- Taschenbuch: 336 Seiten
- Verlag: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (22. September 2011)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0715640720
- ISBN-13: 978-0715640722
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,4 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.613.781 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Edge of Physics: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Cosmology (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 22. September 2011
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'A travelogue that celebrates the blood, sweat and tears that drive our understanding of the universe.' Guardian 'An excellent book. The author has a great knack of making difficult subjects comprehensible. I thoroughly enjoyed it.' Sir Patrick Moore 'A remarkable narrative that combines fundamental physics with high adventure.' New Scientist
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Anil Ananthaswamy is a consulting editor for New Scientist in London. He is also a contributor to National Geographic News. He has a Master of Science degree from the University of Washington, Seattle and worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley before training as a journalist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in London.
Abgesehen von der Stimme des Vorlesers, die meines Erachtens einen breiten, unpassenden Akzent hat (klingt für mich sehr amerikanisch), gefallen mir die langen Orts- und Landschaftbeschreibungen mit Ausflügen in Geschichte und Geologie überhaupt nicht. Was interessiert es mich, wann der Autor wen an welcher Straßenecke getroffen hat und auf welcher Ebene im Hilton-Hotel eine Konferenz der AAAS stattgefunden hat? Gefühlt die Hälfte des Inhalts gehört für mich nicht zum Thema Kosmologie und die gewollt literarische Note, die sich der Autor zu geben versucht, gibt dem Ganzen einen eher bemühten, abgedroschenen Klang...
Nein, das war nichts.
Versöhnlich stimmen nur einige wirlich ineressdante Passagen - vor allem zum Ende hin. Ohne den ganzen Schmus, hätte ich mindestens einen Stern mehr vergeben können.
Inzwischen liegen auch die deutsche, italienische, russischen Ausgaben vor.
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To potentially answer such queries, The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe takes us first to Mount Wilson in California where "[t]he observatory [George] Hale built is called the birthplace of modern observational cosmology." Next, the author, journalist Anil Ananthaswamy, descends into the bowels of the Soudan Mine in Minnesota which now "hosts one of cosmology's most sensitive experiments: the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS)." Among the other sites he visits are the Siberian neutrino telescope at Lake Baikal, another neutrino array telescope at the South Pole, an antimatter balloon experiment in Antarctica, and the European CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Still another project isn't lashed to earth somewhere but has been sent out 900,000 miles into space. It's "the Planck satellite, the latest in a small but select group of pathbreaking space probes designed to map the cosmic microwave background." It was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in May, 2009. Of course, its scientists remain earthbound to monitor and analyze its anticipated wealth of relayed information.
Ananthaswamy skillfully integrates technical engineering details, clear background about the theories that might be verified and the human element. He interviews many of the people who brave often harsh, unforgiving climates and geography to build, operate, and interpret the minutely sensitive and calibrated instruments and their collected data.
In the epilogue Ananthaswamy journeys to Mount Saraswati in Tibet where the new Hanle Observatory is part of "an international collaboration called COSMOGRAIL (for COSmological MOnitoring of GRAvItational Lenses)." He notes there "I became aware of the deep silence enveloping me....It is abundantly clear, standing in Hanle, as it had been in places like the South Pole, Lake Baikal, Paranal, and the Karoo, that the natural calm of these places is what makes them ideal to cosmology. We need to protect them.... If we pollute them, we will destroy our best chance of deciphering our own beginnings, of understanding ourselves." Finding suitably remote, unspoiled locations on earth constantly becomes more difficult, but as THE EDGE OF PHYSICS so compellingly relates, we can still learn a great deal from telescopes and other instruments deployed here if we don't despoil the remaining wilds where they can be maximally effective.
This is a superb resource for anyone who eager learn about the current state of experimental physics, the technology required to carry out the research, the geography that best sustains various projects, the theories being tested, and the men and women who are on the front lines constantly evaluating, innovating, and stretching the boundaries of our knowledge about the cosmos.
April 15, 2010: Some reviewers have made a note of the fact that the book does not have any high-quality pictures. To access additional content, pictures, videos and other details can be found at the web site for this book, [..] plus the author's blog on his travels to remote parts of the planet. Check it out!
In each chapter, the author details:
- why a particular location was chosen e.g. very little radiation/cosmic rays reach the depth of the Soudan Mine.
- how the instruments at each location are constructed e.g. "drilling" holes at the South Pole with hot water
- what the instruments are doing e.g. detecting neutrinos coming from the center of our galaxy
- why the experiments are important e.g. trying to determine whether our universe is flat or has a negative/positive curvature
In addition, he provides a window into the extraordinary lives of the people building the instruments/running the experiments/analysing the results, people who have devoted years of their lives and/or endure extreme conditions in the pursuit of science. He also sprinkles a number of non-scientific stories and facts about the locations themselves (Lake Baikal has a surprise at the bottom of it courtesy of the Russo-Japanese War) into the mix.
While the chapters can feel a bit long winded and repetitive at times, the book as a whole provides an engaging, enlightening read, a great springboard, should you desire, from which to explore the science, the places and/or the history in more depth.
The author doesn't cover the edge of physics. He journals his visits to ten sites that have advanced equipment for astronomy or physics. He tosses in a little physics background, mostly string theory and precious little else.
Unfortunately, Ananthaswamy works in journalism. So, he wrote a journal instead of a science book. This, despite a title that indicates the opposite. Today's "journalism" has an increasingly solid track record of agenda-driven, unbalanced writing. In keeping with this trend, Ananthaswamy wrote an unbalanced piece.
I've read a fair number of other books on physics (written by researchers, not journalists with zero bona-fides on the subject) and watched several videos geared toward the more curious segment of the public. So, I'm aware of the subject's landscape. Ananthaswamy doesn't seem to share this awareness. Instead, he seems fixated on string theory. It's as if he read some books on it and hasn't read anything else on physics. While string theory is fascinating and complex, Ananthaswamy:
1. Explains it superficially, at best.
2. Proceeds under the assumption it is "the" theory rather than one of several competing theories currently being explored.
3. Gives the impression that all of the current experimentation is based on string theory (it's not).
Balanced coverage of the leading theories that are on the edge of physics would have resulted in a much better book. To fit this in the same page count, the book would need to focus on the core topic without all of the off-topic material that should have been cut anyhow. In places, I wondered what the heck the author's ramblings had to do with the subject--and I'm still wondering.
One good approach in the editing process would have been to remove the string theory comments from the narrative and write an appendix summarizing the leading theories. Then, re-title the book so it reflects the content. This way, the title actually fits the book and if you're interested in the background science you can read an overview.
1. The book is extensively researched. Unlike the typical journalist author, Ananthaswamy used credible sources.
2. The copyrighter (Sara Lippincott) is astoundingly good. There are few errors in the book (well below normal).
3. It's a good read. The prose is smooth and clear (kudos to the editor, Amanda Cook, but she should have cut more material).
This book would make a nice introduction for someone newly interested in what's going on with the General Theory of Relativity today and what it's like to visit some of the sites where experiments and research are taking place. It does not take you to the edge of physics, though it does take you to some edgy places in remote, hostile locations.
This book consists of ten chapters, each of which is devoted to describing the author's visit to a particular research site. Chapter 8, for example, journals his visit to Antarctica.
The experiments covered are: 1. Mount Wilson Observatory above LA. 2. CDMS (dark matter experiment) in the Soudan Mine, northern Minnesota. 3. Lake Baikal (Russia) neutrino experiment. 4. European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes in Chile. 5. Mauna Kea Observatory (Hawaii) focused on the DEIMOS experiment. 6. The SKA (Square Kilometer Array) radio telescope in the Karoo Desert, South Africa. 7. BESS experiment flying out of McMurdo, Antarctica. 8. IceCube at the South Pole. 9. ATLAS detector at CERN's LHC. 10. Planck satellite for measuring the microwave background radiation.