Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution

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Overview

Origin's 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 orbiting planets, and of different forms of life. "Distill[s] complex science in clear and lively prose." —Scientific American Book Club..."The most informative, congenial and accessible general look at cosmology to come along since Carl Sagan's Cosmos 27 years ago," says Publishers Weekly. "The tone is informational, aimed at high ...

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Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution

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Overview

Origin's 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 orbiting planets, and of different forms of life. "Distill[s] complex science in clear and lively prose." —Scientific American Book Club..."The most informative, congenial and accessible general look at cosmology to come along since Carl Sagan's Cosmos 27 years ago," says Publishers Weekly. "The tone is informational, aimed at high clarity, and laced with giddy humor . . . 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." "Introduces the vibrant general-interest literature about individual post-Sagan advances in astronomy and cosmology."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Because of recent scientific discoveries, our knowledge of the details of cosmic evolution continues to grow. As the director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson makes his living communicating what we know about the evolution of our universe to the widest possible audience. In Origins, he distills the complex breakthroughs of geology, biology, and astrophysics into clear and lively prose.
Jeff Zaleski - Publishers Weekly
“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
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. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Scientists are achieving a new understanding about the origins of our universe as the disciplines of geology, biology, and astrophysics bleed into one another. Astrophysicist Tyson is the director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium; Goldsmith is an astronomy writer with more than 20 books to his credit. Together, they have crafted 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. Amateur astronomers--in fact, any reader who enjoys popular science--will find fascinating information presented in clear but never patronizing language. The mysteries of the cosmos have wide appeal, and this reader-friendly title, timed to coincide with the four-part Nova series on PBS in late September, is highly recommended for small academic and all public libraries.--Denise Hamilton, Heritage Christian Sch., Ridge, NH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Companion volume to a PBS Nova special takes a look at the origins of life, the universe, and everything. Hayden Planetarium director Tyson and popular science writer Goldsmith (The Hunt for Life on Mars, 1997, etc.) begin with the earliest time science is capable of describing, milliseconds after the Big Bang. Essential features of our universe were laid down in that unique moment, some of which-e.g., the minuscule excess of matter over antimatter-science is still at a loss to explain. Others, including the prevalence of so-called dark matter and dark energy, have only recently come to notice. After a period of cooling, the debris began to resemble the universe we now see. Gravity, light, and matter became predominant, with galaxies and stars taking shape. The authors give clear explanations of the processes involved as far as they are understood; Tyson and Goldsmith are not afraid to admit ignorance. Within the stars, originally composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, the other elements of the periodic table have been synthesized by nuclear fusion and spread about the galaxies in supernova explosions. From these stellar ashes, planets and the other bodies that orbit stars have been formed. The authors give useful updates on the progress in discovery of extra-solar planets (over a hundred are currently known) and of possible abodes of life in our own solar system (Mars, Europa, and Titan are now considered the best candidates). They end with a look at current thinking on the origins of life, a question made more complex by the discovery of extremophiles, creatures that live comfortably in environments formerly considered hostile to life. An accessible and extremely well writtenexploration of the deep waters of cosmology, astrophysics, and exobiology.
Science News
“Tyson and Goldsmith search the depths of the universe for clues to how billions of heavenly bodies, Earth, and life itself began. They energetically cover the breadth of modern cosmology.”
Richard Tihany - Eyepiece
“Animated, good-natured and widely appealing.”
Scientific American Book Club
“Distilling complex science in clear and lively prose, 'Origins' turns the spotlight on cosmic beginnings and shows how we got where we are today.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393327588
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/24/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 104,018
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Donald Goldsmithis an astronomy writer in Berkeley, California, and the author of more than twenty books.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. He has begun production of a new Cosmos series, premiering in early 2013. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Preface : a meditation on the origins of science and the science of origins 15
Overture : the greatest story ever told 25
Ch. 1 In the beginning 33
Ch. 2 Antimatter matters 46
Ch. 3 Let there be light 53
Ch. 4 Let there be dark 64
Ch. 5 Let there be more dark 78
Ch. 6 One universe or many? 98
Ch. 7 Discovering galaxies 111
Ch. 8 The origin of structure 122
Ch. 9 Dust to dust 147
Ch. 10 The elemental zoo 167
Ch. 11 When worlds were young 183
Ch. 12 Between the planets 194
Ch. 13 Worlds unnumbered : planets beyond the solar system 204
Ch. 14 Life in the universe 225
Ch. 15 The origin of life on Earth 233
Ch. 16 Searching for life in the solar system 250
Ch. 17 Searching for life in the Milky Way galaxy 274
Coda : the search for ourselves in the cosmos 291
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Extremely clear for those who are not dedicated cosmologists.

    Enjoyed reading it, learned many things I didn´t know, and understood even the most obscure details. The authors have cited a great number of sources for more in-depth education for those of us who are not into the astronomical sciences (I was a Senior Software Engineer)and have added a comprehensive glossary, very helpful in the case of words with obscure or confusing meanings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2004

    Excellent

    Being a fan of Tyson, I knew this was a must-read, and he doesn't disappoint. This book is a very insightful journey through time and space. Carl Sagan would be proud.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Bot

    It stinxp

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 11, 2014

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    Posted August 27, 2013

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    Posted March 25, 2013

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    Posted May 8, 2011

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