Cover image for Invisible matter and the fate of the universe
Invisible matter and the fate of the universe
Parker, Barry R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Plenum Press, [1989]

Physical Description:
x, 297 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB982 .P37 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A sound, unembarassing popular discussion of the evidence and arguments of the "open" and the "closed" universe partisans. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The fate of the universe is explored in an absorbing, often astonishing study of contending theories of the cosmos as either "closed" or "open." At issue, as Parker presents it, is the amount of cosmic mass. Excess mass will cause an eventual collapse (this is the closed theory), whereas too little will enable expansion to continue forever (the open theory). With these theories as context, Parker leads us through the complex tasks of calculating the quantity of matter and finding the elusive, theoretical "dark matter." The effort involves descriptions of the various star types, black holes, and exotic subatomic particles such as neutrinos, monopoles, and quarks. Mathematical astronomy is presented nontechnically, affording easier understanding of such topics as gravity lenses, quantum theory, and Newton's laws. In conclusion, the book looks at the end of the world and considers humanity's alternatives as the universe darkens. Glossary, references; to be indexed. --George Hampton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Astronomers and cosmologists believe that as much as 99% of the matter in our universe is hidden from our view. Astronomer Parker engagingly details the ongoing search for this ``missing matter'' and its implications for the ultimate fate of our universe: if there is enough matter, then the universe is ``closed'' and gravity will cause it to collapse into the ``big crunch''; if visible matter is all there is, the universe will expand forever and gradually stars, galaxies and even protons will evaporate. What the dark matter might consist of is debated. Candidates include a variety of exotic particles (axions, photinos), magnetic monopoles, massive neutrinos, or faint, undernourished stars called brown dwarfs. However, there may be no ``missing matter,'' we also learn in this accessible guide to a scientific controversy. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

The latest of several popular level books on one of the great mysteries of modern astronomy: what is the "hidden" matter that apparently makes up at least 90 of the universe? The author discusses the observational evidence for hidden matter, many of the possible theoretical explanations for this matter, and the future of the universe and life on earth. There are interesting interviews with many of the astronomers working on the hidden matter problem, and the reader gets a good feeling for the frustrations and rewards of doing cutting-edge science. Unfortunately, there are a number of annoying errors (the earth's population is erroneously described as becoming theoretically "infinite" in the late 21st century, for example), and the wording is occasionally unclear. Libraries might prefer other recent books on this subject: Michael Disney's The Hidden Universe (CH, Oct '85) for its technical details, Wallace Tucker's The Dark Matter (CH, Oct '88) for its extensive list of references and clear, accurate writing style, and James Trefil's The Dark Side of the Universe (CH, Jan '89) for its poetic eloquence. -T. Barker, Wheaton College (MA)