'An accomplished and timely overview of modern cosmology and particle astrophysics' – Nature
'A remarkable narrative combining fundamental physics with high adventure' – New Scientist
The Edge of Physics
A Journey to Earth’s Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
An intrepid science journalist takes us from desolate deserts to derelict mines to answer some of the most burning questions in physics today.
Physics is in crisis. For more than two centuries, our understanding of the laws of nature expanded rapidly. But in the past few decades, we’ve made astonishingly little progress. What will finally break the impasse and get physics back on track?
In this timely and original book, the science writer Anil Ananthaswamy sets out in search of the world’s most audacious physics experiments: the telescopes and detectors that promise to shed new light on such things as dark matter, dark energy and the phenomenon of quantum gravity (which string theory tries to explain). He soon finds himself at the ends of the Earth – in cold and remote and sometimes dangerous places. As it turns out, extreme physics requires extreme environments.
Reporting from some of the most inhospitable and dramatic research sites on our planet – from the Atacama Desert in Chile, to the Indian Observatory in the Himalayas, to the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to deep within an abandoned iron mine in Minnesota – Ananthaswamy weaves together stories about the people and places at the heart of this research while beautifully explaining the problems that scientists are trying to solve. In so doing, he provides a unique portrait of the Universe and our quest to understand it. Atmospheric, engaging and illuminating, The Edge of Physics brings cosmology – with all its rarefied concepts – back down to Earth.