- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 1 edition (March 28 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568813090
- ISBN-13: 978-1568813097
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 590 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,552,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Wraparound Universe Hardcover – Mar 28 2008
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beautiful book on the possibility that our universe is a huge optical illusion will change the way you look at the sky ... Sophisticated and beautifully written, the book is a thorough and enjoyable introduction to cosmic topology, the study of the global structure of space.
―New Scientist, February 2008
Luminet has done his best to explain everything in a simple but never simplistic way. ... [T]he book is well within the reach of the general public but still offers valuable insights to more expert people. It raises a number of questions and tries to provide a few answers in one of the most fascinating subjects of modern research.
―Diego Casadei, New York Univeristy and Cern, Cern Courier, September 2008
These are indeed exciting times for those interested in the interface between physics and geometry. The author is to be thanked for providing a timely update of the first 2001 French edition, translated into English. The material, which is treated intuitively, is very well presented at a popular level, with many fascinating historical and sociological asides … and should appeal to any mathematically literate person in search of the 'Big Picture.
―G.W. Gibbon, CMS Notes, November 2008
Jean-Pierre Luminet is one of those who has been studying the way the different possible spatial topologies may be observationally investigated. … This well-written book is a comprehensive introduction to [one specific proposal] for the lay reader … It gives a sound introduction to the relevant cosmological theory and data and discusses in detail the possibilities of complex topologies in a universe where … we have seen right around the universe since the time the universe became transparent.
―George F.R. Ellis, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, December 2008
One of the most vexing but fundamental questions in astrophysics regards the nature of the universe's overall geometry, particularly whether space is infinite. Luminet … proposes a remarkable solution in The Wraparound Universe, a nonmathematical overview of the new field of cosmic topology.
―R.L Mutel, CHOICE, November 2008
The book is very well written and nicely illustrated; the author uses a simple graphical representation to solve and explain complex problems. The author combines his understanding of history, scientific knowledge, and expository skill to produce the book, which can be recommended to all readers interested in mathematical and astronomical ideas and cosmology, as well as the topology of the universe.
―European Mathematical Society Newsletter, December 2008
The book is thick with novel insights and beautiful elementary presentations of advanced mathematical ideas. The presentation of the basic ideas . . . are marvels of exposition.
―Mathematical Reviews, January 2009
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Luminet is a world-known astrophysicist at the Meudon Observatory in France and a leading expert on black holes, cosmology, and the new field of cosmic topology. He was awarded the 2006 Great Prize of the French Academy of Sciences for Science Communication, and the 1999 International Georges Lemaitre Prize for his original contributions to cosmology and astrophysics.He has published several dozen articles in refereed journals such as Nature, Astrophysical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and many others. In addition to his research work he has published three acclaimed novels and several poetry books.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Briefly: we learn, that for spherical finite space general relativity shows how to indirectly measure the curvature of the space. Its value depends on the average density of matter/energy that it contains. However for the geometries of the two other families, Euclidean and hyperbolic, the finite or infinite character of space no longer depends simply on the curvature and on the energy density: it depends on the TOPOLOGY !
While for decades observational cosmology pushed itself to determine the curvature parameters directly while neglecting the topological possibilities, it could be that in the XXI century, it would be primarily the experimental determination of the topology of the Universe that would allow us to fix, with great precision, the curvature and the cosmological constant - those traditional parameters on which the ultimate fate of the cosmos depends: perpetual expansion or eventual contraction. Is theory of Big Bang truly valid and confirmed? - author presents its limits and simplifications. However I must admit that some parts of the book are not easy, as reader is asked to jump from two to three dimensions. This require stretching imagination to the limit (chapters about multiply connected spaces leading to cosmic crystallography methods). Lack of glossary of terms is detrimental, particularly, because there are many of them here, not to be found in other cosmology books. Nevertheless it is fascinating lecture - do not miss it !
The author, Jean-Pierre Luminet, apart from being an astrophysicist and a specialist on black holes, is also a gifted writer, who has published many scientific novels and even some poetry, in addition to many popular books on astrophysics and cosmology(unfortunately, most of them are in French.For more information, the interested reader may want to visit his webpage at luth2.obspm.fr). So he leads the reader to this conclusion in a step-by-step fashion, and he explains all the nooks and crannies of cosmology, without forgetting the Einstein field equations and the Friedmann equations, which are the basis for all cosmological models. Then, drawing on his own research in cosmic topology, which is too technical to be part of this book, he uses the latest estimates of the cosmological parameters, especially the total density Omega(slightly larger than 1) to conclude that the Universe must have a multiply connected topology. This is in contradiction with the "mainstream" inflationary paradigm, which uses the same data to prove that the Universe is spatially flat, and therefore infinite. Hence a dispute between "cosmologists" and "topologists", which the latter think they would eventually win, because their theory gives a natural explanation of the so-called "low multipole anomaly" in the power spectrum of the CMB.
Luminet, with whom I had some correspondence about this and some other of his books, hopes that the Planck satellite, expected to be launched in October 2008, would give a much more accurate CMB power spectrum than WMAP, which will eventually resolve this tantalizing issue.
But whatever the outcome, this beautiful book, which offers an example of thinking "outside the box", is a must read for all those interested in Cosmology, and I highly recommend it.