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Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars, the Science of Space at its Strangest

Tim James

13 Reviews

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Popular science

Does the Big Bang prove the existence of God? What's the Universe expanding into? Is Earth the only planet which supports life? Why did the greatest astronomer in history murder his pet moose?

Space is the biggest, oldest, hottest, coldest, strangest thing a human can study. It's no surprise then, that the weirdest facts in science (not to mention the weirdest scientists themselves) are found in astrophysics and cosmology.

If you're looking for instructions on how to set up your grandad's telescope this book probably isn't for you. In ASTRONOMICAL, Tim James takes us on a tour of the known (and unknown) Universe, focusing on the most-mind boggling stuff we've come across, as well as unpacking the latest theories about what's really going on out there.

Guiding us through Einstein's relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory, ASTRONOMICAL delves into the baffling corners of the cosmos and tackles the biggest mysteries we face: from alien life to the zodiac; from white holes to wormholes; from quasars to quark stars. This is the science of space at its absolute strangest!

From the creation of the Universe out of nothing to the Large Hadron Collider and the Universe's ongoing expansion, Tim explores our planetary neighbours, where it snows metal on Venus, there are underground lakes on Mars and rivers of petrol on Titan.

He then looks beyond our solar system: to exoplanets which could support life, rogue planets, quark stars, quasars, neutron stars and more. Tim looks at black holes (and how to survive in one), wormholes, white holes as well as dark energy, dark matter and even a bit of string theory thrown in for good measure. He explains the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, including the discovery of Martian fossils in the Alan Hills meteorite and the tantalising 'Wow signal' transmission earth received in 1973 - still unexplained.

He also rebuts resurgent anti-science movements, including the Flat Earth Society and discusses what's really going on inside Area 51.

To close, Tim finishes by looking at human achievements in space including how rockets work, how faster-than-light warp-drives (currently being investigated by NASA) work and how we plan to colonise both the moon and Mars.

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Praise for Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars, the Science of Space at its Strangest

  • Praise for Elemental:

  • A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything. - Daily Mail

  • Praise for Elemental:

  • Perfect for students and newcomers to science writing . . . From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peak into the history of chemistry and the periodic table. - Publishers Weekly

  • With hand-drawn diagrams, wacky humour and assorted facts, Elemental is great fun, taking us to realms beyond anything Mendeleyev ever dreamed of. - Wall Street Journal

  • Who said science was dry? Certainly not Tim James. - New York Post

  • Praise for Elemental:

  • Perfect for students and newcomers to science writing. - Publishers Weekly

  • Praise for Elemental:

  • You'll be missing out if you don't read it. - How It Works magazine

  • Tim James' Fundamental is an outstanding introduction to the seemingly unapproachable world of Quantum Mechanics, filled with enough humour and wit to break the ice. - Always Trust in Books

  • Praise for Fundamental:

  • This book should be read to kids in school instead of the Bible! - Breakfast Shirts

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Tim James

TIM JAMES is a science teacher and populariser, YouTuber, blogger and Instagrammer. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 410,000 times and his website receives over 2,000 hits a week. He has regularly appeared on BBC Radio as a science consultant, as well as writing an article for BBC Science Focus magazine on Quantum Field Theory. Selected media appearances can be found at:

Raised by missionaries in Nigeria, he fell in love with science at the age of fifteen and refuses to get over his infatuation. Since graduating with a Master's degree in chemistry, specialising in computational quantum mechanics, he has devoted himself to teaching. His first book, Elemental: How the Periodic Table Now Explains (Nearly) Everything was selected by the Daily Mail as one of the best books of 2018, his second, Fundamental: How quantum and particle physics explain absolutely everything (except gravity), was published in August 2019.

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