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Cosmology

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  1. 10.1 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    You are reading the word “now” right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment “now” so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of “now.” Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it. In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out—with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful—a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward. Muller points out that the standard Big Bang theory explains the ongoing expansion of the universe as the continuous creation of new space. He argues that time is also expanding and that the leading edge of the new time is what we experience as “now.” This thought-provoking vision has remarkable implications for some of our biggest questions, not only in physics but also in philosophy—including the ongoing debate about the reality of free will. Moreover, his theory is testable. Muller’s monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics’s longest-standing enigmas.

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    Now

    by Richard A. Muller
    read by Christopher Grove
    10.1 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 14.8 hrs • 7/5/2016 • Unabridged

    Is our universe dying? Could there be other universes? In Parallel Worlds,world-renowned physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku—an author who “has a knack for bringing the most ethereal ideas down to earth” (Wall Street Journal)—takes listeners on a fascinating tour of cosmology, M-theory, and its implications for the fate of the universe. In his first book of physics since Hyperspace, Michio Kaku begins by describing the extraordinary advances that have transformed cosmology over the last century, and particularly over the last decade, forcing scientists around the world to rethink our understanding of the birth of the universe, and its ultimate fate. In Dr. Kaku’s eyes, we are living in a golden age of physics, as new discoveries from the WMAP and COBE satellites and the Hubble space telescope have given us unprecedented pictures of our universe in its infancy. As astronomers wade through the avalanche of data from the WMAP satellite, a new cosmological picture is emerging. So far, the leading theory about the birth of the universe is the “inflationary universe theory,” a major refinement on the big bang theory. In this theory, our universe may be but one in a multiverse, floating like a bubble in an infinite sea of bubble universes, with new universes being created all the time. A parallel universe may well hover a mere millimeter from our own. The very idea of parallel universes and the string theory that can explain their existence was once viewed with suspicion by scientists, seen as the province of mystics, charlatans, and cranks. But today, physicists overwhelmingly support string-theory, and its latest iteration, M-theory, as it is this one theory that, if proven correct, would reconcile the four forces of the universe simply and elegantly, and answer the question “What happened before the big bang?” Already, Kaku explains, the world’s foremost physicists and astronomers are searching for ways to test the theory of the multiverse using highly sophisticated wave detectors, gravity lenses, satellites, and telescopes. The implications of M-theory are fascinating and endless. If parallel worlds do exist, Kaku speculates, in time, perhaps a trillion years or more from now, as appears likely, when our universe grows cold and dark in what scientists describe as a big freeze, advanced civilizations may well find a way to escape our universe in a kind of “inter-dimensional lifeboat.” An unforgettable journey into black holes and time machines, alternate universes, and multidimensional space, Parallel Worlds gives us a compelling portrait of the revolution sweeping the world of cosmology.

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    Parallel Worlds

    14.8 hrs • 7/5/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.6 hrs • 6/1/2016 • Unabridged

    More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane had put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favor, using jazz to answer physics’ most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe. Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics—a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim—The Jazz of Physics revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander’s own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College, London’s inner sanctum of string theory. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the “music of the spheres,” taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics. Whether you are more familiar with Brian Greene or Brian Eno, John Coltrane or John Wheeler, the Five Percent Nation or why the universe is less than five percent visible, there is a new discovery on every page. Covering the entire history of the universe from its birth to its fate, its structure on the smallest and largest scales, The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

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    The Jazz of Physics

    7.6 hrs • 6/1/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 17.4 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    Caltech physicist and author of the award-winning The Particle at the End of the Universe gives a sweeping new perspective on how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview. This is a book that will stand on the shelf alongside the great humanist thinkers from Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan to Daniel Dennett and E. O. Wilson. It is a new synthesis of science and the biggest questions humans ask about life, death, and where we are in the cosmos. Listeners learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level; the emergence of causes from underlying laws; and ultimately how human values relate to scientific reality. This tour of, well, everything explains the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe, but it also shows how an avalanche of discoveries over the past few hundred years has changed the world for us and what we think really matters. As Carroll eloquently demonstrates, our lives are dwarfed by the immensity of the universe and redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

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    The Big Picture

    17.4 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    8.4 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    Mapping the Heavens provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is at the forefront of the research—an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance. The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes—these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.

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    Mapping the Heavens by Priyamvada Natarajan

    Mapping the Heavens

    Read by Elisabeth Rodgers
    8.4 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  6. 1.8 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    In seven brief lessons, Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli guides readers with admirable clarity through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, already a major bestseller in Italy, explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in the strange world Rovelli describes. This is a book about the joy of discovery. It takes readers to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”

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    Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

    1.8 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5
    31.2 hrs • 2/16/2016 • Unabridged

    The book that transforms our understanding of what we are and where we came from. Specialist scientific fields are developing at incredibly swift speeds, but what can they really tell us about how the universe began and how we humans evolved to play such a dominant role on Earth? John Hands’ extraordinarily ambitious quest is to bring together this scientific knowledge and evaluate without bias or preconception all the theories and evidence about the origin and evolution of matter, life, consciousness, and humankind. This astonishing book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism. In the clearest possible prose it differentiates the firmly established from the speculative and examines the claims of various fields such as string theory to approach a unified theory of everything. In doing so it challenges the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. Its striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that lead to the unique emergence in humans of a self-reflective consciousness that enables us to determine our future evolution. This groundbreaking book is destined to become a classic of scientific thinking.

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    Cosmosapiens by John Hands

    Cosmosapiens

    31.2 hrs • 2/16/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 12.8 hrs • 9/24/2014 • Unabridged

    John Brockman brings together the world’s best-known physicists and science writers—including Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Martin Rees—to explain the universe in all wondrous splendor. In The Universe, today’s most influential science writers explain the science behind our evolving understanding of the universe and everything in it, including the cutting edge research and discoveries that are shaping our knowledge. Lee Smolin reveals how math and cosmology are helping us create a theory of the whole universe. Benoit Mandelbrot looks back on a career devoted to fractal geometry. Neil Turok analyzes the fundamental laws of nature, what came before the big bang, and the possibility of a unified theory. Seth Lloyd investigates the impact of computational revolutions and the informational revolution. Lawrence Krauss provides fresh insight into gravity, dark matter, and the energy of empty space. Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson illuminate the genius who revolutionized modern science: Albert Einstein. And much more. Explore the universe with some of today’s greatest minds: what it is, how it came into being, and what may happen next.

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    The Universe

    12.8 hrs • 9/24/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 1.5 hrs • 9/23/2014 • Unabridged

    From the big bang to black holes, from dark matter to dark energy, from the origins of the universe to its ultimate destiny, The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the most important discoveries and mysteries in modern cosmology—with a twist. The book’s lexicon is limited to the thousand most common words in the English language, even excluding physics, energy, galaxy, and universe. Through the eyes of a fictional scientist (Student-People) hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes (Big-Seers) on Earth (Home-World), cosmologist Roberto Trotta explores the most important ideas about our universe (All-There-Is) in language simple enough for anyone to understand. A unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularization, this delightful book is a perfect gift for any aspiring astronomer. The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the universe on a human scale, and the result is out of this world.

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    The Edge of the Sky by Roberto Trotta

    The Edge of the Sky

    1.5 hrs • 9/23/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.0 hrs • 9/9/2014

    In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared to go against the establishment by proposing that Earth rotates around the sun. Having demoted Earth from its unique position in the cosmos to one of mediocrity, Copernicus set in motion a revolution in scientific thought. This perspective has influenced our thinking for centuries. However, recent evidence challenges the Copernican Principle, hinting that we do in fact live in a special place, at a special time, as the product of a chain of unlikely events. But can we be significant if the sun is still just one of a billion trillion stars in the observable universe? And what if our universe is just one of a multitude of others—a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities? In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. As Scharf explains, we do occupy an unusual time in a fourteen-billion-year-old universe, in a somewhat unusual type of solar system surrounded by an ocean of unimaginable planetary diversity: hot Jupiters with orbits of less than a day, planet-size rocks spinning around dead stars, and a wealth of alien super-Earths. Yet life here is built from the most common chemistry in the universe, and we are a snapshot taken from billions of years of biological evolution. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision. With characteristic verve, Scharf uses the latest scientific findings to reconsider where we stand in the balance between cosmic significance and mediocrity, order and chaos. Presenting a compelling and bold view of our true status, The Copernicus Complex proposes a way forward in the ultimate quest: determining life’s abundance, not just across this universe but across all realities.

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    The Copernicus Complex

    9.0 hrs • 9/9/14
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  11. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    8.7 hrs • 9/2/2014 • Unabridged

    A thrilling and accessible tour of the cosmos Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit rover’s exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter’s moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.

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    Origins by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Donald Goldsmith

    Origins

    8.7 hrs • 9/2/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  12. 0 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5
    3.9 hrs • 1/14/2014 • Unabridged

    From the acclaimed author of Einstein’s Dreams and Mr. g comes a meditation on the unexpected ways in which recent scientific findings have shaped our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos. With all the passion, curiosity, and precise yet lyrical prose that have marked his previous books, Alan Lightman here explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by discoveries in science, focusing most intently on the human condition and the needs of humankind. He looks at the difficult dialogue between science and religion, the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature, the possibility that our universe is simply an accident, the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world, and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws. And behind all of these considerations is the suggestion—at once haunting and exhilarating—that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.

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    The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman

    The Accidental Universe

    3.9 hrs • 1/14/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    15.4 hrs • 1/7/2014 • Unabridged

    The ideas of one of the most original cosmologists at work today—accessible, anecdotal, animated by the author’s wit and passion—which will fascinate fans of Brian Greene, Roger Penrose, and Ray Kurzweil Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present, and future, and through the physics, astronomy, and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories (his website gives a flavor of how they might boggle the mind), but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last—here is a book for the full science-reading spectrum.

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    Our Mathematical Universe

    15.4 hrs • 1/7/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 2.3 hrs • 9/10/2013 • Unabridged

    My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. This concise, witty, and candid account introduces listeners to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of academia. Writing with characteristic humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time—one of the iconic books of the twentieth century. Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.

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    My Brief History

    2.3 hrs • 9/10/13 • Unabridged
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  15. 10.6 hrs • 8/1/2013 • Unabridged

    Why is the sky dark at night? Is it possible to build a shrink-ray gun? If there is antimatter, can there be antipeople? Why are past, present, and future our only options? Are time and space like a butterfly’s wings? No one but Dave Goldberg, the coolest nerd physicist on the planet, could give a hyper drive tour of the universe like this one. Not only does he answer the questions your stoner friends came up with in college, but he also reveals the most profound discoveries of physics with infectious, Carl Sagan–like enthusiasm and accessibility. Goldberg’s narrative is populated with giants from the history of physics, and the biggest turns out to be an unsung genius and Nazi holocaust escapee named Emmy Noether, the other Einstein. She was unrecognized, even unpaid, throughout most of her career simply because she was a woman. Nevertheless, her theorem relating conservation laws to symmetries is widely regarded to be as important as Einstein’s notion of the speed of light. Einstein himself said she was “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.” Symmetry is the unsung great idea behind all the big physics of the last one hundred years and what lies ahead. In this book, Goldberg makes mindbending science not just comprehensible but gripping. Fasten your seat belt.

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    The Universe in the Rearview Mirror

    10.6 hrs • 8/1/13 • Unabridged
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  16. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    6.6 hrs • 1/8/2013 • Unabridged

    From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us? In The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.

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    The Universe Within

    6.6 hrs • 1/8/13 • Unabridged
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