30 books directly related to cosmology 📚

All 30 cosmology books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

The Little Book of Cosmology

By Lyman Page,

Book cover of The Little Book of Cosmology

Why this book?

The most striking thing about the night sky is that it is mostly black. But if your eyes, instead of seeing visible light, could see a type of invisible light known as microwaves, it would be white. The entire Universe is glowing with the “afterglow” of the big bang fireball. Greatly cooled by the expansion of the universe in the past 13.82 billion years, the “cosmic background radiation” now consists of low-energy radio waves, principally microwaves.

Imprinted on this radiation is a “baby photo” of the universe when it was a mere 400,000 years old and matter was beginning the long process of clumping under gravity that would culminate in galaxies such as our own Milky Way. From that photo can be extracted the numbers that define our Universe, from its age of 13.82 billion years to the fact that 70 percent of cosmic mass-energy is in the form of mysterious “dark energy”.

Lyman Page is a professor of astronomy at the Princeton University in New Jersey and his area of research has for decades been the heat afterglow of the big bang. My first thought, on picking up his book, was: “This will be just another academic jumping on the popular science bandwagon and short-changing the public with a pretty ordinary book.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This ranks alongside Steven Weinberg’s The First Three Minutes as the best book on cosmology I have ever read. A compact treasure-trove of cosmic insights to be read, mulled over, and read again.


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

By Brian Greene,

Book cover of 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.


Cosmology: The Science of the Universe

By Edward R. Harrison,

Book cover of Cosmology: The Science of the Universe

Why this book?

Cosmology encompasses our modern understanding of the universe, but what a strange universe it is, born in a fiery Big Bang, dominated by the dark-side, and expanding into a never-ending future. In his classic book, Harrison lays out the science of cosmology, exploring the nature of the Big Bang, the meaning of expansion, and our place in a seemingly infinite cosmos. With a lucid style, I love Harrison’s tour of modern cosmology. It is not just required reading for the cosmologist in training but is also essential for anyone wondering just how our universe works.    


The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

By Steven Weinberg,

Book cover of The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

Why this book?

Written by Nobel Prize winner, Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes unpacks the complex physics underway in the first few minutes of the universe. From an initial time where densities and temperatures were so high that no normal matter could exist, Weinberg follows the universe as it expands and cools, through the first nuclear matter, to the formation of the initial chemical elements and beyond. This book influenced me as a young cosmologist, revealing the power of physics in unraveling the events that shaped the universe in a blink of an eye.


The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity

By Greg Laughlin, Fred Adams,

Book cover of The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity

Why this book?

What does tomorrow hold for the universe? Through this book, the authors step into the far future of the cosmos, starting from our universe today, lit with stars and galaxies, to a hundred trillion years hence when the last star has died. But at this point, the story has only just begun, and the authors continue to the distant time when matter will eventually melt, and black holes will evaporate into the background. Whilst some of the physics is speculative this is an exciting ride which reminds us, like everything, the universe is slowly and steadily winding down.


The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

By Brian Greene,

Book cover of The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

Why this book?

The question "what is time" troubles not only physicists and philosophers, but also captivates every human. The Fabric of the Cosmos offers a lucid examination of time (and space) that is accessible to the layperson. The book focuses on the notion of time from a cosmological perspective and explores questions from the realm of physics and philosophy. This book offered me ways to address questions that perplex me, such as: relative time and absolute time; whether time flows; whether time has a direction; the relation between quantum mechanics and time.


Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

By David A. Aguilar,

Book cover of Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

Why this book?

Of all the non-fiction books about space for older children, this was the one I chose to share with my son. It felt special enough to give him as a birthday gift.

I think it’s beautifully illustrated in a highly believable but dramatic way, as well as including some amazing photographic images. It’s broken down into short, manageable chapters, perfect for one planet or theme to either read alone or to share at bedtime.


Star Maker

By Olaf Stapledon,

Book cover of Star Maker

Why this book?

No other book has influenced me so deeply. Arthur C. Clarke wrote it is "probably the most powerful work of imagination ever written." As I now reread Star Maker, published in 1937 when I was three years old, I still find passages so profound that they send my mind into orbit. The book takes us through time and space to a future when that entire conscious cosmos yearns to meet its creator. It ends with a prophetic awareness that “the struggle of our age was brewing” and the hope that our species can make it “before the ultimate darkness.”


The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars

By Jo Marchant,

Book cover of The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars

Why this book?

This book helped me understand the history of humans’ relationship to the sky, and how our connection to it has in a lot of ways decreased, while civilizational knowledge of what’s actually going on up there has increased. It provides both the means and the motivation for the people of the modern world to act a bit more like the people of the past.


A Brief History of Time

By Stephen Hawking,

Book cover of A Brief History of Time

Why this book?

Okay, hear me out, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this a deep dive into quantum mechanics and theoretical physics that will break my brain and take an age to read?

Well, yes. And no.

The brilliance of this beautifully written work is that it’s chock full of Mr. Hawking’s humour. Best read in short bursts rather than in one night, there’s a real joy in learning from the best. And by the end of it, you may just have a firm grasp on everything from black holes to how to avoid a grandfather paradox.


The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein,

Book cover of The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred

Why this book?

This Harvard-trained cosmologist takes us on a journey into the universe, from colliding black holes to neutrons and protons “faking it” as elementary particles. If you ever wondered why the universe has more matter than antimatter, and what is dark matter made of, this book is for you. And physics is about more than theories; it’s about people doing physics. Black lives matter, and Black lives are the stuff of stars. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her exploration of a universe that is “bigger than the bad things that are happening to us.” Along the way, we gain new clues to the fate of our galaxies full of stars.


At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe's First Seconds

By Dan Hooper,

Book cover of At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe's First Seconds

Why 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.


The Mysteries of the Universe: Discover the Best-Kept Secrets of Space

By Will Gater,

Book cover of The Mysteries of the Universe: Discover the Best-Kept Secrets of Space

Why this book?

The Mysteries of the Universe doesn’t focus on our Earth but rather on what we see when we look out from Earth. It takes on fascinating topics from moonwalking and Martian dust devils to cliffs on a comet and supernovas. A combination of amazing photographs and artists’ depictions accompanying an accessible text will hold even very young readers.  


Universe

By Dorling Kindersley,

Book cover of Universe

Why this book?

I love books full of facts and figures, and for astronomers, this is one of the best. Now in its fourth edition (the first appeared in 2005), Universe (subtitled The Definitive Visual Guide) harnesses a team of expert writers with Dorling Kindersley’s designers, editors, and researchers to produce a sumptuously illustrated review of the Universe from the Earth to the Big Bang, including extensive sections on the night sky and how to view it. Dorling Kindersley’s books are natural successors to the great Reader’s Digest reference books of my childhood. If you want an encyclopedia of the Universe, this is the one to have.


Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

By Neil Degrasse Tyson,

Book cover of Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Why this book?

Tyson has done a wonderful job taking over as the layman’s communicator about science after his mentor, Carl Sagan, returned to the stars. This book in particular explains a plethora of scientific questions while showcasing Tyson’s humor and overall science acumen. I enjoy anything he writes and always find his books informative and witty.


The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

By Brian Greene,

Book cover of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Why this book?

Theoretical physics, though might be the best way to explain and investigate our physical reality, could be very complicated to the extent that it became a synonym incomprehensible to some. In this book, Brian Greene explains the most complicated concepts in physics in an elegantly simple way that allows a 12-year-old kid to understand them perfectly well. 


Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe

By Dennis Overbye,

Book cover of Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe

Why this book?

If you’ve ever wondered how the universe could have originated from a speck and expanded in a big bang, or why scientists came to believe such a thing, this book explains it all in an accessible, gripping story. Overbye, who is a science writer for the New York Times, paints a sweeping history of big bang cosmology through the colorful characters who put it together in the second half of the 20th century. The story revolves around astronomer Allan Sandage, who was a student of the famed Edwin Hubble. After Hubble discovered that the stars were arranged in galaxies that were speeding away from each other, he died, leaving Sandage to finish his quest to understand the implications of this expansion, measure the age of the universe, and determine whether the cosmos is eternally spreading out into an ever more sparse and lonely place.  


Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

By Robert Lanza, Bob Berman,

Book cover of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Why this book?

This book truly helped me grasp another viewpoint on how the Universe works, how life works and how we are all interconnected. The concepts of biocentrism are built from quantum physics and the information shared within this book, it truly helped me grasp a bigger picture of how we, life, are creating and helping expand the Universe and so much more.


The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

By Michio Kaku,

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

Why 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.


Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness

By Itzhak Bentov,

Book cover of Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness

Why this book?

It is possible to understand a fact intellectually while being unable to viscerally believe it, such as the proven reality that time slows down in conditions of extreme velocity or gravity (thanks, Dr. Einstein). In a scholarly yet friendly and appealing manner, Bentov explains and illustrates some of these surreal realities, including the myth of linear time, the existence of multiple dimensions, and the infinitude of the psyche.


Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions

By Sabine Hossenfelder,

Book cover of Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions

Why this book?

I love the way that theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder makes use of her knowledge of the subject to tell us more about our relationship with life, the universe, and everything. This is no dry science text—we discover why past, present, and future seem different, what we know (and can’t know) about how everything began and how it will end, whether or not the concept of free will makes scientific sense and more. What is particularly fascinating is the revelation that some apparently scientific theories have no basis in science—and that science can’t disprove some beliefs that scientists often criticize.


Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

By Simon Singh,

Book cover of Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

Why this book?

Where do we come from? It’s hard to come up with a bigger question. This book is a fun, illustrated read that explores the history of how we got from Creation myths and Greek philosophers to the Big Bang. But at every step of the way Dr. Singh is clear our ancestors were not idiots but rather had valid logical reasons based on what they saw to believe what they did. His easy prose, coupled with informative cartoons, is my gold standard for how to make science popular. And I learned Hubble (the astronomer, not the space telescope) once got a standing ovation at the Academy Awards! How cool is that?


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

By Floor Bal, Sebastiaan Van Doninck (illustrator),

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

Why 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.  


The Order of Time

By Carlo Rovelli,

Book cover of The Order of Time

Why this book?

The ultimate answer to the nature of the universe depends on quantum physics. Most proposed solutions to the problem of quantum gravity either eliminate time altogether or downgrade it to a merely emergent property of a fundamentally timeless system. Leading theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli draws a picture as to how we might understand time (or the lack thereof) through the lens of quantum physics. He finishes by proposing that our perception of time really has to do with emotion and our individual relation to events.


A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves

By Walter Alvarez,

Book cover of A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves

Why this book?

This is a much lesser-known book than the others I’ve picked, and I feel it deserves a load more attention. Walter Alvarez was instrumental to the development of the theory that the dinosaurs were wiped-out by an asteroid impact. Here, he casts his professor-of-geology eye across the whole of Earth’s history to show us the astonishing ways that our world – and the cosmos around us – have nurtured life on the planet and influenced the human story.


Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

By Lisa Randall,

Book cover of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

Why this book?

Randall, a noted astrophysicist, explains how the extinction of the dinosaurs could be related to galactic astronomy and the distribution of dark matter in the galaxy. Her fascinating idea involves disturbances of our myriad Oort Cloud comets at the very edge of the solar system by encounters with clouds of exotic dark matter. The collisions with dark matter, the resulting comet storms and mass extinctions occur roughly every 30 million years as we cycle through the galaxy. Her provocative hypothesis provides a potential remarkable consilience of astronomy, geology, and the history of life.


How Did It All Start? Where Did We Come From?

By Biku Ghosh,

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

Why 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.


Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

By David Abram,

Book cover of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

Why this book?

Becoming Animal changed the way I look at my habitat. I hope it does the same for you. In his philosophical musings, David Abram contemplates why nature is something we look at, not something we are. He suggests our calloused coldness and ordered separation from other species allows us to subdue the wild-ness, but it comes with a numbing feeling of solitude. I too believe our disconnect with natural systems fuels many human ailments (physical and psychological). I love Abram’s suggestion that we change the spelling of Earth to Eairth to acknowledge that we, and the air we breathe, are part of this planet, not separate from it. 


Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos

By K.C. Cole,

Book cover of Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos

Why this book?

When I was a young mother, I read this collection of essays about physics, cosmology, astronomy, etc., by the science writer K.C. Cole. As I was reading, I kept writing down quotes from it in a notebook, something that I don’t normally do. In my daily neighborhood walks with my infant son, my thoughts about this book and the cosmos collided with what was I was experiencing, and I was completely taken with the elegance of our world. This sparked the original idea for my own book. Though this collection was written for an adult audience, there are concepts, ideas, and thinking that are packaged up in glorious words: beautiful descriptions of the world we live in that are pretty mind-blowing. 


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

By Sean Carroll,

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

Why this book?

A cosmologist and particle physicist, Carroll shows us how starting from physics, everything else—including everything that matters to people, emerge through a small number of natural processes. Having paid his dues in basic physical science, Carrol provides an accessible pathway from the fundamental level of reality all the way to human values. No mystery mongering, and a Darwinian finish of course!