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Heart of Darkness:
Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe
Jeremiah P. Ostriker & Simon Mitton

Book Description | Reviews
Preface [in PDF format]


Acknowledgments ix

Preface xiii

  • Cosmology Becomes Data-driven Science xiii
  • Outline of the Journey We Will Take xix

Prologue: From Myth to Reality 1

  • Astronomy: The Endless Frontier 1
  • Charting and Modeling the Heavens 3
  • Copernicus: "The Last of the Greek Cosmologists" 6
  • Galileo: A New Approach to Mechanics and Cosmology 9
  • The Impact of Copernicus: Kepler's Laws 13
  • Isaac Newton and Gravity 15
  • William Herschel Discovers the Universe 20
  • Understanding the Universe Becomes a New Kind of Science 24

One: Einstein's Toolkit, and How to Use It 27

  • Overconfidence among the Cognoscenti at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century 27
  • Revolution in Physics: The Inception of Quantum Theory and Relativity 30
  • Special Relativity 33
  • General Relativity 36
  • General Relativity Is Tested, Passes the Test, and Is a Sensation 41
  • Cosmological Solutions to Einstein's Equations 47

Two: The Realm of the Nebulae 52

  • New Instruments in a Better Climate Unveil a New World 52
  • A Universe of Galaxies Is Confirmed 63
  • A Cosmological Model to Fit the New Data: Enter, Georges Lemaître 66
  • Physical Cosmology and the Expanding Universe 70
  • Lemaître's Synthesis Model Foretells the Contribution of Dark Energy 75
  • Hubble's Achievements 79
  • Big Science to Attack the Big Problem 81
  • The Steady State Model Universe and the Big Bang 84

Three: Let's Do Cosmology! 89

  • The Big Bang: A Starting Point That Cannot Be Escaped 89
  • Observational Cosmology, the Biggest Puzzle to Be Solved with the Biggest Telescope 93
  • The Grand Project Was Initially Too Difficult 97

Four: Discovering the Big Bang 102

  • Did Our Universe Have an Explosive Birth? 102
  • What Makes the Stars Shine? 104
  • Nuclear Astrophysics Moves to the Cosmos 109
  • The Fireball in Which the First Chemical Elements Were Made 114
  • Direct Radio Observations of the Big Bang Fireball 118
  • Understanding the Big Bang 125

Five: The Origin of Structure in the Universe 130

  • "In the Beginning"--Why an Explanation Is Needed 130
  • Structure within the Expanding Universe 136
  • The Elusive Standard Candle: Beatrice Tinsley Changes the Game 139
  • Real Cosmic Structure Found and Cataloged by Fritz Zwicky 146
  • Understanding the Origin of Structure Becomes Serious Science 149
  • Cosmic Inflation 155
  • The Seeds of Cosmic Structure Are Discovered 162
  • Closing the Loop: How Do Seeds Grow to Galaxies? 168

Six: Dark Matter--or Fritz Zwicky's Greatest Invention 174

  • How the Earth Was Weighed 174
  • Finding the Mass of the Andromeda Galaxy 181
  • Zwicky Finds Dark Matter in Clusters of Galaxies in the 1930s 184
  • The Rediscovery of Dark Matter in the 1970s 187
    Rotation Curves Confirm the Case for Dark Matter 193
  • More Recent Multiple Lines of Evidence for Dark Matter 197

Seven: Dark Energy--or Einstein's Greatest Blunder 202

  • A Curious Situation 202
  • Will Gravity Lead to a Collapse of the Solar System? 203
  • Expected and Unexpected Motions of Thrown Stones and Hubble's Universe 205
  • The Invention of the Cosmological Constant or Dark Energy: 1915 209
  • The Revival of Dark Energy in the 1970s 215
  • New Arguments and New Evidence--Dark Energy Confirmed in the 1990s 220
  • Dark Energy Fills the Gap, Allowing the Flat, "Just Right" Universe 222

Eight: The Modern Paradigm and the Limits of Our Knowledge 229

  • We Have Come a Long Way 229
  • The Matter and Energy Content of the Universe 231
  • The Global Cosmological Solution and the Cosmic Triangle 238
  • In the Beginning 244
  • Structure in the Universe 245
  • The Supercomputer Approach 248

Nine: The Frontier: Major Mysteries That Remain 253

  • Dark Matter 253
  • Dark Energy 255
  • Inflation 257
  • Giant Black Holes 260
  • Fine-Tuning 261
  • Summing Up 262

Appendixes 263
Glossary 281
Bibliography 291
Index 295

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File created: 4/21/2017

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