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Dimensions:
216 × 138 mm
184 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781780239910
Illustrations:
31 illustrations
Published:
10 Sep 2018

Five Photons Remarkable Journeys of Light Across Space and Time James Geach

The story of the Universe is written in the light that travels through it – light that we can capture. Nearly everything we know about how the Universe works on its grandest scale comes from the analysis of the light – photons – that may have travelled nearly fourteen billion years from the Big Bang itself to reach us.

Have you ever wondered what is the most distant source of light we can see, or how a star shines? Did you know that black holes can blaze like cosmic beacons across intergalactic space, and that ancient radio waves might herald the ignition of the very first stars? Have you ever thought about what light really is?

Five Photons explains all with the tales of five fascinating astrophysical processes through the journeys of light across space and time. They are tales of quantum physics and general relativity, stars and black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Let yourself be swept away on a journey of discovery towards a deeper understanding of the Universe.

‘Light illuminates cosmic origins and decodes quotidian realities. But what is it? This deft primer by astrophysicist James Geach captures the elusive electromagnetic wave in five processes. His meditation on ‘old’ light takes us back to the singularity: the “cosmic seed” that expanded into the Big Bang. A study of starlight plunges us into the seething stellar surface. We peruse dark energy, radio waves and quasars – beacon-like galaxies in which supermassive black holes feed off interstellar gas and release vast amounts of energy. A masterclass in elucidating hard science with elegance and brevity.’ – Nature

‘With his elegant, supremely clear writing, Geach has succeeded at creating both a state-of-the-art cosmic overview and a rather wonderful meditation on the nature of our reality.’ – Caleb Scharf, author of The Zoomable Universe

‘Geach’s beautiful cosmic biography takes readers on a sweeping tour of all that was, is, and ever will be. Five Photons is as elegant as it is enlightening.’ – Lee Billings, author of Five Billion Years of Solitude

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James Geach is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader in Astrophysics at the Centre for Astrophysics Research at the University of Hertfordshire, specializing in observational cosmology and the formation and evolution of galaxies. He is the author of Galaxy: Mapping The Cosmos (Reaktion, 2014).