Once Before Time

Author: Martin Bojowald
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307594254
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
In 2000, Martin Bojowald, then a twenty-seven-year-old post-doc at Pennsylvania State University, used a relatively new theory called loop quantum gravity—a cunning combination of Einstein’s theory of gravity with quantum mechanics—to create a simple model of the universe. Loop quantum cosmology was born, and with it, a theory that managed to do something even Einstein’s general theory of relativity had failed to do—illuminate the very birth of the universe. Ever since, loop quantum cosmology, or LQC, has been tantalizing physicists with the idea that our universe could conceivably have emerged from the collapse of a previous one. Now the theory is poised to formulate hypotheses we can actually test. If they are verified, the big bang will give way to the big bounce. Instead of a universe that emerged from a point of infinite density, we will have one that recycles, possibly through an eternal series of expansions and contractions, with no beginning and no end. Bojowald’s major realization was that unlike general relativity, the physics of LQC do not break down at the big bang. The greatest mystery surrounding the origin of the universe is what cosmologists call the big bang “singularity”—the point at the beginning of the universe, prior to the existence of space and time, when gravity, along with the temperature and density of the universe, becomes infinite. The equations of general relativity can’t cope with such infinities, and as a result big bang theory has never been able to give any explanation for the initial condition of our universe, succeeding only in describing and explaining the evolution of the universe from that instant onward. Bojowald’s theory takes us right up to the first moment of the universe—and then back, even before the big bang itself. From the Hardcover edition.

Gravity

Author: Brian Clegg
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co
ISBN: 0715644459
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn't explain how it worked at a distance. Then Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending general relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. Not only did this explain how gravity worked — and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components — but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity's effect on time. Whether it's the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates.

Before Time Began

Author: Helmut Satz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192510878
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
What is the origin of the universe? What was there before the universe appeared? We are currently witnessing a second Copernican revolution: neither our Earth and Sun, nor our galaxy, nor even our universe, are the end of all things. Beyond our world, in an endless multiverse, are innumerable other universes, coming and going, like ours or different. Fourteen billion years ago, one of the many bubbles constantly appearing and vanishing in the multiverse exploded to form our universe. The energy liberated in the explosion provided the basis for all the matter our universe now contains. But how could this hot, primordial plasma eventually produce the complex structure of our present world? Does not order eventually always lead to disorder, to an increase of entropy? Modern cosmology is beginning to find out how it all came about and where it all might lead. Before Time Began tells that story.

Worlds Without End

Author: Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023152742X
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
"Multiverse" cosmologies imagine our universe as just one of a vast number of others. While this idea has captivated philosophy, religion, and literature for millennia, it is now being considered as a scientific hypothesis—with different models emerging from cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory. Beginning with ancient Atomist and Stoic philosophies, Mary-Jane Rubenstein links contemporary models of the multiverse to their forerunners and explores the reasons for their recent appearance. One concerns the so-called fine-tuning of the universe: nature's constants are so delicately calibrated that it seems they have been set just right to allow life to emerge. For some thinkers, these "fine-tunings" are evidence of the existence of God; for others, however, and for most physicists, "God" is an insufficient scientific explanation. Hence the allure of the multiverse: if all possible worlds exist somewhere, then like monkeys hammering out Shakespeare, one universe is bound to be suitable for life. Of course, this hypothesis replaces God with an equally baffling article of faith: the existence of universes beyond, before, or after our own, eternally generated yet forever inaccessible to observation or experiment. In their very efforts to sidestep metaphysics, theoretical physicists propose multiverse scenarios that collide with it and even produce counter-theological narratives. Far from invalidating multiverse hypotheses, Rubenstein argues, this interdisciplinary collision actually secures their scientific viability. We may therefore be witnessing a radical reconfiguration of physics, philosophy, and religion in the modern turn to the multiverse.

Dark Energy

Author: Philip J. Skerry
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1623564212
Format: PDF
Download Now
Alfred Hitchcock and the cinema grew up together. Born in 1899, four years after the first 'official' film showing in Paris, Hitchcock demonstrated an early fascination with the new art of the cinema. He entered the film industry in 1920, and by 1925, he had directed his first feature-length film, The Pleasure Garden. His subsequent film career paralleled the phenomenal growth of the film industry during the years 1925-1976, the year of his last film. In the same way, Hitchcock's films are consonant with the revolutionary theories in the fields of physics and cosmology that were transforming the twentieth century, personified by the genius of Albert Einstein. Philip Skerry's book applies the theories of dark energy, entropy, black holes, and quantum mechanics to Hitchcock's technological genius and camera aesthetics, helping to explain the concept of 'pure cinema' and providing verification for its remarkable power. Including interviews with influential physicists, this study opens up new ways of analyzing Hitchcock's art.

The Island of Knowledge

Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465080731
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
Why discovering the limits to science may be the most powerful discovery of all How much can we know about the world? In this book, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence, the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, and the limits of knowledge. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, like religion, is fundamentally limited as a tool for understanding the world. As science and its philosophical interpretations advance, we face the unsettling recognition of how much we don't know. Gleiser shows that by abandoning the dualistic model that divides reality into the known and the unknown, we can embark on a third way based on the acceptance of our limitations. Only then, he argues, will we be truly able to experience freedom; for to be free in an age of science we cannot turn science into a god. Gleiser ultimately offers an uplifting exploration of humanity's longing to conquer the unknown, and of science's power to transform and inspire.

A Companion to the Philosophy of Time

Author: Adrian Bardon
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118522052
Format: PDF
Download Now
A Companion to the Philosophy of Time presents the broadest treatment of this subject yet; 32 specially commissioned articles - written by an international line-up of experts – provide an unparalleled reference work for students and specialists alike in this exciting field. The most comprehensive reference work on the philosophy of time currently available The first collection to tackle the historical development of the philosophy of time in addition to covering contemporary work Provides a tripartite approach in its organization, covering history of the philosophy of time, time as a feature of the physical world, and time as a feature of experience Includes contributions from both distinguished, well-established scholars and rising stars in the field

A Universe from Nothing

Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451624476
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place. “Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?” One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.

Reality Is Not What It Seems

Author: Carlo Rovelli
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0735213933
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
"The man who makes physics sexy . . . the scientist they're calling the next Stephen Hawking." --The Times Magazine From the New York Times-bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and the forthcoming The Order of Time, a closer look at the mind-bending nature of the universe. What are the elementary ingredients of the world? Do time and space exist? And what exactly is reality? In elegant and accessible prose, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli leads us on a wondrous journey from Democritus to Einstein, from Michael Faraday to gravitational waves, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers deeper explanations of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Rovelli invites us to imagine a marvelous world where space breaks up into tiny grains, time disappears at the smallest scales, and black holes are waiting to explode--a vast universe still largely undiscovered.

Mr g

Author: Alan Lightman
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030790704X
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
“As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.” So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr g, the story of Creation as told by God. Barraged by the constant advisements and bickerings of Aunt Penelope and Uncle Deva, who live with their nephew in the shimmering Void, Mr g proceeds to create time, space, and matter. Then come stars, planets, animate matter, consciousness, and, finally, intelligent beings with moral dilemmas. Mr g is all powerful but not all knowing and does much of his invention by trial and error. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and Mr g discovers that with his creation of space and time come some unforeseen consequences—especially in the form of the mysterious Belhor, a clever and devious rival. An intellectual equal to Mr g, Belhor delights in provoking him: Belhor demands an explanation for the inexplicable, requests that the newly created intelligent creatures not be subject to rational laws, and maintains the necessity of evil. As Mr g watches his favorite universe grow into maturity, he begins to understand how the act of creation can change himself, the Creator. With echoes of Calvino, Rushdie, and Saramago, combining science, theology, and moral philosophy, Mr g is a stunningly imaginative work that celebrates the tragic and joyous nature of existence on the grandest possible scale.