Three Steps to the Universe: From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter


Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.28 X 9.16 X 0.84 inches | 0.01 pounds
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About the Author

David Garfinkle is professor in the Department of Physics at Oakland University. Richard Garfinkle is the author of two books of science fiction, Celestial Matters and All of an Instant.


"[The authors] construct a fluid, crystalline presentation of how scientists think. The foundation of their depiction is what is manifestly perceived, such as the presence of that bright orb in the sky. To discover anything about the sun, scientists depend on detection of its emissions, such as light and neutrinos, while ideas of how these emissions arise emanate from the realms of various physical theories. With this three-tiered structure of perception, detection, and theory, the Garfinkles systematically instill how confident lay readers can be in what they read in the popular-science format."--Booklist
"Meshing their complementary skill sets, physicist David (of Oakland University) and his brother, science fiction writer Richard (Celestial Matter, All of an Instant), explore some of the knottiest problems facing modern cosmologists in this tough but informative primer to modern cosmology. Aside from revealing the science behind the sun, black holes and dark matter, the Garfinkles' demonstrate how science develops, encouraging readers always to ask, "'How do they know that?' as a way of understanding science." The "three steps" of the title begin in the 19th century, when scientists realized that the Earth was, at minimum, millions of years old; they then asked, "How old is the Sun?"--the first sally in a campaign that would unravel the mystery of nuclear energy, reveal how a star becomes a "white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole," and spark a fierce, ongoing decades-long debate about the possibility of "black hole evaporation." Arguing that "it is necessary to jump the barrier of user-friendliness and discover the fascinating world beyond that layer of comfort," the Garfinkles aren't afraid to get technical, but this smart, rewarding read is helped by a welcome voice, a feel for narrative and a useful glossary."-- (11/24/2008)
"This book is not only an excellent introduction to the sun, black holes, and dark matter, but also a very good book aboutthe scientific process. . . .This work offers a great introduction to astronomy and to science. This reviewer envisions using it in either an introductory astronomy course or a general science course. . . . Essential."-- (05/01/2009)