The Birth of Time

The Birth of Time

How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe

Book - 1999
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Yale University
The age of the universe has been one of the great scientific mysteries of our time. This engrossing book tells the story of how the mystery was recently solved. Written by a brilliant science writer who was involved, as a research astronomer, in the final breakthrough, the book provides details of the ongoing controversies among scientists as they groped their way to the truth?that the universe is between 13 and 16 billion years old, older by at least one billion years than the star systems it contains.

In clear, engaging language, Gribbin takes us through the history of cosmological discoveries, focusing in particular on the seventy years since the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe. He explains how conflicting views of the age of the universe and stars converged in the 1990s because scientists (including Gribbin) were able to use data from the Hubble Space Telescope that measured distances across the universe.

Book News
Astrophysicist and science writer, John Gribbin, tells how 18th- and 19th-century scientific discoveries first challenged biblical estimates of the age of the universe, and how early 20th-century astronomers inched toward a rather extraterrestrial answer in the 1990s: the stars were reckoned to be older than the uterine universe that birthed them. Newsweek , in 1994, described this impossibility as an "age crisis" in astronomy and predicted a long wait for a solution. It was delivered in 1998 when the universe thanks largely to the Hubble Space Telescope was pronounced to be 13-16 billion years old, about a billion years older than the oldest stars. A unique feature of this book is that Gribben was involved in the discovery, a part of the research team at the University of Sussex that the author says supplied "one small piece of the jigsaw puzzle." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c1999
ISBN: 9780300083460
Branch Call Number: 523.1 GRI
Characteristics: vi, 237 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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