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16041501 Mysteries of the Universe

16041501 Mysteries of the Universe

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Published by: rocklandrox on Sep 08, 2009
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08/28/2014

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Dennis Overbye,a science reporter for The Times,explores the mysteries of theuniverse – from black holes to quantum mechanics – in this collection of articles,selected by Mr.Overbye.
Mysteries of the Universe
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT | May 26, 1998
A Famous Einstein ‘Fudge’ Returns to Haunt Cosmology
1QUANTUM PHYSICS | December 12, 2000
Quantum Theory Tugged, And All of Physics Unraveled
7PARTICLE PHYSICS | March 20, 2001
In the New Physics, No Quark Is an Island
15DARK ENERGY | April 10, 2001
From Light to Darkness: Astronomy’s New Universe
19IMAGINARY TIME | May 22, 2001
Before the Big Bang, There Was … What?
24STRING THEORY vs. RELATIVITY | June 12, 2001
Theorists of Inner Space Look to Observers of Outer Space
31THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING | December 11, 2001
Cracking the Cosmic Code With a Little Help From Doctor Hawking
34ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES | January 1, 2002
The End of Everything
37DARK MATTER | January 8, 2002
Dark Matter, Still Elusive, Gains Visibility
44BLACK HOLE RADIATION | January 22, 2002
Hawking’s Breakthrough Is Still an Enigma
49Dr. JOHN ARCHIBALD WHEELER | March 12, 2002
Peering Through the Gates of Time
55THE REALITY OF MATHEMATICS | March 26, 2002
The Most Seductive Equation in Science: Beauty Equals Truth
61
CITATIONS
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1
COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT
A Famous Einstein ‘Fudge’ Returns to Haunt Cosmology
By DENNIS OVERBYE
There are few scientists of whom it can be said that their mistakes are more interestingthan their colleagues' successes, but Albert Einstein was one. Few "blunders" have had alonger and more eventful life than the cosmological constant, sometimes described as themost famous fudge factor in the history of science, that Einstein added to his theory of general relativity in 1917. Its role was to provide a repulsive force in order to keep theuniverse from theoretically collapsing under its own weight. Einstein abandoned thecosmological constant when the universe turned out to be expanding, but in succeedingyears, the cosmological constant, like Rasputin, has stubbornly refused to die, draggingitself to the fore, whispering of deep enigmas and mysterious new forces in nature,whenever cosmologists have run into trouble reconciling their observations of theuniverse with their theories.This year the cosmological constant has been propelled back into the news as anexplanation for the widely reported discovery, based on observations of distant explodingstars, that some kind of "funny energy" is apparently accelerating the expansion of theuniverse. "If the cosmological constant was good enough for Einstein," the cosmologistMichael Turner of the University of Chicago remarked at a meeting in April, "it shouldbe good enough for us."Einstein has been dead for 43 years. How did he and his 80-year-old fudge factor come tobe at the center of a revolution in modern cosmology?The story begins in Vienna with a mystical concept that Einstein called Mach's principle.Vienna was the intellectual redoubt of Ernst Mach (1838-1916), a physicist andphilosopher who bestrode European science like a Colossus. The scale by whichsupersonic speeds are measured is named for him. His biggest legacy was philosophical;he maintained that all knowledge came from the senses, and campaigned relentlesslyagainst the introduction of what he considered metaphysical concepts in science, atomsfor example.
Mysteries of the Universe

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