Your Place in the Universe: Understanding Our Big, Messy Existence

Your Place in the Universe: Understanding Our Big, Messy Existence

by Paul M. Sutter


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An astrophysicist presents an in-depth yet accessible tour of the universe for lay readers, while conveying the excitement of astronomy.

How is a galaxy billions of lightyears away connected to us? Is our home nothing more than a tiny speck of blue in an ocean of night? In this exciting tour of a universe far larger than we can imagine, cosmologist Paul M. Sutter emphasizes how amazing it is that we are part of such a huge, complex, and mysterious place.

Through metaphors and uncomplicated language, Sutter breathes life into the science of astrophysics, unveiling how particles, forces, and fields interplay to create the greatest of cosmic dramas. Touched with the author's characteristic breezy, conversational style—which has made him a breakout hit on venues such as The Weather Channel, the Science Channel, and his own popular Ask a Spaceman! podcast—he conveys the fun and wonder of delving deeply into the physical processes of the natural universe. He weaves together the past and future histories of our universe with grounded descriptions of essential modern-day physics as well as speculations based on the latest research in cosmology.

Topics include our place in the Milky Way galaxy; the cosmic web—a vast web-like pattern in which galaxies are arranged; the origins of our universe in the big bang; the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy; how science has dramatically changed our relationship to the cosmos; conjectures about the future of reality as we know it; and more.

For anyone who has ever stared at the starry night sky and wondered how we humans on Earth fit into the big picture, this book is an essential roadmap.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633884724
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 11/20/2018
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 328,689
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Paul M. Sutter is the cosmological researcher and community outreach coordinator for the Department of Astronomy at The Ohio State University. He is also the chief scientist at the COSI Science Center (Center of Science and Industry). As a new, fresh voice in science communication and an astrophysicist, writer, speaker, producer, and on-air host of podcasts and TV programs, Sutter strives to bring science to new audiences. He is the creator of the Ask a Spaceman! podcast, a contributing editor to, and the founder of Active Galaxy Productions, a company that blends science with art in groundbreaking ways. Sutter has authored over sixty academic papers on topics ranging from the earliest moments of the Big Bang, to the emptiest places in the universe, to novel methods for detecting the first stars. He has given over 100 seminars, colloquia, and conference talks at institutions around the world. Watch him on YouTube, listen to him on Space Radio, and follow him on social media. Details can be found at

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Excerpted from "Your Place in the Universe"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Paul M. Sutter.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Perhaps This Was All a Big Misunderstanding 9

Chapter 1 Sacred Geometry 13

Chapter 2 A Broken Universe 29

Chapter 3 Tales from a Bewildering Sky 43

Chapter 4 The Death of Antimatter 59

Chapter 5 Beyond the Horizon 73

Chapter 6 Bathed in Radiance 91

Chapter 7 Reaping the Quantum Whirlwind 105

Interlude: A Guide to Living in an Expanding Universe 119

Chapter 8 Behold the Cosmic Dawn 127

Chapter 9 Of Matters Dark and Cold 143

Chapter 10 The Cosmic Web 159

Chapter 11 The Rise of Dark Energy 171

Chapter 12 The Stelliferous Era 189

Chapter 13 The Fall of Light 203

Chapter 14 The Long Winter 215

Epilogue: A Game of Chance 225

Notes 247

Select Bibliography and Further Reading 259

Index 261

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