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A new look at the first few seconds after the Big Bang—and how research into these moments continues to revolutionize our understanding of our universe
Scientists in the past few decades have made crucial discoveries about how our cosmos evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. But there remains a critical gap in our knowledge: we still know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. At the Edge of Time focuses on what we have recently learned and are still striving to understand about this most essential and mysterious period of time at the beginning of cosmic history.
Taking readers into the remarkable world of cosmology, Dan Hooper describes many of the extraordinary and perplexing questions that scientists are asking about the origin and nature of our world. Hooper examines how we are using the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang and test promising theories for how and why our universe came to contain so much matter and so little antimatter. We may be poised to finally discover how dark matter was formed during our universe’s first moments, and, with new telescopes, we are also lifting the veil on the era of cosmic inflation, which led to the creation of our world as we know it.
Wrestling with the mysteries surrounding the initial moments that followed the Big Bang, At the Edge of Time presents an accessible investigation of our universe and its origin.
The first accessible book on a theory of physics that explains the relationship between the particles and forces that make up our universe.
For decades, physicists have been fascinated with the possibility that two seemingly independent aspects of our world—matter and force—may in fact be intimately connected and inseparable facets of nature. This idea, known as supersymmetry, is considered by many physicists to be one of the most beautiful and elegant theories ever conceived. According to this theory, however, there is much more to our universe than we have witnessed thus far. In particular, supersymmetry predicts that for each type of particle there must also exist others, called superpartners. To the frustration of many particle physicists, no such superpartner particles have ever been observed. As the world's most powerful particle accelerator—the Large Hadron Collider—begins operating in 2008, this may be about to change. By discovering the forms of matter predicted by supersymmetry, this incredible machine is set to transform our current understanding of the universe's laws and structure, and overturn the way that we think about matter, force, space, and time.
Nature's Blueprint explores the reasons why supersymmetry is so integral to how we understand our world and describes the incredible machines used in the search for it. In an engaging and accessible style, it gives readers a glimpse into the symmetries, patterns, and very structure behind the universe and its laws.
The twentieth century was astonishing in all regards, shaking the foundations of practically every aspect of human life and thought, physics not least of all. Beginning with the publication of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, through the wild revolution of quantum mechanics, and up until the physics of the modern day (including the astonishing revelation, in 1998, that the Universe is not only expanding, but doing so at an ever-quickening pace), much of what physicists have seen in our Universe suggests that much of our Universe is unseen—that we live in a dark cosmos.
Everyone knows that there are things no one can see—the air you're breathing, for example, or, to be more exotic, a black hole. But what everyone does not know is that what we can see—a book, a cat, or our planet—makes up only 5 percent of the Universe. The rest—fully 95 percent—is totally invisible to us; its presence discernible only by the weak effects it has on visible matter around it.
This invisible stuff comes in two varieties—dark matter and dark energy. One holds the Universe together, while the other tears it apart. What these forces really are has been a mystery for as long as anyone has suspected they were there, but the latest discoveries of experimental physics have brought us closer to that knowledge. Particle physicist Dan Hooper takes his readers, with wit, grace, and a keen knack for explaining the toughest ideas science has to offer, on a quest few would have ever expected: to discover what makes up our dark cosmos.