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The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Universe Hardcover – Jul 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823025128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823025121
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 25.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,263,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Many of today's amateur stargazers learned their way around the night sky with the observing guides of Ian Ridpath. Among these are The Monthly Sky Guide, now in its 9th edition; the Collins Stars and Planets Guide (known in the US as the Princeton Field Guide to Stars and Planets), now in its 4th edition; and Collins Gem Stars. All these have been continuously in print for over 25 years. A particular interest of Ian's is the Greek and Roman myths of the constellations, which he wrote about in his book Star Tales.

Ian is editor of the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and the last three editions of Norton's Star Atlas, the longest-established star atlas in the world and reputedly the best-known. He is a major contributor to the Dorling Kindersley encyclopedia Universe, and is author of Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Companion to Astronomy. In 2012 he won the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Klumpke-Roberts Award for "outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy", the most prestigious award of its kind.

He is also a leading UFO skeptic and is well-known for his investigation and explanation of Britain's leading UFO case, the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

For more about Ian Ridpath, see his personal website
and his entry in Wikipedia

Support pages for Ian Ridpath's books in print can be found here

For talks by Ian Ridpath see

Read Ian Ridpath's author blog

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overview explanations of the universe 5 Oct. 2003
By Michael B. Brand - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The 384 pages of this book are very well laid out. It is divided into chapters followed by a reference section. The chapters are 1) history of astronomy (pgs 28-51), 2) laws of physics (pgs 54-91), 3) in search of quantum reality (pgs 94-117), 4) the universe: past, present, & future (pgs 120-148), 5) contents of the cosmos (pgs 152-191), 6) our solar system (pgs 194-232), 7) watching the night sky (pgs 236-299), 8) space exploration (pgs 302-335) and a reference sections (336-383) which includes a glossary, an index and multiple tables with facts and figures.
Each of the chapters is divided into 20 or so articles. Each article is laid out on two facing pages with an introduction and clearly defined subheadings. The articles include supporting diagrams and explanations of personalities, milestones, theories, definitions, practical applications, and extra-science concepts (eg, philosophical, social, historical). The entire book is well illustrated. The writing is clear and aimed at the intelligent layman.
The layout of this encyclopedia allows the user to turn to any two-page article and find a self-contained explanation of a particular topic. The articles are logically sequenced, so that the entire encyclopedia could be read sequentially like a textbook. Within each article are page references to related topics.
It is obvious that many intelligent people put much thought and effort into this book. It is of a quality that you would expect to find in a public library, but the price makes affordable for keep in your home. I first discovered this book in our public library and looked it up in Amazon to buy a copy for myself. I had expected the price to be in the $50-$90 range and was pleasantly surprised to find it much lower.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the nature and structure of the universe.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Fun and enjoyable book on physics 5 Sept. 2003
By Magellan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing that I'm the first person to review this great book. This isn't exclusively an astronomy book; it actually covers almost all of classical and modern physics. There are chapters on everything in our universe from the very small to the very large--from quantum mechanics to classical physics, to the solar system to galactic evolution, the Big Bang, and cosmology. If you've wondered about what quarks really do, or the union that produced the electroweak theory, or the theory of the strong nuclear force, what such particles as W and Z bosons, Higgs bosons, gluons, and so on, really do, the cosmological theories of 11-dimensional string physics and membrane or M-theory, this book is a great place to start. To mention just two of the fascinating things I learned, results from the CERN accelerator in Geneva support the idea that nuclear particles absorb Higgs bosons in order to acquire mass, and that the asymmetry in the distribution between positively charged and negatively charged matter in our universe is thought to provide a direction to time itself.
The chapters are beautifully illustrated and the text is very clear and readable, and the subjects are presented at a level that would be useful for secondary up through the first year of college. Many special features and sections accompany the text, such as sidebars illustrating important concepts or capsule biographies of famous physicists and scientists and their contributions, such as those of Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman, and dozens of others. As if that weren't enough, there is a sizeable section on observational astronomy with star maps, a chapter on planetary astronomy, and even one on space exploration detailing every important manned and unmanned mission into space. Finally, there is a glossary of technical terms, tables of useful astonomical information and physical data, and more. This is a great book to just browse or to read for the wealth of information on just about every topic in modern physics and astronomy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Awesome and Awe inspiring 5 Jan. 2005
By astro cat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is not intimidating but it is still very worthwhile, and if you are interested in this subject it would make a wonderful addition to your own library, and for this price it is hard to make a case against owning it.

The short biographies about the legends in astronomy are interesting and many of the pictures are exquisite. The other reviewers have done an excellent job of describing the contents and layout.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Simply Amazing!!! 21 Mar. 2005
By Billy Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is rich with information on the universe in which we live. The text covers just about every major aspect of it...And surpringly offers a great deal of detail on the individual subjects. This detail is something most astronomical books are unfortunately without. A great deal of information plus, overall text structure being wonderful equals Simply Amazing!!
I Agree: This is a Wonderful, Amazing Book 7 Sept. 2005
By STEVEN OROURKE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach astronomy as a volunteer at our high school and at public star parties given by our astronomical society. If this book were just one more "overview" of astronomy (as so many books are), I would warn you away. But it's not - this book is the best I've ever seen. Great fun, comprehensive, exciting illustrations, clear text.. It is 4 years old now in this edition, so it won't have the latest on Mars, or the Shuttle problems, extraterrestial planets, dark energy etc, but it is still great for its coverage of history and concepts, most of which have not changed in 4 years. I will buy the next edition the day it comes out.
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