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About Pedro G. Ferreira
Brief Bio of Pedro G. Ferreira
Pedro G. Ferreira is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a fellow and tutor in Physics at Oriel College, Oxford. He has held research positions at the University of California at Berkeley, at CERN in Geneva and visiting positions at the University of Geneva, the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris, Princeton University, the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara and the Galileo Galilei Institute in Florence. He is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and has held a University Research Fellowship of the Royal Society.
He has published over 120 papers in international journals and conference proceedings, has delivered over 150 talks at universities, institutes and conferences all over Europe, America, Asia and Africa. His area of expertise is Cosmology, the Early Universe and Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. He has pioneered research in the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang, the nature of the dark Universe (such as dark matter and dark energy) and has led the way in studying alternatives to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. He has given public interviews and lectures all over the world and is regularly invited onto television to comment on Einstein’s theories, black holes, the Big Bang and the beauty of mathematics.
Pedro G. Ferreira has written extensively outside academia, popularizing science. His book State of the Universe (W&N 2006, Phoenix, 2007), a primer in modern cosmology, was widely reviewed and is now required reading on a number of undergraduate cosmology courses. He has written for Nature, Science, New Scientist, Physics World, Physics Today, Scientific American, Sky at Night, CERN Courier, BBC Focus, The Guardian. His most recent book, “The Perfect Theory: a Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity” was published by Harcourt (US), Little Brown (UK) and is being translated and published in thirteen more countries.
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“One of the best popular accounts of how Einstein and his followers have been trying to explain the universe for decades” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Physicists have been exploring, debating, and questioning the general theory of relativity ever since Albert Einstein first presented it in 1915. This has driven their work to unveil the universe’s surprising secrets even further, and many believe more wonders remain hidden within the theory’s tangle of equations, waiting to be exposed. In this sweeping narrative of science and culture, an astrophysicist brings general relativity to life through the story of the brilliant physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers who have taken up its challenge. For these scientists, the theory has been both a treasure trove and an enigma.
Einstein’s theory, which explains the relationships among gravity, space, and time, is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement of modern physics—yet studying it has always been a controversial endeavor. Relativists were the target of persecution in Hitler’s Germany, hounded in Stalin’s Russia, and disdained in 1950s America. Even today, PhD students are warned that specializing in general relativity will make them unemployable.
Still, general relativity has flourished, delivering key insights into our understanding of the origin of time and the evolution of all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos. Its adherents have revealed what lies at the farthest reaches of the universe, shed light on the smallest scales of existence, and explained how the fabric of reality emerges. Dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and string theory are all progeny of Einstein’s theory.
In the midst of a momentous transformation in modern physics, as scientists look farther and more clearly into space than ever before, The Perfect Theory exposes the greater relevance of general relativity, showing us where it started, where it has led—and where it can still take us.
A masterly overview of the development of cosmological thinking from the Greeks, via Newton and Einstein, to the present day.
It is science's last and greatest challenge: fathoming the depths of the night sky. The objective: to crack the cosmic code, to unravel the blueprint for nature's grandest conception, a machine constructed on an unimaginably vast scale - the Universe itself.
Today's model of an expanding Universe - the big bang cosmology - is actually built on principles derived from a few simple mathematical equations. Gravity-warped space time, quantum mechanics, the physics of the subatomic, these crucial insights, stemming from Einstein's revolutionary theories of relativity, have led to a simple and elegant framework within which the whole of the Universe, over billions of years, has been described.
But recent evidence has begun to make wrinkles in the neat fabric of the big bang cosmology. There is now overwhelming evidence that there is far more stuff in the Universe than we can see. What, and where, is this 'dark matter'? And it now appears that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating: something out there - some exotic 'dark energy' - is acting against gravity to push space and time apart.
While offering a critical view of how all the pieces in our current model fit together, Pedro Ferreira argues that Einstein's Universe may be just another stepping stone towards a new, more profound and effective cosmology in the future.