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The Origins of the Universe for Dummies

Stephen Pincock, Mark Frary

ISBN: 978-0-470-51606-5 January 2012 346 Pages


Do you want to learn about the physical origin of the Universe, but don’t have the rest of eternity to read up on it? Do you want to know what scientists know about where you and your planet came from, but without the science blinding you? ‘Course you do – and who better than For Dummies to tackle the biggest, strangest and most wonderful question there is!

The Origins of the Universe For Dummies covers:

  • Early ideas about our universe
  • Modern cosmology
  • Big Bang theory
  • Dark matter and gravity
  • Galaxies and solar systems
  • Life on earth
  • Finding life elsewhere
  • The Universe’s forecast

Introduction 1

Part I: In the Beginning: Early Ideas About Our Universe 7

Chapter 1: Exploring the Early Universe 9

Chapter 2: Looking Up at the Stars: Early Beliefs 17

Chapter 3: The Apple Drops: Newton, Gravity, and the Rotation of the Planets 27

Part II: Modern Cosmology: Going Off with a Bang 49

Chapter 4: Bending the Universe: Magnets and Gravity 51

Chapter 5: Measuring the Universe 73

Chapter 6: Cooking Up a Big Bang 95

Chapter 7: Letting It Rise: Expanding and Inflating the Universe 107

Chapter 8: Thinking Differently About the Universe 119

Part III: Building Your Own Universe 129

Chapter 9: Building Things from Scratch 131

Chapter 10: Forcing the Pace: The Roles of Natural Forces in the Universe 153

Chapter 11: Shedding Light on Dark Matter and Pinging Strings 169

Chapter 12: Playing with the Universe’s Chemistry Set 181

Chapter 13: Making Stars, Solar Systems, Galaxies, and More 197

Chapter 14: Giving Birth to Life 211

Chapter 15: Travelling Through Time 225

Part IV: Asking the Tough Questions 239

Chapter 16: Explaining the Unexplainable 241

Chapter 17: Finding Life Elsewhere 253

Chapter 18: Coming to an End 265

Part V: The Part of Tens 275

Chapter 19: Ten Different Beliefs about the Origins of the Universe 277

Chapter 20: Ten Greatest Cosmological Advances 285

Appendix: Understanding Scientific Units and Equations 295

Index 303

"…it makes you feel smarter with little eureka moments that are real page turners." (Bedfordshire on Sunday, Borough edition, Sunday 2nd March)