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Amazing Unity of the Universe : And Its Origin in the Big Bang (Paperback) (Edward van den Heuvel)

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The author begins by describing how our knowledge about the position of Earth in space and time has developed, thanks to the work of many generations of astronomers and physicists. He also discusses how our position in the Galaxy was discovered, and how in 1929, Hubble uncovered the fact that the Universe is expanding, leading to the picture of the Big Bang. He then goes on to explain how astronomers discovered that the laws of physics that were discovered here on Earth and in the Solar System (the laws of mechanics, gravity, atomic physics, electromagnetism, etc.) are valid throughout the Universe, showing that all matter in the Universe consists of the same 92 elements that we know on Earth. This unity is all the more surprising when one recalls that in the original Big Bang theory, different parts of the Universe could never have communicated with each other, and it appeared then to be a mystery how they could have communicated the same physical laws to each other. This problem was solved by the introduction of the idea of Inflation, a phase of extremely rapid expansion of the Universe, during the first fraction of a second following the Big Bang: before this inflation, all parts of the Universe were in contact with each other. The book addresses the many fundamental questions about the Universe and its contents from the perspective of the unity of the Universe and the Big Bang: the formation of structure in the Universe in relation to the ripples observed in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), the questions of dark matter and dark energy, the possibilities of other universes (the Multiverse) and the question of Intelligent Life elsewhere in the Universe.

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