In this brilliant exploration of our cosmic environment, the renowned particle physicist and New York Times best-selling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven's Door uses her research into dark matter to illuminate the startling connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth.
Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the solar system passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.
Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings - established and speculative - regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the cosmos' history and our own, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2015 Lisa Randall (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
This book isn't for the faint hearted, it is a true academic enterprise. Fortunately the author presents the topic in language appropriate to a non-scientist. Still the listener may have difficulty wading through the data from which the conclusions are drawn. I got the book after listening to an interview with the author on NPR. Not for everyone, but it will bring some revealing light to dark matter.
A lot of good inter-disciplinary science information; if you are up-to-date in the study of geological extinction events, solar system dynamics and other astrophysics, and to a lesser degree particle physics this may not be the book for you, or you may want to skip to the end. The idea the author is trying to relate is that a disc of dark matter could influence long period comet events and explain a cycle detected in their arrivals on earth and explain other astronomical details.
In order to describe how this could happen, the reader has to be brought up-to-date on the disciplines needed to understand why this idea makes sense. The author does a stellar job at making the science approachable. I learned much about many science fields listening to this book.
Whether the core idea is abandoned or refined with future data, this book was a good investment in time for the learning involved.
This is an engaging and delightful listen for a person with a real curiosity about the universe and our rapidly evolving understanding of if. Though it necessarily remains in the qualitative realm, a detailed picture and story unfolds which helped me feel connected with a branch of scientific knowledge which I have felt was too abstract for a non-physicist to grasp. My only problem was being unable to find the "enhanced" material through the audible website.
My first review was deleted by Audible because they don't allow links to videos. But, feel free to look up Randall's newest video. It's about 5 minutes and incredibly clear.
Randall is the first to warn her reader that her new hypothesis is speculative and in need of more testing. However, she is excited about the kinds of questions this new direction is taking her. Randall has been investigating how dark matter might be involved in not only the creation of matter itself, but possibly in the evolution of humans as well. The presence of dark matter is not at all speculative. It has been detected using a variety of tools and methods. What is speculative is the notion that some dark matter might interact with itself. Just as ordinary matter comes in different varieties (different sizes, charges, etc) dark matter too might come in different varieties, some of which might not make a halo, but rather a dense disc that cuts through the the Milky Way and provides an extra gravitational force that might throw a comet off its trajectory and allow it to plunge toward and into earth, thus changing the temperature and atmosphere of Earth.
Randall has a mixed style of writing. At times she makes analogies that are so fantastic, they seem among the best I have read. At times though, her writing is dry. For example, I found the chapter on Cuvier (who I actually love) and catastrophe to be so dry, I had trouble paying attention. But, her chapters on the structure of the universe-- how matter was formed, how matter collapses into a disc, how clumping follows the rich get richer power laws,how heavy elements actually help in cooling so that large objects like our sun can form, etc-- were actually page turners for me. I reread some of those sections more than once because they were so exciting.
One of my favorite parts of the book was her discussion of Occam's Razor. She prosed a table setting around core function. It was brilliant. Also wonderful, she treated her reader to a version of human's are not special that went way beyond most things associated with the Copernican revolution. She suggested that matter, everything we have ever seen in the universe, is not special. So great to be reminded of that. I actually laughed audibly while reading that section.
I cannot wait to see what the telescope Gaia finds. Of course I am hoping it will support Randall and Reece's hypothesis. If it does not, I am still excited to continue hearing about the questions that continue to drive Randall's work.
Love it, but it seemed like she'd never stop talking. Long winded physicists. Often hard to follow, I'm glad this wasn't my first book on history of evolution, geology, astronomy, or dark matter. Tied together well.
Informative, accessible and compelling
When I realized this was a real scientist explaining real research - the history and foundations of dark matter; the scientific method applied; the evaluation of the available data; the story of how the ideas explained in this book evolved in her thinking and in her work with other collaborators.
She read it a little fast. I was on 0.75% most of the time.
No. Too much to digest all at once.
Especially liked the manner in which she attributed credit to all the cited researchers whose work contributed to the present views.
I think I would have enjoyed this particular listen much more in book format. Not a multi tasking kind of listen for the laymen.
The book itself is very well presented. Dr. Randall exhaustively teaches you about dark matter, general astronomy, extinction history, the scientific process, and much more. All while backing up her claims with lots of evidence and examples and keeping you entertained with small jokes and personal anecdotes. I couldn't recommend the book more.
However, I wasn't a fan of the narrator at first. She's very clear and presents the sometimes complex content well, but her tone is very lectury and waivers around monotone. After a while I got used to it and came to kind of enjoy it, but it's not for everyone. I'm sure others would disagree and loved her tone from the beginning, sho I'd definitely listen to a sample before purchasing.
Usually books like this are hard to understand because they use dialect that keeps you guessing what they mean unless you are involved in the subject matter. But this author simplicity to explain her research in the most basic form was great. Really enjoyed it and would recommend anyone that is even slightly interested in this topic.
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