By Lawrence M. Krauss
Now in paperback: the publication during which the writer of the nationwide bestseller The Physics of big name Trek lines the historical past of the cosmos via telling the tale of a unmarried oxygen atom-from the start of time to the current second and deep into the long run. Writing with grace and wit, Lawrence Krauss explicates state-of-the-art technological know-how as he is taking us on an exhilarating, millennia-spanning trip that tells the reality of matter-what it truly is, the place it got here from, and the place it is going.
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Extra info for Atom - A Single Oxygen Atoms Journey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond
We happen to live in one of those rare parts of space that has lots of matter. Just as a fish might look around its immediate environment and conclude that the universe is made of water, we intuitively sense that our peculiar circumstances are generic. They aren’t. Most of space is almost devoid of matter, but the radiation bath is everywhere. Where did all this radiation come from? I have already hinted at the answer. If there had been no excess of matter over antimatter early on, radiation (that is, photons) would be all that would be left in the universe today.
A serendipitous observation in New Jersey changed all that. In 1965 two physicists at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, detected an unanticipated static in a sensitive radio receiver they had tuned up in order to listen for radio signals from the sky. This static turned out to come from a uniform background of radiation bombarding us from all directions in the sky, whose source was none other than the Big Bang itself. This cosmic background radiation (CBR) has been streaming through the universe largely unimpeded for billions and billions of years.
Indeed, it seems that without an early series of rare events — at least as rare as a single person buying two winning lottery tickets for two different state lotteries in the same year — no one should be around today to celebrate creation, or lotteries. Nevertheless, there is a maxim I am constantly reminded of in my work: Because the universe is big and old, no matter how unlikely something is, if it can happen it will happen. Accidents more remote than anything that might occur during our lifetime occur every second somewhere in the vast reaches of the cosmos.
Atom - A Single Oxygen Atoms Journey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond by Lawrence M. Krauss