The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms

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9780099578017: The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms

Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were blown into space by those stars' cataclysmic explosions and deaths. From red giants - stars so enormous they could engulf a million suns - to supernova explosions - the most violent events in the universe - the birth of every atom was marked by cosmic events on an enormous scale, against a backdrop of unimaginable heat and cold, brightness and darkness, space and time. But how did we discover the astonishing truth about our cosmic origins? THE MAGIC FURNACE is Marcus Chown's extraordinary account of how scientists unravelled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life. It is one of the greatest detective stories in the history of science. In fact, it is two puzzles intertwined, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of stars.

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Review:

If only because of its grand scale, cosmology can bring out the worst in science writers. But The Magic Furnace is as unputdownable as any thriller as it unifies the very big and the very small in a single coherent vision of creation.

In a cosmos dominated by hydrogen and helium all the other elements make up a mere two per cent of the universe's mass. It was not always so. There was a time when those other elements did not even exist. The stuff which we're made from was not fully formed by the Big Bang. So where did it--where did we--come from?

Chown dovetails two histories: the story of how we came to know how stars are born, grow old and die, and the story of how we investigated the atom and came to appreciate how different elements are related. This is no contrived juxtaposition. The elements from which we are made were assembled by stars and distributed by supernovae. We are--literally--stardust.

All scientific histories are simplifications after the event but Chown, in something of the spirit of Local Heroes's Adam Hart-Davis, brings a biographer's eye to those--from Greek philosopher Democritus onwards--who brought us to our present understanding.

By Chown's account, the universe seems uncannily friendly to the formation of organics and ultimately, life. Chown's take on this "anthropomorphic" (and quasi-religious) version of the world is a model of balanced and responsible speculation and provides the fitting conclusion to this fascinating account. --Simon Ings

Review:

"A clear introduction to a fascinating area of physics and astronomy. Chown is to be congratulated on a beautifully crafted book." ( New Scientist)

"Keeps readers anxious for the next puzzle piece to fall into place. It reads like a Sherlock Holmes novel" ( Astronomy)

"The work of a literary alchemist who tranmutes the iron of complexity into the gold of lucidity" ( The Tennessean)

"The strength of The Magic Furnace is in the story. It never gets bogged down in scientific jargon" ( Sky & Telescope)

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were blown into space by those stars cataclysmic explosions and deaths. From red giants - stars so enormous they could engulf a million suns - to supernova explosions - the most violent events in the universe - the birth of every atom was marked by cosmic events on an enormous scale, against a backdrop of unimaginable heat and cold, brightness and darkness, space and time. But how did we discover the astonishing truth about our cosmic origins? THE MAGIC FURNACE is Marcus Chown s extraordinary account of how scientists unravelled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life. It is one of the greatest detective stories in the history of science. In fact, it is two puzzles intertwined, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of stars. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099578017

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were blown into space by those stars cataclysmic explosions and deaths. From red giants - stars so enormous they could engulf a million suns - to supernova explosions - the most violent events in the universe - the birth of every atom was marked by cosmic events on an enormous scale, against a backdrop of unimaginable heat and cold, brightness and darkness, space and time. But how did we discover the astonishing truth about our cosmic origins? THE MAGIC FURNACE is Marcus Chown s extraordinary account of how scientists unravelled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life. It is one of the greatest detective stories in the history of science. In fact, it is two puzzles intertwined, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of stars. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099578017

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Book Description 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 128mm x 198mm x 16mm. Paperback. Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were b.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 240 pages. 0.175. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099578017

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Magic Furnace, Marcus Chown, Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were blown into space by those stars' cataclysmic explosions and deaths. From red giants - stars so enormous they could engulf a million suns - to supernova explosions - the most violent events in the universe - the birth of every atom was marked by cosmic events on an enormous scale, against a backdrop of unimaginable heat and cold, brightness and darkness, space and time. But how did we discover the astonishing truth about our cosmic origins? THE MAGIC FURNACE is Marcus Chown's extraordinary account of how scientists unravelled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life. It is one of the greatest detective stories in the history of science. In fact, it is two puzzles intertwined, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of stars. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099578017

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. One of the greatest detective stories in the history of science reveals how astronomers and nuclear physicists deduced where the elements in our bodies come from. It is both the story of atoms and the story of stars. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: PDZ; PGM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 15. Weight in Grams: 178. . 2000. New Ed. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099578017

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Every atom in our bodies has an extraordinary history. Our blood, our food, our books, our clothes - everything contains atoms forged in blistering furnaces deep inside stars, which were blown into space by those stars' cataclysmic explosions and deaths. From red giants - stars so enormous they coul. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099578017_rkm

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Book Description Vintage, 2000. Book Condition: New. One of the greatest detective stories in the history of science reveals how astronomers and nuclear physicists deduced where the elements in our bodies come from. It is both the story of atoms and the story of stars. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: PDZ; PGM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 15. Weight in Grams: 178. . 2000. New Ed. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099578017

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