on 5 May 2011
This is one of the best introductory books about the universe that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It has a great story to tell: how the universe - the cosmic landscape beyond the solar system - was discovered. That storyline takes us from Galileo's discovery of the Milky Way ("a congeries of stars") to the astonishing finding that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, powered by mysterious dark energy. This fascinating tale of discovery is supported by beautiful illustrations and photographs (as we expect from Thames and Hudson). Paul Murdin's prose is, as always, superb, poetic, and accurate. Professor Murdin, a distinguished professional astronomer, has a real gift for bringing the people involved in discovery alive, and for showing how science is done. This is a highly accessible and enriching book, which beautifully showcases the awesomeness of the cosmos, without using technical language or (heavens forbid!) the biggest turnoff in popular science written by professionals: equations and calculus. I can strongly recommend this book as inspiring reading for younger people who are considering taking a degree level course in physics or astronomy, and for all watchers of the skies who want to know "what's up there?"
on 11 June 2011
Following a lecture by Paul Murdin, I purchased his book to follow up his talk and further understand the detail, and it certainly helped me to enjoy his presentation more fully.
The sequence introducing famous astronomers from 1543 to 1919 covering an amazing range of astronomy discoveries, from the recognition that the the Sun is the centre of the Solar System to Gravitational lenses bend the path of light.
Professor Murdin fascinated his ametuer audience with the extensive details of the many discoveries and astronomy advances he covered.
Secrets of the Universe: How We Discovered the Cosmos I purchased from Amazon at a welcome cost and although used, is in excellent condition, also supplied very quickly and now being studied with great satisfaction.