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Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) Hardcover – 22 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (22 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691134308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691134307
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles Top 25 Academic Books for 2013
Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy, Association of American Publishers

"In this stimulating study, the Princeton astrophysics professor and the University of Cambridge scholar offer a compelling insider's take on how astronomers have worked to reveal the mystery that is our universe. . . . Ostriker and Mitton's knowledge is vast, and while they acknowledge that our understanding of the universe is far from complete, this thought-provoking presentation is as accessible as it is exciting."--Publishers Weekly

"Jeremiah Ostriker and science historian Simon Mitton seamlessly blend historical narrative with lucid scientific explication, from the deeps of classical time to the data-fuelled hyperdrive of the past 50 years."--Nature

"A lucid history of cosmology. . . . With infectious enthusiasm, diagrams and even a little high school math, the authors deliver the available answers along with the increasing confusion. A fine introduction to cosmology but rich enough to inform readers familiar with introductions."--Kirkus Reviews

"This is a strong, confident book, easily one of the best guides to why cosmologists make the claims they do."--New Scientist

"[H]eart of Darkness . . . traces the implications of modern cosmology and more. The path is a fascinating history from the first debates over the cosmic redshift and the Hubble constant through the discovery of the cosmic microwave background by Penzias and Wilson in the 1960s right up to the big questions being raised today."--Astro Guyz

"An excellent book celebrating the contribution to cosmology by many unsung heroes such as Tinsley, Slipher, Lemaitre and Friedman."--Dave Mannion, Popular Astronomy

"Here is a new and welcome perspective on modern cosmology that any reader can easily grasp and appreciate. Excellent archival photos and a very useful appendix that clearly and simply explains some of the essential mathematical concepts add to the pleasure of reading this book. Written with authority and flair, this is one of the very best books on the topic. Recommended reading for any science buff."--Choice

"Ostriker's and Mitton's book is a lively and informative account of the story of modern cosmology . . ."--Helge Kragh, Journal for the History of Astronomy

"I enjoyed Heart of Darkness hugely. Rare among astronomy books, it was a 'page-turner', an exciting, intriguing, authoritative historical review of past cosmological endeavors coupled with an informed assessment of where we are at the present time. It is accurately aimed at the general reader and non-expert."--David W. Hughes, Observatory

"Heart of Darkness is a cheerful and accessible introduction to some of the most fascinating topics in astronomy today. It presents the concepts clearly, tells the stories about the discoverers with remarkable detail, and explains the logic leading to the hypotheses of dark matter and dark energy. I would not hesitate to recommend it for both general readers and scientists."--John C. Mather, Physics Today

"What does come through in [this book], is a real sense of the excitement that these scientists feel in not knowing everything, together with the confidence that one day we'll work it out."--Clive Prince, Magonia Review of Books

From the Back Cover

"The invisible rules the visible while the infinitesimal determines the cosmic. This is not fuzzy mysticism. It is the clear-eyed logic of the world observed by astronomers, described here with precision and verve by Ostriker and Mitton. Read this book and let them guide you to enlightenment."--Robert P. Kirshner, author of The Extravagant Universe

"If you want a clear and fair assessment of the astonishing recent progress in understanding the cosmos--and of the mysteries that remain to be addressed--then this is the book for you. Ostriker and Mitton write with authority, and with style as well."--Martin Rees, Master of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and Astronomer Royal

"Heart of Darkness offers an engaging historical perspective on cosmology, and fluently moves onto the key modern issues in the dark sector. It is full of anecdotes and insights that will intrigue a general readership."--Joseph Silk, author of On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe

"Heart of Darkness offers a fresh perspective on the development of cosmology from one of its pioneers and most original thinkers, Jeremiah Ostriker, in collaboration with an exceptional science writer, Simon Mitton. This engaging history introduces nonexperts to the discoveries and basic concepts behind our current understanding of the universe."--Abraham Loeb, author of How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?

"Heart of Darkness is a penetrating and thorough narrative of how humans discovered the universe. Ostriker and Mitton are strong advocates for the tenacity and creativity of physicists and astronomers. This is an upbeat and inspiring story, told with vigor and enthusiasm."--Alan Dressler, author of Voyage to the Great Attractor: Exploring Intergalactic Space


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Professor John E.Beckman on 10 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a reasonably popular introduction to modern cosmology. It is a historical introduction and this is its most positive point, as it leads the reader through towards the most recent discoveries in a gradual and educational manner. I have only one complaintabout it. The modern science of quantitive cosmology has advanced greatly in recent decades due in large part to the new possibilities for making the required measurements because of exciting progress in observational technique. The chief steps forward which were the discovery of the cosmic microwave background and the discovery of the accelerating universe, were made by observers. The book, written by a theorist, does not get the correct balance between theoretical and observational advances. Of course the whole of modern cosmology is underpinned by the glorious synthesis which is General Relativity, but modern astrophysics as a whole has been led forward by observations (quasars, pulsars, and the results I cite above are four of these key examples). So although the book is a good introduction to the subject, I found it biased in this way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By meredith on 3 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Simon Mitton is a friend, and he asked me to read his book and do a review before I'd started it - so I thought I ought to tackle a subject (astrophysics and cosmology - why and how we're here in space and how to understand the universe and its systems) that I usually skip over in great haste as a non astrophysicist when I'm reading New Scientist or other popular science magazines. Although there are many long words in Simon's and Jeremiah Ostriker's Heart of Darkness (a brave move naming it after Joseph Conrad's African horror story), they're all relevant, and it's a model of strong and effective science communication. I felt really enlightened during my read and actually enjoyed the experience. In addition, I like the way they consciously (and conscientiously) pay tribute to many figures in the evolution of our understanding, many of whom have been elided from the more superficial narratives. I can give this 5/5 without expecting any payback from Simon!Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials) by Ostriker, Jeremiah P., Mitton, Simon [2013] & Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M.Barrett on 30 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the best introductions to current thinking in cosmology that anyone with an interest in popular science can read. Thanks to the science historian Simon Mitton, the book approaches the subject from an historical perspective and offers an excellent illustration of, not only how the subject of cosmology has developed over time, but also how science in general operates and progresses. In addition, the astrophysicist, Jeremiah P. Ostriker is able to give an up-to-date account of such cutting-edge topics as dark matter and dark energy. The book also benefits from the fact that both authors are often able to give a first-hand account of cosmology research, as well as some personal insight into the individuals who were involved in our quest to better understand the origin and evolution of the Universe. Although, the text is largely non-mathematical, the science is explained in enough detail that this book would make a good introductory text for an A-level or undergraduate student who is approaching the subject for the first time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Catherwood on 15 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other review - it is a truly excellent book, one that even someone with a degree in history could understand!

Astronomy is the one cutting edge science to enter the popular imagination, and not just because of Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox, though I imagine that they have helped to create the new interest in cosmology. This book, by a top Princeton scientist and a leading Cambridge science writer, show why we are all becoming astronomy fans these days. I was able to read and enjoy it thoroughly, and while there was some science the overall tenor of the book makes it one for those of us in the humanities to buy and have fun reading.

This is very well worth it! It is a great addition to the Princeton series and one that stands on its own as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By London schoolteacher on 12 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This was a book that even I could understand.

It makes modern discoveries on dark matter and dark energy accessible to those of us with degrees in the humanities. I did not understand any of the equations. But the writing style was so fluent that this did not matter. I noticed that one of the authors had been an editor. Perhaps this is why?

But whatever the case, we now have a book that enables literature graduates to bluff confidently with their science colleagues.

And the illustrations were great as well.
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