The Best Books About The Universe

The Books I Picked & Why

Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe

By Brian Greene

Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe

Why this book?

This book covers a dizzying array of human thought: Greene’s trademark is physics, of course – but in this wildly ambitious work, the Columbia University physicist also dives into evolution, the origins of human culture, the origins of art and music and religion – even the puzzle of consciousness and the paradox of free will. He tackles the deepest of questions – including the problem of finding “meaning” in a universe governed only by the laws of physics. Be prepared to go slow. Your brain will get a workout – but it will be worth every minute of your time.


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The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

By Sean Carroll

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Why this book?

In The Big Picture, Carroll, a Caltech physicist, tries to make sense of life, the universe, and everything. Few thinkers are able to cast as wide a net as Carroll – and to do so as effectively as he does in this engrossing book. At the bottom of our understanding of the universe is quantum mechanics, perhaps the most astonishing theory ever devised my humankind. On top of that rests everything else, including time, space, and – somehow – conscious minds. It’s a grand story, told by one of today’s most eloquent storyteller-scientists.


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The End of Everything: (astrophysically Speaking)

By Katie Mack

The End of Everything: (astrophysically Speaking)

Why this book?

Do you ever wonder how everything – the Earth, the stars, the farthest galaxies – is going to end? Katie Mack, an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University, has devoted much of her career to exploring this topic in detail, and in The End of Everything she outlines a half-dozen kinds of fate that may befall our cosmos. But don’t worry, it’s not a depressing book – in fact, it’s just the opposite. Mack’s humor and playful style help to take the sting out of the universe’s temporary status. Plus, we’ve still got billions and billions of years to go – plenty of time to enjoy the adventure.


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Black Hole Survival Guide

By Janna Levin

Black Hole Survival Guide

Why this book?

Black holes are surely the most mysterious structures known to physics. In this short and highly accessible book, Levin, an astrophysicist at Barnard College of Columbia University, brings her unique poetic style to the puzzles found at the frontiers of physics. Warped spacetime, event horizons, singularities – it’s all here. And Lia Halloran’s delightful illustrations help bring the story to life.


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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

By Carlo Rovelli

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Why this book?

If you struggled with physics in high school – or even if you didn’t – this is the book for you. Rovelli, an Italian physicist, manages to take the most difficult concepts in physics, from relativity and quantum mechanics to the nature of space and time, and explain them in straightforward, everyday language. He spells out not only what these idea are, but why they matter. Thanks to Rovelli’s easy-going style, after a few pages you’ll forget that you’re even reading a physics book. It is, in a word, delightful.


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