1st ed.
Publisher, Date:
New York : W.W. Norton, c2004.
345 p., [32] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
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.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
7 17 18 20 67 72 76 98 129 130 131 133 134 150 166 168 170 175 299
Preface : A meditation on the origins of science and the science of origins -- Overture : The greatest story ever told -- pt. 1. The origin of the universe. In the beginning -- Antimatter matters -- Let there be light -- Let there be dark -- Let there be more dark -- One universe or many? -- pt. 2. The origin of galaxies and cosmic structure. Discovering galaxies -- The origin of structure -- pt. 3. The origin of the stars. Dust to dust -- The elemental zoo -- pt. 4. The origin of planets. When worlds were young -- Between the planets -- Worlds unnumbered : planets beyond the solar system --pt. 5. The origin of life. Life in the universe -- The origin of life on Earth -- Searching for life in the solar system -- Searching for life in the Milky Way galaxy -- Coda : The search for ourselves in the cosmos.
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  Library Journal Review

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 astronomersAin fact, any reader who enjoys popular scienceAwill 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.ADenise Hamilton, Heritage Christian Sch., Ridge, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
An exploration of new theories about the formation and evolution of the universe traces from the big bang, through the first three billion years on Earth, to today's search for life on other planets.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Preface: A Meditation on the Origins of Science and the Science of Originsp. 15
Overture: The Greatest Story Ever Toldp. 25
Part IThe Origin of the Universe
Chapter 1In the Beginningp. 33
Chapter 2Antimatter Mattersp. 46
Chapter 3Let There Be Lightp. 53
Chapter 4Let There Be Darkp. 64
Chapter 5Let There Be More Darkp. 78
Chapter 6One Universe or Many?p. 98
Part IIThe Origin of Galaxies and Cosmic Structure
Chapter 7Discovering Galaxiesp. 111
Chapter 8The Origin of Structurep. 122
Part IIIThe Origin of Stars
Chapter 9Dust to Dustp. 147
Chapter 10The Elemental Zoop. 167
Part IVThe Origin of Planets
Chapter 11When Worlds Were Youngp. 183
Chapter 12Between the Planetsp. 194
Chapter 13Worlds Unnumbered: Planets Beyond the Solar Systemp. 204
Part VThe Origin of Life
Chapter 14Life in the Universep. 225
Chapter 15The Origin of Life on Earthp. 233
Chapter 16Searching for Life in the Solar Systemp. 250
Chapter 17Searching for Life in the Milky Way Galaxyp. 274
Coda: The Search for Ourselves in the Cosmosp. 291
Glossary of Selected Termsp. 297
Further Readingp. 323
Image Creditsp. 327
Indexp. 329
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