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The Light at the Edge of the Universe: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Cosmology [Paperback]

Michael D. Lemonick

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Book Description

23 April 1995

Will the universe expand forever? Or will it collapse in a Big Crunch within the next few billion years? If the Big Bang theory is correct in presenting the origins of the universe as a smooth fireball, how did the universe come to contain structures as large as the recently discovered "Great Wall" of galaxies, which stretches hundreds of millions of light years? Such are the compelling questions that face cosmologists today, and it is the excitement and wonder of their research that Michael Lemonick shares in this lively tour of the current state of astrophysics and cosmology.

Here we visit observatories and universities where leading scientists describe how they envision the very early stages, the history, and the future of the universe. The discussions help us to make sense of many recent findings, including cosmic ripples, which supply evidence of the first billionth of a second of the universe; anomalous galactic structures such as the Great Wall, the Great Void, and the Great Attractor; and the mysterious presence of dark matter, massive but invisible. Lemonick assembles this information into a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of modern cosmology, and a portrait of its often contentious practitioners.

Originally published in 1995.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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"Thoroughly recommended to those who want not only to learn about contemporary cosmology but also to obtain some impression of how cosmologists think and work."--Malcolm S. Longair, Sky & Telescope

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Folksy Cosmology 10 May 2000
By absent_minded_prof - Published on Amazon.com
This book takes an unusual approach to this subject matter. It is primarily a compilation of interviews with actual cosmologists, and it absolutely gives you a feel for the way this community feels from the inside. You hear the stories behind the unfolding of current cosmological theory.
The closest thing I have to a complaint, and the only reason I didn't give this 5 stars (I still may go back and just give it 5 stars anyway, it is really superb), is the fact that there were really virtually NO equations or diagrams. I have heard that it is a truism in science publishing that every equation an author incorporates into the text will halve sales. Perhaps that is why there is no math here. I guess, even if there were no math, a couple of more visual elements such as maps or charts would have been nice. There are photos of cosmologists, however, which is interesting to see.
Basically a great book. If you want pictures, that Kip Thorne book about "Black Holes and Time Warps", which I believe is the title, can provide a fair number of relevant illustrations.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 6 Jan 2000
By "trunks891" - Published on Amazon.com
I loved the book and it helped me learn more about space. I'm fascinated by things like the big bang, wormholes, anti-matter, space theories, and so on. If you are at least somewhat interested in the science of space read it.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor compilation with little to recommend 13 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book was recommended to me as a general cosmology appetizer and an overview of trends in the fields and opinions of its chief players. I must say that I enjoyed many of the interviews in the book and the colourful characters that emerge, but found this volume to be quite disappointing in the balance. It was rushed in its display of the modern ideas, even given that it was written in 1995, and seemed to give too much credence to current understanding as a sure thing rather than the hazy and incomplete picture it actually is. The book was fine in covering the origin theories but stumbled when considering the cosmological future, the writing about which should have been omitted. The sequence and flow of the interviews also seemed rather poorly organised. I did enjoy some of the questions posed about the formation of galaxies and the so-called Great Wall, however-- quite intriguing indeed. This nevertheless was not enough to redeem the book.
0 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars stars die, new one's are born (just like you) 13 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Who are you to try and explain what can never be explained, your life span 115 years max if your lucky, noting compared to billions of light years of evolution and space beyond your reach, (the great void)
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