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Fom Quasars to Black Holes Gravity
Made of Atomic Size Stars in a Clumpy Firework Universe
The Big Puzzles of the Universe

"We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world. We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, to the gravity that glues us to an Earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space, or to the atoms of which we are made and on whose stability we fundamentally depend. Except for children (who don't know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is; 
where the cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know."

Carl Sagan
From an introduction to "A Brief History of Time"
by Stephen Hawking


Big Bang Theory, currently accepted explanation of the beginning of the universe. The big bang theory proposes that the universe was once extremely compact, dense, and hot. Some original event, a cosmic explosion called the big bang, occurred about 10 billion to 20 billion years ago, and the universe has since been expanding and cooling.

The theory is based on the mathematical equations, known as the field equations, of the general theory of relativity set forth in 1915 by Albert Einstein.
In 1922 Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann provided a set of solutions to the field equations. These solutions have served as the framework for much of the current theoretical work on the big bang theory. American astronomer Edwin Hubble provided some of the greatest supporting evidence for the theory with his 1929 discovery that the light of distant galaxies was universally shifted toward the red end of the spectrum. This proved that the galaxies were moving away from each other. He found that galaxies farther away were moving away faster, showing that the universe is expanding uniformly. However, the universe's initial state was still unknown.

In the 1940s Russian American physicist George Gamow worked out a theory that fit with Friedmann's solutions in which the universe expanded from a hot, dense state. In 1950 British astronomer Fred Hoyle, in support of his own opposing steady-state theory, referred to Gamow's theory as a mere "big bang," but the name stuck. Indeed, a contest in the 1990s by Sky & Telescope magazine to find a better (perhaps more dignified) name did not produce one.



Subject Related Materials

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth Dimension
by Michio Kaku

A vivid portrait of the theory of hyperspace by a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York discusses the superstring theory and the concept of a jigsaw-puzzle universe.

How many dimensions do you live in? Three? Maybe that's all your commonsense sense perception perceives, but there is growing and compelling evidence to suggest that we actually live in a universe of ten real dimensions. Kaku has written an extraordinarily lucid and thought-provoking exploration of the theoretical and empirical bases of a ten-dimensional universe and even goes so far as to discuss possible practical implications--such as being able to escape the collapse of the universe. Yikes. Highly Recommended.

Book Description
Are there other dimensions beyond our own? Is time travel possible? Can we change the past? Are there gateways to parallel universes? All of us have pondered such questions, but there was a time when scientists dismissed these notions as outlandish speculations. Not any more. Today, they are the focus of the most intense scientific activity in recent memory. In Hyperspace, Michio Kaku, author of the widely acclaimed Beyond Einstein and a leading theoretical physicist, offers the first book-length tour of the most exciting (and perhaps most bizarre) work in modern physics, work which includes research on the tenth dimension, time warps, black holes, and multiple universes.

Kaku (Physics/CCNY) is the author (with Jennifer Trainer) of Beyond Einstein (1987) and of several popular volumes on advanced physics. He is also the host of a weekly radio program on modern science. Here, he offers a popular explanation of how the mathematics of higher dimensions underlies modern physical theories, notably the superstring hypothesis of how the universe is put together. The great problem confronting physics has been the building of a bridge between relativity and quantum theory: a single theory reconciling the two extremes of the very large and the very small. Relativity is proven beyond doubt on the scale of planets and galaxies; quantum theory applies to the microcosmic world of subatomic particles. Ever since Einstein, physicists have been trying, and failing, to combine the two into a GUT (Grand Unified Theory). Although it remains controversial among physicists and cosmologists, Kaku proffers superstring theory as the best approximation yet--but it requires acceptance of a counter-intuitive system in which our sensory world, hosting three dimensions of space and one of time, is only a small part of a universe containing ten dimensions (six of them undetectable by our limited senses). Higher dimensions, aka hyperspace, seem to some physicists the most consistent description of the universe we actually inhabit, and to others just one more futile attempt to unify relativity and quantum theory. Kaku admits the futility of visualizing a ten-dimensional universe with our three-dimensional mindset; in fact, he admits that the mathematics of superstring theory are so difficult that many of the key equations remain unsolved. But he effectively marshals examples from everyday experience and the labors of working scientists to illuminate current theories of how the universe really works (to the extent that anyone can understand it without working the equations), offering intelligent speculations on how time travel and faster-than-light travel might be possible. Kaku's explanations of the principles of superstring theory are lucid, lively, and full of entertaining glimpses of the researchers involved. A worthy successor to the popular physics texts of George Gamow, as thought-provoking as Stephen Hawking.

The theory of hyperspace (or higher dimensional space)--and its newest wrinkle, superstring theory--stand at the center of this revolution, with adherents in every major research laboratory in the world, including several Nobel laureates. Beginning where Hawking's Brief History of Time left off, Kaku paints a vivid portrayal of the breakthroughs now rocking the physics establishment. Why all the excitement? As the author points out, for over half a century, scientists have puzzled over why the basic forces of the cosmos--gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces--require markedly different mathematical descriptions. But if we see these forces as vibrations in a higher dimensional space, their field equations suddenly fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, perfectly snug, in an elegant, astonishingly simple form. This may thus be our leading candidate for the Theory of Everything. If so, it would be the crowning achievement of 2,000 years of scientific investigation into matter and its forces. Already, the theory has inspired several thousand research papers, and has been the focus of over 200 international conferences.

Michio Kaku is one of the leading pioneers in superstring theory and has been at the forefront of this revolution in modern physics. With Hyperspace, he has produced a book for general readers which conveys the vitality of the field and the excitement as scientists grapple with the meaning of space and time. It is an exhilarating look at physics today and an eye-opening glimpse into the ultimate nature of the universe.


Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition)
with Carl Sagan

Run Time: 13 hours
Release Date: December 12, 2000

Available on VHS and DVD

When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world--and the context of Carl Sagan's eloquent "personal journey"--was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the cold war, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan's series is far more than a guided tour through "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that "we are a way for the universe to know itself," with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.

In the course of 13 fascinating hours, Cosmos spans its own galaxy of topics to serve Sagan's theme, each segment deepening our understanding of how we got from there (simple microbes in the primordial mud) to here (space-faring civilization in the 21st century). In his "ship of the imagination," Sagan guides us to the farthest reaches of space and takes us back into the history of scientific inquiry, from the ancient library of Alexandria to the NASA probes of our neighboring planets. Upon this vast canvas Sagan presents the "cosmic calendar," placing the 15-billion-year history of the universe into an accessible one-year framework, then filling it with a stunning chronology of events, both interstellar and earthbound.

From the lives of the stars, to creation theories, functions of the human brain, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Cosmos asks big questions. When appropriate, Sagan offers big answers, or asks still bigger--and yes, even spiritual--questions at the boundaries of science and religion. What's most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos--for all the debate it may continue to provoke--is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history.

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time
By Stephen Hawking

Also available
The Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition

The Universe in a Nutshell
by Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.

The Big Bang: The Third Edition
by Joseph Silk

Book Description
Our universe was born billions of years ago in a hot, violent explosion of elementary particles and radiation--the big bang. What do we know about this ultimate moment of creation, and how do we know it?
Drawing upon the latest theories and technology, The Big Bang, Third Edition, is a sweeping, lucid account of the event that set the universe in motion. Award-winning astronomer and physicist Joseph Silk begins his story with the first microseconds of the big bang, on through the evolution of planets, stars, and galaxies, and into the distant future of our universe. He also explores the fascinating evidence for the big bang model and recounts the history of cosmological speculation. Revised and updated, the third edition features all the most recent astronomical advances, including:

* Photos and measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope, Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite, and Infrared Space Observatory
* Modern estimates of the age of the universe
* New ideas in string theory and superstring theory
* Recent experiments on neutrino detection
* New theories about the presence of dark matter in galaxies
* New developments of star formation and the evolution of galaxies
* The latest ideas about black holes, worm holes, quantum foam, and multiple universes

A marvelous introduction to scientific cosmology, The Big Bang, Third Edition, takes readers on a spectacular journey spanning time and space.

About the Author
Joseph Silk is the Head of Astrophysics and Savilian Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Previously, he was a tenured professor at the University of California at Berkeley, where he researched theoretical astrophysics. He has received several awards for his contributions to astronomy, and is currently a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and of the Royal Society, United Kingdom. He is the author of several books, including A Short History of the Universe, Cosmic Enigmas, and The Left Hand of Creation, written with John D. Barrow.

Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
by Martin J. Rees

Book Description
The genesis of the universe elegantly explained in a simple theory based on just six numbers by one of the world's most renowned astrophysicists.

Book Info
Describes six numbers that now seem especially significant two of which are related to the basic forces, two fix the size and overall texture of our universe and determine whether it will continue forever, and two more fix the properties of space itself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author
Martin Rees is Britain's Astronomer Royal. He is the author of several books, including

A member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and numerous foreign academies, Rees is Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge University.

In Search of the Big Bang: The Life and Death of the Universe
by John R. Gribbin

"A remarkably readable guide to the mysteries of cosmic creation." --Nature

Book Description
In this radically revised and updated edition incorporating the latest scientific findings, award-winning author John Gribbin explores the origins of the universe and considers its ultimate fate. He traces the long road to the first detailed model of the Big Bang in the 1940s and reveals how an accurate measurement of the age of the universe has helped to provide conclusive proof of the theory of the Big Bang.

About the Author
John Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge before becoming a full-time science writer. His many books include a number of titles in the In Search of . . . series, and his most recent books are The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything; The Case of the Missing Neutrinos: And Other Curious Phenomena of the Universe; and Richard Feynman: A Life in Science (with Mary Gribbin). He is currently a visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, England.

Parallel Universes : The Search for Other Worlds

Parallel Universes : The Search for Other Worlds

By Fred Alan Wolf
Touchstone Books, 1990

Geometry, Relativity, and The Fourth Dimesion

Geometry, Relativity, and The Fourth Dimesion

By Rudolf V.B. Rucker
Dover Pubns, 1977

The Physics of Immortality : Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the DeadResurrection of the Dead

The Physics of Immortality : Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead

By Frank J. Tipler
Anchor, 1995

The Private Life of the Brain

The Private Life of the Brain

By Susan A. Greenfield
John Wiley & Sons, 2000

Relativity : The Special and the General Theory

Relativity : The Special and the General Theory

By Albert Einstein
Crown Pub, 1995

Chance and Chaos

Chance and Chaos

by David Reulle