An Old Man's Toy: Gravity at Work and Play in Einstein's Universe

Anthony Zee, Author, A. Zee, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-02-633440-2
On Einstein's 76th (and last) birthday, a neighbor gave him a homemade toy that exemplified a basic truth about gravity. Starting with this ball-and-cup contraption, the author of Fearful Symmetry uses gravity as a springboard to discuss phenomena ranging from the emergence of galaxies to the curvature of space-time, evidence for the existence of gravity waves and the shape of the universe in the first nanoseconds of creation and now. Zee is an extraordinary writer: playful, inspired, brilliant. Making complex ideas accessible without oversimplifying, his narrative proceeds elegantly by way of a series of enigmas that take the reader to the outermost edge of modern physics. He concludes with a look at the quest for ``dark matter''mysterious, invisible stuff said to pervade the universeand the efforts of superstring theorists to unify gravity with other fundamental forces in a nine-dimensional cosmos. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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