We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality | [Richard Panek]

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

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.
Regular Price:$20.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Richard Panek (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“It’s the biggest mystery of all: why is the universe expanding at an accelerated rate? At its heart is a search for what forces and particles make up reality. It baffled Einstein, and it now obsesses a cadre of fascinating cosmologists. By brilliantly capturing their passions and pursuits, Richard Panek has made this cosmic quest exciting and understandable.” (Walter Isaacson, New York Times best-selling author of Einstein: His Life and Universe)

“A superior account of how astronomers discovered that they knew almost nothing about 96 percent of the universe…. Panek delivers vivid sketches of scientists, lucid explanations of their work, and revealing descriptions of the often stormy rivalry that led to this scientific revolution, usually a media cliché, but not in this case.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Science journalist Panek offers an insider’s view of the quest for what could be the ultimate revelation.... This lively story of big personalities, intellectual competitiveness, and ravenous curiosity is as entertaining as it is illuminating.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (570 )
5 star
 (162)
4 star
 (233)
3 star
 (125)
2 star
 (33)
1 star
 (17)
Overall
3.9 (411 )
5 star
 (127)
4 star
 (147)
3 star
 (95)
2 star
 (33)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.1 (417 )
5 star
 (166)
4 star
 (169)
3 star
 (65)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Adam Raleigh, NC, United States 02-01-11
    Adam Raleigh, NC, United States 02-01-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent survey of Cosmology and Astrophysics"

    I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it twice back-to-back. The content is highly engaging, the pacing is brisk, and the narration was very expressive. A great listen that is as informative as it is enjoyable to listen to. If you are interested in the big bang, the expanding universe, dark matter, dark energy, the cosmic microwave background radiation, cosmic structures and superstructures, then this book is a good fit. It explains those topics along with the people, groups, and collaborations that drove important research on those and more topics in the last 100 years.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Evansville, IN, United States 01-24-11
    Mark Evansville, IN, United States 01-24-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    "The recent history in Astronomy / Cosmology"

    What this book is not, 1) a text book or 2) detailed explanation of Astrophysics.
    What this is a history of Astronomy for the last 40 years.
    Richard Panek is a journalist and this book is a detailed account in the personalities in Astronomy for the last 40 years that lead to the ideas that we can see only 4% of the Universe and how we see inflation.
    Given that i've been out of school for 30 years my math can't follow the detailed cosmology text book but this book provides a clear reasoning why we believe the universe is accelerating and the problems that provides for theatrical physicists. If you love Astrophysics/Cosmology books give this a read.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Pepperell, MA, United States 03-08-12
    Michael Pepperell, MA, United States 03-08-12 Member Since 2007

    mmekota

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A surprisingly good yarn"

    OK -- I'm a science nerd, and I was expecting a science nerd book: Another book about cosmology, quantum mechanics, string theory and whatnot to bring me to a closer understanding of things that you can't really understand without the math. (Which I don't have. Not a math nerd. Sigh.)

    Instead, I got a very engaging story about scientists poking at the edges of reality, with actual plot, intrigue, politics, and drama. This was the life I had envisioned for myself in high school. After hearing this book, how I wish I hadn't switched gears! I coulda been in this story. I coulda been a contenda ...

    Yeah -- this book actually makes scientists seem like rock stars. OK -- really peculiar rock stars. More peculiar than usual -- but still...

    I think some layman's background in the topics (astronomy and particle physics) would be helpful, but you don't need to be a scientist to enjoy this book. And despite the fact that this is not really a science book, you will come away a pretty good understanding of what it's all about. Although I knew much of the science here, this book put things into perspective and gave me a deeper understanding of it all. A view from 30,000 feet is sometime what you need to have it all make sense.

    I didn't give it five stars because this is not Stephen King, after all. But it's a really good listen.

    The narrator deserves a lot of credit for making this a really good listen. He has a lively and energetic style, and I could hardly believe he had not lived the story.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 11-13-11
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 11-13-11

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3045
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1382
    392
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    902
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just Right - Not too technical not boring"

    This is a pleasant story of some of the characters and events in astrophysics over the last few decades with a focus on recent data showing the expansion of the universe is unexpectedly accelerating. The characters presented are pleasure to listen to and the level of technical detail is nice for a general audience without being boring to a technical reader. The narration is really good for this kind of material.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-26-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-26-12 Member Since 2001

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    HELPFUL VOTES
    728
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    188
    165
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    125
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great first cosmology book."

    This book brought me up to speed with the current state of the art in physics and astronomy. This was the first science book I had read in years and it was a great choice. He explains the science such that even I could follow it. I warn you, if you are new to reading science books, this one will inspire you into reading many, many other science books.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew San Diego, CA, United States 11-07-11
    Matthew San Diego, CA, United States 11-07-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting History"

    I didn't realize this book was about the history of the discoveries leading to the theories involving the 4% universe, I was expecting more of the theories themselves. Still, it was very interesting learning about the people involved in the discoveries, especially when Saul Perlmutter recently won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the work described in this book. However, it did tend to drag a little at some points.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 03-14-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 03-14-12 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3530
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    366
    214
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2147
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not Michio Kaku"

    Sometimes I get stuck on an author and compare everything else I read in that genre to that author. Such is the case with Michio Kaku. I read Parallel Universes when it first came out and was blown away. As I wrote in my review, most of the book was way over my head but somehow I got a feel and glimmer of understanding for even those parts of the book that were. Kaku has a genius that makes the almost incomprehensible concepts in physics sometimes seem simple and obvious. The 4 Percent Universe did not leave me feeling that way.

    I would not say that Panek was unclear in the 4 Percent Universe. Actually, I had the feel that it was more a flat lesson in the history of science. It was a book that just had fewer revelations for me. With Kaku there were just so many "Ah Ha" moments. Hopefully, without sounding too hokey, when reading Kaku, there were moments of what felt like transcendence, an altered state of consciousness. Pretty high bar to set huh? Yeah, I know. Sorry, Richard Panek. You were just fine... just not Michio Kaku.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George United States 12-20-11
    George United States 12-20-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much biographical info; not enough science."

    This book could be one fifth its size if insignificant endless details about personal lives of astronomers were omitted. It is annoying.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Port St Lucie, FL, United States 03-04-11
    susan Port St Lucie, FL, United States 03-04-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Listen!"

    This book is AMAZING and without a doubt one of the best books I have read/listened to in a VERY long time. For those of us whose little grey cells are not numbers oriented, this book was an incredible and thoroughly enjoyable education on the subject of the universe. Superbly written with an engaging narration. I just finished listening to it and will be beginning round two immediately! Worth the credit! Worth the money at any price!

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve Tucson, AZ, United States 12-03-11
    steve Tucson, AZ, United States 12-03-11

    sw gearguy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "entertaining,informative,educational and very well"
    What made the experience of listening to The 4 Percent Universe the most enjoyable?

    the story of the search of knowledge to define our reality for the the ultimate question.what is the universe all about. through a maze of events and personality science has inevitably reached closer to define our relationship with the cosmos. superbly read and historiclly accurate .worth the listen a favorite.


    What other book might you compare The 4 Percent Universe to and why?

    anything brian greene,michio kacko,steven hawking.


    Any additional comments?

    a great listen.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 46 results PREVIOUS125NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.