Hunting Down the Universe: The Missing Mass, Primordial Black Holes, and Other Dark Matters

Michael Hawkins, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-201-15698-0
Ninety percent of the matter that must exist for the universe to work the way most physicists think it does--the missing mass--has yet to be ""found."" Hawkins, as an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, contends that much of the universe's matter is actually to be found in countless small black holes that dot its fabric, with masses on the order of Jupiter's. By doing so, he has indirectly taken on the role of defender of the highly controversial steady-state theory of the universe, which posits an infinite universe whose unchanging laws have remained the same everywhere, by arguing that the science behind the big-bang model (""the universe was different at different points in its history"") is suspect at best. Hawkins further contends that the very latest tools, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, are not being employed in a truly open manner, in part because of political pressures, professional jealousy and other unscientific reasons. While his solution to the missing-mass problem is supported by some distinguished astronomers, Hawkins believes that, as with the steady-state model, others are reluctant to concede its merit, despite the absence of evidence to the contrary, simply because it might infringe on their own turf. Necessarily technical in spots, his book offers remarkable insight into the often incredibly acrimonious interactions within the scientific community, and shows how great effort is sometimes spent to prop up models and theories in the name of careerism. It may also contain a ground-breaking solution to a bitterly contested piece of cosmology. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7382-0037-8
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