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Quests from Space – A beautiful journey through the cosmic wilderness

Quests from Space - A beautiful journey through the cosmic wilderness

Beautifully published “Questions from the Universe” is a kind of guide to an astrophysicist, written clearly, with good humor and ideas. Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Treville bring the most important (but not only) astrophysical issues together by circumventing key questions: Where did we come from? What is life? Where are we heading? How will the universe end?

While waiting for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmic Questions”, I foresaw a similar situation to “Cosmic Delight” – one of the author’s previous books. I thought it would be rather a collection of trendy and elegant science articles, but I co-wrote it with fellow physicist James Treville.

Nothing could be more wrong. “Questions from the Universe” is a real popular science bomb, effective, but also wise. In fact, almost a compendium of knowledge about the universe, the structure of matter, and the past and future of the universe. To the questions posed in the subtitle: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we heading? The authors are looking for answers that progressively integrate current scientific knowledge with the latest results of recent space missions, observations and experiments.

Asking always insightful questions about our place in the universe, questions from the cosmos will fuel curiosity, but will also be thrown into a whirlpool of uncertainty, dangling into the abyss where knowledge ends. Why? Because there is a real source of curiosity and horror at the same time: ignorance with the attached antidote , which is the need for awareness, reinforced by scientific methods and tools suitable for cosmic wildlife ”- the authors wrote in the preface.

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Renowned astrophysicist and promoter of astronomy Neil deGrasse Tyson and University of Virginia professor of physics James Treville take us through the history of astronomical discoveries, write about observatories, recall the history of Galileo, and explain step by step what, for example, string theory, dark matter and energy, what happens in The Large Hadron Collider, they explain the types of elementary particles, but they also allocate a large area, for example, to natural selection and how life arose on Earth. In the following parts they write about the search for extraterrestrial life, how the universe originated, when the end of the earth will come, and when the universe will end. It is worth writing here about the clear layout of the book, thanks to which it is also easier for the reader to go through more difficult questions: because he has already found some clues that he made in the previous pages.

It is rather a book for people who are just getting acquainted with the world of astrophysics, written really lightly, understandably and with good humor. However, even for those who are already well versed in such topics, it will be very interesting. Although they probably won’t notice much of the revealing content here, they will find something else. For example, great cool illustrations, graphics and photos. The book is simply beautiful.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s tweets, both in the original – in English and in Polish, in appropriate thematic places, add flavor, too. “Dumplings, cute, creepy, microscopic tardigrades are the dream balloon style of a New York Thanksgiving parade”; “Note to Hollywood: An alien without the typical DNA of terrestrial life must be much different from us than any two forms of life on Earth would be from each other”; “Sometimes I imagine the whole universe as just a snowball decorating an alien’s living room. These are just three samples of the comments of astrophysicists.

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The full version is supplemented with curiosities and framed science stories of famous and lesser known figures from the history of science. So, “Questions from the Universe” is a valuable and enjoyable read.

Eelina Krajczynska

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