Cover of Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos
Book 252 General Science 1982
Flying Saucers Raintree Reading Series 2
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Asimov fan
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Target reader

Throughout history there has been no greater adventure than that represented by man’s quest for knowledge of his world. Now in one wide-ranging volume, Isaac Asimov tells the exciting story of how people have learned and continue to learn about their world—from the great migrations of prehistory to the space probes of today to the barely dreamed-of journeys of tomorrow.

Asimov ranges across the entire panorama of science, covering in twenty-three mind-expanding chapters discoveries in astronomy, biology, geography, mathematics, geology, and physics. He tells us about the explorations, discoveries, and inventions that have transformed our view of the world and the scientific theory and scientific speculation that have expanded our vision yet further.

Within the four spheres of the physical universe—the horizons of space, time, matter, and energy—Asimov reveals how man’s urge to expand the limits of knowledge has led him to leave the perimeters of the known world, to develop theories and devices that would allow him to plumb the secrets of the earth and the universe.

Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos tells hundreds of fascinating stories:

  • how ten fingers and twelve number names evolved into today’s varied, intricate, and often complicated number systems
  • how smoke from a house fire inspired the first hot-air balloon and man’s early journeys above the earth
  • the growth of man’s concept of time and the methods he devised to measure it
  • the discovery of the strange, eventful world inside the atom
  • the emergence of speculations about time travel

Here for the first time in one breathtaking, sweeping history are the facts, dates, names, and figures that are the story of man’s movement out into the owrld and the universe beyond.

This book tends to remind me of volumes like The Measure of the Universe. It’s a general look at broad swatches of science, viewed from a particular perspective. In this case, the perspective is the gradual advance of human knowledge over various horizons: the horizons of space, time, matter, and energy.

As is generally the case in a book like this, there’s a lot of ground covered, and Asimov covers it very well. This is not, perhaps, as thorough a survey as Asimov’s New Guide to Science, but it’s excellent nonetheless and an enjoyable and informative book to own and read.

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