The atom split! The universe in motion! Matter is mostly empty space, and space is full of dark matter! These confounding ideas throw the centuries-old view of a stable and predictable world out the window. Twentieth-century discoveries in physics and astronomy reveal the cosmos as a dynamic universe whose origins and destiny we struggle to understand, and whose extremes of size -- from the fleeting existence of subatomic particles to the mind-boggling expanses of time and space -- we can barely fathom. As the century unfolds, physics and astronomy become more and more entwined, inspiring the search for a "grand unified theory" to explain simply everything.
In 1900, like today, the everyday world seemed to follow Newton's laws of physics. But from the opening days of the century, discoveries about the hidden workings of that everyday world suggest all is not as it seems. Quantum theory, relativity, nuclear power, and clues about the birth and death of the universe have rocked our deepest beliefs. "Mysteries of the Universe" brings us close to the men and women -- with their ambitions, intuitions, talents, and faults -- whose work forever altered astronomy and physics.
The lure of the heavens
New View of the Universe
New technology offers new evidence
Redefining space, time, and gravity
New evidence requires new theories
World events shape the course of physics
Lifting the veil from the face of the universe
Beyond the Visible Universe
New stars and physics
Did the universe have a beginning?
Search for simplicity makes things complicated
Views of what's out of sight
Experiencing the mysterious