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The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality Paperback – 1 Mar 2012


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The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality + The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World + Why Does E=mc2?
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185168896X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851688968
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

“A superior account of how astronomers discovered that they knew almost nothing about 96 percent of the universe…. Panek delivers vivid sketches of scientists, lucid explanations of their work and revealing descriptions of the often stormy rivalry that led to this scientific revolution.” Starred review.

(Kirkus Reviews)

"[A] fascinating tale of cosmology's known unknowns."

(BBC Focus)

"Impeccably researched and highly readable."

(New Scientist)

"Panek provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of science in the raw as alliances are forged and friendships strained. There is a new universe to explore..."

(The Times)

"The 4% Universe is a compelling narrative of science at its best… An illuminating guide to the dark mysteries lying at the heart of the intersection of astronomy and fundamental physics."

(The Wall Street Journal)

"Fascinating… Panek's passion for the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy wins the day."

(Washington Post)

"Richard Panek delights us with [a] mesmerizing tale…. This book has it all; the excitement of great fiction — only it's true."

(Philadelphia Enquirer)

"A compelling narrative of a quest full of technological challenges, unexpected turns and expected human rivalries over high stakes."

(Dallas Morning News)

"Lively… [Panek] Is a wondrously clear explicator."

(Salon)

"A rich portrait of modern scientific life."

(The Guardian)

"Easily digestible, fast-paced... To the connoisseur of popular science, indeed, the way author Richard Panek tells the tale is as interesting as the events: half drama, half detective story."

(Physics World)

“Reads… like an adventure novel…. Panek has craftily combined his lucid and accessible descriptions of science with thepersonal, often intimate story of those unlocking the finer details of the Universe.”

(BBC Sky at Night)

“Richard Panek’s new book shows that the story of how discoveries are made is just as exciting as the discoveries themselves…. [The 4% Universe] inspires and awes in equal measure.”

(Astronomy Now)

Review

“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)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David E. Perkins on 5 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is what I would call a very 'thorough' book, and I think readers' enjoyment (hence their * rating) will depend upon the balance of their interests between the science and the history. I have read a number of this type before and my inclination is towards the science but with an interest in the history as well.

This book covers the science quite well, and in a fair bit of detail (though sometimes the descriptions seem a bit bland even if they are lengthy). But it is overwhelmingly about the history of the discoveries and the relationships between the different, sometimes competing, individual researchers, and teams. So the book could be said to be about 25-30% science, and the rest narrative. It is quite a long read too, so eventually I found myself sneaking a look at where the notes, references, index, etc started, to see how near the finishing line I was getting! That meant that my rating is down a bit, but I am sure others will enjoy it more, as it undoubtedly a good book.

An example is the historic phone call between two sets of researchers who were investigating background radiation from the sky that came to be known as the Cosmic Microwave Backgound. Not only is there the obligatory mention of the content of the call itself, but in later threads there are further references to it such as 'this was the same room that ...', and 'this was the day that...'. All this perhaps is a reflection of the description of his work as "writing on science and culture" in various publications and books, trying to set the whole research programme in context.

As with other books I have read, the narrative repeatedly reverts in time to trace through each thread of the investigations and discoveries from initial ideas to the latest situation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hud on 13 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
Wow! A different approach to science books, more like a thrilling race through 100 years of detective work, scientific analysis, politics and human dedication to arrive at the frontiers of the universe. That we are stardust, born from dying stars, that the stuff we and everything we see is just 4% of the weight of the universe, that DARK STUFF we cannot yet detect is pushing, expanding, creating space at an increasing acceleration!

I mean WoW - I feel glad that I live still to have understood this thinking.

Panek's book is excellent, gripping, I just read and read until I finished it. The scientists characters are brought to life. The science is kept as simple as it possibly can, but will be a challenge (a good one) for the layman/woman.

The great thing is that he ends each chapter with a conclusion that prepares you for the next part of the journey.

I look at the stars in the dark night and I am awed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in the universe will find this book interesting and informative. We may be hearing much more on this topic in future years.
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By wonka on 9 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marvellous! Many thanks will buy again from this seller.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great read! 22 Aug 2013
By Cat C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very engaging! It doesn't assume a strong physics background, but it's interesting for readers of any level. It doesn't get too terribly technical, and it's still informative, without ever getting dull. I really enjoyed it, and I'd definitely suggest it to anyone!
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