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The universe is a complicated place, to put it mildly, and scientists are working harder than ever to explain its mysteries. It is an exciting time: findings are pouring in, ideas are bubbling up, and research to test those ideas is simmering away. The latest special edition from Scientific American, The Once and Future Cosmos, brings together and updates firsthand reports from some of the world's most distinguished cosmologists.
In this issue, expert authors discuss a range of topics--from the first stars and the big bang to the universe's unseen dimensions and Einstein's infamous cosmological constant. Other articles tackle such subjects as the fate of life in the universe and whether space might actually be finite.
Making Sense of Modern Cosmology by P. James E. Peebles
Confused about all the theories? Good.
The First Stars in the Universe by Richard B. Larson and Volker Bromm
Exceptionally massive and bright, the earliest stars changed the course of cosmic history.
The Life Cycle of Galaxies by Guinevere Kauffmann and Frank van den Bosch
Astronomers are on the verge of explaining the bewildering variety of galaxies.
Surveying Spacetime with Supernovae by Craig J. Hogan, Robert P. Kirshner and Nicholas B. Suntzeff
Exploding stars seen across immense distances show that the cosmic expansion may be accelerating--a sign that an exotic form of energy could be driving the universe apart.
Cosmological Antigravity by Lawrence M. Krauss
The long-derided cosmological constant--a contrivance of Albert Einstein's--may explain changes in the expansion rate of the universe.
The Quintessential Universe by Jeremiah P. Ostriker and Paul J. Steinhardt
The universe has recently been commandeered by an invisible energy field, which is causing its expansion to accelerate outward.
The Fate of Life in the Universe by Lawrence M. Krauss and Glenn D. Starkman
Billions of years ago the universe was too hot for life to exist. Countless aeons from now, it will become so cold and empty that life, now matter how ingenious, will perish.
Is Space Finite? by Jean-Pierre Luminet, Glenn D. Starkman and Jeffrey R. Weeks
Conventional wisdom says the universe is infinite. But it could be finite, merely giving the illusion of infinity. Upcoming measurements may finally resolve the issue.
The Universe's Unseen Dimensions by Nima Arkani-Hamed, Savas Dimopoulos and Georgi Dvali
The visible universe could lie on a membrane floating in a higher-dimensional space. The extra dimensions would help unify the forces of nature and could hold parallel universes.
A Cosmic Cartographer by Charles L. Bennett, Gary F. Hinshaw and Lyman Page
The Microwave Anisotropy Probe will provide a much sharper picture of the early universe.
Echoes from the Big Bang by Robert R. Caldwell and Marc Kamionkowski
Scientists may soon glimpse the universe's beginnings by studying subtle fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background.
Exploring Our Universe and Others by Martin Rees
In this century cosmologists will unravel the mystery of our universe's birth--and perhaps prove the existence of other universes as well.
Ripples in Spacetime by W. Wayt Gibbs
LIGO, a controversial observatory for detecting gravitational waves, is coming online after eight years and $365 million.
Plan B for the Cosmos by João Magueijo
If the new cosmology fails, what's the backup plan?
* Special editions are not included in the regular subscription.