Astronomy was my dream job as a kid for several years. I bought a subscription to Astronomy magazine and spent hours poring over the beautiful photographs of the cosmos and deciphering the dense scientific prose. The awe-inspiring expanse of the universe was both strange and beautiful. Even though I didn’t pursue a career in astronomy, the night sky continues to pique my interest. There are so many fundamental questions that can be answered by looking at the universe. Is there a beginning? What is the mechanism through which time moves? Is there a possibility that there are other dimensions and other Earths? This list of ten astronomy-themed books is for those of you who enjoy gazing at the night sky as much as I do.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
From the origins of the cosmos to the existence of the universe itself, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME examines these problems in an accessible way. Is it true that the hands of time constantly move forward? Is there a third dimension in the universe? Stephen Hawking’s imagery and imagination bring us closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe.
One of the greatest books ever written about the universe. In “A Brief History of Time,” you’ll understand why Stephen Hawking is one of history’s most remarkable figures. His goal in writing this book was to lay forth a basic explanation of the universe, including the origins of the world, how it functions, and everything in between. If you’re just getting started, I’d start with this book. A solid foundation of knowledge can be built upon in the future with this book.
There are, however, a few things to keep in mind before you get going. Because it’s a little dated, to begin with. In 1998, Bantam Books released the first edition of this book, which I read. Even still, it’s amazing to see how much he properly predicted in that 10-year time span. Of course, in the last two decades, we’ve learned a lot more. Good thing is that Hawking was already ahead of his time, so what he writes about in the 10th edition book and commonly recognized opinions in 2020 are not much of a divergence.
To understand why Hawking became a household name, one had to look no farther than this piece of writing. In “A Brief History of Time,” you’ll learn a lot of new things every time you turn the page. It’s a must-read if you want to get a better grasp on the cosmos.
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
A fascinating journey into the science of extraterrestrial existence. With her witty and insightful science writing, Mary Roach depicts everything from the banal (drinking water and air) to more pleasures like beer and solitude, in a way that’s both fascinating and relatable.
The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll
The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland was announced after billions of dollars were spent and the efforts of thousands of researchers. This finding is critical to understanding why mass exists and offers a door into the fascinating world of dark matter. In Sean Carroll’s book, he takes readers behind the scenes to meet the experts and discuss this historic event in detail.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
HIDDEN FIGURES tells the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women mathematicians who contributed to some of NASA’s greatest accomplishments. You can still enjoy this book even if you’ve already seen the Oscar-winning film.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
Carlo Rovelli, a prominent theoretical physicist, introduces us to modern physics in a lighthearted, engaging, and mind-boggling way in this humorous, entertaining, and mind-boggling introduction to modern physics.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Throughout his book, Carl Sagan explores the origins of life, the brain, Egyptian hieroglyphs, space missions, the death of the sun, galaxies’ evolution, and the causes and persons who shaped modern science in a clear-eyed manner spanning 14 billion years of cosmic evolution.
Beyond Einstein by Michio Kaku
Superstring theory is the subject of BEYOND EINSTEIN, a book that takes readers on an exploration that could realize Albert Einstein’s longtime aim of bringing all the rules of nature together into a single, all-embracing theory. With the excitement of a detective story, the book examines scientific concerns with a fascinating look at the emerging science that might make the impossible conceivable.
The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel
Well-written history of the “human calculators” hired at the Harvard College Observatory to analyze the observations produced by their male colleagues each night through the use of a telescope. While glass photographic plates of the stars were being studied by women in the mid-nineteenth century, they produced extraordinary findings that forever changed our view of space and time.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, joins the list of notable scientists. “A Brief History of Time” is a great companion to this book. DeGrasse Tyson adds a dash of whimsy to Hawking’s encyclopedic knowledge of the universe, while Hawking supplies the intellect. Stephen Hawking’s book was written for everyone, scientists and the general public alike. On the other hand, deGrasse Tyson’s is geared toward the average Joe who wants to learn more about science and the cosmos but isn’t an expert. It’s a slim volume that might easily be mistaken for a quick read.
Some of the ideas in this book will be carried over from the last one, but there will be some new ones as well. Initially, I read this book in order to get a better understanding of the subject matter. If I could go back in time, I’d have started with the book before this one. For those who aren’t yet convinced to read the books in order, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is a great way to get a taste of what these topics are like.