The most recommended books about the Big Bang

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to the Big Bang, and here are their favorite Big Bang books.
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Book cover of At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe's First Seconds

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

If one sets out to understand the universe, one thing one needs to do is understand the laws and rules that govern the matter and energy that makes up the cosmos. The second thing one needs to understand is how it came into existence. In this book, Dan Hooper describes what we know about the first few minutes. Hooper is a theoretical cosmologist at Fermilab, America’s flagship particle physics laboratory. He’s also an excellent author, with a great narrative style. If you want to understand how the Big Bang banged, this is the book for you.

By Dan Hooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Edge of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new look at the first few seconds after the Big Bang-and how research into these moments continues to revolutionize our understanding of our universe

Scientists in the past few decades have made crucial discoveries about how our cosmos evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. But there remains a critical gap in our knowledge: we still know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. At the Edge of Time focuses on what we have recently learned and are still striving to understand about this most essential and mysterious period of time at the…


Book cover of The Accidental Time Machine

Don Kinney Author Of The Darkdrift

From my list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by science and space since I was a child and naturally gravitated toward science fiction. In many respects, it was a form of escapism, as I didn’t enjoy school. I always preferred escaping into another world or being taken on a journey to another world. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that most great science fiction is a commentary on our own world and the issues we face daily. Science fiction, more than any other genre, does a better job of exploring and dissecting aspects of our world, which in turn helps us better understand our world and our relationship with it.

Don's book list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer

Don Kinney Why did Don love this book?

The Accidental Time Machine is one of the few novels that I’ve read beginning to end in one sitting because I found it so interesting. This isn’t the type of novel that will change your life or change how you feel about something. It’s just good. A good, fun book that can be read in a couple of hours. Haldeman doesn’t waste any time getting the story going and from there he takes you on a ride more enjoyable than novels twice the length.

By Joe Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Accidental Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW IN PAPERBACK-FROM THE AUTHOR OF MARSBOUND

Grad- school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when he inadvertently creates a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose in taking a time-machine trip himself-or so he thinks.


Book cover of How Did It All Start? Where Did We Come From?

Marion Dane Bauer Author Of The Stuff of Stars

From my list on the origins of our universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise on the origins of our universe comes out of fascination, nothing more. I am a long-time children’s writer who began my approach to this topic with awe. Just awe. In order to write The Stuff of Stars I read widely to expand my own understanding. A single line in this text can come out of hours of reading. The books I’m suggesting here, though, are not the scientific ones that informed my telling. Rather, I have searched out books that are exceptionally creative, accessible, interesting. Some are for the very young and some for those who share their learning with the very young.  

Marion's book list on the origins of our universe

Marion Dane Bauer Why did Marion love this book?

This fascinating book presents science side by side with creation stories drawn from every part of the world. Ghosh’s scientific explanations of the origins of our universe are succinct and clear. He tells us what is known about our beginnings, what is supposed, and what we do not know and may never understand. And he lays out creation stories from many parts of the world along with information about the cultures from which those stories came. How Did It All Start? is perfect for older children or for adults who want to deepen their understanding of both the science and the myths that surround our beginnings.

By Biku Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Did It All Start? Where Did We Come From? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How did it all start? What was there in the beginning? What exactly is the universe? The brilliant stars, distant galaxies, the sun, the moon and our planet Earth. Where did it all come from, and what is its future? The Big Bang is a cornerstone theory of modern cosmology. This book tries to give a simplified understanding to our curious readers.

Take a look at when and how life started and evolved? How, where and when did the humans arrive? What was the journey of humans out of Africa and peopling of the rest of the world like? What…


Book cover of Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present

John Robert McNeill Author Of The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History

From my list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who wants to understand the big picture as best I can. And while occasionally I can clear my schedule enough to read a 1,000pp book, realistically that won’t happen often so I am always on the alert for short books that aim to provide what I am looking for: a coherent vision of the whole of human history. That’s asking a lot of an author, but these five do it well.

John's book list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present

John Robert McNeill Why did John love this book?

This one squeezes a lot into 248 reader-friendly pages. It combines the Big History approach with the emphasis on connections that world historians typically admire. But it is mainly a human history: by page 38 humans are emerging, and from that point on the evolution of the Universe and life on earth are in the rear-view mirror. Also very readable.

By Cynthia Stokes Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Big History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Big History tells the story of the universe, from the beginning to now, by interweaving the fields of biology, geology and anthropology to offer an all-encompassing account of Earth's history. Flowing seamlessly from the birth of the universe to life on a planet inhabited by billions of people, this is a mind altering account of the fate of the Earth and of our role in this ongoing story. Featuring Cynthia Stokes Brown's paradigm-shifting movement, Big History is a seminal work written for academics, students and the layperson alike.


Book cover of Oliver's Great Big Universe

Marissa Moss Author Of Talia's Codebook for Mathletes

From my list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm best known for the Amelia's Notebook series which are based on the notebooks I kept as a kid. I started using the notebook format because that's how I thought—sometimes in words, sometimes in pictures. But this was a long time ago, in the 90s when graphic novels weren't a common format. When I submitted Amelia to publishers, they rejected it, saying it wasn't a picture book, it wasn't a novel, so how would librarians know where to shelve it? A small press that didn't know any better took a chance and published Amelia's Notebook. It became a big bestseller, with more than 20 books to follow and started a new trend in kid's books.

Marissa's book list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack

Marissa Moss Why did Marissa love this book?

Anyone who uses an 11-year-old to explain black holes and the big bang is worth listening to!

This is serious physics explained in a way we can all understand, mixed up with the usual life of an 11-year-old, It makes for one fun and fascinating read. If you think physics is too complicated to understand, this book will show you how simple it can be. Science made easy and fun!

By Jorge Cham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oliver's Great Big Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Eleven-year-old Oliver wants to be an astrophysicist and explain the wonders of the universe . . . to anyone who will listen to him!
This brand-new fully illustrated series is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The 13-Storey Treehouse and anyone who loves to laugh and learn at the same time.

Oliver has just started secondary school and is wondering how he will fit in with new friends, new classes, new everything. But at least there's one thing that still makes sense: science! Determined to be an astrophysicist one day, Oliver explains everything he learns - like…


Book cover of Godhead: The Brain's Big Bang

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

When I stumbled on the new brain model that finally explained human consciousness, it set me on a lonely journey. The model was such a simple mechanism. How could no one else have found it? Well, I wasn’t actually the only one. As I discuss in Collapse 2020, the combination of complexity and the inability of ancient communication “styles” to manage modern complexity, even with the internet, has created a modern Tower of Babel. Dr. Tyrrell envisioned the same explanation: there was a large jump in human brain ability about 20,000 years ago due to a simple biological event. But, not very many humans have it – just as only a few people have red hair or 6 fingers.

By Joe Griffin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Godhead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sets out to draw together psychology, science and mysticism into the same river of human experience. In doing so it throws new light on questions that mankind has pondered for centuries. The authors take us on an exciting investigative voyage that produces clear reasons for why those who think human life is essentially meaningless are wrong. En route, through the lens of evolution, cultural history, poetry, psychology and a plethora of new scientific insights, they not only throw fresh light on ancient mysteries, the origin of creativity, hypnosis, spirituality, religion and indoctrination but also meet head-on the central…


Book cover of The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Carole Stivers Author Of The Mother Code

From my list on nonfiction for my sci-fi future worldbuilding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a science fiction author, reading excellent science nonfiction is like taking my mind on a trip to an unknown land, there to wander, sightsee, and reimagine my own fictional plots. During the past few years of COVID-restricted isolation, these books have replaced travel as a source of mind-expanding inspiration, affording me a refuge from the tempest of current events and leaving my brain churning with visions of future worlds. The choices below reflect a common thread: each is written or edited by an expert in the field, and the authors possess that rare combination of deep knowledge and the ability to communicate it in an engaging way.

Carole's book list on nonfiction for my sci-fi future worldbuilding

Carole Stivers Why did Carole love this book?

In the book Reality is Not What It Seems, Carlo Rovelli exhorts us to “Stop dreaming of new fields and strange particles; supplementary dimensions, other symmetries, parallel universes, strings, and whatever else.” Oh, but I wanted to dream, and Michio Kaku always takes me on such a fun ride! I loved Kaku’s The Future of the Mind, which inspired me as I wrote my own science fiction novel. So I turned to him again when I wanted to learn more about string theory, the competing theory to Rovelli’s loop quantum gravity and Kaku’s own area of expertise. It was well worth it. At least now I can plumb the allure of that symmetry, the wonder of those parallel worlds, and the fullness of those eleven dimensions—even if I may never see them proven out in my lifetime.

By Michio Kaku,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The God Equation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • The epic story of the greatest quest in all of science—the holy grail of physics that would explain the creation of the universe—from renowned theoretical physicist and author of The Future of the Mind and The Future of Humanity

When Newton discovered the law of gravity, he unified the rules governing the heavens and the Earth. Since then, physicists have been placing new forces into ever-grander theories.
 
But perhaps the ultimate challenge is achieving a monumental synthesis of the two remaining theories—relativity and the quantum theory. This would be the crowning achievement of…


Book cover of Before the Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe and What Lies Beyond

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Chaos

From Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Scientist Imagineer Lifelong student Optimist Earthling with ambitions

Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Douglas Phillips Why did Douglas love this book?

I’m a scientist with an imagination. Where theory and evidence lead, I follow—even if the path ventures into exotic territory.

A routine description of the Big Bang isn’t enough for me. I already understand how our universe began. I want to know why it’s here. Where did it come from? Impossible to know, you may say, but hear me out.

Dr. Mersini-Houghton is a respected physicist on the cutting edge of cosmology who knows a lot about quantum fields (submicroscopic fluctuations that permeate our universe). As she dives into the world of the ultra-small, you’ll see, like I did, that she and her colleagues are onto something big.

By Laura Mersini-Houghton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Before the Big Bang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the world's most celebrated cosmologists presents her breakthrough explanation of our origins in the multiverse.

In recent years, Laura Mersini-Houghton's ground-breaking theory, spectacularly vindicated with observational evidence, has turned the multiverse from philosophical speculation to one of the most compelling and credible explanations of our universe's origins.

In Before the Big Bang, she interweaves the story of how she arrived at this theory with her journey from communist Albania, where she was born and brought up, to the West, showing how her unconventional path helped her to challenge orthodoxies and become one of the most courageous thinkers on…


Book cover of It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else

Marion Dane Bauer Author Of The Stuff of Stars

From my list on the origins of our universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise on the origins of our universe comes out of fascination, nothing more. I am a long-time children’s writer who began my approach to this topic with awe. Just awe. In order to write The Stuff of Stars I read widely to expand my own understanding. A single line in this text can come out of hours of reading. The books I’m suggesting here, though, are not the scientific ones that informed my telling. Rather, I have searched out books that are exceptionally creative, accessible, interesting. Some are for the very young and some for those who share their learning with the very young.  

Marion's book list on the origins of our universe

Marion Dane Bauer Why did Marion love this book?

It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else is another picture book that covers the same territory for the very young as The Stuff of Stars. The writing is conversational and accessible. The illustrations are compelling. The two books read side by side would support and inform one another.  

By Floor Bal, Sebastiaan Van Doninck (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Started with a Big Bang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

In this accessible informational picture book, young readers can follow the fascinating story of how we got from the very beginning of the universe to life today on the “bright blue ball floating in space” called Earth. They'll learn about the big bang theory, how our solar system was formed, how life on Earth began in the oceans and moved to land, what happened to the dinosaurs and how humans evolved from apes to explore and build communities all over the planet ... and even travel to space. It's an out-of-this-world look at the beginning of everything!

Science journalist Floor…


Book cover of The Story of Everything

Geoff Waring Author Of Oscar and the Bat: A Book about Sound

From my list on science for kids and adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science is truth and always evolving as we discover new things. Like a child, scientists are always asking "Why this? Why that?" Great scientists like great artists are childlike or at least manage to harness the wonder of their childhood self. If a child is interested in the world around them they will never be bored. It will set them up for life and that's a truly precious thing.

Geoff's book list on science for kids and adults

Geoff Waring Why did Geoff love this book?

I love a lift-the-flap book, and this is one of my favorites. Neale Layton manages to cram the Big Bang theory and the first 13 billion years of life in the universe into nine spreads fizzing with flaps and pop-ups drawn in his wonderful, scratchy, childlike sketches.

Science most definitely can be fun.

By Neal Layton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

This pop-up book is literally larger than life! Neal's unique perspective on Evolution, the beginnings of the world and the Big Bang theory presents life in a format accessible to even the very young - a perfect gift book for all. With pops, flaps and tabs.