A masterly overview of the development of cosmological thinking from the Greeks, via Newton and Einstein, to the present day.
It is science's last and greatest challenge: fathoming the depths of the night sky. The objective: to crack to cosmic code, to unravel the blueprint for nature's grandest conception, a machine constructed on an unimaginably vast scale - the Universe itself.
Today's model of an expanding Universe - the Big Bang cosmology - is actually built on principles derived from a few simple mathematical equations. Gravity-warped space - time, quantum mechanics, the physics of the subatomic - these crucial insights, stemming from Einstein's revolutionary theories of relativity, have led to a simple and elegant framework within which the whole of the Universe, over billions of years, has been described. But recent evidence has begun to make wrinkles in the neat fabric of the big bang cosmology. There is now overwhelming evidence that there is more stuff in the Universe than we can see. And it now appears that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating: something out there - some exotic 'dark energy' - is acting against gravity to push space and time apart...
Pedro G. Ferreira is a Lecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a Tutor and Fellow of Oriel College. He studied physics at the Technical University of Lisbon and obtained a doctorate from Imperial College, London in 1995. He was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2000.
Jen Finer is an artist, musician and composer living in London. From 2003 until 2005 he was an artist in residence in the Astrophysics Department at the University of Oxford.
State Of The Universe (HC Jun 06)