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Historic watershed in cosmology
|May4-08, 04:16 PM||#1|
Historic watershed in cosmology
It is conjectured that we are at an historic watershed when people will stop thinking of the big bang as the Beginning of time or our universe, but will see it as a step along the way. The frontiers of science---what we can model and test---are being pushed back to conditions prior to the onset of the current expansion. Carlo Rovelli had some enlightening things to say about this a year ago in the issue of Nature Physics that published Bojowalds paper on before the big bang.
So is this conjecture right? How do we tell? Are we at a point in human intellectual history when people will start imagining the universe as extending back in time before the bang?
The question is not about what is ultimately scientifically correct but about prevailing ideas.
One simple test will be to see how this book does on the market:
The title is Beyond the Big Bang, it officially goes on sale July 1,
and the current salesrank is 2.6 million.
I see no evidence that the book will be promoted in any way. It is aimed at the academic market. As such it would not be surprising for the salesrank to stay around 1 million.
A rank of 100,000 would be a surprisingly good performance, and would I believe signal a new awareness of pre-bang cosmology in the general public.
What do you think the sales rank of this book will be on 7 July, a week after it goes on sale? I plan to check at noon pacific time.
|May4-08, 04:22 PM||#2|
To give an idea of what you are dealing with, and predicting sales of, here is what the Amazon page has to say about the book
The Big Bang model is now both theoretically and empirically well established. However, the very beginning of our universe still remains mysterious. General Relativity breaks down at very small spatio-temporal scales and at high energy densities. That is why Quantum Cosmology is needed. Recent developments open up the exciting new prospect of going "beyond" the Big Bang and even finding a physical explanation for it. Surprisingly, the ancient idea of a past-eternal universe is being revived, and fascinating new approaches are also being developed. This book provides an up-to-date overview of the competing scenarios in cosmology and discusses their foundations, implications, and philosophical aspects. It gathers original contributions from the world's leading researchers in Quantum Cosmology, who describe their own work and results in a manner understandable even to non-specialists.
About the Author
* Philosopher of science (Center for Philosophy and Foundations of Science, University of Gießen)
* Astronomy and physics editor of bild der wissenschaft, one of the largest/most influential monthly science magazines in Germany
* Many contributions to cosmology and philosophy of science and nature
|May31-08, 03:55 PM||#3|
Things are not looking so good. I just checked and the salesrank was 3.8 million.
The book is about one month away from official publication date and Amazon is taking pre-orders (for shipping when it arrives).
I guessed that soon after it goes on market (which is 1 July) it will get to rank 100,000, which now seems foolishly optimistic.
If the book doesn't sell, then it certainly will not qualify as a history landmark.
I'm looking for a real change in how people think----the death of the Big-Bang-as-Beginning idea---and event that somehow marks or symbolizes that change. Maybe the change is not yet, and this book is not the milestone. We'll see.
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