Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS

(updated October 31, 2009)


Seekers Humanists Atheists Naturalists
Agnostics Nonreligionists Nontheists Antireligionists
Realists Educationalists Experimentalists Freethinkers
nlightened Rationalists Secularists

- - - Books Added on October 31, 2009 - - -

044. Endless Universe : Beyond the Big Bang,
by Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok
"... Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok have developed
an alternative way of seeing the universe in which the
big bang was not the beginning but simply a cataclys-
mic moment in a history of cycles, with no beginning
and no end, and in their book they explain all this in
terms that are by no means too difficult for the non-
physicist to understand. ...

Excerpt from Universe(s) Origin(s) 3 of 7 - Multi-
'... M Theory may really be able to explain
everything in the Universe, but the victory will be
bittersweet, for at the end of its long quest, science
has discovered that the Universe it's thought to ex-
plain may be nothing special. It is nothing more than
one of an infinite number of membranes, just one of
the many universes which make up the multiverse. ...'

Excerpt from Universe(s) Origin(s) 5 of 7 - Cyclic
'... A new theory of the universe suggests
that space and time may not have begun in a big bang, 
but may have always existed in an endless cycle of
expansion and rebirth. ...'

Excerpt from Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Daily,
020902 to 021402
'... A Recycled Universe ...Uni-
versal cycle of birth and rebirth - Big bangs result
when two 10-dimensional "branes" collide (1) and
expand (2) and then collide again (4). In this scenario,
our universe (3) marks just one phase in this infinite
cycle. ...'

Excerpt from Universe(s) [with videos]'... 3 Physi-
cists (Burt Ovrut, Neil Turok, Paul Steinhardt) on
a Train (trying to figure it all out) ... 'M' Theory may
be Able to Explain Everything in the Universe, The
Universe may be Nothing Special -- It is Nothing
More than One of an Infinite Number of Mem-
branes -- Just One of the Many Universes which
Make Up the Multiverse ...'

Excerpt from What did the 'big bang' bang into?
'... Endless Universe ... According to this theory,
the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the
bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles
of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of
new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars,
and planets. ...'

043. Parallel Worlds : A Journey Through Creation,
Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos,
by Michio Kaku
"... String theory is a recent development in physics
that, by positing that all which exists is composed
of infinitesimally small vibrating loops of energy,
seeks to unify Einstein's theories and those of quan-
tum mechanics into a so-called 'theory of everything.'

In 1999, Greene, one of the world's leading physi-
cists, published The Elegant Universe (Norton),
a popular presentation of string theory that became
a major bestseller and ... a highly rated PBS/Nova

... this new book... offers a lively view of human
understanding of space and time, an understanding
of which string theory is an as-yet unproven advance.

To do this, Greene takes a roughly chronological
approach, beginning with Newton, moving through
Einstein and quantum physics, and on to string theory
and its hypotheses (that there are 11 dimensions, ten
of space and one of time; that there may be an abun-
dance of parallel universes; that time travel may be
possible, and so on) and imminent experiments that
may test some of its tenets. ..."

Quote from Michio Kaku, part of a BBC Special
on Parallel Universes, excerpted from Universe(s)
Origin(s) 3 of 7 - Multiverse?
'... The latest under-
standing of the multiverse is that there could be an
infinite number of universes each with a different law
of physics. Big Bangs probably take place all  the
time. Our Universe co-exists with other membranes,
other universes which are also in the process of
expansion. Our Universe could be just one bubble
floating in an ocean of other bubbles. ...'

042. In Search of the Multiverse, by John Gribbin
"... We once had to abandon the idea of earth being
at the center of the universe. Now, we need to con-
front an even more profound possibility: the universe
itself might just be one universe among many.

In Search of the Multiverse takes us on an extraor-
dinary journey, examining the most fundamental
questions in science. What are the boundaries of
our universe? Can there be different physical laws
from the ones we know? Are there in fact other
universes? Do we really live in a multiverse?

This book is a search - the ultimate search - explor-
ing the frontiers of reality. Ideas that were once sci-
ence fiction have now come to dominate modern

And, as John Gribbin shows, there is increasing evi-
dence that there really is more to the universe than
we can see. Gribbin guides us through the different
competing theories ... revealing what they have in
common and what we can come to expect. He gives
a brilliant tour of the current state of cosmology.

John Gribbin is our best, most accessible guide to
the big questions of science. And there is no bigger
question than our search for the multiverse. ..."

041. Many Worlds in One : The Search
for Other Universes, by Alex Vilenkin
"... Vilenkin, a Tufts University physicist, ... discus-
sing the creation of the universe, its likely demise
and the growing belief among cosmologists that
there are an infinite number of universes. Vilenkin
does an impressive job of presenting the back-
ground information necessary for lay readers to
understand the ideas behind the big bang and
related phenomena.

Having set the stage, the author then delves into
cutting-edge ideas, many of his own devising. He
argues persuasively that, thanks to repulsive gra-
vity, the universe is likely to expand forever. He
goes on to posit that our universe is but one of
an infinite series, many of them populated by our

Vilenkin is well aware of the implications of this
assertion: 'countless identical civilizations [to ours]
are scattered in the infinite expanse of the cosmos.
With humankind reduced to absolute cosmic insig-
nificance, our descent from the center of the world
is now complete.' ... "

040. Before the Big Bang : The Prehistory
of Our Universe, by Brian Clegg
"... we may never have a definitive answer to the ques-
tion, What came before the Big Bang? But there are
lots of theories running around waving their hands to
be noticed and get funding. Clegg devotes the first
half of his book to the problems that face big bang
theorists (When did the bang happen? How big was
it? What caused it?).

He then gives equal time to those who are looking
to send that theory the way of phlogiston [a defunct
scientific theory that was an attempt to explain oxi-
dation processes such as combustion and the rusting
of metals].

Many alternative origin-of-the-universe theories
postulate either that there have been cyclical uni-
verses — each ending in a Big Crunch, followed by
another Big Bang, or that our universe really exists
in a giant black hole,or that universes can bud off
one another. ...

In Clegg’s words, the Big Bang theory 'has the
feeling of something held together with a Band-
Aid. Whether what came before our universe was
another universe or nothing, or something else yet
unconsidered, for now the most accurate answer
might be: We just don’t know.' ..."

039. The Universe Before the Big Bang : Cosmology
and String Theory, by Maurizio Gasperini
"... What happens to the big bang singularity within
string theory? Did time have a beginning? These
and other pre-eminent questions, whose implica-
tions go far beyond the boundaries of physics and
even of science, lie at the forefront of today's re-
search in theoretical particle physics and cosmology.

Maurizio Gasperini succeeds in this book in drawing
a thorough - yet very accessible and captivating -
panorama of the various answers that have so far
emerged to those basic questions, and of the cos-
mological observations which may soon allow a
stringent test of our most advanced theoretical ideas.

... The idea that the Universe we observe today
originated from an enormous explosion (big bang)
is now well known ... But what happens to the
Universe before the big bang? And would it make
any sense at all to ask such a question?

In fact, recent progress in theoretical physics, and
in particular in String Theory, suggests answers to
the above questions, providing us with mathematical
tools able in principle to reconstruct the history of
the Universe even for times before the big bang.

In the emerging cosmological scenario the Universe,
at the epoch of the big bang, instead of being a 'new
born baby' was actually a rather 'aged' creature in
the middle of its possibly infinitely enduring evolution.
... The author, himself a leading cosmologist, draws
attention to ongoing and future observations that
might reveal relics of an era before the big bang. ..."

038. From Eternity to Here : The Quest for the
Ultimate Theory of Time, by Sean Caroll
"... Time moves forward, not backward - everyone
knows you can't unscramble an egg. In the hands of
one of today's hottest young physicists, that simple
fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to under-
standing the Big Bang, the universe, and other uni-
verses, too.

In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that
the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past
to the future, owes its existence to conditions before
the Big Bang itself - a period modern cosmology of
which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though,
physicists are going out into realms that make the
theory of relativity seem like child's play.

Carroll's scenario is not only elegant, it's laid out in
the same easy-to- understand language that has
made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most
popular physics blog on the Net.

From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge
of theoretical physics to explore how properties of
spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow
of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll
suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a
large family of universes in which many of our sib-
lings experience an arrow of time running in the
opposite direction. It's an ambitious, fascinating
picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale ..."

037. Why does E=mc2? (and why should we care?),
by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw
"... a journey to the frontier of 21st century science
to consider the real meaning behind the iconic se-
quence of symbols that make up Einstein’s most
famous equation, E=mc2.

Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose
a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass?
What has the speed of light got to do with energy
and mass? In answering these questions, they take
us to the site of one of the largest scientific experi-
ments ever conducted.

Lying beneath the city of Geneva, straddling the
Franco-Swiss boarder, is a 27 km particle acceler-
ator, known as the Large Hadron Collider. Using
this gigantic machine — which can recreate condi-
tions in the early Universe fractions of a second
after the Big Bang — Cox and Forshaw will des-
cribe the current theory behind the origin of mass.

Alongside questions of energy and mass, they will
consider the third, and perhaps, most intriguing
element of the equation: 'c' - or the speed of light.
Why is it that the speed of light is the exchange

Answering this question is at the heart of the inves-
tigation as the authors demonstrate how, in order
to truly understand why E=mc2, we first must
understand why we must move forward in time
and not backwards and how objects in our 3-
dimensional world actually move in 4-dimensional
space-time. In other words, how the very fabric
of our world is constructed. ..."

036. Collider : The Search for the World's
Smallest Particles
, by Paul Halpern
"... Top Ten Ways the Large Hadron Collider Could
Revolutionize the World of Science (Content from
Paul Halpern):

1. Solve the riddle of dark matter ...

2. Complete the puzzle of the Standard Model ...

3. Identify the ... Higgs boson ...

4. Reproduce some of the intense conditions of the
Big Bang ...

5. Explain the universe’s shortage of antimatter ...

6. Generate miniature black holes ...

7. Reveal gateways to higher dimensions ...

8. Unify matter and forces through supersymmetry ...

9. Predict the ultimate fate of the cosmos ...

10. Inspire new generations: to pursue careers in
physics and carry on the search for the ultimate
theory of nature ...

With clarity and a Sagan-esque gift for explanation,
Paul Halpern traces the story of how physicists use
immensely powerful machines to probe the deepest
mysteries of existence. ..."

035. The Universe in a Nutshell,
by Stephen Hawking
"... Hawking's A Brief History of Time, published
in 1988, sold millions of copies even though it was
a tough read for nonscientists. As Hawking says
now, many readers 'got stuck in the early chapters
and never reached the more exciting material later

And so he set out to write 'a different kind of book
that might be easier to understand.' It is. Hawking,
the renowned theoretical physicist who holds Isaac
Newton's former chair as the Lucasian Professor
of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge,
has organized the book so that the two opening
chapters provide a foundation and that each re-
maining chapter stands largely on its own as an
essay on a cutting-edge topic in cosmology. The
illustrations, copious and imaginative ...

... Image from the back cover:

034. A Briefer History of Time,
by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
"... Theoretical physicist Hawking became an inter-
national celebrity thanks to his cosmological primer
Brief History of Time (1988), one of the twentieth
century's biggest best-sellers. ... While Brief History
amassed that sales record, however, its subject
matter didn't stand still, and some kind of overhaul,
Hawking and Mlodinow say, came to seem neces-

They chose to revise in the direction of lesser length,
more illustration, and greater accessibility as they up-
dated to incorporate developments in string theory,
new indications that a unified theory of physics -- one
that comprehends gravity as well as the three other
physical forces -- is possible, and new observations
made by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cos-
mic Background Explorer satellite.

Few will be sorry for their choice, for Briefer History
may be the clearest introduction to physics ever, and
not just because it eschews equations, though that
helps. Its clarity arises from firmly adhering to the
concept announced by the second chapter's title,
'Our Evolving Picture of the Universe.' ..."

033. The Fabric of the Cosmos : Space, Time,
and the Texture of Reality, by Brian Greene
"... String theory is a recent development in physics
that, by positing that all which exists is composed
of infinitesimally small vibrating loops of energy,
seeks to unify Einstein's theories and those of quan-
tum mechanics into a so-called 'theory of everything.'

In 1999, Greene, one of the world's leading physi-
cists, published The Elegant Universe (Norton),
a popular presentation of string theory that became
a major bestseller and ... a highly rated PBS/Nova

... this new book... offers a lively view of human
understanding of space and time, an understanding
of which string theory is an as-yet unproven advance.

To do this, Greene takes a roughly chronological
approach, beginning with Newton, moving through
Einstein and quantum physics, and on to string theory
and its hypotheses (that there are 11 dimensions, ten
of space and one of time; that there may be an abun-
dance of parallel universes; that time travel may be
possible, and so on) and imminent experiments that
may test some of its tenets. ..."

032. Universe (Eighth Edition),
by Roger Freedman, William J. Kaufmann
"... divided into four parts: first, there is a small introduc-
tion into the basics of astronomy, followed by a more
in depth discussion of the solar system. The third part
then covers stars and stellar evolution, while the final
part is devoted to galaxies and cosmology.

... Every chapter (30 in all) ends with a short recapitu-
lation of the most important concepts learned, a good
number of review questions (to which the answers are
supplied in the back of the book) and suggestions for
further reading (books, magazines and weblinks).

The book comes also with a CD, on which there are
further review tests to all chapters (of course with
answers), as well as additional animations and much
more. As if that were not enough, there is a compan-
ion websight that offers additional tests and answers
plus updated information, since after all, astronomy
is progressing swiftly. ...

 ... probably the most clear, in-depth, understandable
treatment of astronomical issues that I have ever read.
Be it stellar evolution, stellar death, theory of relativity,
black holes, galactic evolution -- you name it -- this
book presents the research clearly, and explains tough
to explain issues in terms I can understand. ..."

031. String Theory for Dummies,
by Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
William J. Kaufmann
"... String theory is one of the most complicated
sciences being explored today. ... This informative
guide clearly explains the basics of this hot topic,
discusses the theory's hypotheses and predictions,
and explores its curious implications. It also pre-
sents the critical viewpoints in opposition to string
theory so you can draw your own conclusions.
  • Understand the "theory of everything"
    — grasp the key concepts and importance
    of the theory, and learn why scientists are
    so excited about finding a theory of quan-
    tum gravity

  • It all comes down to physics — discover
    how string theory is built upon the major
    scientific developments of the early 20th

  • Building the theory — trace the creation
    and development of string theory, discover
    its predictions, and see whether accurate
    conclusions can be made

  • Take string theory for a spin — explore the
    core issue of extra dimensions, the implica-
    tions for cosmology, and how string theory
    could explain certain properties of our uni-

  • Boldly go where no one has gone — see
    what string theory has to say about possible
    parallel universes, the origin and fate of our
    universe, and the potential for time travel

  • Hear from the critics — listen in on the
    heated debates about string theory and
    weigh the alternatives being offered ..."

030. Universe : The Definitive Visual Guide,
by Robert Dinwiddie, Robert Eales, David
Hughes, Ian Nicholson, Ian Ridpath, Giles
Sparrow, Pam Spence, Carole Stott, Kevin
Tildsley, Martin Rees (editor)
"... Around 400 pages of eye popping photos of
every aspect of outer space, with crisply written
data-densely-packed comments ... in short blurbs
that are easy to read just a few at a time.

... Science books can seem dry, but because it's
a collection of fascinating photos & the data is in
short paragraphs caption-like for each photo, it
draws you into wanting to read each one. ..."

029. Universe (DK Eyewitness Books), 
by Robin Kerrod
"... From the back cover: Discover an amazing variety
of celestial objects, as well as the beginnings -- and
future -- of the Universe. Fabulous full-color photo-
graphs, many taken with the help of space telescopes,
together with everything from black holes to the Milky
Way, combine to make this a unique 'eyewitness'
account of our universe. ..."

028. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
Physical Cosmology, by User Contributions
"... Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy,
is the study of the largest-scale structures and dyna-
mics of our universe and is concerned with funda-
mental questions about its formation and evolution. ...

Cosmology as a science originates with the Coper-
nican principle, which implies that celestial bodies
obey identical physical laws to those on earth, and
Newtonian mechanics, which first allowed us to
understand those motions. ...

Physical cosmology, as it is now understood, began
with the twentieth century development of Albert
Einstein's general theory of relativity and better astro-
nomical observations of extremely distant objects.

The twentieth century advances made it possible
to speculate about the origins of the universe and
allowed scientists to establish the Big Bang as the
leading cosmological model ...

Cosmology ... drawing heavily on the work of par-
ticle physicists' experiments, and research into phe-
nomenology and even string theory; from astrophy-
sicists; from general relativity research; and from
plasma physics ... unites the physics of the largest
structures in the universe with the physics of the
smallest structures in the universe. ..."

- - - Videos Added on October 31, 2009 - - -

027. DVD : The Universe : Collector's Edition Megaset

026. DVD : NOVA - The Elegant Universe

025. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to Science/Cosmology
(as of October 31, 2009)

041409 Large Hadron Collider Video

071609 Universe(s) Video

- - - Books from the 1999 & 2000 Versions of this post - - -

024. After the First Three Minutes : The Story
of Our Universe, by T. Padmanabhan

"... A clear, state-of-the-art picture of cosmology
for the general reader. Unlike existing popular
books on cosmology, After the first three minutes
does not gloss over details, nor shy away from
explaining the underlying concepts ..."

023. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings,
Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the
Ultimate Theory, by Brian Greene

"... Superstring theory has been called 'a part of
21st-century physics that fell by chance into the
20th century.' In other words, it isn't all worked
out yet. Despite the uncertainties--'string theorists
work to find approximate solutions to approximate
equations' -- Greene gives a tour of string theory
solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate. ...

Greene's focus throughout is the science, and he
gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of under-
standing -- or the sense of knowing what it is that
you don't know. And that is traditionally the first
step on the road to knowledge.

New (added on October 31, 2009) -- For a video
presentation of this book, produced by NOVA in
2003, see DVD : NOVA - The Elegant Universe

022. The Life of the Cosmos, by Lee Smolin

"... Lee Smolin, a professor at the Center for
Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsyl-
vania State University, is about to take you on
the ride of your life. Imagine, if you will, the
theory of evolution applied to physics.

What if our universe is so ideally adapted to
life because it developed that way? What if
ours is just one among many thousands of uni-
verses, all engaged in a cosmic survival-of-the-
fittest struggle? ..."

021. The Fabric of Reality : The Science of Parallel
Universes-And Its Implications, by David Deutsch

"... In the library of physics for laypeople, Deutsch's
book is unique. Correction: it is multiversal, existing
in innumerable universes that Deutsch argues exist
alongside the 'real' universe that people perceive. ..."

020. Parallel Universes : The Search for Other
Worlds, by Fred Alan Wolf

"... Is science fact stranger than science fiction? In an
'outrageous ride along the frontiers of science' (New
Age Journal), physicist Fred Alan Wolf explores the
startling concept of parallel universes - worlds that
resemble and perhaps even duplicate our own - and
puts a refreshing and illuminating spin on the complex
theories challenging our perceptions of the universe.

... Wolf deftly guides the reader through the para-
doxes of today's physics to explore a realm of sci-
entific speculation in which black holes are gateways
of information between universes, and alter egos
spring into existence at the flip of a coin. ...

... get ready for a wild intellectual ride through the
convoluted realms of quantum mechanics, relativity,
black holes and imaginary time. The physicist is
a strong proponent of the 'many-worlds' interpre-
tation of quantum mechanics ..."

019. Before the Beginning : Our Universe and
Others, by Martin J. Rees

"... Although we cannot observe them (and they may
be forever inaccessible), other universes are a natural
expectation from current cosmology. Moreover, many
features of our universe that otherwise seem baffling
fall into place once we recognize this. ..."

018. Just Six Numbers : The Deep Forces
that Shape the Universe, by Martin J. Rees

"... Rees, smoothly traversing a scale of size from
the cosmos to the atom, ponders a profound ques-
tion about the fine-tuning of the six numbers as they
affect our universe. 'Is this tuning just a brute fact,
a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign
Creator? I take the view that it is neither.

An infinity of other universes may well exist where
the numbers are different. Most would be stillborn
or sterile. We could only have emerged ... in a uni-
verse with the *right* combination.'

017. Hyperspace : A Scientific Odyssey Through
Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth
Dimension, by Michio Kaku

"... Kaku, a physicist, paints a vivid portrait of the
groundbreaking theory of hyperspace and its newest
wrinkle -- superstring theory. ... Unified field theory,
as it is currently understood, does not preclude any
of the hypotheses that Kaku invites to this Mad Hat-
ter's Theory Party: superstrings, parallel universes
and, his centerpiece, time travel. ... His intellectual
perceptions will thrill lay readers, SF fans and the
physics-literate. Illustrations.

016. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen
Hawking - 10th anniversary edition (Sep 1, 1998)

"... Hawking's discovery that black holes emit
particles caused great excitement among astro-
nomers. In this succinct overview of current
theories of the cosmos, the Cambridge Uni-
versity physicist ... explains why relativity im-
plies that a 'big bang' occurred and examines
string theory, which posits a universe of 10 or
26 dimensions.

His understanding of time's flow leads him to
conclude that intelligent beings can only exist
during the expansion phase of our increasingly
chaotic universe. New research on black holes
and subatomic particles holds implications for
scientists who, like Hawking, are attempting to
devise a unified theory linking Einstein to quan-
tum mechanics.  ..."

015. Stephen Hawking's Universe: The Cosmos
Explained, by David Filkin,
Foreword by Stephen Hawking

"... A companion piece to the 1997 PBS series that
presents Hawking's ideas on the nature of time, the 
origins of the universe, the properties of other gal-
axies, and other topics to a general audience.

Now, in everyday language, Stephen Hawking's
Universe reveals step-by-step how we can all
share his understanding of the cosmos, and our
own place within it. Stephen Hawking's Universe
is a voyage of discovery with an astonishing set
of conclusions that will enable us to understand
how matter can be produced from nothing at all
and will provide us with an explanation for the
basis of our existence and that of everything
around us.

014. The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-
Universe(s) Report, by Timothy Ferris

"... A clear, elegantly written overview of current
research and a forecast of where cosmological
theory is likely to go in the twenty-first century.
... What does it mean to say that the universe is
'expanding,' or that space is 'curved'? ... sheds
light on the possibility that our universe is only
one among many universes, each with its own
physical laws and prospects for the emergence
of life.

013. The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside
the Physics of Eternity,
by Fred Adams, Greg Laughlin

"... Two brilliant young physicists, Fred Adams and
Greg Laughlin, captured the attention of the world
when they announced they had identified the five
ages of time. But is it possible for us to know the
complete life story of the universe from beginning
to end? The astonishing truth is that recent study
has defined the essential mechanisms of astrophysics
so well that science can now determine the five ages
the universe will go through over its ten thousand
trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion
trillion - year existence.

We now know how the cosmos was born, how it
grew up, how it will shuffle into its old age, and how
it will celebrate its googolth (10[superscript 100])
birthday. With The Five Ages of the Universe, the
mythologies of eternity and apocalypse can now
be matched against scientific fact.

012. The Inflationary Universe : The Quest
for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins,
by Alan H. Guth, Alan P. Lightman

"... A popular, first-hand account of Guth's inflation
theory providing non-mathematical access to the
general public of his ground breaking work.

According to Guth (physics, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology), before the big bang the universe
began in an area smaller than an atom <--> a 'false
vacuum' filled with negative gravity <--> and in the
first fraction of a second before the bang, the nega-
tive gravity produced a 'hyper-inflation' causing the
universe to expand at a rate faster than the speed
of light ..."

011. The Scientific American Book of the
Cosmos, by David H. Levy (Editor)

"... Dazzling full-color and black-and-white photos
aid in articulating the latest theories about the size,
age, nature, and expansion of the universe, and
make this book a delight to behold. Essays are
grouped by topic, from the largest phenomena,
such as the formation of the universe, down to
the smallest detail, such as the makeup of an atom.
In addition, each section contains an illuminating
introduction by David Levy that binds the essays
together and creates a whole picture.

010. On the Cosmic Horizon: Ten Great
Mysteries for 3rd Millennium Astronomy,
by Jeffrey O. Bennett

"... Forecasts what will make headlines in astronomy
in the next thousand years, answering questions
about the Big Bang, aliens, what the universe is
made of, other Earth-like planets, and other
unsolved issues in astronomy.

009. Stardust : Supernovae and Life : The
Cosmic Connection,
by Mary Gribbin (Contributor), John R. Gribbin

"... We are made of stardust - and so is all life as
we know it. Every chemical element on earth ex-
cept hydrogen has been scattered across the uni-
verse in great stellar explosions and recycled into
new stars, planets, and parts of us.

In this engrossing book, John and Mary Gribbin
explain how developments in astronomy from the
1920s to the present day have led to this startling
realization and to a new understanding of the rela-
tionship between the universe and the Earth.

008. Big Bang,
by Heather Couper, Nigel Henbest (Contributor),
Luciano Corbella (Illustrator)

"... This book makes an ambitious attempt to portray
with diagrams and words, but virtually no math, the
current ideas of cosmology, from the first instant
through the present and on to possible endings of
the universe.

Current physics and astronomy are used extensively
in this difficult but effective book, which even class
geniuses will need to read more than once. Illustra-
tions, photos, captions, and text fill the double-page

007. Black Holes,
by Heather Couper, Nigel Henbest (Contributor),
Luciano Corbella (Illustrator)

"... The authors provide a wonderfully readable intro
to a complicated subject, displayed to advantage
in the publisher's trademark format -- chunks of text
with lots of pictures scattered across double-page

Explanations of scientific principles related to black 
holes and fascinating supporting evidence for sci-
ence-fiction-like phenomena, such as worm holes,
are clearly presented, and an assortment of fine
illustrations makes difficult concepts -- among them,
dark matter, singularities,and relativity -- not only
understandable but also easier to visualize. ..."

006. Is Anybody Out There?
by Heather Couper, Nigel Henbest (Contributor),
Luciano Corbella (Illustrator)

"... Does intelligent life exist beyond our planet? This
visually exciting examination looks at both the
myth and the science related to the question.

The authors, both British science writers, describe
what alien life-forms might look like, how we
might communicate with them, and the impact
the discovery of extrasolar planets has had on
the development of scientific equipment.

The book is organized into 17 appealing photo-
spreads, comprising color photographs, detailed
captions, and boxed insets that contain information
about a scientist or about a historic scientific event,
or suggested activities for would-be scientists. The
inclusion of a 'count the alien civilizations' foldout
board game is a bonus.

005. Life Beyond Earth, by Timothy Ferris

"... Combines more than 100 illustrations with Ferris's
rich, thought-provoking text and observations from
such leading scientists as Freeman Dyson, Richard
Gott, and Stephen Jay Gould.

Drawn from Ferris's critically acclaimed, two-hour
PBS documentary, the book covers broad swaths
of time and space, from the South Pacific explora-
tions of Charles Darwin and Captain James Cook
to the latest  space-probe searches for life and
organic matter on Mars, Europa, and Titan.

004. Hubble Space Telescope : New Views
of the Universe, by Mark Voit

"... Hubble's work has been an important adjunct
to other astronomical research, allowing scientists,
for one thing, to age-date star clusters far beyond
our own galaxy and to propose an age for the uni-
verse of about 12 billion to 16 billion years.

It has also inspired lay readers with its trove of
magnificent photographs, of which this book
gathers more than 100 taken over Hubble's years
of duty. ... The images are accompanied with a
well-written explanatory text, altogether adding
up to a volume that rewards repeated visits by
readers of all ages.

003. Cosmic Dispatches: The New York Times
Reports on Astronomy and Cosmology,
by John Noble Wilford (Editor)

"... An unparalleled guide to astronomy today. The
scientists seeking to unravel the mysteries of the
universe are among the most imaginative and pro-
vocative explorers of our time. ...

Recent leaps in technology have allowed astrono-
mers to peer deeply into the universe and to bring
into focus fascinating and unsuspected phenomena.
Cosmic Dispatches conveys in thrilling detail the
meaning and significance of what scientists have
been learning about our universe. Illustrations

002. The Accelerating Universe : Infinite Expansion,
the Cosmological Constant, and the Beauty of the
Cosmos, by Mario Livio, Allan Sandage

"... At least since Copernicus exulted over the
beguiling simplicity of a sun-centered planetary
system, scientists have counted the beauty of
a theory as strong evidence of its truth. ... No
one better understands this disturbing new
evidence than Livio, who helps direct research
conducted with the Hubble Telescope.

001. The End of Time : The Next Revolution
in Physics, by Julian B. Barbour

"... Excerpt of New Scientist article by Julian Barbour:

'Time seems to be the most powerful force, an irre-
sistible river carrying us from birth to death. To most
people it is an inescapable part of life, a fundamental
element of the Universe. But I think that time is an

Physicists struggling to unify quantum mechanics and
Einstein's general theory of relativity have found hints
that the Universe is timeless. I believe that this idea
should be taken seriously. Paradoxically, we might
be able to explain the mysterious 'arrow of time'
-- the difference between past and future -- by
abandoning time.