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Good Reads  Reference  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy

The 4 Percent Universe Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

Popular Science
By: Richard Panek(Author)
297 pages, no illustrations
The 4 Percent Universe
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  • The 4 Percent Universe ISBN: 9781851688968 Paperback Mar 2012 Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • The 4 Percent Universe ISBN: 9781851688210 Paperback Feb 2011 Out of Print #190855
Selected version: £9.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Only 4% of the universe consists of the matter that makes our bodies, the Earth and every star and planet. Over the last few decades scientists have been battling to understand the rest: the strange "dark matter" and even stranger "dark energy". In exhilarating and behind-the-scenes detail, Panek takes us on a tour of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys, that have fuelled the search, redefined science, and reinvented the universe.

Customer Reviews


Richard Panek is author of The Invisible Century and Seeing and Believing and writes frequently for the New York Times, as well as Discover, Esquire, Outside, and others.

Popular Science
By: Richard Panek(Author)
297 pages, no illustrations
Media reviews

"Richard Panek has written a contemporary adventure story of modern-day explorers who venture forth into the universe not by ships, but by telescopes and satellites. Like adventure stories of old, there are visionaries, heroes, patrons, and, perhaps, a few pirates. A riveting book."
– Lee Smolin, author of The Trouble with Physics

"Modern cosmology tackles some of the biggest questions we have about the nature of the cosmos. In The 4-Percent Universe, Richard Panek brings this quest down to a human scale. The rivalries, the surprises, and the excitement are brought vividly to life. People are a very tiny percentage of the universe, but we remain the most interesting part."
– Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here

"Richard Panek turns astronomers and physicists into real (and sometimes likeable) characters. You can feel the tension as two rival groups race to discover the fate of the universe. We see scientists as real people, warts and all. Panek turns potentially baffling science into a tense story of rivalry and discovery."
– Brian Clegg, author of Before the Big Bang and Armageddon Science

"The 4-Percent Universe is a lively and well-researched account of the personalities and ambitions of modern scientists."
– Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams

"A compelling story of research at the cutting edge of science, with all the personalities and politics that the textbooks leave out."
– Chad Orzel

"Somebody needed to tell this story – of all that is dark and mysterious in the cosmos. Science writer Richard Panek has risen to that task. He artfully guides you through the quirky discoveries that established the existence of dark matter and dark energy. But along the way, you also get to meet the quirky cosmologists who got us there."
– Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History

"The 4-Percent Universe is a reliable and readable account of how scientists discovered – and are struggling to come to grips with – the astounding fact that most of the observable universe has not yet even been observed, much less understood. It has the further merit of relating how scientists arrive at their findings, rather than simply presenting their theories as objects of admiration or adoration. Highly recommended."
– Timothy Ferris, author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way

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