Don’t be scared, it’s just astrophysics.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Free Press
Fred Adams is all smiles.

Astrophysics minus the bleary eyed, hair-graying, ramen noodle-filled all-nighters before a physics exam.

Tonight, University Physics Prof. Fred Adams will share his thoughts on our universe in a way we can understand. He will be reading from his new book, “The Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe” at Borders. Adams tells us that even before geology, oceanography and astronomy, there were the four forces of nature and physics.

He explains, “In some sense, the biggest questions in astrophysics are questions of origins: The origin of the universe, the production of galaxies, the formation of stars and planets … it seemed natural to write about the birth of everything in the universe.”

Adams’ goal with “The Origins of Existence” was to convey how “these laws of physics help us understand how the universe evolves and creates structures.” The book details the fundamental principles and philosophies of modern astrophysics in seven clean chapters. It jaunts back billions of years in time to witness the birth of the universe with the Big Bang and follows through the creation of galaxies, stars, planets and eventually, life.

Adams provides the insight that we are certainly not alone in the universe. Formation of life wasn’t just a lucky fluke, but a complex chain of events that can be broken down and explained by a few physical laws.

The Prof. also claims that life originated deep inside Earth rather than in the ponds of the surface. Trodden by explosions about 3,000 times more powerful than a nuclear war, our planet safely hid life deep underground until the surface was inhabitable.

Adams chose to write “The Origins of Existence” because of his fascination with the topic. His interest in the natural world along with 20 years of research on “star formation, planet formation and cosmology (the study of the origin and evolution of the universe as a whole)” allowed him to synthesize selected findings into one complete book.

“The Origins of Existence” is a natural progression from his first book, which he co-wrote with Greg Laughlin called “Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity.” While his first book considered the death of the universe, “Origins” speculates how life began. By covering the formation in detail, “This book also fills a niche – it tells the ‘whole story'” said Adams.

Continuing with a natural extension of the “whole story,” Adams is currently working on research about the future evolution of the universe, star formation and the formation of black holes in centers of galaxies.

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