Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective

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Overview

Sizing Up the Universe reveals an ingenious new way to envision the outsize proportions of space, based on the work of Princeton University professors Richard Gott and Robert Vanderbei. Using scaled maps, object comparisons, and beautiful space photographs, it demonstrates the actual size of objects in the cosmos —from Buzz Aldrin's historic footprint to the visible universe and beyond. The authors offer visual comparisons with astonishing precision and maximum reader-friendliness, conveying clear and ...

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Overview

Sizing Up the Universe reveals an ingenious new way to envision the outsize proportions of space, based on the work of Princeton University professors Richard Gott and Robert Vanderbei. Using scaled maps, object comparisons, and beautiful space photographs, it demonstrates the actual size of objects in the cosmos —from Buzz Aldrin's historic footprint to the visible universe and beyond. The authors offer visual comparisons with astonishing precision and maximum reader-friendliness, conveying clear and understandable explanations of unimaginable vastness. Plus, as an unprecedented bonus, their 1.5-million-selling Map of the Universe is published here for the first time ever in a book—presented on an oversize foldout page that maximizes its eye-popping presentation of satellites, planets, stars, and galaxies. Based on the popularity of the map and of Richard Gott's Time Travel in Einstein's Universe, and offering innovative ways to appreciate the majesty of the universe, this new title should soar.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the vast universe, we are as minute as tiny microbes. In fact, in the scheme of intergalactic things, our planet is just a speck. Nothing, however, presents those daunting proportions more strikingly than Sizing Up the Universe, which uses space photographs, object comparisons, and scale maps to demonstrate the unimaginable enormity of the worlds we live among. As a bonus, this eye-popping, mind-expanding book showcases the bestselling (1.5 million copies sold) Map of the Universe on a suitably giant foldout page. A treasure for the whole family.

From the Publisher
“A feast for the eyes and a banquet for the mind."
Neil de Grasse Tyson, best-selling author and NovaScienceNow host
 
“The genius of Sizing Up the Universe comes directly from the co-authors'
fertile brains. ... It may strike readers, meanwhile, that the authors must have conjured up some sort of Einsteinian space warp to get so much information, in such a variety of vivid, gorgeous and conceptually brilliant forms, into a single book. You can pretty much open it to any page and have an "aha!" moment that will embed itself in your brain. And over time, without even noticing, you may even begin to grasp the true immensity of the universe." ~Michael D. Lemonick, TIME.com
 
"It may strike readers...that the authors must have conjured up some sort of Einsteinian space warp to get so much information, in such a variety of vivid, gorgeous and conceptually brilliant forms, into a single book." —Time

"You can pretty much open it to any page and have an "aha!" moment that will embed itself in your brain." —Time

"The latest attempt to put the cosmos in perspective, and it may be the most effective yet — even though it takes the retro form of a physical book...it also conveys the relative sizes and distances of cosmic objects in so many different and ingenious ways that it becomes a little dizzying — in the best possible sense." –Time

"This is a wonderful book - one I had been waiting for ever since I was eight years old, and one that would make a memorable gift for imaginations young and old." –New Scientist

“magnified stunning views.” –Book News
 
“It’s impossible to fathom the scale of the universe, but Princeton professors Robert Vanderbei and J. Richard Gott sure as heck try.” –The Star Ledger (Newark)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426206511
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 545,251
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Gott is Professor of Astrophysics at Princeton University. A Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate in Physics from Harvard in 1969, he received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Princeton in 1973. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology and at Cambridge University in England before returning to join the Princeton faculty. He is the author of the popular book Time Travel in Einstein's Universe (Houghton Mifflin, 2001; approx. 50,000 copies in American hard cover and paperback editions sold to date, with 11 other editions around the world).
Robert Vanderbei is Professor and Chair of the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. A summa cum laude graduate in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1976, he received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University in 1981. As an amateur astronomer, Vanderbei has taken, from his own back yard, astonishing and very high-quality photographs of astronomical objects, rivaling the best of those shot from some of our greatest observatories.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2011

    My favorite book of 2011.

    A guide for those of us who live in the universe! The images are fantastic. Hats off to Gott and Vanderbei. The pair of authors must be workaholics -- they have managed to squeeze enough information into this short book to keep the reader filled to the brim for many a day.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    gorgeous and smart book about sizes of objects in the sky

    There are many astronomy books that show beautiful pictures of the sky, and there are many smart books that give you a deep understanding of what those pictures are. Sometimes a book even does both together. However, after perusing almost any popular astronomy book, the reader is often left with only an abstract feeling of where and how big the different objects in the universe are, because the sizes and distances involved defy the human mind's grasp and intuition. Unlike Earthly objects, there are no cues in the night sky to help sense the sizes and distances involved -- the human mind is blind in this respect. A few books in the "powers of ten" style convey some understanding of the different scales in the universe, but this new book by Gott and Vanderbei accomplishes this in a truly superb manner. It is not only full of beautiful images and intelligent (yet accessible) text, but its main goal is to give the reader an intuitive understanding and appreciation of how big and far away the different objects in the universe are. It does this through many clever examples and juxtapositions which gradually build up a deep coherent picture and map of the entire known universe in the reader's mind. In addition, it also explains exactly how we know these sizes and distances. Some of the highlights include a beautiful fold-out logarithmic map of the universe (officially known as the Gott-Juric Map), and many amateur images by one of the co-authors (Vanderbei) taken from his backyard that anybody with a modest budget and a little bit of effort can reproduce. The book is also peppered with anecdotes and personal touches that make the text fun and accessible to read. After reading this book, when you look at the night sky, you will no longer see merely an abstract field of dots. Your mind's eye will be opened to the rich and magnificent universe we live in.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    A Book of Wonder - Highly Recommended

    Gott and Vanderbei's book "Sizing Up The Universe" is wonderfully written and illustrated.

    The size of the universe is actually astonishing and this book really puts that in perspective.

    You get a real understanding of our place in the cosmos.

    The printing quality and and text and picture quality are excellent and typical of a National Geographic publication.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Highly Recommend - Amazing

    Excellently written, easy to understand perspective of the universe complete with illustrations and photos.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    It's a Huge Gorgeous Universe

    This gorgeously illustrated tour of the universe explains the apparent and actual size of the universe and the objects in it from the earth to the cosmic microwave background. Gott and Vanderbei's book has the best presentation of the universe's scale out of the many astronomy books out there. Well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Astronomically great book on Universe sizes!

    This is an spectacular book on sizes in the Universe. It is clearly written and illustrated with breathtaking imagery on everything from the constituents of our Solar System to the beginning of the Universe. Many of the featured places have comparison objects displayed in the exact scale, which is perfect for putting these hard to imagine sizes into perspective. This book belongs on the reference shelves of astronomers, in the classrooms of all science teachers, and on the coffee tables of all astronomy lovers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Fantastic Way to represent the universe

    Extraordinarily educational. True to the title, it certainly shows the wonder of our universe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    A must have resource for anyone that ponders the vastness of the cosmos

    This well illustrated book uniquely depicts the vastness and wonders of the cosmos.

    What I found most useful was the discussion of the apparent size of objects, such as the comparison of our Moon with the Andromeda Galaxy, the distances within our own solar system and Milky Way galaxy, and the universe nicely illustrated with a fold out Gott-Juric Map portraying the relative distance of the major objects and structures of the known universe.

    The images are awe-inspiring and provide a realization of the vastness of objects and distances in the cosmos.

    This book is a welcome addition to my amateur astronomy collection of twenty-five years. Although I have many books and journals on the topic of the universe, our galaxy, the solar system and all associated structures and objects, this book stands out for its ability to clearly communicate complex concepts using words, breath taking images, and illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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