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Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolutionby Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith
Synopses & Reviews
Origins explores cosmic science's stunning new insights into the formation and evolution of our universe — of the cosmos, of galaxies and galaxy clusters, of stars within galaxies, of planets that orbit those stars, and of different forms of life that take us back to the first three seconds and forward through three billion years of life on Earth to today's search for life on other planets.
Drawing on the current cross-pollination of geology, biology, and astrophysics, Origins explains the thrilling daily breakthroughs in our knowledge of the universe from dark energy to life on Mars to the mysteries of space and time. Distilling complex science in clear and lively prose, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos revealing what the universe has been up to while turning part of itself into us.
"This is the most informative, congenial and accessible general look at cosmology to come along since Carl Sagan's Cosmos 27 years ago — and, like Cosmos, it's a companion to a PBS series, in this case a Nova special (to air on September 28 and 29). But Tyson (The Sky Is Not the Limit, etc.), who's director of Manhattan's Hayden Planetarium, and Goldsmith (Connecting with the Cosmos, etc.) are no Sagan clones; they bring a distinct point of view and tone to this title. The point of view surfaces right away, both with their concerted effort to draw in numerous branches of science to explain the story of cosmic evolution, and with the statement that 'science depends on organized skepticism.' The authors continually refer to the reach and limits of science, explaining, as they offer a chronological tour of cosmic history, just what they think science can tell us and what it can't (as they end the journey, focusing on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, they deliver several sharp blows to true believers of UFOs). The tone is informational, aimed at high clarity, and laced with giddy humor: 'A hundred billion years from now... all but the closest galaxies will have vanished over our horizon of visibility. Enjoy the view while you can.' Beginning at the beginning, Tyson and Goldsmith tackle the origin of the universe and its nature — from antimatter to dark matter and dark energy to the possibility of multiverses; how the universe became organized; the origin of stars; a fascinating look at the periodic table; the origin of planets, including a vivid discuss of planets outside our solar system; and the origin of life. Much of this material will necessarily be familiar to regular readers of popular science, but even they will benefit from Tyson and Goldsmith's incorporation of the latest cosmological developments, from string theory to recent thinking on dark energy; and if this book breaks out, as it has real potential to do, general readers of every stripe will benefit from the authors' sophisticated, deeply knowledgeable presentation. If the casual book buyer purchases one science book this year, this should be the one." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] terrific historical perspective on humanity's pursuit of answers that offers insights into the recent findings that have both expanded our knowledge and raised even more intriguing questions." Library Journal
"An accessible and extremely well written exploration of the deep waters of cosmology, astrophysics, and exobiology." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Tyson, an astrophysicist and director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, and astronomy writer Goldsmith, present a written account of their tour of the cosmos and theories of cosmic phenomena (which has also been a Nova special on PBS). Using many down-to-earth examples and two sections of color plates, they discuss topics such as antimatter and dark matter, Type Ia supernovae and cosmic background radiation (and their contribution to dark energy and expanding universe theories), the concept of the multiverse and the "ekpyrotic model" of the cosmos, the birth of galaxies and Hubble's future successor (the James Webb Space Telescope), the origin of planets and recent discoveries, and the origin of life on Earth and search for life in our solar system and beyond.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Tyson explores cosmic science's stunning new insights into the formation and evolution of the universe — of the cosmos, of galaxies and galaxy clusters, of stars within galaxies, of planets that orbit those stars, and more.
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