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Compact Cosmos

1 INTRODUCTION As we gaze out into the vastness of space,or look within to the subatomic worlds of matter, an intricate tapestry is revealed. Vast harmonic weaves of energy crisscross dimensions and, in passing, generate the spacetime wonderland of the universe. The essential paradox of existence has inspired generations to look to the skies and beyond. Even now,we are dipping our toes into a largely uncharted ocean that stretches far beyond our familiar,quiet corner of the Milky Way galaxy. The science of cosmology is still at an early stage. Most of the universe is so far away, and behaves so bizarrely, that we have only the sketchiest understanding of the processes involved. This little book explores some of the ideas painstakingly developed by many great minds attempting to understand the magnificence. At a point in time where humanity is waking up to the enormous changes happening to our own tiny planet,the heavens are revealing spectacular scenes of starbirth and calamity, splendor on a scale almost beyond imagining,yet all,it seems,mere ripples in a greater hyperdimensional pond. Long ago shamen believed that every stone and tree had a guardian spirit, while a modern mystic might say the same of the coiling plasmas that shape nebulae and galaxies. Our place in space may be one of an infinitude,or as unique as the rarest of gems. Life, and an awareness to experience it with, is blessing beyond compare.
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