The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Nearly Nothing

Caleb Scharf, illus. by Ron Miller. Scientific American, $28 (244p) ISBN 978-0-374-71571-7
Scharf (Gravity’s Engines), director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center, leads a fantastic journey from the fringes of the visible universe to the heart of the atom in this mesmerizing look at cosmology, astrophysics, quantum physics, and more. The tour begins at the greatest distance that Earthlings can see, 93 million light years out, where galaxies scatter like dust motes. Scharf moves inward from there to explore our own Milky Way, covering satellite galaxies—such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds—as well as black holes and regions of dark matter. Each step brings the narrative’s perspective closer to Earth, with graphic illustrations that reveal how star systems and planets form. Scharf then guides readers to Earth and deeper, through animal nervous systems, cells, bacteria, and viruses, atoms, and quantum-level entities. He keeps his discussions light and accessible, offering enough detail to fascinate without overwhelming readers. Slick graphics by Hugo Award–winning artist Miller bring science to life, whether it’s gravitational lensing, a zoo of exoplanets, or a garden of elementary particles. This book of wonders is perfect for casual readers, especially young students seeking a broad view of many subjects and how they all fit together. Color illus. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 10/17/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-374-27974-5
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