We have entered a new age of exploration and discovery, enabling us to probe ever more distant reaches of space and greatly advance our knowledge of the Universe. Today, telescopes peer not only into outer space, but also into the deep past.
Paul Murdin takes us on an original and breathtaking journey across the lifetime of the Universe, from the first milliseconds of the Big Bang right up to our present moment and even beyond. Murdin draws on the latest discoveries in astronomy to describe the most important characters and events in the life of our Universe: the most powerful explosions, the most curious planets, and the most spectacular celestial bodies. He charts our developing understanding of the cosmos, showing how thinkers have deduced profound truths from even the simplest observations – everyone can see that it is dark at night, but only recently have we understood this as proof that the Universe has not been the same forever. Since then, the Universe has grown up from childhood: astronomers have tracked it as it passed through maturity and as it now moves into middle age.
Murdin shows how our own lives were seeded from the Big Bang, galaxies, stars and planets. He considers some of the key questions: how did structures like galaxies and ourselves emerge from the dense maelstrom of the Universe’s birth? How did the ‘dark matter’ that we can’t even see speed up the development of galaxies, and how does ‘dark energy’ work to speed up the expansion of the Universe? Why hasn’t the Universe collapsed in on itself – and will it one day? And finally, he offers a glimpse into the future old age of our Universe, and what it means for us all.
'A biography that contains all biographies and a stunning read from the Big Bang to the birth of our efforts to understand the Universe. I highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the life of our cosmos'
Adam G. Riess, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2011
'A magnificent guided tour through the cosmos … the next best thing to actually flying out into space and seeing the Universe for yourself'
'Marvellous … A refreshing perspective and some unusual lines of evidence that explore roads less travelled in other popular accounts … It’s Murdin’s text that takes centre-stage, and rightly so, as it’s a model of concision and clarity'
BBC Sky at Night
'[A] beautiful tour through the cosmos ... Murdin offers easy-to-grasp explanations of knotty physics concepts[...]and also shows how the invention of radio astronomy, satellites and ever-more complex telescopes has led to a deeper understanding of space ... Beautifully illustrated ... For readers interested in space but new to the game, this is a fine place to start'
'A super biography … would appeal to both the historian of astronomy and to those who wish to know more about the origin of the Universe'