Cover image for The fifth essence : the search for dark matter in the universe
The fifth essence : the search for dark matter in the universe
Krauss, Lawrence M., 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [1989]

Physical Description:
xvii, 342 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB791.3 .K73 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A Yale physicist tells the story of dark matter, its discovery, its importance to our understanding of the universe, and of the experiments that are presently being carried out around the world to determine what this mysterious missing mass is and what its future will be.

Author Notes

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist. Krauss is professor of physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the only physicist to have received awards from all three major U.S. physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics.

Lawrence Krauss received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics from Carleton University and his Ph.D. in physics from MIT. Krauss taught at Yale University and was Chairman of the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University.

Krauss is the author of several bestselling books, including The Fifth Essence (1991), Fear of Physics (1994), The Physics of Star Trek (1995), Beyond Star Trek (1997), Quintessence (2001), Atom (2002), Hiding in the Mirror (2005), Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science (2010), and A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012).

(Bowker Author Biography) Lawrence M. Krauss is the bestselling author of "The Physics of Star Trek", among others. He received his Ph.D. in physics from MIT & now chairs the Department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Through various observational findings and theoretical studies, astronomers and physicists engaged in cosmological research have been persuaded that most of the mass in the universe is embedded in ``dark matter'' not visible in optical telescopes. This apparent fact has a critical effect on current notions about both the origin and the future of the universe. Krauss, a research physicist, reviews the details and then proceeds to describe several possible types of exotic substances, none of them as yet proven to exist, which might constitute the dark matter. In doing this, he leads his readers through some of the most mind-stretching areas of theoretical physics and cosmology. Although the book is not highly technical, lay readers had best start with some knowledge of modern physics. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Krauss, a particle physicist (Yale), has the ability to explain physics and astrophysics in simple terms without using mathematics. He starts with the Greek philosophers and their four elements: water, earth, air, and fire, and the fifth essence (quintessence) of which the universe is built. Then he lays out the theories and facts of modern astrophysics: "Big Bang," expanding universe, curved space-time, average mass density, and the recent discovery that more than 90 of the mass out there is invisible--dark matter or "fifth essence." He then explains fundamental particles: protons, neutrons, electrons, neutrinos, and their antiparticles. It is clear that Krauss has decided that dark matter must be composed of vast numbers of exotic particles, either left over from the Big Bang or somehow created since. He has designed the last half of the book like a whodunit, and examines the possibility that dark matter may involve neutrinos, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS), axions, and magnetic monopoles. Clues to particle natures include processes of creation and destruction of each type of particle, and the possibility of detecting them. This holds the reader's interest and may serve to instruct about particle physics; however, some of the concepts are so complex that a background of college physics is necessary for even partial understanding. There are several helpful diagrams, two appendixes (one on powers of ten, the other on the time sequence in Big Bang theory), and a good 20-column index. For all undergraduate audiences. -T. Page, NASA Johnson Space Center