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eBook The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe epub

by Anil Ananthaswamy

eBook The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe epub
  • ISBN: 0547394527
  • Author: Anil Ananthaswamy
  • Genre: Science
  • Subcategory: Astronomy & Space Science
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (January 14, 2011)
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • ePUB size: 1435 kb
  • FB2 size 1556 kb
  • Formats docx rtf lrf doc


Ananthaswamy’s juxtaposition of extreme travel and extreme science offers a genuinely novel route into the story of modern .

Ananthaswamy’s juxtaposition of extreme travel and extreme science offers a genuinely novel route into the story of modern cosmology. His tale turns on the price of success: we already know so much about our universe that it becomes hugely difficult-even risky-to pry loose from nature that next burst of insight. Along the way he interviewed some of the top minds in astronomy and theoretical physics, seeking answers to many of the most pressing questions in modern science: Is Supersymmetry a valid theory? Is there actually a Higgs Boson?

The Edge of Physics book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read

The Edge of Physics book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

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The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe. by Anil Ananthaswamy. A tour of the exotic and remote outposts where scientists seek answers to the great mysteries: A thrilling ride around the globe and around the cosmos. Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here.

Are there others besides our own? Ananthaswamy soon finds himself at the ends of the earth-in remote and sometimes dangerous places.

Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the "dark matter" that makes up almost a quarter of the universe? Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life? Are there others besides our own? Ananthaswamy soon finds himself at the ends of the earth-in remote and sometimes dangerous places

Anil Ananthaswamy - The Edge of Physics.

Anil Ananthaswamy - The Edge of Physics. Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the dark matter that makes up almost a quarter of the universe? Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life? Are there others besides our own? Ananthaswamy soon finds himself at the ends of the earth in remote and sometimes dangerous places.

The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth& Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe Ananthaswamy Anil Неизвестно 9780547394527 : In this deeply original book, science writer Anil Ananthas. Ananthaswamy takes us inside the European Southern Observatorys Very Large Telescope on Mount Paranal, where four massive domes open to the sky each night like dragons waking up. He also takes us deep inside an abandoned iron mine in Minnesota, where half-mile-thick rock shields physicists as they hunt for elusive dark matter particles. And to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, where engineers are drilling . miles into the clearest ice on the planet.

Bookpage Ananthaswamy journeys to several geographically and scientifically extreme outposts, and .

Bookpage Ananthaswamy journeys to several geographically and scientifically extreme outposts, and returns not only with engagi. Anil Ananthaswamy treks to the Atacama Desert in the Chilean Andes, one of the coldest, driest places on the planet, where not even a blade of grass can survive, and the spectacularly clear skies and dry atmosphere allow astronomers to gather brilliant images of galaxies billions of light-years away.

Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the "dark matter" that makes up almost a quarter of the universe?

Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the "dark matter" that makes up almost a quarter of the universe? Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life? Are there others besides our own? Ananthaswamy soon finds himself at the ends of the earth-in remote and sometimes dangerous places

In this deeply original book, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy sets out in search of the telescopes and detectors that promise to answer the biggest questions in modern cosmology. Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the "dark matter" that makes up almost a quarter of the universe? Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life? Are there others besides our own? Ananthaswamy soon finds himself at the ends of the earth—in remote and sometimes dangerous places. Take the Atacama Desert in the Chilean Andes, one of the coldest, driest places on the planet, where not even a blade of grass can survive. Its spectacularly clear skies and dry atmosphere allow astronomers to gather brilliant images of galaxies billions of light-years away. Ananthaswamy takes us inside the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope on Mount Paranal, where four massive domes open to the sky each night "like dragons waking up." He also takes us deep inside an abandoned iron mine in Minnesota, where half-mile-thick rock shields physicists as they hunt for elusive dark matter particles. And to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, where engineers are drilling 1.5 miles into the clearest ice on the planet. They’re building the world’s largest neutrino detector, which could finally help reconcile quantum physics with Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The stories of the people who work at these and other dramatic research sites—from Lake Baikal in Siberia to the Indian Astronomical Observatory in the Himalayas to the subterranean lair of the Large Hadron Collider—make for a compelling new portrait of the universe and our quest to understand it. An atmospheric, engaging, and illuminating read, The Edge of Physics depicts science as a human process, bringing cosmology back down to earth in the most vivid terms.
Comments: (7)
Anaginn
Anil and his editor Amanda Cook, cobbled together an amazing book, combining science, cultural, physical and anthropological geography, geology, travel to exotic and revered scientific locations on earth, then providing glimpses into both deep space and quantum mechanics. (This sentence is a microcosm of much of the style of the book.)

I reveled in some amazingly poetic prose as he described the locations that housed or supported an amazing array of telescopes located in places few care to venture. Fortunately for us, he went to those often hostile places and spent as much time writing on the geographies mentioned above, as the hard-core science that motivated their existence.

It’s a complex story. It includes acronyms and names enough to dissuade a reader from continuing, but then he slips in something fascinating about places or an Ideas, both here on earth and into the multiverse.

He is careful to include a multitude of scientists and support personnel, past and present, who labor in difficult places without much recognition or human comfort. It’s a Who’s Who of science, and very few receive awards or devices, theories or systems named for them, all do their part to bring knowledge to we who glibly receive it from our easy chairs.

If nothing else resonates with the reader, the glossaries and indices at the end of the book can be used for further study and clarification.

Four stars only reflect my inability to understand large sections of the scientific prose, not the author’s vast knowledge or broad-based education, which is quite stunning.

I found that having Google Earth and Wikipedia close by enabled me to stop and see many of the places and images contained in his writing. Pictures in the text or at the end of the book would have made this far more enjoyable.

If one reads only what they can easily understand, this will be well worth their investment in time. As my father used to say “Eat the meat and spit out the bones
Balladolbine
Anil's book contains different stories relating to Physics experiments conducted in different parts of the world, most of them remotely located. Travelling to those desolate places is the adventure part. Describing the instruments and the experiments along with the relevant background in Physics. The mix of Physics and adventure makes this book very exciting. A background of high school Physics is enough to understand the experiments.

Starting with the 60 inch and the 100 inch telescopes at Mount Wilson near Los Angeles, built by George Hale in the beginning of 1900s. Peeping through these telescopes, the famous astronomer Edwin Hubble and his equally famous assistant Milton Humason, found out in the early twentieth century that the different galaxies are retreating from each other. This gave rise to the concept of an expanding Universe. Extrapolating this expansion backwards in time led to the now widely accepted Big Bang theory. Later George Hale built a 200 inch telescope in Mount Palomar, further south to escape the light pollution caused by the growing city of Los Angeles.

The action then moves to a deep mine in Minnesota at Soudan. At the bottom of this abandoned mine is a very sensitive detector for detecting Cold Dark Matter. It is now postulated that most of the matter in the universe consists of dark matter, which is not visible to us as normal matter consisting of atoms. It does not contain the regular subatomic particles like electrons, protons and neutrons etc. Instead it is speculated to contain a very weakly interacting particle called neutralino. The sensitive detectors consist of ultra-pure germanium and silicon crystals cooled to 40 degree micorokelvins, just a shade above the absolute zero of -273 degree celsius. The detectors have not detected any neutralinos yet. The search is on !

The action then shifts to Lake Baikal in Russia. It has a neutrino observatory deep beneath the ice. Neutrinos, discovered by the famous physicist Wolfgang Pauli, are copiously generated by our Sun. They move quickly rarely interacting with any matter in its path. Millions of them pass through our bodies each second and we don't even know about them. There are very energetic neutrinos which are generated in the galactic centers. Studying them could give us clues about the formation of galaxies. Neutrinos form a streak of blue light when they hit water. A huge amount of pure water contained in Lake Baikal acts as a natural detector for these rare neutrinos from the center of the galaxy.

Next stop is the Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Just 12km from Pacific coast, on a mountain 2635 meters high, there is Very Large Telescope (VLT) consisting of 4 telescopes each of 8.2 meters in diameter. The telescopes are used in conjunction with an advanced spectrograph (which can detect different light colors or absence of any color, coming from different sources). This is one of the most advanced telescopes in the world used to study the Cosmos.

Next is a location which will most likely house a radio telescope called the Square Kilometer Array. Unlike an optical telescope, which consists of mirrors and lenses, radio telescopes consist of a an array of radio antennas, all of them connected to a radio receiver. The combined signals are scanned for sources like Pulsars and Quasars which emit only radio waves, and no light. Radio telescopy was started by Karl Jansky when he first observed radio signals coming from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The location of this telescope is likely to be finalized this year (2012). A mention is made of GMRT (Giant Meter Radio Telescope), an array of 30 dishes each of 45meters in diameter, located about 50 miles north of Pune in India. Indian astronomer Govind Swarup built each antenna cheaply from 16 tubular steel frames tied by steel ropes.

Stage now shifts to the most desolate of all places, Antarctica. The experiments, called BESS, are conducted by launching balloons packed with detectors. These detectors look for anti matter. Anti matter is opposite of matter. They annihilate each other when they come in contact. It is speculated that there is some anti matter in the universe. Some stars and galaxies may be made of antimatter. Matter and anti matter may have formed in nearly equal amounts during the birth of the universe, and thereafter most of the anti matter got annihilated on contact with matter. A few hundred miles from the balloon launch site, at the south pole is an experiment called IceCube, which has sensors dug deep into ice cores, to look for neutrinos. It is similar to the Lake Baikal neutrino observatory, but operating in most extreme conditions.

Next is the very famous huge particle collider in Europe (spanning the borders of Switzerland, France, Italy) called Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Consisting of a massive underground ring several kilometers in diameter, it generates highest energies on the planet to accelerate the protons and make them collide. Built to understand the beginning of the universe, it looks for a particle known as Higgs Boson, which is also called the God particle (incidentally Peter Higgs himself is an atheist). One of the detectors which looks for the aftermath of the collisions, is called ATLAS, which consist of massive superconducting magnets. If confirmed, Higgs Boson will open a new chapter in Physics.

Towards the end of the book, it also mentions about newer telescopes in space, i.e. Planck launched in 2009 to study the Cosmic Background Microwave radiation in greater detail. Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA), to be launched later this decade, will consist of 3 satellites positioned at the vertices of a triangle, million miles apart, to detect gravity waves. The gravity waves, if detected, would represent a ripple in the fabric of space and time.
Araath
A little dated, but a good history lesson with a focus on various locations involved in research. The author puts a personal perspective on the work being done to uncover some of the most elusive challenges facing physics in the modern world. The author makes some assumptions about the readers' level of understanding but gives very clear and "non math/science" descriptions of what is being studied and why it is important - with a historical overlay that provides important and interesting context.
Dynen
I'm still in the middle of this and working on it, but it's a fascinating read. Lots of good top drawer physics, but no translator needed for an old biochemist whose head hurt while trying to wrap it around atomic and nuclear physics class a couple of centuries ago.
Goldendragon
Extraordinary book- wonderfully written - about the nuts and bolts, the really hard work behind the hard earned insights that shape our cosmologies. In frozen Siberian lakes to shivering cubic hectares of ice and unspeakably deep caves- searching for the subtle particles that reveal the nature of our universe.
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