J. Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies--a magnificent structure now called the "cosmic web" and mapped extensively by teams of astronomers.Read more...
J. Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies--a magnificent structure now called the "cosmic web" and mapped extensively by teams of astronomers. Here is his gripping insider's account of how a generation of undaunted theorists and observers solved the mystery of the architecture of our cosmos.
The Cosmic Web begins with modern pioneers of extragalactic astronomy, such as Edwin Hubble and Fritz Zwicky. It goes on to describe how, during the Cold War, the American school of cosmology favored a model of the universe where galaxies resided in isolated clusters, whereas the Soviet school favored a honeycomb pattern of galaxies punctuated by giant, isolated voids. Gott tells the stories of how his own path to a solution began with a high-school science project when he was eighteen, and how he and astronomer Mario Jurič measured the Sloan Great Wall of Galaxies, a filament of galaxies that, at 1.37 billion light-years in length, is one of the largest structures in the universe.
Drawing on Gott's own experiences working at the frontiers of science with many of today's leading cosmologists, The Cosmic Web shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.
- ISBN-13: 9780691157269
- ISBN-10: 069115726X
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: January 2016
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-21
- Reviewer: Staff
With an insiders insight and a storytellers eye for detail, Gott (Time Travel in Einsteins Universe), professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, explores the ways scientists have worked to reveal the large-scale structure of our universe. Gott begins with early 20th-century observations by astronomer Edwin Hubble, which showed that the Milky Way is just one of millions of galaxies spread across an expanding universe. Further observations revealed clusters and superclusters of galaxies, like meatballs within meatballs within meatballs. Gott shows how early researchers struggled to explain these density fluctuations, modeling the inflation of the universe after the Big Bang with models that imagined pancakes of galaxies forming the walls of honeycombs in a kind of Swiss cheese or sponge-like universewhich could be just one of an infinite series of bubble universes. The story becomes personal when Gott relates how his own high school science project led him to breakthroughs in topology that explained the mysterious architecture of the universe. Mixing accessible science with entertaining anecdotes and personal stories, Gott offers a thorough, vivid, and fascinating look at the cosmic web that makes up our universe. Illus. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. (Mar.)