One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos

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9780309064880: One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos

A new window opens onto the cosmos...

Almost every day we are challenged by new information from the outermost reaches of space. Using straightforward language, One Universe explores the physical principles that govern the workings of our own world so that we can appreciate how they operate in the cosmos around us. Bands of color in a sunlit crystal and the spectrum of starlight in giant telescopes, the arc of a hard-hit baseball and the orbit of the moon, traffic patterns on a freeway and the spiral arms in a galaxy full of stars--they're all tied together in grand and simple ways.

We can understand the vast cosmos in which we live by exploring three basic concepts: motion, matter, and energy. With these as a starting point, One Universe shows how the physical principles that operate in our kitchens and backyards are actually down-to-Earth versions of cosmic processes. The book then takes us to the limits of our knowledge, asking the ultimate questions about the origins and existence of life as we know it and where the universe came from--and where it is going.

Glorious photographs--many seen for the first time in these pages--and original illustrations expand and enrich our understanding. Evocative and clearly written, One Universe explains complex ideas in ways that every reader can grasp and enjoy. This book captures the grandeur of the heavens while making us feel at home in the cosmos. Above all, it helps us realize that galaxies, stars, planets, and we ourselves all belong to One Universe.

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Review:

Don't let the large size and lush graphics fool you--One Universe is no coffee-table book. This grand tour explores the staggering vastness of space and the incomprehensibly tiny pieces that fit together to make our bodies, our planet, comets, and cosmic rays. Astrophysicists Neil de Grasse Tyson and Charles Liu of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and science journalist Robert Irion have teamed up to put a planetarium in a book, and while you'll have to provide your own choral background music, the images are sharp and beautiful and the accompanying text is clear and engaging. The authors clearly love their subject and their work and even the most casual reader will find the book as inescapable as a black hole.

See supernovae, eclipses, and the end of the universe in all its quiet glory--but just as your eyes are drawn to the pretty pictures, your mind will seek out the explanations and elaborations accompanying them. Tyson is well known as the director of the Hayden Planetarium and has a brilliant knack for exciting people about astronomy without condescending or diluting; in fact, his respect for the public's intelligence is one of the best features of One Universe. Whether you want to get the latest on time and space, inspire students, or (dare we say it) show off your coffee table, this is well worth checking out. --Rob Lightner

From the Publisher:

Authors Neil Tyson, Charles Liu and Robert Irion received a 2001 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for their book, One Universe.

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