Frequency Score: 7.6 Synchrometer: 9.2
If you are in the market for an educational yet interesting book about outer space, look no further than Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Published in 1980 in order to complement a television series of the same name, Cosmos allows its readers to explore the vast expanse of the universe from the comfortability of his or her own living room.
At once an introduction to the field of astronomy and an attention-keeping dialogue on the mysteries of the universe, Cosmos discusses topics ranging from the Ionian enlightenment to the possibility and mechanisms of communicating with extraterrestrial life. This broad coverage of astronomical thought was what I enjoyed most about the book. The fact that I could learn about the wonders of outer space, but at the same time receive insight into the progression of humanity’s relationship with the cosmos without getting into advanced, technical details was a huge selling point for me.
One aspect of the book in which I was less than enamored with, however, was the philosophical stance that Sagan oft imposed upon his audience. While this may be attributed to certain fundamental disagreements that I have with Sagan’s beliefs, his preaching felt out of place to me in an informational book.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cosmos, and am much the wiser for it. The book holds its reader’s attention like fiction, and makes sense of concepts and beings that seem like they should be. If you are looking to learn a thing or two about what lies past our Earth’s atmosphere, Cosmos is the book for you.
The 2014 hit PBS series Cosmos, starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, was watched by upwards of 8 million viewers. Enough viewers that stacked on top of one another they would orbit the Earth six times. (Disclaimer: fact 100% fabricated) Tyson’s Cosmos brought science to the forefront of American pop culture for the first time since, well… Cosmos.
Carl Sagan, famed astrophysicist, was the founder of the space-based scientifically-driven show, Cosmos, that was released nearly 40 years ago. This series covered topics of cosmological significance including the birth of stars, climate change, and the solar system. It sparked the dreams of many aspiring young scientists and piqued the curiosity of many interested viewers.
Cosmos, the novel, was coreleased with the movie with the intention that each entity would supplement the other. Each of the Cosmos thirteen chapters is aligned with an episode from the tv series.
The book is every bit as good, if not better, than the tv series. Sagan manages to explain complex astronomical phenomena in an easily understandable manner. Even more, Sagan is able to entice readers’ appetites for scientific knowledge by describing the universe with stellar prose. Sagan writes about the universe as a poet writes about his muse. Sagan’s literary prowess coupled with his scientific knowledge yields a page-turning pleasantly-written book filled with scientific fact. Readers of this book will be infused with Sagan’s undying enthusiasm for the universe.
Let’s end with some exposure to Sagan via a selection of his best quotes:
“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
“We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”