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The Music of the Big Bang: Cosmic Microwave Background and the New Cosmology (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 17 nov 2008

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From the reviews:

"Balbi … is currently working on a satellite experiment to further study the CMB. His well-written book follows the ways in which the CMB has been used to understand the universe. … he gives a very readable account of current cosmological thought, especially for general readers. Summing Up: Recommended. All undergraduate and public libraries." (A. Spero, Choice, Vol. 46 (9), May, 2009)

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The cosmic microwave background radiation is the afterglow of the big bang: a tenuous signal, more than 13 billion years old, which carries the answers to many of the questions about the nature of our Universe. It was serendipitously discovered in 1964, and thoroughly investigated in the last four decades by a large number of experiments. Two Nobel Prizes in Physics have already been awarded for research on the cosmic background radiation: one in 1978 to Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, who first discovered it, the other in 2006, to George Smoot and John Mather, for the results of the COBE satellite. 

Most cosmological information is encoded in the cosmic background radiation by acoustic oscillations in the dense plasma that filled the primordial Universe: a "music" of the big bang, which cosmologists have long been trying to reconstruct and analyze, in order to distinguish different cosmological models, much like one can distinguish different musical instruments by their timbre and overtones. Only lately, this amazing cosmic sound has been unveiled by such experiments as BOOMERANG and MAXIMA and, more recently, by the WMAP satellite. This led to a giant leap in our understanding of the Universe, but the investigation is not ended yet.

The book focuses on how the exploration of the cosmic background radiation has shaped our picture of the Universe, leading even the non-specialized readers towards the frontier of cosmological research, helping them to understand, using a simple language and captivating metaphors, the mechanisms behind the Universe in which we live. 


"This non-technical tour of the discovery and significance of the whispers of creation, the fossil radiation from the Big Bang, is a delight to read." Prof. Joe Silk, University of Oxford, a pioneering contributor to understanding the structure of the cosmic background radiation.

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1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Big Bang early universe rings like a bell! 19 agosto 2014
Di Matthew Rapaport - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I've read a number of books that describe the big bang and its presentations to modern cosmology and astronomy. This one covers all of the ground and then focuses on one of the last (so far) of the theoretical predictions stemming from that event namely the acoustic signature frozen into the matter-energy of the universe at the moment of "recombination" when atoms formed, the universe became transparant to light, and (most importantly for Balbi), the density of the universe dropped below the point needed to support ongoing acoustic activity. This process left a "last acoustic wave" whose presence and nature was predicted by cosmologists and subsequently found. This is the story of that discovery, and it is both well written and accessible to people who have some interest in the details without having to have a serious background in cosmology. Very good.
4 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle A delicious little book about the information gleaned from the CMB 17 novembre 2009
Di Jaume Puigbo Vila - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
This is certainly a delicious little book (about 150 pages) about the wealth of information that is extracted little by little from the different observational tools used to study the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, specially from the graph of the so called acoustic oscillations (caused by the radiation pressure) in the primordial plasma according to the different angular sizes. For example, the difference between the two highest peaks of the graph is related to the amount of baryonic matter. Apparently the Wilkinson probe only extracted about 10% of the information to be thought contained in the CMB. The Planck surveyor, recently launched by ESA, will provide more information that will help us to understand better dark energy and the topology of the universe, among other things. The observable universe seems to be nearly flat, but then it can be either infinite like the standard Euclidean space we study in the college mathematics textbooks or it can be one of the 17 classes of flat compact spaces that mathematicians have classified. In an infinite universe every event happens an infinite number of times, a hard-to-swallow consequence of quantum mechanics. But if our universe is compact then we would live in a house of mirrors and the topology would be similar to that of those primitive PC games.

The incompatibility of the two major physics theories, general relativity and quantum field theory, which normally can be used separately, but not at the time of the Big Bang, makes it difficult to understand the first nanoseconds. But this is important as when we approach the initial moment more and more things happen on shorter and shorter timescale. String theory is an attempt to have a "theory of everything", but, so far, it has not been tested experimentally so that one of its main contributors obtained the Fields Medal, but not the Nobel prize. There are some approaches to test some consequences of string theory by studying the CMB radiation.

The book is written in a very didactic manner as when the author compares deaf Beethoven capable of composing great music without hearing with astronomers obtaining information of the sounds of the primordial plasma by looking at the CMB.

A highly recommended book for those interested in the recent advances of cosmology.
6 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Was it a Bang and a Boom? 21 gennaio 2009
Di Regnal the Caretaker - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
New observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation show that early universe resounded with harmonious oscillations (acoustic sound).
How loud it was can only say the One who witnessed it. Not much I can add here to Product Description (Editorial Review). But let me tell you - this is very, very well constructed, short and easy to read popular science book. Of course it is mostly about CMB, how it was detected and has become arguably the most important source of information helping cosmologists understand the geometry and contents of the Universe (other complementary source of cosmological knowledge are observations, such as the distant type supernovae or the distribution of galaxies in space). We will learn what has been concluded and corroborated by studying the acoustic signals in the CMB provided by previous missions like COBE or BOOMERANG, as well as what is expected by Planck/Herschel space mission and what the obtained results can potentially reveal.
But this is not all. This text covers almost all other important topics of large scale cosmology/astrophysics, among them (although briefly)intriguing controversy of cosmic topology (see "The Wraparound Universe" by Jean-Pierre Luminet).It is possible that we live in finite Poincare dodecahedral space giving impression of living in a space 120 times larger. Many scientists (including Amedeo Balbi) are skeptical of it, but if you read Luminet's excellent book, WMAP measurements fall well below the plateau in the range of the lower wave numbers, named quadrupole and the octopole (far left part of the power spectrum of CMB). The infinite Euclidean cosmological model (giving the theoretical plot for curve: 'angular size or wave number' vs. 'temperature fluctuations') cannot explain this, while well proportioned finite model for the universe with multiply-connected topologies explains it very well ! Planck spacecraft, with its 10 times as many measurements with good signal-to-noise ratios as WMAP, will undoubtedly penetrate this part of the spectrum, therefore will solve topology question among many others.
Highly recommended cosmology gem !
3 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Great Introduction! 14 marzo 2010
Di doctor007 - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida
I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written and an extremely good introduction to Cosmic Microwave Background and Physics of Cosmology. I recommend it highly.
5.0 su 5 stelle Good Book 31 dicembre 2015
Di Neuralize - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
Well written book. Quickly shipped.

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