Review by Lisa Grossman
Astronomers once had the most romantic job in science. Working alone atop a rickety telescope platform, the astronomer was like a sailor in a crow’s nest, unspooling the universe’s secrets by hand. But with advances in computers and the advent of space telescopes, it has become much easier to decode the cosmos from an air-conditioned office.
In The Edge of Physics, Ananthaswamy shows that the really big questions — What is dark matter? Why is the universe’s expansion accelerating? Where does mass come from? Are there other universes? — still have a sense of adventure. Part physics primer and part travel epic, the book takes readers to some of the most desolate places on Earth. Ananthaswamy looks for the frontiers of understanding in such unlikely places as an abandoned mine in Minnesota and a frigid lake in Siberia, and from the underground lair of the Large Hadron Collider to the thin-aired peak of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. He finds that re