J. Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies--a magnificent structure now called the "cosmic web" and mapped extensively by teams of astronomers. Here is his gripping insider's account of how a generation of undaunted theorists and observers solved the mystery of the architecture of our cosmos. The Cosmic Web begins with modern pioneers of extragalactic astronomy, such as Edwin Hubble and Fritz Zwicky. It goes on to describe how, during the Cold War, the American school of cosmology favored a model of the universe where galaxies resided in isolated clusters, whereas the Soviet school favored a honeycomb pattern of galaxies punctuated by giant, isolated voids. Gott tells the stories of how his own path to a solution began with a high-school science project when he was eighteen, and how he and astronomer Mario Juri? measured the Sloan Great Wall of Galaxies, a filament of galaxies that, at 1.37 billion light-years in length, is one of the largest structures in the universe.
Drawing on Gott's own experiences working at the frontiers of science with many of today's leading cosmologists, The Cosmic Web shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.
J. Richard Gott is professor of astrophysics at Princeton University. His books include Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel through Time. He lives in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
Acknowledgments ix Preface xi Chapter 1. Hubble Discovers the Universe 1 Chapter 2. Zwicky, Clusters of Galaxies, and the Discovery of Dark Matter 28 Chapter 3. How Clusters Form and Grow-Meatballs in Space 41 Chapter 4. The Great Void in Bootes-A Swiss Cheese Universe 64 Chapter 5. Inflation 79 Chapter 6. A Cosmic Sponge 103 Chapter 7. A Slice of the Universe-the Great Wall of Geller and Huchra 135 Chapter 8. Park's Simulation of the Universe 144 Chapter 9. Measuring the Cosmic Web-the Sloan Great Wall 155 Chapter 10. Spots in the Cosmic Microwave Background 180 Chapter 11. Dark Energy and the Fate of the Universe 193 Notes 227 References 235 Index 245