Wrinkles in Time
By George Smoot and Keay Davidson

The scientific discovery of the century, if not all time. --- Stephen Hawking
Why is the universe lumpy? Why are there vast spaces of vacuum between cosmic structures (galaxies), when the Big Bang Theory stated everything started out at a singularity (infinately dense point) and spread out uniformily?

The quest to answer these questions has been completed: the universe did not "explode" uniformly: at its very earliest moment of existance, it had extremely minute' variations of density due to quantum uncertainty (one Plank's Constant's worth of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle), and with time and expansion, these "wrinkles" formed into structure via gravatic accretion. The hunt for these wrinkles, and the ultimate success of finding them, are detailed in this book by By George Smoot and Keay Davidson.

Wrinkles in Time is a readable, popularized science book about Big Bang Cosmology. It explains Big Bang, and the tests required to prove the Theory wrong. (In hard science, a theory is supported by tests trying to refute it, not by tests trying to confirm it. At least, that's the ideal.) The details of this quest are beautifully explained in this book: from historical attemps to explain the cosmos, to current, state-of-the-art technology such as the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite, the journey is fascinating and thought-provoking. The physics in the book is high-school level, and any reader with an adequate attention span can understand the processes and concepts involved in the quest and its resolution.

The book was published by Avon Books, in 1993. ISBN 0-380-72044-2 with 331 pages (including index).

On the Shy David Book Review Scale from one to six stars (six being best), I think this book deserves five stars. I highly recomend it to anyone who is interested in contemporary (and historic) cosmology. I very seldom rate a book as high as five stars. I believe this book deserves five stars because it presents to the reader the answer to what humanity has asked for thousands of years: where did the galaxy come from? Before now, only conjecture and metaphysics "answered" this question. (Indeed, before Charles Darwin we couldn't even answer with any confidence where humans came from.) I find it utterly fascinating and intellectually rewarding to live in an era when the "ultimate question" has been answered for the first time with a high level of confidence.

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