Bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven's Door and one of today's most influential and highly cited theo-retical physicists, Professor Lisa Randall once again effortlessly delivers fascinating science to the general reader. Weaving together the cosmos' his-tory and our own in an expanding intellectual adventure story, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs takes us from the mysteries of dark matter and our cosmic environment to the conditions for life on Earth.
Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a cata-clysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter that is embedded in the plane of the Milky Way. Her research challenges the usual assumptions about the simple nature of dark matter and demonstrates how scientists formulate and establish new ideas. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.
With her unique and wide-ranging perspective, Randall connects dark matter to the history of the world in the broadest terms. Bringing in pop culture and social and political viewpoints, she shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding dark matter, the cosmos, the galaxy, asteroids, comets, and impacts, as well as life's development and extinctions. Randall makes clear how connected the planet is to the makeup of the Universe, but also how fragile our place in the Universe, which evolved over billions of years, might be.
In this brilliant and fresh exploration of our cosmic environment, Professor Randall explains the underlying science of our world in the breathtaking tale of a Universe in which the small and the large, the visible and the hidden are intimately related. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs illuminates the deep relationships that are critical to our world as well as the astonishing beauty of the structures and connections that surround us. It's impossible to read this book and look at either Earth or sky again in the same way.