Find a Hotter Place!:A History of Nuclear Astrophysics: 11 by Ludwik Marian Celnikier

By Ludwik Marian Celnikier

Find a warmer place! is the insightful tale of the tortured course that resulted in our present knowing of the way the weather within the Universe got here to be. this can be a tale which started in Greek Antiquity, with the 1st musings at the nature of topic and the void, and keeps this day with ever extra sophisticated analyses regarding almost each element of twentieth century physics, astronomy, cosmology and knowledge expertise. opting for the resource of stellar power, probing the earliest instants of the Universe, and getting to know of ways and the place each one aspect was once made are a few of the amazing good fortune tales of the 20 th century, yet have acquired little realization past the really good literature.

The yr 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the e-book of 1 of the most important papers on stellar nucleosynthesis, universally often called the B2FH paper. This e-book is a well timed survey of ways a brand new self-discipline — nuclear astrophysics — used to be born, and the way it has matured. virtually thoroughly non-technical, the booklet is still scientifically rigorous, and thereby fills an immense gap.

Science isn't a linear strategy, because the ill-named “scientific strategy” could recommend to the unwary. the writer emphasizes the meanders, the lifeless ends and the obsessive dogmas that have guided researchers in the course of the twentieth century. He additionally makes it transparent that our knowing of the place the weather come from has come via discoveries in various, no longer inevitably comparable, disciplines.

Contents:

  • The Vacuum, the Universe, and issues That pass “Pop” within the Night
  • Eleven Quadrillion 600 Thousand Billion Tonnes of Coal in step with Second
  • Fin de Siècle, Fin du Monde
  • A secret Wrapped in an Enigma
  • The upward push of the recent Physics
  • The fowl and the Egg
  • The better of occasions and the Worst of Times
  • A story of 2 Theories and One Dogma
  • Relics of a Bygone Age
  • Cosmic Ash

Readership: Students, lecturers, and most of the people attracted to the background of physics and astrophysics.

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Additional resources for Find a Hotter Place!:A History of Nuclear Astrophysics: 11 (World Scientific Series in Astronomy and Astrophysics)

Example text

The total energy contributed by all these zero point contributions can be calculated from what is now standard theory: to paraphrase the immortal words of Ira Gershwin, "Space got plenty o' Quantm Nuttin", so much so, in fact, that the fabric of physics has to be strained to the limit in order to understand how the Universe can be the way it is, in spite of the "Nuttin" which is its dominant feature. This is the aether nouveau regime, the quintessence of the 20th century; Aristotle would have loved it 5 .

These effects were completely inexplicable in the context of a corpuscular theory of light (just as a century later the interference of electron beams militated in favour of a wave theory of matter, at least under certain conditions), leading to a renewal of interest in the wave theory of light . . and therefore in the existence of some kind of medium which could "wave". Nevertheless, even if one subscribed to the presence of a cosmic wave transmitting medium, to what became known as the luminiferous aether, light itself was to cause increasing problems as the century advanced.

In the context of Einstein's theories of relativity, any form of energy is associated with a gravitational field. The zero point energy of the electromagnetic field in a spatially infinite vacuum state is infinite, and so too must be its associated gravitational field. In the case of the virtual particles, the situation is slightly less absurd, since the total contribution has a cut-off determined by the most massive particle known . . but the result is nevertheless extraordinarily high — the mass density of the vacuum turns out to be in the region of 10 91 g/cm 3 (or 24 Find a Hotter Place!

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