Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs

The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

eBook - 2015
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Bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven's Door and one of today's most influential and highly cited theo-retical physicists, Professor Lisa Randall once again effortlessly delivers fascinating science to the general reader. Weaving together the cosmos' his-tory and our own in an expanding intellectual adventure story, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs takes us from the mysteries of dark matter and our cosmic environment to the conditions for life on Earth. Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a cata-clysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter that is embedded in the plane of the Milky Way. Her research challenges the usual assumptions about the simple nature of dark matter and demonstrates how scientists formulate and establish new ideas. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs. With her unique and wide-ranging perspective, Randall connects dark matter to the history of the world in the broadest terms. Bringing in pop culture and social and political viewpoints, she shares with us the latest findings--established and speculative--regarding dark matter, the cosmos, the galaxy, asteroids, comets, and impacts, as well as life's development and extinctions. Randall makes clear how connected the planet is to the makeup of the Universe, but also how fragile our place in the Universe, which evolved over billions of years, might be. In this brilliant and fresh exploration of our cosmic environment, Professor Randall explains the underlying science of our world in the breathtaking tale of a Universe in which the small and the large, the visible and the hidden are intimately related. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs illuminates the deep relationships that are critical to our world as well as the astonishing beauty of the structures and connections that surround us. It's impossible to read this book and look at either Earth or sky again in the same way.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2015
ISBN: 9780062328519
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Apr 28, 2018

Almost all (at least 90%) of the book is about the current state of knowledge on various related topics: the case for the existance of stuff in the universe called dark matter, the expansion of the universe after the Big Bang resulting in background radiation, creation and distribution of galaxies, the various elements that comprize our solar system, impacts on planetary bodies including the earth, extinctions of species on earth, and cursory discussions about aspects of partical physics related to visible and dark matter. With very few exceptions the discussions are entirely qualitative. The narative meanders on and off topic with some persumably humorous but annoying digressions such as working hard to get a reference to the author's photo as an extra on the Big Bang Theory show. There are at least two glaring physics errors in the narrative description that fortunately do not negate from the basic results. Finally in the last few pages, the author speculates about the comet origins of the Chicxulub Crater based on some model which is unexplained but perports to be consistent with the record though this is entirely without reporting data to bolster the claims. Ultimately disappointing.

Dec 07, 2016

While my personal favorite quantum equation is ER = EPR, I'm afraid I am highly skeptical of this author's assertions - - am in full agreement with the previous commenter, SPSit.
Dark matter is the term which accounts for our present day ignorance on celestial behavior, just as dark energy is the term to account for our present day ignorance on the apparent speeding up of the expansion of the Universe - - in both cases, there is no concrete evidence, just observational suggestions. Cannot label this hard science.

Jul 07, 2016

This is an interesting book. The writing is somewhat uneven as the same analogy was repeated, sometimes on the same page, which is probably the fault of the editor. I am not a physicist. I have no problem with physicists making assumptions and then using them to make models. What troubles me is that we know almost nothing of dark matter. And yet Dr. Randall or her team is trying to link dark matter to the disruption of the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago - that is too, too far fetched in my view.


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