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The 4% Universe

Cover of The 4% Universe

The 4% Universe

Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
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Over the past few decades, a handful of scientists have been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only four percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, our books, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.

Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of the quest to find this "dark" matter and an even more bizarre substance called "dark energy." This is perhaps the greatest mystery in all of science, and solving it will bring fame, funding, and certainly a Nobel Prize. Based on in-depth reporting and interviews with the major players—from Berkeley's feisty, excitable Saul Perlmutter and Harvard's witty but exacting Robert Kirshner to the doyenne of astronomy, Vera Rubin—the book offers an intimate portrait of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys, that have fueled their search, redefined science, and reinvented the universe.

The stakes couldn't be higher. Our view of the cosmos is profoundly wrong, and Copernicus was only the beginning: not just Earth, but all common matter is a marginal part of existence. Panek's fast-paced narrative, filled with original reporting and behind-the-scenes details, brings this epic story to life for the very first time.

Over the past few decades, a handful of scientists have been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only four percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, our books, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.

Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of the quest to find this "dark" matter and an even more bizarre substance called "dark energy." This is perhaps the greatest mystery in all of science, and solving it will bring fame, funding, and certainly a Nobel Prize. Based on in-depth reporting and interviews with the major players—from Berkeley's feisty, excitable Saul Perlmutter and Harvard's witty but exacting Robert Kirshner to the doyenne of astronomy, Vera Rubin—the book offers an intimate portrait of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys, that have fueled their search, redefined science, and reinvented the universe.

The stakes couldn't be higher. Our view of the cosmos is profoundly wrong, and Copernicus was only the beginning: not just Earth, but all common matter is a marginal part of existence. Panek's fast-paced narrative, filled with original reporting and behind-the-scenes details, brings this epic story to life for the very first time.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Richard Panek is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the author of The Invisible Century and Seeing and Believing. He has frequently written for the New York Times as well as Discover, Smithsonian, Esquire, and Outside, among other publications. He lives with his wife, Meg Wolitzer, and their two sons.

Reviews-
  • Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Einstein: His Life and Universe "Richard Panek has made this cosmic quest exciting and understandable."
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    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The 4% Universe
The 4% Universe
Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
Richard Panek
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