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Image credit: NASA/ESA

In review: The Unknown Universe

Posted on Tuesday, 10 June, 2008 | 2 comments
Columnist: Unexplained Mysteries

Possibly the greatest of all mysteries, our universe has been the subject of study, intrigue and wonder from the first time man looked up at the sky and saw the heavens stretched out above. What we know about the universe today thanks to scientists and astronomers is a marvel of human thought and ingenuity, but for every question answered there remains many more unsolved. In his new book "The Unknown Universe" Dr. Richard Hammond lays down on the table some of the biggest mysteries of the final frontier and poses some of the biggest questions which demonstrate the gaps in our knowledge of the cosmos.

Hammond begins with one of the most prevalent questions of recent years, why is the expansion of the universe accelerating ? He follows this up with chapters on the mysterious 'dark matter' then quantum gravity, string theory and the origins of the universe. Each topic is covered in great detail and explained in a way as to be as accessible as possible, Hammond has even included short quiz questions pertaining to each topic from his days as a teacher to act as a revision of key physics concepts throughout.

"The Unknown Universe" is by no means light reading, in order to fully understand what is being said here the reader will require at least some background knowledge of physics and science. That being said, Hammond does a good job of explaining some of the more complex concepts so that the reader is able to grasp the principles involved without being too overwhelmed, with concepts such as quantum physics, renormalization and the cosmic ray paradox complementing some of the better known cosmological topics or recent years.

It is difficult in conclusion to say exactly which group of people will benefit the most from reading this. If you have an interest or background in space, astronomy and physics then although you will probably already be aware of the concepts covered here the book will most certainly make for a fascinating read. If you have no prior knowledge however you may find the book somewhat heavy going but even so it is worth persevering with. If you are in the middle and have some background knowledge of the areas covered and you are looking for a way to expand on what you already know then this book is ideal.

Whatever the case, "The Unknown Universe" will likely appeal to anyone who has ever gazed up at the stars and wondered just how it all came to be.

Article Copyright© Unexplained Mysteries - reproduced with permission.

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