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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...
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.
The book is unconventionally organized, with units titled "Motion," "Matter," "Energy," and "Frontiers." The unit on motion begins with Hubble and the expanding universe, illustrated with a handsome and instructive drawing of ladybugs on an expanding sphere. Good physics is mixed in with the astronomy. Galileo's idea of inertia and Newton's laws of motion appear on a page with a photograph of Galileo's own drawings of the positions of the moons of Jupiter that he discovered.
The book marks the opening in February 2000 of the Rose Center for Earth and Space of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.. The center includes the revised Hayden Planetarium in an 87-foot sphere that is completely visible from the outside of a surrounding cube that has three transparent faces. Author Tyson is director of the planetarium, and both he and Liu are on the research staff of the museum, as well as having academic appointments at Princeton and Columbia, respectively. Irion is a noted science journalist. Together, their prose is accurate and very readable.
Astronomical topics such as supernovas and black holes are covered, and so are physics points of view like relativity. The latest image of the supernova remnant known as Cassiopeia A from 1999's Chandra X-ray Observatory is accompanied by images in other parts of the spectrum forcomparison. Clear discussions of the greenhouse effect, the evolution of stars of different masses, and windows of transparency in the Earth's atmosphere are accompanied by beautiful, striking artwork.
One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos can be an inspiration, and I recommend it to all. Highly Recommended, Grades 7-College, Teaching Professional, General Audience. REVIEWER: Dr. Jay M. Pasachoff (Williams College)
At my high school's 20-year reunion, during the obligatory assessments of how well time had treated us all, I won the "coolest job" contest in a straw poll of those attending. As an astrophysicist and director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, I get to spend my days decoding the nature of the universe and creating journeys through the cosmos for the public to see.
Almost before I could pronounce "astrophysicist," I knew I wanted to be one. For my original inspiration I had simply looked up to the sky with binoculars and small telescopes. But to further my education I looked to books. I started my own neighborhood dog-walking service to support my book-buying habit. I first began snapping up Isaac Asimov's nonfiction works on the universe. I had met Asimov as a teenager on board the SS Canberra, which had been converted to a floating science lab where all manner of astrophysical experiments were conducted. The trip's mission was to record one of the longest eclipses on record back in 1973. The prolific Dr. Asimov gave a thoroughly entertaining and informative lecture (steeped in his inimitable Brooklyn accent) on the history of eclipses. I went home and immediately bought as many of his books as I could lay my hands on. Books such as Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery and Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and Space made me look beyond my own world into places I had only begun to imagine. Happily enough, 15 years later, I would remind Dr. Asimov of this eclipse cruise in a letter, humbly requesting that he write a jacket blurb for my first book, a Q&A on the cosmos, Merlin's Tour of the Universe. Asimov agreed, and thus my own writing career was born.
In my early teens, because my dog-walking business was a success, I continued to add to my library. George Gamow's One, Two, Three...Infinity remains the most influential science book I have ever read, with Edward Kasner and James R. Newman's Mathematics and the Imagination coming in a close second. Both are terrific books by authors who could equally enlighten and entertain the reader.
Later, as a scientist thinking about reaching out to the public, I was drawn to the popular works of Carl Sagan. He could communicate complex scientific ideas and issues using simple poetic imagery. My contemporary Sagan collection includes his memoir, Billions & Billions, as well as his acclaimed Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark and Broca's Brain. My favorite of the recent biographies is William Poundstone's Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos. Sagan wrote his books out of a deep love for astronomy and an even deeper love for teaching it to others.
I have tried hard with my own books to create the feeling of accessibility and oneness with the universe. I have tried to bring down to earth the knowledge that we are at home in the cosmos.
Neil de Grasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and a visiting research scientist in astrophysics at Princeton University. Since 1995, Tyson has written the popular monthly essay "Universe" for Natural History magazine. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Tyson earned a B.A. in physics from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University.