Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos

Priyamvada Natarajan. Yale Univ, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-300-20441-4
The human view of the universe has changed radically over the last century, and this accessible work from Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics and Yale, highlights those changes as well as the personalities—and the battles—behind them. She begins with the momentous announcement in the early 20th century that the known universe was expanding—a concept that Albert Einstein, for one, fought and failed to disprove. Expansion suggested the idea of an ancient “big bang,” the name sarcastically bestowed by physicist Fred Hoyle, who, like Einstein, preferred a “steady-state” universe. Natarajan digs into the work, including that done by both doubters and innovators, that has helped formed the foundations of what is currently known about dark matter and dark energy, black holes (another phenomenon Einstein vehemently disliked), gravity, and the evolution of our universe. In the penultimate chapter, she examines the search for exoplanets, the multiverse, and intelligent extraterrestrial life. By introducing the major players behind each discovery, Natarajan adds a lively human touch to her discussion, reinforcing the dynamism of a field that “fans human curiosity and is driven by it as well.” Photos & illus. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-300-22112-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-1850-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1849-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-300-22703-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1851-6
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