Alpha & Omega
The Search for the Beginning and the End of the Universe

     When Penzias and Wilson detected the cosmic background radiation, the mysterious "static" in every direction of the sky, they were really seeing a faint image of the last scattering surface, the cloud of plasma that scattered the light for the last time before setting it free.
     The static in the sky was really the radiation released during recombination, stretched and attenuated over fourteen billion years. The cosmic microwave background is the most ancient light astronomers will ever see. It surrounds us in all directions; we are trapped within walls of fire. The background radiation is the image of the fiery walls of the universe.--Seife

NEW IMAGE OF INFANT UNIVERSE REVEALS ERA OF FIRST STARS, AGE OF COSMOS, AND MORE.        NASA today released the best “baby picture” of the Universe ever taken, which contains such stunning detail that it may be one of the most important scientific results of recent years. The new cosmic portrait -- capturing the afterglow of the Big Bang, called the cosmic microwave background -- was captured by scientists using NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) during a sweeping 12-month observation of the entire sky.
       There has been much said about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. I have read many books, taught many students and thought endlessly about what CMB. I have seen diagram after diagram of the beginning of the universe. WMAP brought home what I could not image in my mind. Seife has made this image even more brilliant.In chapter four, Seife describes the fiery walls of our prison with lucid writing and scientific precision. I don't want relativistic equations wrapped in quantum foam. Though, I do like this combination. I also do not want to hear the same trite that seems to premeate so much popular science. I got the idea of the Big Bang. I want more details.

     Someday, perhaps, I will want a deeper understanding than what Seife can bring. If you are looking for a fantastic read about the beginning and end of the universe, I highly recommend this book.


Quantum Field Theory without Divergences or Renormalization, I

Quantum field theory--Fifty years of the renormalization group

The Dirac Equation