|About the Book|
Its been three decades since I first read this book. I decided to read it again after having just read Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson because it seemed that Asimov had told a similar story, but in the opposite order in terms of mass. That is, the latter books starts with the universe and works its way down to planets, and Asimovs starts with the smallest objects, working its way progressively up to the most massive and the universe as a whole.Asimov explains the difference between planets, stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, etc. in such a clear and logical manner that it puts the whole range of states of matter in a context that even lay persons like myself can understand. The differences in densities of the various celestial bodies alone is truly amazing, as is the eventual triumph of the weakest of the four forces, gravity, over the other three.At the time of the books publication Dark Matter and Dark Energy had yet to be proposed or confirmed, Inflation Theory had not been proposed, Black Holes were still theoretical, and Pluto was still one of the major planets with an estimated mass double that of Mercury and 50 times its current estimate. But still, even today with all that has been learned since the book was published, I feel it is still a worthwhile and enjoyable read for anyone wanting to understand the universe and our unique place in it.