The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
Our universe has been growing for nearly 14 billion years. But almost everything about it, from the elements that forged stars, planets, and lifeforms, to the fundamental forces of physics, can be traced back to what happened in jus ...more
If cosmologists decide to be greedy and fantasize the acquisition of all our current material wealth within three minutes, i.e. ~10^52kg (~10^69J), given the standard model expansion rate, our universe will be about 5.4 x 10^10m radius (with volume ~ 6.6 x 10^32m^3), giving us an energy density of ~10^36 J/m^3 (~10^19kg/m^3) at this time. This energy density translates to temperatures about 6.6 x10^12K and ambient energies of ~669 MeV, which is so much higher than can permit the formation of nuclei for deuterium (binding energy <2.2 MeV, ~10^10K) and helium (binding energy < 28.3 MeV, ~10^11K) and the Big bang nucleo-synthesis model will collapse.
If however, we allow Mother Nature to build the universe gradually, according to Hypothesis 1 in the book, Hypotheses Fingo to wit;
"The Universe is increasing in mass and radius from an initial zero value in accord with the formula M = rc^2/2G which amounts to about 6.75 x 10^26kg per metre change in radius (and about 2.02 x 10^35kg per second)",
the mass of the universe will be about 3.6 x10^37kg (~ 3.24 x10^54J) at the end of the first three minutes, and not 10^52kg. This being so, given the volume (i.e. 6.6 x 10^32m^3) the energy density will be 4.9 x10^21J/m^3 at three minutes and the corresponding temperatures and ambient energies for the energy density will be ~10^9K and 0.1 MeV (~10^-4 GeV) respectively, just the right temperature for Mother Nature to cook us a perfect dinner of hydrogen-helium nuclei soup where both nuclei are stable.
*For reference, see Wikipedia: Chronology of the universe, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronol... and also Hyperphysics website, http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/... for the timelines. And for formulae that relate energy density within a given volume to the temperature using blackbody radiation laws which can be used to calculate the matter-energy content at different epochs, see http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/.... Same formulae are used to estimate the 10^32K temperature at the Planck epoch from the Planck density and are still applicable at three minutes. Further discussion can be found in Hypotheses Fingo, see http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30...(less)
At 0.01 seconds at a temperature of 100 billion degrees kelvins o ...more
“Can we leave out God and just say that, in the beginning, the Universe got created?”
“Oh well, leave it in for now. Let's continue.”
The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons) ...more
Christianity: (Bible, Genesis 1:1) In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.
Islam: (Quran 7:54) Allah created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days.
OK! let’s fuck that!!
Before you start reading this book, I request you to check the below two discoveries and why they are very important in the field of physics (especially in Cosmology, Astronomy).
1. Discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiati ...more
From the preface, Weinberg, reflecting on whether or not to write this book, says: "What could be more interesting than the problem of Genesis? Also, it is in the early universe, especially the first hundredth of a second, that the problems of the theory of elementary pa ...more
Steven Weinberg is a gifted writer, and the first half of the book is excellent. In this part, Weinberg mainly explains the discovieres related to our conception of an 'expanding universe' (chapter 2) and the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation as a vindication of the big bang theory (chapter 3).
After this, Weinberg plunges into the domain ...more
Although it's a popular science book, it's ingrained with subtle equations. There is also a mathematical supplement at the end for easy reference. Although the book is a little outdated( in terms of dark energy and age of the universe), it is a must read book for cosmology enthusiasts. ...more
Messrs. Penzias and Wilson, who accidentally discovered the cosmic microwave radiation background, made a significant contribut ...more
I've been deferring reading this book for over 5 years now, and I am very glad that I finally found the time for it. The universe is indeed very strange. And it is bizarre, but a jolly wonderful coincidence that Wilson and Penzias discovered the CMB radiation, and that all a ...more
This book in cosmology requires some knowledge in undergraduate level physics, where the author chronicles the very early history of the universe while describing the underlying physical concepts. In the light of epoch experiments to be conducted with new Large Hadron Collider (LHC), during October 2008 at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The LHC will create the conditions of less than a millionth of a second after Big ...more
Marcus Chown's account of this subject matter is a better bet for the lay reader. Weinberg's account of the 'big bang', is a deeper dive into cosmology and particle physics, that I feel is more suited towards the student than the lay reader. However, this book is written in a style that can guide and carry the curious towards the frontiers of the sub atomic. Published in 1977, I'm ...more
This latest reading was a bit easier; I might have learned something. But I still struggled to stay awake when reading chapters 3, 4 and 5 (of this eight-chapter book).
I like Weinberg and have read a lot of his output; he's exerted influence upon my thinking. I understand very little of physics, but I enjoy reading Weinberg's musings on "the meaning of it all," which mostly fills chapters 1, 2, 6, 7, and (famously) cha ...more
This classic of contemporary science writing by a Nobel Prize-winning physicist explains to general readers what happened when the universe began, and how we know.
"Science writing at its best." -- --Martin Gardner, New York Review of Books
About the Author
Steven Weinberg received the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in unifying two of the fundamental forces of nature, and in 1991 he was awarded the National Medal of Science at the White House. His earlier prize-winning book T...more
He holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a member of the Physics and Astronomy Departme ...more