SpringerBriefs in Physics

The Weight of the Vacuum

A Scientific History of Dark Energy

Authors: Kragh, Helge S., Overduin, James

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About this book

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of cosmic acceleration due to dark energy, a discovery that is all the more perplexing as nobody knows what dark energy actually is. We put the modern concept of cosmological vacuum energy into historical context and show how it grew out of disparate roots in quantum mechanics (zero-point energy) and relativity theory (the cosmological constant, Einstein's “greatest blunder”). These two influences have remained strangely aloof and still co-exist in an uneasy alliance that is at the heart of the greatest crisis in theoretical physics, the cosmological-constant problem.

About the authors

Prof. James Overduin, Baltimore, MD, USA

Prof. Helge Kragh, Aarhus University, Denmark

Reviews

“This is an interesting historical overview of the development of ideas relating to vacuum energy. It is a well-written, easy read, and should appeal to anyone with an interest in dark energy, which should be all of us, since this is often claimed as the biggest mystery in modern physics. Kragh and Overduin have split the story into 12 chapters, tracing relevant ideas from the ancient Greek philosophers up to the present day.” (Douglas Scott, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 47 (4), November, 2016)

“This is an exceptionally good, short guide to the history of physicists’ understanding of the energy of empty space. … This is an excellent brief history of cosmology. I expect to cite it many times in my academic papers and books.” (Simon Mitton, The Observatory, Vol. 135 (1245), April, 2015)


Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Early Ideas of Space and Vacuum

    Kragh, Helge S. (et al.)

    Pages 1-6

  • The Active Ether

    Kragh, Helge S. (et al.)

    Pages 7-12

  • Planck’s Second Quantum Theory

    Kragh, Helge S. (et al.)

    Pages 13-18

  • Half-Quanta and Zero-Point Energy

    Kragh, Helge S. (et al.)

    Pages 19-27

  • Nernst’s Cosmic Quantum-Ether

    Kragh, Helge S. (et al.)

    Pages 29-38

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-642-55090-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-642-55089-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Weight of the Vacuum
Book Subtitle
A Scientific History of Dark Energy
Authors
Series Title
SpringerBriefs in Physics
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Holder
The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-642-55090-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-642-55090-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-642-55089-8
Series ISSN
2191-5423
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 113
Number of Illustrations and Tables
23 b/w illustrations
Topics