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Stardust (Penguin Press Science) [Kindle Edition]

John Gribbin , Mary Gribbin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

One of the most fabulous revelations afforded by modern cosmology is the fact that we are all stars, literally. The elements which comprise our bodies (like iron or oxygen) were all forged in the burning cores of distant suns, before being flung across the endless wastes of space by the enormous force of stellar explosions. Great stuff!

Now well-known writer and respected astrophysicist John Gribbin has taken this fairy-tale bit of Big Science and used it as the central premise for a book: which describes how the cosmos made us, and what we can therefore make of the cosmos. It's essentially a biography of man from the molecular point of view, with diversions into evolution, astronomy, geology, extra terrestrial life, and so on. One of the more poetic notions covered is that of "panspermia", the idea that the seeds of life are continually being carried across the universe--like so many sycamore keys in an autumn wood. The author definitely sides with those who believe the answer to life is "out there".

As always with John Gribbin, the writing is fresh and accessible, the thinking clear if occasionally complex. The real joy of Stardust is its perspective: in contrast to so many pop cosmology writers, Gribbin has managed to tell a fairly well-known tale in an original and very satisfying way.--Sean Thomas

Product Description

'Superb ... Gribbin has done it again ... the story of how the matter that makes up our bodies travelled from the stars ... a wonderful account' Sunday Times, Books of the Year

Every one of us is made of stardust, John Gribbin explains in this dazzling book. Everything we see, touch, breathe and smell, nearly every molecule in our bodies, is the by-product of stars as they live and die in spectacular explosions, scattering material across the universe which is recycled to become part of us.

It is only by understanding how stars are made and how they die that we can every understand how we came into being. Taking us on an enthralling journey, John Gribbin shows us the scientific breakthroughs in the quest for our origins. With the raw materials for creating life all around us, he concludes, it is impossible to believe we are alone in the universe.

'An incredible story ... gives a sense of the almost unbelievable coincidence of physical laws and circumstances that resulted in your being able to read these words today' Literary Review

'Gribbin skilfully and engagingly traces the historical sequence ... rather like Sherlock Holmes reading clues' New Scientist

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5002 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue ed edition (27 Aug. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9LXK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #204,206 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luminous stuff by science-writing luminary! 14 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
John Gribbin's work is always readable, and particularly fascinating to those with a non-scientific background like myself. But with Stardust he excels himself. Taking the simple premiss that everything in the world (including yourself!) is made out of the hydrogen and helium from the very first stars of the Big Bang, Gribbin weaves a tale as luminous as any he has ever written. In prose that is pure and highly entertaining, this old war-horse of science writing provides a skilled explanation of a difficult subject. Fascinating stuff!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Like all novice astronomers, I have a limited knowledge of the subject; I'll be honest, this is the first book ive brought to help me understand the true nature of the universe and it has lived up to its title very well - the cosmic recycling of stars, planets and people - He explains complex scenarios with the blessing of being able to make them easy to understand. The book's journey starts with the birth of an atom and finishes with the death of a star not forgetting to mention all that goes on inbetween. I have throughly enjoyed reading this book. Thankyou John. He's the Bill Bryson of Astronomy !
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The science book of the year 14 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
If you only buy one science book this year, it has to be John Gribbin's STARDUST. I rate this the best book he has ever written, and either his writing style is getting easier or I am getting used to it. The story of how we are literally made of dust from stars is mind-blowing in itself, and the stories he tells of the people who made the discoveries bring it all to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book! 11 Feb. 2011
I've read a few of John Gribbin's other books and I know he's a fantastic author. This book is no different! A great book for people who don't have an extensive background in physics, and want to know a little more about the way stars work, and what affect their lives and deaths have on us. This is a vibrant, exciting area of science. This book was a wonderful read, and it also helped me with my A-level coursework. A definite must for anyone interested in the science of stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, interesting, but not 5 stars 28 Nov. 2010
This book left me a little confused, not by the subject matter, but more about whether the book was aiming to present an historical account of the various discoveries / theories that have resulted in the present understanding of where the elements on earth came from, or whether it was trying to be a popular science book trying to explain the above. Or maybe John Gribbin is trying to do both.

On the plus side, there are no tricky explanations of quantum mechanics and astrophysics and the historical details are presented in a very readable fashion.

On the negative side, as I believe another reviewer has mentioned, it does tend to wander backwards and forwards a little, both within an historical framework and between the subjects.

That said, if you are starting out and no very little about twentieth century astronomical discoveries then you will certainly learn something by buying this book. If I had paid full price I would have been disappointed and probably more inclined to giving it three stars, but having paid slightly more than the cost of postage by buying second hand then I feel a little less aggrieved.
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