark energy? - The most mysterious substance in the Universe. Are we made from stardust? - The mystery of how life emerged. Is there life on Mars? - The chances of finding we have neighbours. Are there other intelligent beings? - Is anyone out there? Can we travel through time and space? - The possibility of warp drives and time travel. Can the laws of physics change? - Physics beyond Einstein. Are there alternative universes? - Schrodinger's cat and the implications for us all. What will be the fate of the Universe? - Big crunch, slow heat death or big rip. Is there cosmological evidence for God? - The apparent fine-tuning of the Universe for human life. Glossary. Index.
Dr Stuart Clark is author of the critically acclaimed The Sun Kings and a former editor of the UK's best-selling astronomy magazine, Astronomy Now. He currently writes for the European Space Agency and is a regular contributor to magazines such as New Scientist and BBC Focus. Dr Clark's previous books also include Deep Space (Quercus 2007), Galaxy (Quercus 2008), Journey to the Stars and Universe in Focus: The Story of the Hubble Telescope.