Dark energy. Dark matter. These strange and invisible substances don't just sound mysterious: their unexpected appearance in the cosmic census is upending long-held notions about the nature of the Universe. Astronomers have long known that the Universe is expanding, but everything they could see indicated that gravity should be slowing this spread. Instead, it appears that the Universe is accelerating its expansion and that something stronger than gravity--dark energy--is at work. In Einstein's Telescope Evalyn Gates, a University of Chicago astrophysicist, transports us to the edge of contemporary science to explore the revolutionary tool that unlocks the secrets of these little-understood cosmic constituents. Based on Einstein's theory of general relativity, gravitational lensing, or "Einstein's Telescope," is enabling new discoveries that are taking us toward the next revolution in scientific thinking--one that may change forever our notions of where the Universe came from and where it is going. 8 pages of color; 40 black-and-white illustrations
The reason why Newtonian thought is insufficient for GPS devices is because it cannot account for the components intrinsic to the very fabric of reality itself, namely the the analogous relation between space & time, known as the space time continuum. Newton thought only in terms objectified as objects. Einstein's thinking was different, he didn't think in terms of discrete objects, but RELATIONS.
Einstein's thinking is embodied in this picture of Earth depicted relative to the space/time continuum (relation).
A complete explanation of Einstein's achievement is given in this article, it explains how a shift in thinking from discrete objects (Newtonian) to relations (Einstein's concept of relativity) helps account for GPS devices (satellites).
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent "grand design" of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion-or does science offer another explanation?
The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet-if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.
In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the "top-down" approach to cosmology that Hawking and Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the "multiverse"-the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.
Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a "model-dependent" theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.
A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform-and provoke-like no other.
Unexpected hot spots in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) could have been produced by black holes evaporating before the Big Bang. So says a trio of scientists led by mathematical physicist Roger Penrose in a paper presenting new evidence that our universe is just one stage in a potentially infinite cycle of cosmic extinction and rebirth. Other researchers, however, remain sceptical that the microwave background really does contain signs from a previous “aeon”.
Please continue reading at PHYSICSWORLD.COM