Mapping the Heavens

Mapping the Heavens

The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos

Book - 2016
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For all curious readers, a lively introduction to radical ideas and discoveries that are transforming our knowledge of the universe

This book provides a tour of the "greatest hits" of cosmological discoveries--the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research--an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance.

The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes--these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, [2016]
Copyright Date: ♭2016
ISBN: 9780300204414
0300204418
Branch Call Number: 523.1 N191M 2016
Characteristics: xvi, 267 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm

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yoshiotu
Jul 18, 2017

I enjoyed this book a lot. It's well written and strikes a good balance between technical rigor and accessibility for a general science-literate reader. The author engagingly relates the history of cosmology, along with insights into the subjective human factors that have greatly shaped the development of cosmology over time along with objective experimental data. I doubt that the book breaks any new conceptual ground, but I found it very useful for bringing me up to date on the big picture developments and current big mysteries in the field. For me, the book greatly clarified difficult topics like dark matter and dark energy, including the evidence we have for their existence and some possible implications.

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