How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe

How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe

Chris Impey / Feb 25, 2020

How It Began A Time Traveler s Guide to the Universe A majestic account of the most fascinating phenomena in our universe and the science behind them In this vibrant eye opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe Chris Impey guides us t

  • Title: How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe
  • Author: Chris Impey
  • ISBN: 9780393080025
  • Page: 115
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A majestic account of the most fascinating phenomena in our universe and the science behind them.In this vibrant, eye opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang.What if we could look into space and see not onA majestic account of the most fascinating phenomena in our universe and the science behind them.In this vibrant, eye opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang.What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here As it happens, we can Because it takes time for light to travel, we see and distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past Impey uses this concept look back time to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe.The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote we travel from the Moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy Impey gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes.A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its readers with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.

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      Posted by:Chris Impey
      Published :2018-010-09T00:37:31+00:00

    About "Chris Impey"

      • Chris Impey

        Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor in the Astronomy Department and Associate Dean in the College of Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson He has written popular articles on astronomy and is the author of a number of popular science books The Living Cosmos is a tour of the search for life in the universe, and the pair of books How It Ends and How It Began cover the origin and fate of everything in the universe Talking About Life is a series of conversations with pioneers in astrobiology With Holly Henry, he wrote about the scientific and cultural impact of a dozen iconic NASA missions, Dreams of Other Worlds A book about his experiences teaching cosmology to Tibetan monks, Humble Before the Void was published in 2014, and his book about the future of humans in space, called Beyond, was published in 2015 His first novel is called Shadow World.


    1. I love cosmology books. And I enjoyed this one, which spun backwards from the formation of Earth's moon to the earliest beginnings of the universe. I particularly liked Impey's intro and outro to each chapter, where he envisioned what it would be like to see some of these cosmic wonders in person. Some of the stuff at the end was kind of esoteric and over my head (not surprisingly). But I also learned a cool new word, apophenia, which refers to the brain's tendency to perceive patterns where non [...]

    2. It's a fantastic update on the frontline of cosmology and the scientific journey that's taken us there, as well as frankly showing us the enduring questions & mysteries we still face. All that, and written in a completely compelling storytelling tone that takes you from your own place here and now, to the farthest reaches of time and space.

    3. Started reading library copy in January 2018, had to return. Will buy copyRead Part III: Alienstarted Part 1 to "Sheer Lunacy" on page 7Will buy a copy and finishUndefined notes for pages 258-9, 312-13, 340-41

    4. A truly marvelous book, requiring occasionally a little patience to march, bleary-eyed through a few pages of explanation before diving back into the explanations as metaphors. This was exactly the book I was looking for when I found it, by happenstance, at the library. It is a recent and beautiful book of the state of today's cosmology. Truly wonderful.

    5. I can't really comment on how this book compares to other books about astronomy and what we know about the early universe. I don't know if this is better or worse than other similar books. All I know is that I loved reading this book, and I loved learning about our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe.Mr. Impey starts the book on Earth, and progressively moves out from our world to the solar system, to nearby galaxies, and then to more distant galaxies, all the while explaining how discove [...]

    6. Not the sort of book I can read in an extended sitting. Too much information and too many mindbending ideas. The style is colloquial which is most helpful for an amateur in the field. Impey’s strength is that he does a fine job of explaining difficult concepts in reasonably simple terms with numerous analogies to the ordinary and everyday. So, to illustrate the chanciness of any one thing occurring, he tells the story of how he met his wife, that the reason his son – this son – is listenin [...]

    7. I figure if I read enough of these sort of books, I might actually understand the theories.I could have done without the sci-fi bits that began and ended each chapter. I'd puzzle through them and then have to reorient my brain to the actual science presented. The first several chapters were great. So were the last few. The nine in the middle, well, I was ratherlost. Or perhaps I was in an alternate universe? Or maybe it's all part of the alien simulation? Favorite quotes:"Ironically deists and a [...]

    8. Well this was very much not at all what it promised to be. The way the description and even introduction made it sound was that it would be discussing the few minutes immediately following the Big Bang, but what it actually was was just another pop sci book about "the universe" look back from now and into the past. That said, it wasn't bad. It was very thoughtfully told and the author's anecdotes gave it a little something that made it different enough from, say, Simon Singh's "Big Bang" that it [...]

    9. This is the second book by Impey I have read, and they both left me with a feeling of 'it was ok, nothing special.' I have seen Impey give talks and I have always enjoyed them; he has a way with speaking to an audience. For me, it just doesn't translate into the written word.There is lots of good information in this book, so perhaps I just don't like his writing style. He explains the beginnings of the Earth, the Solar System, Stars, and the Universe, among other things. There wasn't a lot of ne [...]

    10. How it began is a good summary of where cosmology is as of now. It does not try to provide new information or perspective. Rather, the biggest utility of the book is in its structure, coherence and simplicity.The book starts somewhat weak by spending time on earth and solar systems, The real science (howsoever speculative or deductive) comes in as the book moves to stars and galaxies. For any avid reader of cosmology, there is little that will be new. However, the way the book navigates through [...]

    11. Popular cosmology oriented more towards the astronomical side - what kinds of object are out there - than the physical. It has three parts: first, our solar system and other star systems in the Milky Way; second, other galaxies; last, the Big Bang and the origins of the universe. Really it's only the last part that justifies the book's title, since the other sections are more about the universe's present than its past, though they're all equally interesting. The scientific information is mixed w [...]

    12. A comprehensive book about the entire universe, structured as a journey both away from Earth in distance, and back in time. Really interesting throughout, but I have to say I was way more interested in the astronomy portion of the book (IE: the chapters about observable phenomena) rather than the later chapters to do with theoretical physics (quarks, quantum stuff, branes, string theory, etc). I guess I need to just seek out more books about the former topic.This is definitely not a popular scie [...]

    13. HOW IT BEGAN: A Time-Traveler’s Guide to the Universe. (2012). Chris Impey. ***. The author is an Astronomy Professor at the University of Arizona (Tucson), and has written other books on similar subjects. I have to confess that I put it down after getting half-way through it. I didn’t find anything new in it, nor were things that I previously didn’t understand made any clearer by the author’s skill with words. This would be a great book if it was the first you picked up on the topic, bu [...]

    14. A wonderful book about the creation of the universe. It travels backwards through time, from the origins of the earth and the moon, to the meaning of the singularity before the big bang. Once again, this is for people who are open-minded about how God chose to create the universe. I found the information about dark matter and dark energy wonderful and mysterious. How incredible that 95% of the matter and energy in the universe is undetectable to our senses. While the book is not religious, I fou [...]

    15. How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe starts with the present and works its way back to the beginning of time examining astronomical features of the universe along the way. Some good information can be found in the book, but I didn’t find it particularly absorbing. Part of the problem lies in the fictionalized time travel accounts, which came across as awkward and unnecessary, part was the writing style and the rest was probably due to the fact that I really wasn’t in the moo [...]

    16. A fascinating and poetic contemplation of our place in the cosmos, the mysteries therein and a study of how we got here, both in terms of the history of astrophysical thought and the processes that shaped our cosmos over fourteen billion years. I'm a sci-fi/time travel/astrophysics nerd so I loved swimming around in the implications, questions, discoveries and lessons that Impey explores in this book. Really well written, this is a humbling and completely engrossing celebration of the vastness a [...]

    17. Fascinating book, but it made me realize how little I understand math and physics. This was a tough slog to read and I wish I had understood more of it. The author clearly is excited about cosmology and is almost giddy to contemplate the discoveries that await the scientists of the future.Best line from the book p. 161: "The universe is mocking us with its secrets."

    18. Simply best storytelling style read about the Cosmos - our current understanding of how it all began, the latest and greatest theories out there to explain the big and the small, and things we currently don't understand and know about the universe. Recommend it to anyone who is curious about this topic.

    19. This is a good survey of current ideas about the universe and some speculations about what directions physics will take in the future. In each chapter there are dream sequences in italics in which the author imagines traveling in the time/space described in the chapter. I found these distracting, and would have liked the book much better without them.

    20. This very good read explains the relationship between cosmology and the latest discoveries and theories concerning particle physics and the very beginnings of our universe and perhaps other universes. Very well written and thought provoking.

    21. An interesting read, but at times seems to jump around quickly. Only scratches the surface of the topics of the universe, but makes a great snapshot of what we know about the cosmos and the universe.

    22. The science was informative. Also liked the biographical sketches of the astronomers. I could have done without the "eye witness" journey in each chapter.

    23. Great book. Explains the big and small realities of space and quantum physics in a way that anyone can understand.

    24. This book was a great guide to learning how stars work and how they die. I would recommend this book to anyone who love to learn about the universe, the galaxy, and neighboring solar systems.

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