Three Steps to the Universe
From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter
The authors begin by inviting readers to step away from the Earth and reconsider our Sun. What we can directly observe of this star is limited to its surface, but with the advent of telescopes and spectroscopy, scientists know more than ever about its physical characteristics, origins, and projected lifetime. From the Sun, the authors journey further out into space to explore black holes. The Garfinkle brothers explain that our understanding of these astronomical oddities began in theory, and growing mathematical and physical evidence has unexpectedly supported it. From black holes, the authors lead us further into the unknown, to the dark matter and energy that pervade our universe, where science teeters on the edge of theory and discovery. Returning from the depths of space, the final section of the book brings the reader back down to Earth for a final look at the practice of science, ending with a practical guide to discerning real science from pseudoscience among the cacophony of print and online scientific sources.
Three Steps to the Universe will reward anyone interested in learning more about the universe around us and shows how scientists uncover its mysteries.
Step 1. THE SUN
1. Look. Don’t Touch.
2. What’s That Big Bright Thing Made Of?
3. Fusion: Energy Hidden in Plain Sight
Step 2. BLACK HOLES
4. Old Gravity and New Gravity
5. Black Holes in Relativity
6. The Lives of Stars
7. Black Hole Hunting
8. Gravitational Waves
Step 3. DARK MATTER—DARK ENERGY
9. Galactic Scale
10. What Is Dark Matter?
11. All the Way Out
12. Dark Energy, Antigravity, and Einstein’s Fudge
A Step Back to Earth
13. Road Maps
14. Science as It Is Written
Suggestions for Further Reading
Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards
College of Arts and Sciences at Oakland University: Marian P. Wilson Award