Selected Books about Modern Cosmology
Adams, Fred & Laughlin, Greg The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity. 1999, Free Press. Two astronomers consider the distant past and far future.
Carroll, Sean From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. 2010, Plume Books. On modern ideas of time as they relate to cosmology.
Duncan, Todd & Tyler, Craig Your Cosmic Context: An Introduction to Modern Cosmology. 2009, Addison-Wesley/Pearson. The first non-majors textbook on cosmology done without a lot of math.
Ferris, Timothy The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe Report. 1997, Simon & Schuster. A distinguished science journalist reports on cosmology, as of the mid 1990’s. Full of good analogies and profiles of the key scientists.
Greene, Brian The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. 2004, Knopf. An introduction to some of the physics ideas behind our modern picture of cosmology, by a physicist who is a master explainer.
Harrison, Edward Cosmology: The Science of the Universe, 2nd ed. 2000, Cambridge U. Press. This remarkable, literate, thought-provoking introductory textbook, using some math, is one of the best guides to thinking about cosmology.
Kirshner, Robert The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe. 2002, Princeton U. Press. A readable, personal recounting of the use of supernovae in the discovery of dark energy and our new view of the universe.
Livio, Mario The Accelerating Universe: Infinite Expansion, the Cosmological Constant, and the Beauty of the Cosmos. 2000, John Wiley. Beautifully written, layperson’s introduction to key cosmological ideas of our day.
Panek, Richard The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. 2011, Houghton Mifflin. A journalist recounts the story of the discovery of the acceleration of the universe in this widely praised account.
Silk, Joseph The Big Bang, 3rd ed. 2001, W. H. Freeman. A cogent introduction to the universe and our observations relating to it, for the intelligent layperson.
Singh, Simon Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe. 2004, HarperCollins. British physicist and science writer treats both the history and current status of cosmology; good for beginners.
Vilenkin, Alex Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. 2006, Hill and Wang. A noted Russian cosmologist tells the story of the inflationary universe and multi-verses with verve and humor.
Selected Books about the History of Cosmology
Bartusiak, Marcia The Day We Found the Universe. 2009, Pantheon/Random House. Well-written, popular-level history of the discovery that galaxies exist and the beginnings of observational cosmology.
Ferris, Timothy Coming of Age in the Milky Way. 1988, Morrow. History of cosmological ideas, starting with the Greeks.
Gleiser, Marcelo The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang. 1997, Dutton. A physicist chronicles the long history of human thinking about the origin of the universe.
Guth, A. The Inflationary Universe. 1997, Addison-Wesley. One of the key scientists responsible for the inflationary hypothesis describes how it came about.
Kragh, Helge Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating Universe. 2007, Oxford U. Press. A scholarly history.
Lightman, Alan & Brawer, Roberta Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists. 1990, Harvard U. Press. Interesting interviews with active researchers in the field.
Nussbaumer, Harry & Bieri, Lydia Discovering the Expanding Universe. 2009, Cambridge U. Press. Carefully researched, detailed history of both the theory and the observations that led to our modern day view; occasionally a bit technical.