Freese ’77 Demystifies the Quest for Dark Matter

freese author photo

Katherine Freese ’77

The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter, by Katherine Freese ’77 (Princeton University Press)

The Author: Freese is a professor of physics at the University of Michigan and associate director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics. She researches dark matter and builds models of the early universe immediately following the Big Bang.

The Book: Cosmic Cocktail recounts the quest to solve one of the most compelling puzzles of modern science — what is the universe made of? Freese describes the predictions, visionary discoveries, and clashing personalities behind the race to identify the elusive particles called dark matter. Many cosmologists believe we now are on the verge of solving the mystery of these particles. Cosmic Cocktail mixes cutting-edge science, insider insights, and personal memoir to provide the foundation needed to understand this epochal moment in our developing understanding of the universe.

Opening Lines: “It was in a hospital bed in Tokyo that I realized I had to become a physicist. I was 22 years old. Although I had earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University two years before, I still felt unsure about what I wanted to do with my life.”

freese book coverReview: Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, says, “Freese offers a gripping first-person account of her life as a cosmologist. The recipe? Part memoir, part tutorial, part social commentary. Shaken, not stirred.”Marcus Chown of New Scientist magazine writes that the book is “captivatingly frank” and “a refreshingly honest account of a frontier field.”

2 thoughts on “Freese ’77 Demystifies the Quest for Dark Matter

  1. Janice Hill '73

    Looking forward to reading the book. The Chandra people had a great demonstration I plan to use this year in Space Club (Elementary School after school, Student Enrichment Program I created). 96 black jelly beans and 4 or 5 colorful ones to demonstrate proportion of dark matter and dark energy to “visible” matter and energy? Is visible the right word? What is proper word to use as a counter to Dark matter and Dark energy?

  2. Maureen Coffey

    Thanks for a book that seems woth while pursuing. I recently read of another cosmologist who other women always commend “Well, what a good profession for a woman to be in” – meaning “cosMETologis”. She then started calling herself astrophysicist outside her professional circle. With Freese’s good looks she probably gets that “compliment” even more often. As for the “many cosmologists believe” – I actually read a book by Fred Hoyle, the then doyen of British astrophysics and at the time, almost fifty years ago, he shared the same conviction 😉


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