Introduction. What is the Universe? - The human quest to know what' s out there. How big is the Universe? - The cosmological distance ladder. How old is the Universe? - Cosmology's age crisis. What are the stars made of? - The cosmic recipe. How did the Earth form? - The birth of the planet we call home. Why do the planets stay in orbit? - And why the Moon doesn't fall down. Was Einstein right? - Gravitational force versus space-time warp. What is a black hole? - Gobbling monsters, evaporating pin pricks and balls of string. How did the Universe form? - Picturing the Big Bang. What were the first celestial objects? - The beginnings of the Universe as we know it. What is dark matter? - The debate about what holds the Universe together. What is dark energy? - The most mysterious substance in the Universe. Are we made from stardust? - The mystery of how life emerged. Is there life on Mars? - The chances of finding we have neighbours. Are there other intelligent beings? - Is anyone out there? Can we travel through time and space? - The possibility of warp drives and time travel. Can the laws of physics change? - Physics beyond Einstein. Are there alternative universes? - Schrodinger's cat and the implications for us all. What will be the fate of the Universe? - Big crunch, slow heat death or big rip. Is there cosmological evidence for God? - The apparent fine-tuning of the Universe for human life. Glossary. Index.
Journalist, award-winning author and broadcaster, Stuart Clark has devoted his career to presenting the complex and dynamic world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first-class honours degree and a phd in astrophysics. A Visiting Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, he is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. Stuart is a regular contributor to national and international radio and television programme. He frequently lectures throughout the UK and, increasingly, throughout the world.