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Publisher's Summary

Over the past few decades, a handful of scientists have been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only four percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, our books, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.
Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of the quest to find this “dark” matter and an even more bizarre substance called “dark energy”. This is perhaps the greatest mystery in all of science, and solving it will bring fame, funding, and certainly a Nobel Prize. Based on in-depth reporting and interviews with the major players—from Berkeley’s feisty, excitable Saul Perlmutter and Harvard’s witty but exacting Robert Kirshner to the doyenne of astronomy, Vera Rubin—the book offers an intimate portrait of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys, that have fueled their search, redefined science, and reinvented the universe.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our view of the cosmos is profoundly wrong, and Copernicus was only the beginning: not just Earth, but all common matter is a marginal part of existence. Panek’s fast-paced narrative, filled with original reporting and behind-the-scenes details, brings this epic story to life for the very first time.
©2011 Richard Panek (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“It’s the biggest mystery of all: why is the universe expanding at an accelerated rate? At its heart is a search for what forces and particles make up reality. It baffled Einstein, and it now obsesses a cadre of fascinating cosmologists. By brilliantly capturing their passions and pursuits, Richard Panek has made this cosmic quest exciting and understandable.” (Walter Isaacson, New York Times best-selling author of Einstein: His Life and Universe)
“A superior account of how astronomers discovered that they knew almost nothing about 96 percent of the universe…. Panek delivers vivid sketches of scientists, lucid explanations of their work, and revealing descriptions of the often stormy rivalry that led to this scientific revolution, usually a media cliché, but not in this case.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Science journalist Panek offers an insider’s view of the quest for what could be the ultimate revelation.... This lively story of big personalities, intellectual competitiveness, and ravenous curiosity is as entertaining as it is illuminating.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Michael on 11-13-11

Just Right - Not too technical not boring

This is a pleasant story of some of the characters and events in astrophysics over the last few decades with a focus on recent data showing the expansion of the universe is unexpectedly accelerating. The characters presented are pleasure to listen to and the level of technical detail is nice for a general audience without being boring to a technical reader. The narration is really good for this kind of material.

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33 of 33 people found this review helpful


By Mark Davey on 01-24-11

The recent history in Astronomy / Cosmology

What this book is not, 1) a text book or 2) detailed explanation of Astrophysics.
What this is a history of Astronomy for the last 40 years.
Richard Panek is a journalist and this book is a detailed account in the personalities in Astronomy for the last 40 years that lead to the ideas that we can see only 4% of the Universe and how we see inflation.
Given that i've been out of school for 30 years my math can't follow the detailed cosmology text book but this book provides a clear reasoning why we believe the universe is accelerating and the problems that provides for theatrical physicists. If you love Astrophysics/Cosmology books give this a read.

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48 of 49 people found this review helpful

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