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The Inflationary Universe: Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins (Anglais) Relié – 3 juillet 1997

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Mind-blowing stuff" (Sunday Times)

"[Alan Guth's] remarkably lucid account is set to become a seminal text in cosmology...helping us up the learning curve without ever making recourse to unfriendly mathematical equations" (Literary Review)

"[Guth] conveys how science can be an intensely social and interactive activity, and the erratic and fitful way in which new ideas clarify" (The Times)

"One of the most fascinating and fundamental fields of human enquiry...handsomely rewards study" (Financial Times) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Biographie de l'auteur

Alan Guth, after receiving his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held positions at Princeton University, Columbia, Cornell and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He is now the V. F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at MIT. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in London. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 384 pages
  • Editeur : Jonathan Cape Ltd (3 juillet 1997)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0224044486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224044486
  • Dimensions du produit: 23,9 x 3,7 x 16,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Cathy Keustermans le 18 septembre 2012
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
a very clear and honest explanation that makes the principles very accessible for the general public. The math notes make it equally entertaining for the more scientific oriented. A. Guth mixes personal experience, history and facts in a very humble style. A true genius.
It's amazing to see what some of the coincidences were that finally lead us to the current state of knowledge.
Mindblowing stuff.
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Par JFL le 25 février 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Ce bouquin est un grand classique de vulgarisation de la théorie de l'inflation primordiale de l'univers, par celui qui l'a proposée et développée. Beaucoup d'informations difficiles à trouver ailleurs pour le non-spécialiste.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 54 commentaires
50 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The best and deepest popular book on cosmology available 1 juillet 1997
Par Frank Paris - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Wow! What a great book. This is the clearest and deepest book on cosmology for the layman that I have ever read, and I've read a lot of them. I don't know whether previous books I've read just didn't explain it right or what, but before I reading this book, I was always disgruntled by inflationary theories of the universe, thinking
for some reason that they were ad hoc, devised out of the blue to explain the flatness problem. This is the first book on the subject that I've ever read that showed me that inflationary theories are
actually derived from more basic theories, and that they just HAPPEN to explain several different problems associated with the classical big bang theory. I was also very intrigued by Guth's explanation of how there is probably a fractal pattern of universes similar to our own that emerges out of the decay of the false vacuum. This is also the first time I've understood that the "multi-universe" proposals really ARE based on scientific theories, and weren't simply pulled out of thin air. A wonderful book that make a host of other books on cosmology look amateurish by comparison
42 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Brilliant Look at Real Science 18 février 2002
Par Timothy Haugh - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Some very good books on science focus mainly on detailing a particular scientific discovery or discoveries. Some very good science books do their best to communicate with a general audience concerning ideas that can be highly technical. What is rarer is a science book that does both of these within the framework of what it is really like to live and work as a scientist. The amazing book The Double Helix by James Watson which describes the quest for the structure of DNA is one of these. So is this book by Alan Guth on the development of the inflationary universe theory as a "correction" to Big Bang theory.
In this book Guth takes us through the basics of the Big Bang theory and then into the idea of inflation--what it is and how it goes along with Big Bang theory. He takes a wonderful historically-developed approach and he does this without the help of (at least as far as I can recall) a single equation in the body of the text. Instead, he uses basic numerical analysis and the help of a number of graphs and illustrations to develop these complex ideas into a very readable explanation. He is also very frank in warning the reader of difficult concepts and directing the less detail-minded to skipping around.
All of this makes for a good science read; however, what I really enjoyed about this book is how he brings out the things that really drive real science, particularly when he reaches those investigations into which he was personally involved. He points out how theory and experiment drive each other. He isn't afraid to show the fights for priority and reputation that often push scientists. He lets us see how the desperation for a secure job, the cockiness of the young researcher and the ego of established names is often the engine for discovery.
Anyone interested in the current state of research into the origins of our universe would be remiss in not reading this book. Many people get the gist of Big Bang theory but fewer understand what Big Bang theory is really about and fewer still understand why the inflationary universe has become so important in recent years. This book will clear away all the fog; in particular, Guth is very clear in explaining the problems with Big Bang theory (the horizon problem, magnetic monopoles, etc.) that are cleared-up with the inflation approach.
More than this, however, the reader will gain real insight into what it is like to be a working scientist. It offers a peak at its excitements and disappoints, even a glimpse at the clashes and in-fighting. Many people often get the idea that science makes grand pronouncements of fact from on high. This book shows that science is, in reality, a continuing struggle for a more and more accurate picture of our universe and how it works. It is a view worth seeing.
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very good. 3 mars 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Inflation is one of the greatest ideas in cosmology. If proven to have happened, then Alan Guth will probably receive the Nobel prize. The Inflationary Universe is a nice book to learn a lot of physics. It is on par with "The Elegant Universe," which has become a best seller at There is a nice chapter on Inflation in "The Bible According to Einstein" in verse. I highly recommend that book for those interested in a narrative account of the history of the universe.
Guth provides a lot of insight into the life of an ambitious post doctorate in particle physics. Only he is able to tell the story of how he arrived at the idea of inflation. I was surprised to find out that one of his co-workers, Henry Tye, played such an important role, but missed out of becoming one of the authors of inflation because he went away on a trip. One weak point of the book is that wordy paragraphs replace what would normally be equations. These paragraphs are hard to read. Guth probably should have replaced such sections with highly intuitive descriptions or skipped them altogether. A reader can skip these technical sections and enjoy the rest of the book, which is excellent.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ten years later, Guth's survey is still interesting and relevant 16 juin 2006
Par D. Cloyce Smith - Publié sur
Format: Broché
During the past decade, a number of books by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, Martin Rees, or Robert Penrose have, with varying success, brought a new generation of lay readers up to speed on new research and conjectures in cosmology, especially on the Big Bang Theory and its ancillary explorations. Even though it was written ten years ago, Alan Guth's "The Inflationary Universe" is still one of the best of the bunch, in terms both of its writing and its information.

Guth, of course, focuses on the theory he was instrumental in formulating: that, in less than a second, a "repulsive gravitational field created by a false vacuum" caused the universe to expand from relatively "nothing" and formed all the matter in the observable cosmos. In other words, the theory offers explanations for several dilemmas that had been perplexing scientists, including how the Bang occurred in the first place, and how it became so unaccountably Big.

If Guth had simply written an up-to-date report summarizing what scientists believed about the Big Bang in 1997, then his book would have fallen by the wayside long ago. Instead, he portrays the wonky disputes and contrasting theories, along with biographical anecdotes showing his own role in the development of "inflationary universe" theory. For Guth and his peers, science isn't filled with "Eureka!" moments; rather, their work is impeded by doubts, by false leads, by mistakes and omissions, and even by job insecurity.

Above all, there is a palpable sense of camaraderie, excitement, and (yes) fun. Towards the end of the book, Guth offers some thoughts on where theoretical physics might be going in future decades, and he examines some of the more speculative solutions to current problems, such as the possible existence of wormholes, or the question of whether the universe has a beginning, or how new universes might be created in a laboratory (a misunderstood subject which has morphed into the urban legend that such experimentation will destroy our own planet).

That's not to say that Guth's survey isn't a challenging read. I imagine his definitions of Higgs fields, quantum tunneling, and false vacuums will perplex the uninitiated; I had to read several sections twice--particularly when the author was trying to describe in English what can only be truly understood in equations. But the effort is worth it. And be sure to read the footnotes; Guth uses them not only to present additional detail but also to recount interesting anecdotes and to share funny asides.

While the author is not shy in touting his own role in these far-flung explorations, neither is he chary of compliments and credit for his colleagues. Steven Weinberg, Andrei Linde, David Wilkinson, So-Young Pi, Robert Dicke, Sheldon Glashow, Jim Peebles, Paul Steinhardt, Michael Turner, Henry Tye--they all get due billing. Their generosity and collegiality gives their vocation a human edge that often seems lacking in scientific accounts.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Origins of the Universe 6 octobre 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I always enjoy reading books about scientific discoveries by authors who were there. Alan H. Guth's book "The Inflationary Universe" not only provides a revealing look at the development of inflationary theories of the universe, it is by far the best explanation on the subject that I've seen for the general scientifically literate public.
Guth starts almost at the beginning of modern science by laying a foundation of understanding in conservation laws and fields. His explanation (supported by further information in an appendix) of the negative energy of gravitational fields is clear and intuitive. So clear are his explanations that one hardly seems surprised when Guth introduces Edward Tryon's early speculation that the universe may have originated from a quantum vacuum fluctuation.
Next, Guth develops the idea of an expanding universe, and the flatness problem. His explanation of why the flatness problem is a problem at all is concise and wonderfully illustrated. Throughout all of this, Guth offers a rare glimpse into the workings of science by showing the chaotic effects of unpredictable chance occurrences that lead to that rare insight with its attendant "ahhhh" at the end of discovery. I particularly enjoyed the photographs he included of many key players in the developments of modern cosmology, with a singular exception. There is no photograph of Guth himself [this is my only complaint about the book].
Leading up to the discussion of inflation proper, Guth offers clear and insightful discussions of the discovery of the microwave background radiation. He offers rare insights into the extraordinarily difficult measurements that led to the first discovery, culminating with the superb measurements and confirmation provided by COBE in 1990. As further preparatory information, Guth offers one of the best general-purpose science explanations I've seen for the particles in the standard model, including some very good descriptions of the Higgs particle, which plays a central role in the theory of inflation. Guth is proof that complicated theories can be reduced to simple ideas without losing the essential logical constructs that make them work.
The second half of the book deals with inflation proper. Here, Guth explains how inflation solves the flatness problem, and deals with such things as monopoles, and the nearly uniform background radiation.
The end of the book deals with the aftermath of discovery, and the problems with inflation yet to be ironed out. The author discusses many esoteric possibilities, including percolation of false-vacuum bubbles, event horizons, and pocket universes.
If the origins of the universe excite your intellectual fancy, I highly recommend "The Inflationary Universe."
Duwayne Anderson
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