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Book Review: Dark Matter and The Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall

Originally published:  October 27, 2015
Genre: Non-fiction in Cosmology field 
Original language: English

About the author: American physicist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University.

As human beings, we do incline to hear stories about the world out there: far distant galaxies, aliens, UFO… Occasionally we even wonder where this world begins and how the planet Earth was created. The topic that can be answered with so many theories. The Universe is massive, the humans’ knowledge about it is quite limited. Usually, we explore matters about Cosmos during our school years and later. It depends.

Well, if you are eager to discover this field with less stress in terminology and excessiveness in details, this book is something I would personally recommend.

You might reason: Why would you need to read a book about the Dark Matter? Is it something practical in it? I would say: Yes and No. No, because the Dark Matter has been existing for billions of years before the creation of Earth. Currently, it exists and, furthermore, continues to expand. Yes, because a fascinating Universe makes us cherish its creation; cultivate knowledge, theories, practices, solutions; accept the complexity of it and see ourselves as an integral part of it. 

This book is a key to a systematic approach about the Universe formation. I highly appreciate Lisa Randall’s aptitude to convey scientific terms, networks, concepts to ordinary readers like you and me.

Talking about the Dark Matter. It is actually not even dark and does not have visibility. However, its gravitational effects “disturb” galaxies. By the way, the visible Cosmos, such as Earth, the sun, other stars, galaxies, represents less than 5% of the mass! The Dark Matter takes 25% of the Universe, and the rest 75% goes to the Dark Energy (a force which repels gravity). 

So, why the author talks about the dinosaurs? Lisa Randall summed previous studies and brought to light that space objects do interact with the Dark Matter. And that what could cause the dinosaurs’ extinction 65 million years ago. The asteroid roughly 10 km (6 miles) which passed through a disk of the Dark Matter. It made me reflect that the Universe with its billion years of creation is a genuinely fragile system. 

13.77 billion years ago Big Bang expansion began. 4.54 billion years ago the origin of Earth. 200 thousand years ago our species Homo Sapiens evolves. Think about it. “As research continues to uncover still more of the bridges that link our lives to our surroundings and our present to our past, we should appreciate the many features of our world that have been so long in the making and take care to use our acquired and technological advances well.

 

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