Cosmologists yearn to behold the unseen elements of our universe. And as new technologies become more powerful and precise, scientists are getting their wish though these tools are challenging the limits of our imagination as fast as they are answering many longstanding questions. Space is one of the last great frontiers for modern man. A never-ending source of investigation and inspiration, it beckons to scientists with an irresistible siren s call. And in this glorious age of cosmology, astronomical measurement has never been more precise. The power provided to us by extraordinary new observational mechanisms has shattered former suppositions and stimulated exciting new visions of the universe. Using modern instruments such as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), astronomers now have access to information about the age and composition of the universe. By providing greatly improved answers, high-resolution satellite data and novel telescopic techniques have transformed one of science s most speculative fields into a triumph of meticulous and rigorous detection. Yet as the technological tools grow increasingly robust and we are able to see farther and know more, we find that we have even more questions. Could there be realms beyond ordinary space? Might time, space, and matter simply be illusions? What unique blend of cosmological factors influences life on Earth? Featuring interviews with leaders in the field as well as thought-provoking descriptions of their work, Brave New Universe is a guided tour of current advances and controversies in cosmology.
National Research Council. Brave New Universe: Illuminating the Darkest Secrets of the Cosmos. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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