A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of - download pdf or read online

By Dave Goldberg, Jeff Blomquist

ISBN-10: 0470496517

ISBN-13: 9780470496510

Solutions to science's such a lot enduring questions from "Can I holiday the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there existence on different planets?" to "What is empty area made of?"

this is often an fundamental consultant to physics that provides readers an summary of the most well-liked physics subject matters written in an available, irreverent, and interesting demeanour whereas nonetheless retaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the amateur could be in a position to keep on with alongside, because the issues are addressed utilizing simple English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of renowned physics also will locate their nagging questions addressed, like no matter if the universe can extend swifter than mild, and for that topic, what the universe is increasing into besides.

* offers a one-stop journey of the entire gigantic questions that trap the general public mind's eye together with string conception, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the start of time

* Explains critical technological know-how in an pleasing, conversational, and easy-to-understand means

* comprises dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that specify every little thing from particular relativity to darkish subject

 Filled with interesting details and insights, this e-book will either deepen and remodel your realizing of the universe.

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Additional resources for A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty

Example text

Q uan t u m We i rd n e s s If only life were so simple. We mentioned before that your physical intuition wouldn’t do you very much good in quantum mechanics. We hope you haven’t thrown away your water wings, because you’re about to get tossed into the deep end. Lots of photons go through each slit and interfere with one another, demonstrating wave behavior. Mr. Hyde, wanting to revert to Dr. Jekyll, has an idea. “Perhaps,” he growls to himself, “if I turn down the intensity of the beam, only one photon will go through at a time.

Don’t have an intuitive feel for how much that is? No problem. With the energy released you could: 1. power more than fifty-thousand 100-watt lightbulbs for a year; 2. : 57,259), for a year; or 3. 4 million gallons of gasoline. Provided they carpooled, this would be enough to drive everyone in Terre Haute from New York to California. It is not clear, however, why you would want to do that. By comparison, the normal combustion energy of 2 grams of coal can power one lightbulb for about an hour. Like most people, matter doesn’t always live up to its full potential, and with the exception of cases where we smash matter into antimatter (which we shall return to), there is nothing that converts all of its mass into energy.

Jekyll’s double-slit experiment is based on the design by the English physicist Thomas Young, and in this case, it clearly illustrates the epitome of particle behavior. We make one slit in the fence and we get one line of snow, and by introducing a second slit, we get a second line. We could do the same experiment with stones or custard pies and pretty much get the same result. The point here is that the outcomes of Dr. Jekyll’s experiments are safe and predictable, and attune perfectly 37 38 A U s e r ’s G u i d e to t h e U n i ve rs e with your intuition.

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A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty by Dave Goldberg, Jeff Blomquist


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