The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2001 - Science - 556 pages
3 Reviews
What is the cosmos? How did it come into being? How are we related to it, and what is our place in it? The Book of the Cosmos assembles for the first time in one volume the great minds of the Western world who have considered these questions from biblical times to the present. It is a book of many authors-Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo are here, of course, in all their genius, but so are Edgar Allan Poe, Annie Jump Cannon (a "human computer" and lyrical classifier of stars), and Sir Martin Rees, who proposes an "ensemble of universes" of which ours happens to be among the most interesting.In these pages the universe is made and unmade in a variety of configurations; it spins along on superstrings, teems with intelligent life, and could end without warning. The Book of the Cosmos provides a thrilling read to set the heart racing and the mind soaring.
  

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User Review  - tungsten_peerts - LibraryThing

I have mixed feelings about this book. It is nice to have all this material between the covers of a book: much of it is hard to find or a bit obscure. BUT I can't shake a sense that the editor comes ... Read full review

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Wisdom. Kurzweilai.net Kurzweil big thinkers.

Contents

We Have Seen But Few of His Works
5
Twice into the Same River?
15
The Things of the Universe Are Not Sliced Off with a Hatchet
21
Atoms and Empty Space
26
The Moving Image of Eternity
34
The Potency of Place
40
He Supposes the Earth to Revolve
46
A Geometrical Argument
49
The Intelligence of the WatchMaker
294
Must We Then Reject the Infinitude of the Stars?
297
The Great Principle That Governs the Universe
301
The Unfailing Connection and Course of Events
305
The Primordial Particle
310
The Shadow The Shadow
315
Unraveled Starlight
320
Astronomy Still Young
329

No Erratic or Pointless Movement
53
Turning the Universe Upside Down
61
The Peculiar Nature of the Universe
71
The Weaknesses of the Hypotheses
78
Their Peculiar Behavior Confounds Mortals Minds
81
We Consider Time a Thing Created
85
From This Point Hang the Heavens
92
If a Man Were in the Sky and Could See the Earth Clearly
95
A Single Universe in Which Each Star Influences Every Other
99
Almost Contrary to Common Sense
107
The Poetic Structure of the World
121
This Art Unfolds the Wisdom of God
125
A Star Never Seen Before Our Time
131
This Little Dark Star Wherein We Live
135
Innumerable Suns and an Infinite Number of Earths
143
Neither Known Nor Observed by Anyone Before
148
Galileo and the Geometrization of Astronomical Space
158
This Boat Which Is Our Earth
166
The Two Books of God Agree with Each Other
176
They Hoist the Earth Up and Down Like a Ball
181
A World in the Moon
187
A Very Liquid Heaven
194
The Eternal Silence of These Infinite Spaces
198
This Pendent World
201
But One Little Family of the Universe
209
Into the Celestial Spaces
223
Discernible Ends and Final Causes
232
The Planetarians and This Small Speck of Dirt
236
A Signal of God
243
The Beautiful Preestablished Order
248
An Event So Glorious to the Newtonian Doctrine of Gravity
253
A Voice from the Starry Heavens
258
This Most Surprising Zone of Light
262
How Fortunate Is This Globe
268
To Become Adequately Copernican
275
Laboratories of the Universe
280
As Certain as the Planetary Orbits
288
The Peculiar Interest of Mars
337
Cosmical Evolution
345
Cosmos Without Peer and Without Price
350
Curved Space and Poetry of the Universe
353
The Man in the Accelerated Chest
359
It Is Not True That All Is Relative
369
Spacetime Tells Matter How to Move
374
The Architecture of the Celestial Mansions
383
The Quickening Influence of the Universe
388
You Have Broken Newtons Back
393
The Realm of the Nebulae
397
Driven to Admit AntiChance
404
Did the Expansion Start from the Beginning?
410
This Big Bang Idea
414
Incomprehensible Magnitude Unimaginable Darkness
421
That AllButEternal Crimson Twilight
426
The Cosmic Oasis
429
The Very Womb of Life
433
The Urge to Trace the History of the Universe
436
To Transform the Universe on a Cosmological Scale
441
The No Boundary Condition
451
Prisons of Light
455
A Very Lumpy Universe
463
A Cosmic Archipelago
467
Cosmological Natural Selection
470
The Ultimate Free Lunch
485
Was There a Big Bang?
491
What We Cannot See and Yet Know Must Be There
501
Their Extravagant Smallness
509
Cosmic DustBunnies
513
Mystery at the End of the Universe
519
Do the Heavens Declare?
525
Glossary
532
Further Reading
540
Copyright Acknowledgments
542
Index
547
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Dennis Danielson is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he teaches honors and graduate courses in the literature of cosmology.

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