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One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos First Edition Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0309064880
ISBN-10: 0309064880
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 Publishers Weekly

Startling, sparkling color photos and very accessible explanations of the laws and history of physics make this book a treat. Its pictures, clean diagrams, spiffy typography and bite-size takes on mass and energy--from quarks to Coriolis effects to quasars--mark its origins in a celebration: the volume coincides with the reopening of the Hayden Planetarium at Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History. Tyson (who runs the planetarium), Liu (a physicist at the museum) and Irion (a contributing editor at Science) make the science they explain sound both awesome and painless. The authors begin and end at the cosmological level, with the Big Bang and the expanding universe; in between, they cover black holes, meteor strikes, spectral lines, particle accelerators, "gravity waves" (which astronomers might find soon), extraterrestrial life (we're still looking) and the elusive particle called the Higgs boson (ditto). The expanding universe (in which galaxies constantly move apart from one another) gets illustrated with ladybugs on the surface of a balloon. Zippy orange computer-enhanced photos show how a solar system can coalesce from "a disk of leftover material swirling around a new star." A "hyperkinetic unicyclist" helps explain Einstein's special relativity. And sandy beachside toes, shown next to a potholder and an iron pan, illustrate how nonconducting materials prevent, while conducting materials facilitate, the transmission of heat. This is a book seemingly designed more to be browsed than to be read straight through, and it might not mind just being admired (especially if it sends readers to the planetarium). A glossary and timeline can help readers learn, look up and remember the info so many physicists worked hard to discover. 30,000 first printing. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Joseph Henry Press; First Edition edition (December 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0309064880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0309064880
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Want to know what a supernova, neutron star or black hole is, explained in everyday language? If so then this is the book you are looking for. Simply put, it's the perfect source for easy to understand explanations about all facets of astronomy and astrophysics. Find out how astronomers know the universe is expanding, how they determine how far away other galaxies are, or how a supernova happens. Learn about energy and particle physics, all explained in an intelligent yet easy to understand fashion. Learn about the different states of matter, about energy and Einsteins theory of relativity. Nicely formatted with stunning graphics, I highly recommend this book, especially to those with no background in the sciences who are looking for a simple, easy to understand yet intelligent explanation of science.
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Format: Hardcover
The beauty of this book is apparent as soon as you open it. It is filled with wonderful pictures that help to explain the valuable information that is contained in this book. Neil De Grasse Tyson has taken the information that most of us find to difficult to understand and brought it to a level that makes it not only understandable, but exciting to read. The pictures give us a visual understanding of the dynamics of all the things around us. This is a book for all, young and old. I especially found it to be a great way to stimulate the minds of our youth, who seem to have lost interest in many of the sciences. This book breathes new life into a subject that affects all of us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now that science fact has become stranger than science fiction, it's good to have a book that explains the physical universe in clear prose and pictures. The authors' stated intention is to make readers feel "at home in the Cosmos," although many of the astronomical photographs might leave us a bit in awe of the place where we live. In fact, I'm surprised that the authors didn't use more images from the Hubble space telescope. Perhaps it is because their stated intention is to explain, not simply astound. Conceptual drawings such as "How protons decay" are also found in abundance.
Tyson, Liu, and Irion introduce readers to 'the' golden age of astronomy (Right here. Right now) and explain the principles that govern our everyday lives, as well as the workings of the cosmos. That's quite a lot to accomplish in a book that is also a visual feast (400 full-color illustrations). However, the authors are well-suited to tackle the job. Neil de Grasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Charles Liu is an astrophysicist at the Museum. Robert Irion is a free-lance journalist, and a contributing editor and correspondent to Astronomy and Science.

Using everyday analogies (as opposed to mathematical formulae), the authors take us on a journey through our universe, from the infinitesimal to the infinite. Here is an example illustrating Newton's second law of motion:
"Imagine standing behind two people wearing roller skates. One is a 90-pound ballerina, and the other is a sumo wrestler who weighs five times as much. If you push on each person with equal force (and tact), you will accelerate the ballerina five times more quickly. That ratio holds true in space as well."
"One Universe" includes an illustrated timeline of the major advances in astronomy and physics, from Democritus to Hale-Bopp.
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Format: Hardcover
This work would make a wonderful gift for a student in
grammar school or early high school. It has a thorough
explanation of the color band, motion and energy.
Major Newtonian laws are explained and demonstrated. The author
demonstrates comparative orbital forms; such as, the arch,
ellipse, parabola and hyperbola. He explains how changes
in matter are a function of temperature, pressure and density
factors. The work concludes with some important theories of
an expansive universe. The book is challenging-intellectually.
The science is firmly grounded in classic theories of
Sir Isaac Newton and a host of other important mathematicians
and physicists.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lavishly illustrated to support the text, this large format book is a wonderful addition to any reader's library. While I have started reading it it is going to take me awhile to fully comprehend the subject matter
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book. I can't decide if it is a coffee table book or a textbook? There are so many pictures involved that are stunning that anyone just sitting down to peruse through it would be fascinated for an hour or more. They would also find themselves learning about the universe, the Cosmos. That's because when you see the pictures you are just drawn to want to read the captions and learn what they are, then in turn you want to read the textbook portion to learn even more. The learning experience is fascinating.

I am a Theologian and thus I am happy to say that I am a young earth believer and also a believer in Intelligent Design, i.e. in God, Yahweh, Elohim, the I am of the Bible. So, I have a definite take on the details of the creation of Earth and the creation of the universe. I am not drawn to the "scientific" or "Astronomic's" of the Big Bang Theory.

BUT, I must say that as I read through this textbook I found that it was teaching me more and more about the Universe and the Galaxies and stars and planets than I ever imagined I would learn, and learn quickly.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson does a great job in this textbook of laying the ground work for the "Big Bang Theory" and the resulting galaxies that "evolved" out of it. Like I say, I am not a fan of that theory, BUT, it was so interesting to read and understand his concepts and they helped me to form even more knowledge and belief in the fact that the universe is incredible and I believe must have had an intelligent designer to create it.
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