fromDa Capo Press


A Guide to the Cosmos

By Brian Cox, By Jeff Forshaw

An awe-inspiring, unforgettable journey of scientific exploration from Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, the international bestselling authors of Why Does E=MC2? and The Quantum Universe, with 55 black-&-white and 45 full-color pages featuring photographs, diagrams, maps, tables, and graphs

We dare to imagine a time before the Big Bang, when the entire universe was compressed into a space smaller than an atom. And now, as Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw show, we can do more than imagine: we can understand.

Universal takes us on an epic journey of scientific exploration. It reveals how we can all come to grips with some of the most fundamental questions about our Earth, Sun, and solar system--and the star-filled galaxies beyond. How big is our solar system? How quickly is space expanding? How big is the universe? What is it made of? Some of these questions can be answered on the basis of observations you can make in your own backyard. Other answers draw on the astonishing information now being gathered by teams of astronomers operating at the frontiers of the known universe.

At the heart of all this lies the scientific method. Science reveals a deeper beauty and connects us to each other, to our world, and to our universe. Science reaches out into the unknown. As Universal demonstrates, if we dare to imagine, we can do the same.

Brian Cox is a professor of particle physicist and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. He divides his time between Manchester in the UK and the CERN laboratory in Geneva, where he heads an international project to upgrade the giant ATLAS and CMS detectors at the Large Hadron Collider. He has received many awards for his work promoting science, including being elected an International Fellow of the Explorers Club in 2002, an organization whose members include Neil Armstrong and Chuck Yeager. He is also a popular presenter on TV and radio, with credits which including a six-part series on Einstein for BBC Radio 4, 3 BBC Horizon programs on Gravity, Time and Nuclear Fusion, and a BBC4 documentary about the LHC at CERN, “The Big Bang Machine”. He was the Science Advisor on Danny Boyle's movie, the science-fiction thriller Sunshine. Brian also has an unorthodox background in the music business, having toured the world with various bands and played keyboard with D:REAM, who had several UK Top 10 hits including Things Can Only Get Better (re-released & used as Tony Blair's election anthem back in 1997.

Jeff Forshaw is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Manchester, specializing in the physics of elementary particles. He was awarded the Institute of Physics Maxwell Medal in 1999 for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics. He graduated from Oxford University and gained a PhD from Manchester University. From 1992-1995 he worked in Professor Frank Close's group at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory before returning to Manchester in 1995. Jeff is an enthusiastic lecturer and currently teaches Einstein's Theory of Relativity to first year undergraduates. He has co-writing an undergraduate textbook on relativity for Wiley and he is the author of an advanced level monograph on particle physics for Cambridge University Press.

Cox and Forshaw began collaborating on scientific papers in 1998, and have published on topics ranging from Pomerons to Higgs Bosons. Their most successful paper to date deals with physics at the Large Hadron Collider in the absence of a Higgs particle.

"Brian Cox [is] perhaps the most popular scientist of the 21st century."—The National

"[An] accessible, lucid, and entertaining introduction to cutting-edge astrophysics and cosmology. Revealing how scientists explore the universe, the authors celebrate the scientific method as much as the scientific discoveries they address...It's smooth sailing through increasingly complex topics...Curious readers will appreciate how Cox and Forshaw celebrate the scientific process as heartily as they embrace the wonder of the universe."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Readers...will gain a more significant understanding of some profound cosmological phenomena."

—Kirkus Reviews

"Some readers eat popular physics for breakfast. Others yearn for a single simple volume to bring them up to speed, thereby freeing them for the fun stuff (life sciences, tech stories, cat videos). Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw will satisfy both audiences with their broad-brush account of the physical world that still finds room for uncertainty, controversy-even a little light maths. Rarely has a difficult subject been rendered so accessible."—New Scientist

"This is a book about means and processes but also about wonder...Cox and fellow celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson have taken the mantel of generational science communicators once carried by Carl Sagan and Bill Nye...Universal is a bulwark providing an overview of how far we've come in understanding our universe and a taste of where we will go. As our professors and guides, Cox and Forshaw require our curiosity and patience. Passages will be reread. Graphs will be stared at indefinitely without guarantee of comprehension. By the end you will be rewarded with a little understanding and some hope for the future (which is also in great demand in these precarious times)."—Spectrum Culture

"Physicists Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw reach for the stars and lasso the moon in Universal."—Vanity Fair

"This book distinguishes itself by its emphasis on measurement...The book is well indexed and enjoyable. Beginning undergraduates and general readers will find it engaging and informative. Recommended."


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