Cosmic Numbers

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-09-06
  • Publisher: Basic Books
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Our fascination with numbers begins when we are children and continues throughout our lives. We start counting our fingers and toes and end up balancing checkbooks and calculating risk. So powerful is the appeal of numbers that many people ascribe to them a mystical significance. Other numbers go beyond the supernatural, working to explain our universe and how it behaves. In Cosmic Numbers, mathematics professor James D. Stein traces the discovery, evolution, and interrelationships of the numbers that define our world. Everyone knows about the speed of light and absolute zero, but numbers like Boltzmann's constant and the Chandrasekhar limit are not as well known, and they do far more than one might imagine: They tell us how this world began and what the future holds. Much more than a gee-whiz collection of facts and figures, Cosmic Numbersilluminates why particular numbers are so important--both to the scientist and to the rest of us.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
The Gravitational Constantp. 1
The Speed Of Lightp. 15
The Ideal Gas Constantp. 29
Absolute Zerop. 43
Avogadro's Numberp. 57
Electricity And The Proportionality Constantp. 71
The Boltzmann Constantp. 85
The Planck Constantp. 103
The Schwarzschild Radiusp. 117
The Efficiency Of Hydrogen Fusionp. 133
The Chandrasekhar Limitp. 149
The Hubble Constantp. 167
Omegap. 185
Codata Notep. 203
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 219
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