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Stardust (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – 27 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue ed edition (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140283781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140283785
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Science: A History and Deep Simplicity. He is famous to his many fans for making complex ideas simple, and says that his aim in his writing - much of it done with his wife, Mary Gribbin - is to share with his readers his sense of wonder at the strangeness of the universe. John Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback
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 By owain.groves1@ntlworld.com on 17 Feb 2001
Format: Hardcover
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 By A Customer on 14 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback
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 By H. Moretti on 11 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By Clare Topping on 28 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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