Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein

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9780061170881: Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein

Einstein's gravity theory—his general theory of relativity—has served as the basis for a series of astonishing cosmological discoveries. But what if, nonetheless, Einstein got it wrong?

Since the 1930s, physicists have noticed an alarming discrepancy between the universe as we see it and the universe that Einstein's theory of relativity predicts. There just doesn't seem to be enough stuff out there for everything to hang together. Galaxies spin so fast that, based on the amount of visible matter in them, they ought to be flung to pieces, the same way a spinning yo-yo can break its string. Cosmologists tried to solve the problem by positing dark matter—a mysterious, invisible substance that surrounds galaxies, holding the visible matter in place—and particle physicists, attempting to identify the nature of the stuff, have undertaken a slew of experiments to detect it. So far, none have.

Now, John W. Moffat, a physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, offers a different solution to the problem. The cap­stone to a storybook career—one that began with a correspondence with Einstein and a conversation with Niels Bohr—Moffat's modified gravity theory, or MOG, can model the movements of the universe without recourse to dark matter, and his work chal­lenging the constancy of the speed of light raises a stark challenge to the usual models of the first half-million years of the universe's existence.

This bold new work, presenting the entirety of Moffat's hypothesis to a general readership for the first time, promises to overturn everything we thought we knew about the origins and evolution of the universe.

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About the Author:

John W. Moffat is professor emeritus of physics at the University of Toronto and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo, as well as a resident affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada. He earned a doctorate in physics at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.

Review:

"If MOG stands the test of time, Moffat will have created a paradigm shift not seen since Newton." (Publishers Weekly)

"Readers will easily follow the first-time author's lucid prose as he lays out the story of gravitation research from... Newton to Einstein ... solid, mainstream, popular science. (Kirkus)

"If evidence of [Modified Gravity Theory] is eventually found, Moffat will be hailed as one of the great physicists of our age... At the very least, Moffat has shown remarkable perseverance and an exceptional ability to 'think outside the box.' And his book--elegantly written, though occasionally challenging--provides a compelling insider's view of modern physics." (The Globe and Mail)

"... Moffat does away with two of the more appealing elements of standard cosmology: the Big Bang and black holes... Moffat is a fluid writer who does an excellent job of translating the complexity of Einstein's theory, without the math, for the general reader, and of selling his modified theory." (Winnipeg Free Press)

"As a young man, [Moffat] corresponded with Einstein about the latter's lifelong effort to generalize his theory of gravity and combine it into a single theory with the other forces. Moffat has been pursuing Einstein's ambition ever since... Physicists have reluctantly accepted ...anomalies for the sake of preserving Einstein's venerable theory of gravity... Moffat cuts the Gordian knot, proposing a Modified Gravity Theory, or MOG... It's a bold theory... " (The Boston Globe)

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