The Cosmic Cocktail - Three Parts Dark Matter (Anglais) Relié – 16 mai 2014
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Dr. Freese hits the perfect "3 bears -- just right" balance between these for the intelligent reader with some background in math and physics (bright high school fine), but no requirement for even ordinary differential equations (although she challenges you enough to go there if you want to, with plenty of next step resources if you want them).
On the other hand, if you're just a "science geek" that likes detective stories with a science flair, Dr. Katherine has the unique gift of being a "popular science" style writer when she wants, while remaining a pioneer in this field rather than a smart carpetbagger or general "science writer." A book that starts with "my stint with the Chicago Mafia" has to be FUN as well as enlightening! Having been both at Michigan and Argonne, I can sincerely say that Dr. Freese really is regarded as one of the very top researchers in Dark Matter. For someone of her stature to write "for us" is rare and wonderful-- don't miss the chance to check this out right away. Since the publisher/author/Amazon were honorable enough to give us the cool look inside feature here, do check it out if you have any doubts about the level vs. your interest.
The book does a little background on Dr. Freese's personal journey, with little to no ego trips (the spirit is fun, humorous and gently self deprecating), then takes us on a fun and astonishing trip through the "history" of dark matter research (if you're old like me, "history" that starts in 1970 stings a little).
I've probably read 20 books (many you can see in my previous reviews) and this is the FIRST to cover Dark Matter in an up to date and thorough fashion. Math teaches us that nothing can be both correct and complete, but this comes close! This isn't that the other books aren't good, it is that: 1. The field is changing literally weekly and 2. This author is IN the thick of the daily research both in breadth and depth.
The punch line is that Dark Matter is becoming as revolutionary (and odd!) as Quantum Dynamics when it first popped into our collective consciousness. In 5 years it will be all the rage, but if you pick up this gem, you'll be well ahead of that curve. I also got it on Kindle, and there are no slaughtered equations as you find with LaTex on many e-readers (this is about the technology, not the Kindle-- little help Dr. Knuth? Ok, I know you're 80+, but...). Thanks to the publisher for taking the time to "do it right" on Kindle, for those of us on a budget. Yes, if you have old eyes like me you'll need to "double click" the formulas that are given because they are done in mice type, which is the way most new titles avoid messy page breaks now.
Highly recommended even if you're just a science buff and lover, a MUST if you're in the many fields covered by this research. And, although I shouldn't have to say it in this day and age, COSMOS does a great job of highlighting the struggles of women in astrophysics, the derision, and eventual triumphs. To listen to a "real live" (and sadly rare) woman at the cutting edge of the field, is simply delightful, with no cartoons needed ala Cosmos! (OK, I love Cosmos, but this book is PACKED with current research and detail!). In fact, the book has another secret wonderful aspect you'll see if you "look inside" or are pleasantly surprised when you snag it-- it is somewhat mistitled as "just" dark matter.
Katherine covers ALL the most recent astro and particle physics controversies, including many that have been decided "way back" in 2012! Is the universe a 10 dimensional plane, sphere or saddle? I knew the options but had no clue this had been resolved as much as it has! Why can't there be more taxonomy families of particles than three? What upcoming launch in 2019 will resolve a ton of key issues? Honestly, I know of no other book that covers all this, and includes (I hate to use the word as I don't want to turn you off) scholarly references to who is doing what right now. This is done in a fast paced, drop a name/ look it up fashion that is delightful as it doesn't slow the detective story down, but does give the bright reader the ammmo to read further in numerous side topic areas.
Emailer answer: The best intro to dark matter/energy math I've found is in an unlikely place-- the "crash physics math course" chapter in Peter Collier's wonderful book: A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Notes Towards a Very Gentle Introduction to the Mathematics of Relativity. In fact, this is an outstanding math review for ANY advanced science topic, "gently" refreshing even daunting topics like 2nd order partial derivatives and tensor calculus! The book is ostensibly about relativity, but covers so much math so well even quantum folk will enjoy it. It's a great companion to Dr. Freese's fast paced coverage, as she doesn't slow us down with the advanced math, with just the right balance for a true detective story.
This idea gives rise to the age-old question: what exactly is matter? Unanswered questions lead scientists to the Higgs Boson, the atomic smashers: The Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland. So, the hunt goes on even though some believe they found it.
Katherine Freese is a professor of physics at the University of Michigan. Presently, she is a leading researcher in this elusive pursuit of discovering what dark matter is. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed if you are one of those readers who seeks answers to science’s deepest questions.
I too have worked in this field as an astronomer who builds instruments and uses telescopes -an "observer" to use our jargon. Her understanding of the history of the theory is to be expected, but I was very pleased at how well she understood the history of the experimental side too. She gives a very insightful history of this subject, and the book is a delight to read.
There are a few things left out of the book - Aaronson's discovery of the large velocity dispersions in dwarf spheroidal galaxies; the large tidal radii of these galaxies; and the velocity dispersions of giant elliptical galaxies which were all important discoveries in the late 70s and early 80s which helped cement the community's belief in the interpretation of the flat velocity curves measured by Rubin and Ford. These are minor omissions perhaps, and the gist of the story is not affected by not including these results. I also would have enjoyed reading about the fact that Zwicky, who discovered dark matter using the velocities of galaxies in the Coma Cluster, actually did not publish his velocities so we cannot verify that he really did measure the dispersion correctly (a few non cluster members could have affected his results).
I was extremely pleased to see her acknowledge Horace Babcock who back around 1940 measured the flat rotation curve of Andromeda, but did not follow up on its implication. Many years later he told me how he missed a great discovery by not putting his result together with that of Zwicky's.
If you like books which mix the science and personal accounts of the history, this the book for you.
The book does a great job. The author clearly explains how we know dark matter exists, then moves on to some implications of its existence, and ends on explaining various theories and on going research to determine what dark matter is made of. The author also includes an enjoyable number of personal anecdotes and stories about the people involved in research.
Professor Freese journey and her collection of data is something to be admired.
But what I know, I know a well written story and in my opinion since I'm not a scientist, I could better see the writing of this story. I like the analogies and metaphors which at times was humorous and to identify elusive particles.
This book managed to make me understand and grasp the explanation of dark matter and the energized universe and that is a big thing for someone whose limitation in this genre is noticeable, so with that, I thank you. I won this book on Goodreads, First Read Giveaway. Thank you, Darlene Cruz