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Description - The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred Adams

THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE is a riveting biography of the universe which describes for the first time five distinct eras that Adams and Laughlin themselves defined as a result of their own research. From the first gasp of inflation that caused the Big Bang, through the birth of stars, to the fading of all light, THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE describes the death of our own sun, tremendous fiery supernovae explosions, dramatic collisions of galaxies, proton decay, the evaporation of black holes and the possibility of communications when there are no planets or stars or even black holes left. This is a voyage to a land of red giants, white dwarfs, brown dwarfs, great walls larger than galaxies and WIMPs. With daring uncharacteristic of most scientists, the authors have applied themselves to the question of what precise kind of biology could possibly exist when, say, carbon atoms no longer exist. What, ultimately, is a lifeform? Their insight into the fundamental physics that allows life is both fascinating and provocative. Readers will find all the strange colour of science fiction with none of the fiction in this awesome scientific epic.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780684865768
ISBN-10: 0684865769
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 140mm x 16mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: The Free Press
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: 1-Jun-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred Adams

US Kirkus Review » Eternity is a daunting concept, but modern cosmologists are not afraid to face it. Cosmology usually concentrates on the beginnings of the universe, but what might happen at the other end of time is just as intriguing - and by far the greater portion of the story. Adams and Laughlin, two leading astrophysicists (at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively) divide the life span of the universe into five acts, beginning with the Primordial Era, the time of the Big Bang and its immediate aftermath, when hydrogen and helium were first formed in an explosive birth. The Stelliferous Era is our present period, when stars fill the universe With visible light. The authors expect this to last another 100 trillion years. The universe doesn't end with the fading of the visible stars, but enters a time dominated by lesser lights: brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, and other stellar remnants. This is the Degenerate Era, when the primary source of cosmic energy is proton decay, slow and feeble: a typical degenerate star might achieve the brightness of half a dozen ordinary light bulbs. An occasional stellar collision may light up the sky with a supernova. After all protons decay, the universe will enter its fourth act: the Black Hole Era. Black holes' enormous gravity protects them from losing mass and energy by ordinary processes, but they slowly dissipate through Hawking radiation and will become extinct after ten-to-the-hundredth-power years. This leaves only the most tenuous forms of matter and energy to fill out the Dark Era: electrons, neutrinos, and low-energy photons that interact only sporadically. The authors fill in this broad outline in fascinating detail, considering such questions as the long-term prospects for life and the possibility of recollapse to a singularity (a "Big Crunch") rather than a slow dying out of the fire. A thought-provoking treatment of the grandest of subjects, highly recommended to anyone interested in the world beyond tomorrow. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Fred Adams

Fred Adams is an Associate Professor in the Physics Department at the University of Michigan. He won the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society and the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award. Gregory Laughlin is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California and an expert in the use of supercomputers to simulate astrophysical phenomena.

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