Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe

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Basic Books, Aug 4, 2008 - Science - 208 pages
How did a single "genesis event" create billions of galaxies, black holes, stars and planets? How did atoms assemble -- here on earth, and perhaps on other worlds -- into living beings intricate enough to ponder their origins? What fundamental laws govern our universe?This book describes new discoveries and offers remarkable insights into these fundamental questions. There are deep connections between stars and atoms, between the cosmos and the microworld. Just six numbers, imprinted in the "big bang," determine the essential features of our entire physical world. Moreover, cosmic evolution is astonishingly sensitive to the values of these numbers. If any one of them were "untuned," there could be no stars and no life. This realization offers a radically new perspective on our universe, our place in it, and the nature of physical laws.


List of Illustrations
The cosmos and the microworld
planets stars and life 3 The large number N gravity in the cosmos
Stars the periodic table and
beyond our galaxy
dark matter and
is cosmic expansion slowing or speeding?
the number
what lies beyond our horizon?
Three dimensions and more
Coincidence providence or multiverse?

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About the author (2008)

Martin Rees is a leading researcher on cosmic evolution, black holes, and galaxies. He has himself originated many key ideas, and brings a unique perspective to themes discussed in this book. He is currently a Royal Society Research Professor, and Great Britain's Astronomer Royal. Through based in Cambridge University for most of his career, he travels extensively, and collaborates wit many colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere. He is an enthusiast for international collaboration in research, and is a member of several foreign academies.

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