Everybody is intrigued by ideas such as the Big Bang and black holes, and we all want to know how we fit into the Universe at large. Scientists now understand better than ever before the scope of the Universe and its origins, and the variety of objects it contains, from quasars and pulsars to galaxies and the inner workings of our own Sun. But such has been the pace of progress, especially in the recent past, that the story has been fragmented, with no single, user-friendly guide to present the broad sweep as well as the detailed discoveries.
Companion to the Cosmos tells the whole story of the Universe and the people who made the discoveries. A brilliant science populariser and an award-winning writer, John Gribbin has watched many of these stories develop from the inside. He tells us everything we want to know about the Universe, with the clarity and easy style familiar from his earlier books such as _In Search of the Big Bang_, _Schrödinger's Kittens_, and _Ice Age_.
The Companion begins with an extended Introduction where Gribbin sets out the present state of knowledge, and explains the key discovery of current cosmology--that the Universe is evolving and growing. The main A-Z encyclopedic section of the book is a mixture of lengthy feature articles on major subjects (e.g. black holes, gravity, galaxy, life in the Universe, super novae), shorter entries, and biographies of the scientists, complete with over 100 illustrations and photographs. In the final section, `Timelines,' cosmological discoveries are set out alongside key dates in general history and the history of science, from the time of the ancient astronomers of Greece and Babylon up to the present day.
Serious students will find this an essential guide. More casual readers will find it easy to dip into and hard to put down as the interwoven threads lead the reader from one linked topic to another. Companion to the Cosmos is a brilliant tour deforce and a book that nobody interested in the world around us can afford to be without.