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A User's Guide to the Universe

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  • 304 Seiten
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Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there life on o... Weiterlesen
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Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there life on other planets?" to "What is empty space made of?"

This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway.

  • Gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time
  • Explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way
  • Includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter

Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe.

Dave Goldberg is an associate professor of physics at Drexel University, where he works on theoretical and observational cosmology. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences at Princeton University and is very interested in the interface between science and pop culture. He has contributed to Slate and appeared on WNYC's Studio 360. He lives with his wife and daughter in Philadelphia.

Jeff Blomquist earned his master's degree in physics from Drexel University in 2008 and is currently an engineer at Boeing Aerospace. He drew the illustrations in A User's Guide to the Universe all by himself! He lives in Philadelphia and has only recently stopped sleeping on a couch.

"What a delightful book! It pulls no punches—or punch lines—in explaining all the fun topics in physics and cosmology. From quarks to quasars, from electrons to extraterrestrials—it's all here. Whether you are interested in how to build a time machine or a transporter, or would like to know why curiosity killed Schrödinger's Cat, you will find clear and memorably illustrated explanations. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the recent exciting developments in physics and astronomy."
J. Richard Gott, Professor of Astrophysics, Princeton University, and author of Time Travel in Einstein's Universe

"I wish I'd had Goldberg and Blomquist as my physics teachers. Strangelets that grow until they strangle the world! Instructions for building an awesome teleportation device, and then transforming it into a super-awesome time machine! Speculations on the odds against our own existence! [and even deeper speculations on being in two places at once!] I'm going to recommend this book to my students, who are science journalists—and to any and all readers who want to have more fun in the universe."
Jonathan Weiner, Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism,and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch

We don't like to mince words. If you have your heart set on building a faster-than-light drive or a time machine out of a DeLorean, knock yourself out. If you want to know whether these things are even possible and you like anthropomorphized fundamental particles, read A User's Guide to the Universe.

This plain-English, plain-hilarious handbook ushers you through all of the major discoveries of modern physics, from relativity to the Large Hadron Collider, without furrowing your brow even once. Put your mind at ease and jump into modern physics in a way you never imagined possible—comfortably. Now is your chance to impress people at cocktail parties with your insights into the world of quantum weirdness, time and space, the expanding universe, and much, much more.

Who knows? You might even learn something.



“So, what do you do?”

1 Special Relativity.

“What happens if I’m traveling at the speed of light, and I try to look at myself in a mirror?”

Why can’t you tell how fast a ship is moving through fog?

How fast does a light beam go if you’re running beside it?

If you head off in a spaceship traveling at nearly the speed of light, what horrors await you when you return?

Can you reach the speed of light (and look at yourself in a mirror)?

Isn’t relativity supposed to be about turning atoms into limitless power?

2 Quantum Weirdness.

“Is Schrödinger’s Cat Dead or Alive?”

Is light made of tiny particles, or a big wave?

Can you change reality just by looking at it?

If you look at them closely enough, what are electrons, really?

Is there some way I can blame quantum mechanics for all those times I lose things?

Can I build a transporter, like on Star Trek?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

3 Randomness.

“Does God play dice with the universe?”

If the physical world is so unpredictable, why doesn’t it always seem that way?

How does carbon dating work?

Does God play dice with the universe?

4 The Standard Model.

“Why didn’t the Large Hadron Collider destroy Earth?”

What do we need a multibillion-dollar accelerator for, anyway?

How do we discover subatomic particles?

Why are there so many different rules for different particles?

Where do the forces really come from?

Why can't I lose weight (or mass)—all of it?

How could little ol' LHC possibly destroy the great big world?

If we discover the Higgs, can physicists just call it a day?

5 Time Travel.

“Can I build a time machine?”

Can I build a perpetual motion machine?

Are black holes real, or are they just made up by bored physicists?

What happens if you fall into a black hole?

Can you go back in time and buy stock in Microsoft?

Who does time travel right?

How can I build a practical time machine?

What are my prospects for changing the past?

6 The Expanding Universe.

“If the universe is expanding, what’s it expanding into?”

Where is the center of the universe?

What’s at the edge of the universe?

What is empty space made of?

How empty is space?

Where’s all of the stuff?

Why is the universe accelerating?

What is the shape of the universe?

What’s the universe expanding into?

7 The Big Bang.

“What happened before the Big Bang?”

Why can’t we see all the way back to the Big Bang?

Shouldn’t the universe be (half) fi lled with antimatter?

Where do atoms come from?

How did particles gain all that weight?

Is there an exact duplicate of you somewhere else in time and space?

Why is there matter?

What happened at the very beginning of time?

What was before the beginning?

8 Extraterrestrials.

“Is there life on other planets?”

Where is everybody?

How many habitable planets are there?

How long do intelligent civilizations last?

What are the odds against our own existence?

9 The Future.

“What don’t we know?”

What is Dark Matter?

How long do protons last?

How massive or nuetinos?

What won’t we know anytime soon?

Further Reading.

Technical Reading.



Titel: A User's Guide to the Universe
Untertitel: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty
EAN: 9780470559512
ISBN: 978-0-470-55951-2
Digitaler Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM
Format: E-Book (epub)
Herausgeber: Turner Publishing Company
Genre: Grundlagen
Anzahl Seiten: 304
Veröffentlichung: 02.02.2010
Jahr: 2010
Auflage: 1. Auflage
Untertitel: Englisch
Dateigrösse: 3.6 MB
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