Astronomers' Universe

On the Inside of a Marble

From Quantum Mechanics to the Big Bang

Authors: Bascom, Gavin

  • Treats the basic principles of the Big Bang and quantum mechanics in untraditional ways, such as framing concepts from small to big, old to new or simple to complex
  • Written in a style that is both accessible to readers new to the topic but still posing challenging and thought-provoking questions
  • Addresses the most fundamental questions that science can ask, such as defining reality and time 
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-60690-3
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About this book

Keeping in mind that we can only see the universe from the comfort of our home galaxy, Bascom begins his text by meticulously laying the necessary groundwork to understand the Big Bang’s mathematics without using any equations. He then paints a freeze-frame picture of our universe as if we had taken a three-dimensional picture with a giant camera. Within this picture, he traces forces beginning with the smallest (a single atom) to the biggest (the cosmos), keeping in mind that in this frozen moment everything further away from the observer spatially is also further away from the observer in time; that is, older. Soon a very real and very vivid image of the Big Bang appears (especially in things that are loud or hot), echoing down through time and into our everyday lives, reflected in every atom during every measurement. Then, slowly but deliberately, Bascom unfreezes this picture, ratcheting each moment from one to the next, showing us how and why quantum particles are constantly in contact with the Big Bang and why that allows the particles to pop in and out of existence from moment to moment, what a photon is, and what exactly we mean when we say that free space has energy.

Whether you’re interested in the Big Bang, the weirdness of quantum mechanics, or simply enjoy thinking about the biggest, loudest, and oldest things in our universe, this book will help you question your deepest notions about time and space, while staying firmly rooted in empirical observation. Throughout the text, Bascom sidesteps traditional non-fiction modes, using colorful explanations and vivid imagery to place the reader in simultaneous contact with both the Big Bang and fundamental particles. As a result, Bascom provides the tools and language necessary to contemplate the strangeness of our universe.


About the authors

Dr. Gavin Bascom received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, where he used quantum and Newtonian mechanics to model nucleic acids by computer simulation. He has since gone on to continue refining his skills in the arena of DNA simulation and statistical mechanics as a researcher at New York University. He has been an avid fan of the Big Bang and quantum mechanics since his teenage years, and many of the ideas presented in this book have been in development since then, honed and refined by his time working with simulation and quantum mechanics.

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Bascom, Gavin

    Pages 1-20

  • Narrative Time

    Bascom, Gavin

    Pages 21-37

  • Narrative Space

    Bascom, Gavin

    Pages 39-53

  • Narrative Energy

    Bascom, Gavin

    Pages 55-64

  • A Universe Far from Equilibrium

    Bascom, Gavin

    Pages 65-79

Buy this book

eBook n/a
  • ISBN 978-3-319-60690-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Softcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-3-319-60689-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
On the Inside of a Marble
Book Subtitle
From Quantum Mechanics to the Big Bang
Authors
Series Title
Astronomers' Universe
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-60690-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-60690-3
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-60689-7
Series ISSN
1614-659X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 107
Number of Illustrations and Tables
8 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour
Topics