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13.8 : the quest to find the true age of the universe and the theory of everything /

by Gribbin, John [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, 2016.Description: xiii, 242 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780300218275; 0300218273; 1848319185 (Cloth); 9781848319189 (Cloth).Other title: Thirteen point eight; Thirteen, eight; Quest to find the true age of the universe and the theory of everything.Subject(s): Cosmochronology | Space and time | Cosmology | Relativity (Physics) | Quantum theory | Cosmochronology | Cosmology | Quantum theory | Relativity (Physics) | Space and time
Contents:
Prologue. Taking the temperature of the universe -- How do we know the ages of stars? Prehistory: spectra and the nature of stars -- At the heart of the sun -- Making "metals" -- The ages of stars -- How do we know the age of the universe? Prehistory: galaxies and the universe at large -- The discovery of the expanding universe -- Sizing up the cosmic soufflé -- Surveys and satellites.
Summary: "The twentieth century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark book, John Gribbin--one of the best-known science writers of the past thirty years--presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified "Theory of Everything" that combines these ideas into one mathematical package, a single equation that could be printed on a T-shirt, containing the answer to life, the Universe, and everything. With his inimitable mixture of science, history, and biography, Gribbin shows how--despite skepticism among many physicists--these two great theories are very compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence. The answer lies, intriguingly, with the age of the universe: 13.8 billion years."--Publisher's website.
List(s) this item appears in: Univ. of Stories-NF
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A celebrated astronomer makes a powerful case for the harmony between two of physics' most important and seemingly contradictory theories <br> <br> The twentieth century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark book, John Gribbin--one of the best-known science writers of the past thirty years--presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified "Theory of Everything" that combines these ideas into one mathematical package, a single equation that could be printed on a T-shirt, containing the answer to life, the Universe, and everything. With his inimitable mixture of science, history, and biography, Gribbin shows how--despite skepticism among many physicists--these two great theories are very compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence. The answer lies, intriguingly, with the age of the universe: 13.8 billion years.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 233-234) and index.

Prologue. Taking the temperature of the universe -- How do we know the ages of stars? Prehistory: spectra and the nature of stars -- At the heart of the sun -- Making "metals" -- The ages of stars -- How do we know the age of the universe? Prehistory: galaxies and the universe at large -- The discovery of the expanding universe -- Sizing up the cosmic soufflé -- Surveys and satellites.

"The twentieth century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark book, John Gribbin--one of the best-known science writers of the past thirty years--presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified "Theory of Everything" that combines these ideas into one mathematical package, a single equation that could be printed on a T-shirt, containing the answer to life, the Universe, and everything. With his inimitable mixture of science, history, and biography, Gribbin shows how--despite skepticism among many physicists--these two great theories are very compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence. The answer lies, intriguingly, with the age of the universe: 13.8 billion years."--Publisher's website.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • About the Author (p. v)
  • Acknowledgements (p. vi)
  • List of Illustrations (p. vii)
  • Introduction: The Most Important Fact (p. xi)
  • Part 0 Prologue (p. 1)
  • 2.712 - Taking the temperature of the Universe (p. 3)
  • Part 1 How Do We Know the Ages of Stars? (p. 21)
  • 1 2.898 - Prehistory: Spectra and the nature of stars (p. 23)
  • Locating lines (p. 23)
  • Hunting helium (p. 26)
  • Hunting hydrogen (p. 28)
  • The heat of the Sun (p. 32)
  • The heat of the stars (p. 34)
  • The heat inside (p. 37)
  • 2 0.008 - At the heart of the Sun (p. 41)
  • A French connection (p. 42)
  • No free lunch (p. 44)
  • Seats of enormous energies (p. 50)
  • A hotter place? (p. 58)
  • A quantum of solace (p. 62)
  • 3 7.65 - Making 'metals' (p. 65)
  • Cycles and chains of fusion (p. 69)
  • Rocks of ages (p. 75)
  • From the Bomb to the stars (p. 79)
  • The last should be first (p. 82)
  • Stardust (p. 86)
  • 4 13.2 - The ages of stars (p. 91)
  • Hertzsprung, Russell and the diagram (p. 91)
  • Ashes to ashes (p. 93)
  • Globular cluster ages (p. 96)
  • White dwarf ages (p. 100)
  • Radiometric ages and the oldest known star (p. 105)
  • Part 2 How Do We Know the Age of the Universe? (p. 113)
  • 5 31.415 - Prehistory: Galaxies and the Universe at large (p. 115)
  • The power of pure reason (p. 116)
  • One step forward, two steps back (p. 118)
  • Nebular spectroscopy (p. 121)
  • First steps (p. 123)
  • The long and winding road (p. 128)
  • An unresolved debate (p. 131)
  • A universe destroyed (p. 135)
  • 6 575 - The discovery of the expanding Universe (p. 139)
  • Surprising speeds (p. 139)
  • Taking the credit (p. 142)
  • A Russian revolution (p. 148)
  • A Priestly intercession (p. 154)
  • 7 75 - Sizing up the cosmic soufflé (p. 161)
  • Einstein's lost model (p. 163)
  • Keeping it simple (p. 165)
  • Across the Universe (p. 169)
  • Doubling the distances (p. 169)
  • Hubble's heir (p. 177)
  • Another Great Debate (p. 184)
  • 8 13.8 - Surveys and satellites (p. 189)
  • The culmination of a tradition (p. 189)
  • Too perfect? (p. 192)
  • The dark side (p. 197)
  • Supernovae and superexpansion (p. 206)
  • Sounding out the Universe (p. 210)
  • Ultimate truth (p. 214)
  • Glossary (p. 221)
  • Sources and Further Reading (p. 233)
  • End Notes (p. 235)
  • Index (p. 237)

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