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Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  7,945 ratings  ·  541 reviews
Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on recent scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit Rover's exploration of Mars, to the disco ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by W. W. Norton Company (first published September 28th 2004)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Gendou
Two excellent science writers collaborated on this book. The title describes the overall theme quite well; the origin of the universe, galaxies, stars, elements, solar systems, planets, and life. The last chapter discusses the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Some of the chapters are imbued with a fun sense of humor--while others are lacking in humor, though still well-written. I wonder if the reason is that and each author tackled entire chapters, so each chapter represents the style of its au
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Almost all of my stars on this one is for the ease for which Tyson explains the cosmos, the clarity, and the breadth of astrophysics itself.

The one star that's missing is just because it's all stuff I've read before. :) In other words, it's great if you're looking for an introductory and nearly math-less course on everything from the Big Bang to the formation of the planets to the building blocks and observed results of our search for extra-terrestrial life.

That's it. It's a great refresher, too
I wish that I could rate this book higher. I really like Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I really like this subject, but this book was... not great for me.

Maybe it was the fact that I did the audio rather than reading it with my own eyeballs, but it just didn't work for me. I found the technicality off-putting. It was hard for me to focus on this book when there are just random facts and figures being thrown at my ears. I've read quite a few science books this year, and they were all interesting and e
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science

“However, every advance in our knowledge of the cosmos has revealed that we live on a cosmic speck of dust, orbiting a mediocre star in the far suburbs of a common sort of galaxy, among a hundred billion galaxies in the universe. The news of our cosmic unimportance triggers impressive defense mechanisms in the human psyche.”

A short personal note: Forget hot actors and actresses, singers, models. If I had the chance to meet a famous person I'd totally go for Neil deGrasse Tyson. Or Michio Ka
Raoufa Ibrahim
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me when I finished the book
Part 1: Origin of the universe
If you ever saw our earth -the complete photo- or the the Milky Way
description description
and wonderd how it became like this? why it look like this? HOW we reached this point? THEN this book will answer you, it may not answer you fully since there are questions until now scientist couldn't answer.
"knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going"
Part 2,3,4: The origin of the Galaxies
The final parts: Life o
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time . . .

-- T. S. Eliot, 1942

Hardly any scientific discoveries of the past century have flowed from the direct application of our senses. They came instead from the direct application of the sense-transcendent mathematics and hardware. This simple fact explains why, to the average person, relativity, particle physics, and eleven-dimensional string theory make no
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Origins' is the best explanatory introduction to the formation and evolution of the Cosmos I have read! Co-author Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and co-author Donald Goldsmith is an astronomy writer, and in my opinion, they make a good team. The book is the most coherently arranged science book on this subject I have ever tried.

It has five parts:

Part I: The Origin of the Universe
Part II: The Origin of Galaxies and Cosmic Structure
Part III: The Origin of Stars
Part IV: The Origin of Pla
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
DeGrasse Tyson and Goldsmith give us a wide ranging look at the beginning of everything: The universe, galaxies, stars, planets, even life itself. They discuss a myriad of topics such as: The Big Bang and cosmic inflation; how the elements are made; the structure and composition of the universe; the likelihood of alien life. With this extensive scope in a relatively short book nothing is covered in depth. For the science enthusiast who has read similar books there isn’t much new. Still I enjoyed ...more
Yesenia Juarez
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m buying this on audible!!!! I love science, if I was reborn I’d definitely be some form of scientist. Not that I know all the terminology, far from it! However, I feel like the repetitiveness of listening to these types of books will one day make it stick to my brain!
Ripu Jain
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When a book with the title Origins: 14 Billion Yeas of Cosmic Evolution, starts with an opening line “In the beginning, there was physics”, and is written by NDT the man himself, you cant go wrong with it. An extraordinary story needs an extraordinary story-teller, and NDT is no ordinary human - does an exceptional job translating the modern understanding of astrophysics to normal language.

Its the ultimate origins story told - from origin of the universe at the moment of creation (10^-43 second
Jan 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not actually finishing this book. I refuse. The way it's written is so off-putting. It's redundant and smarmy. The authors explained the "photon fog" condition of the early universe fully three times on one page and then again in the next chapter. They also managed to take shots at religion, sci-fi, and non-scientists all within the first 50 pages. And the info that they're writing about isn't even that ground-breaking; they appear to be covering theories that have been around for at least t ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
It takes a lot for me to read nonfiction, I just don’t find it as enjoyable unless it’s a subject that I’m really interested in. I’ve always liked science, and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics For People in a Hurry was pretty good so I decided to pick this one up. It was also good, though still a very dry read. It was interesting to read about the the makeup of the universe, as well as it’s creation. And if you’re interested in this subject, you’ll probably really enjoy this book. But it’s usu ...more
Alan Fuller
Feb 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookmarked, atheism
In a book that is supposed to be about origins, Tyson gets on the bus at the first stop rather than at the beginning. He says that in the beginning there was physics. Okay. Where did the laws and constants found in physics come from? What a cop out!
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning, something something something happened. Here is something that sort of resembles math describing it. Here are some Greek letters, you remember those, right? Here is a confusing analogy for it. And finally, here is an attempt at a joke that makes you cringe.
That's how I'm afraid I will remember "Origins", which I think is a shame. I like NDT, I enjoyed the PBS Nova special, and I've always been fascinated by astronomy, physics, and cosmology. The book, however, is a bit of a dis
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Ah, this reminds me of this Gemini Syndrome song ~
"Look at the wake
From the stardust pouring from your eyes
It's no mistake
You are perfect
You are perfect in my mind
And you won't fade away"

However, the fact is you might be just as insignificant as anything else out there. And you might wonder why there had to be all these bigbang, formation of stars, planetary systems, galaxies, why the simplest of atoms had to come into being and fuse themselves into others, and why after all there is this Earth
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
So, this is the book that got me obsessed with the possibility of life in our own solar system, being Jupiters moons - and most importantly, Europa.

It goes into detail about how the moons of Jupiter have a liquid, salty ocean that have all the ingredients for life, we just need to get there!

This is a GREAT book about the history of everything. I would put it on par and along the same lines of Short History of Nearly Everything, and A Brief History of Time. All of these are great books, but I'd
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Origins was a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. I think that Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith chose an excellent theme in deciding to write this book through the lens of beginnings. This focus allowed them to cover the basics of everything from the origins of the universe to the beginning of life on earth and beyond in a concise and coherent narrative that expertly shifts the reader's focus between the everyday sensory world, the unimaginably large scale of the galaxies, and the infi ...more
Naz (Read Diverse Books)
Full review:

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite smart people in the whole world. He has written numerous books on astrophysics and science in general, narrated the incredible science documentary TV show "Cosmos," leads the "StarTalk Radio" podcast, and does a million other things that help and enrich our world.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
There's so much information in this book that I'm still processing it. So in short, I'll continue to visit this book over and over again.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: astronomy fans, science buffs
Shelves: science
Despite the complexity of the subject matter, this book was very understandable. That is one of the strengths of Neil DeGrasse Tyson's writing (and that of his writing partner in this project, Donald Goldsmith). That being said, much of the material covered in the book was still beyond my comprehension. However, since I am very interested in the "stuff" out there in the cosmos, I really enjoyed this book.

As the title implies, the book covers topics from the very beginning of the universe to now
Ryan Lawson
This was a great book to contrast Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. At face value, one would assume that both books are similar because they a) deal with physics and b) cover the universe; but it's not that simple. If there's one thing I've learned from these scientific exposés it's this (best said by Tyson himself!):

"You must also find a way to reconcile two currently incompatible branches of physics: quantum mechanics (the science of the small) and general relativity (the science of the lar
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful tour through basic astronomy into the newer, more unknown aspects of the final frontier. Those who know Mr. Tyson and his efforts to promote "science literacy" might not particularly fancy this. Alternatively, some may already know this information due to textbooks or being in school for the subjects.

I'm one of those people who's in school for something completely unrelated to science and astronomy. While that may be the case, it did its job in informing me of things that may
Reinis Simanovskis
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Great book to give an insight on how we go from the big bang to the origination of life - which though is still quite unclear.
I like Neil deGrasse Tyson quite a lot as his tv appearances are always with great style & enthusiasm - thus was a bit disappointing as had higher expectations from how his book was written. Was a bit tough to follow in the parts about galaxies & suns forming (though maybe because that's what I knew the least before) but the parts about speculations of how life can form o
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deep research and terrific narrative about the origin of everything you can find in the universe from subatomic particles all the way thru intelligent life.
It uses a very friendly language to go over some very complex stuff while being plagued with interesting good to know things and even some humor.
I did love it.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I can't really rate this cause I listened to it specifically for the purpose of falling asleep at night xD it wasn't boring, I guess stuff about the cosmos and stuff just lulls me to sleep. It was interesting, I just can't really rate it cause I'm not sure how many parts I actually slept through xD
Earl Grey Tea
I am a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson and got chose this book from a list on Audible during one of their buy one get one free sales.

One of the things that I like about Tyson is his ability to make astronomy and cosmology approachable to the average person. Unfortunately, the first part of this book wasn't very easy for someone to wrap their head around. I took an astronomy class in college (quite a few year ago), and I was desperately trying to follow along to his explanation of the first moments of
Brandon Milton
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It has often been said that Neil DeGrasse Tyson serves the role as the modern era Carl Sagan - A brilliant scientist with a knack for communicating passion and knowledge to others. In this collaboration with Donald Goldsmith, Tyson solidifies this idea.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to knowledge about the universe, our solar system, and our current space endeavors. Although some parts may be a little technical, the information is conveyed with a casual demeanor using easy-to-unde
Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
4 stars. Definitely enjoyed Astrophysics for People in a Hurry more than this one but it was still a really good listen. The narrator does a great job and it was very informative and interesting. I just really enjoy listening to this topic on audiobook. Don't ask me why, but it is really comforting and relaxing to me and I honestly cannot for the life of me explain why.

I recommend this book if you're into the subject, but again, like with Tyson's other book, this is not a starting place or intr
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
For a science book that according to reviews is “accessible”, I found it a bit more challenging than I expected. I’ve read/listened to a number of pop science books over the years, and I do expect some challenges to think the concepts through if they are new. Here, I found the explanations were a mix of simple, with beautiful and funny metaphors, to complex, where the authors took multiple tacks at explanations. Certainly, part of the problem was likely that I listened to the audio version of th ...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
I can't give this a rating or a review really. Mostly because it was not a good idea to listen to this, way too many numbers and information. Also I couldn't always follow the vocabulary and form the calculations in my head.
It is well read, but I guess you have to have more knowledge on the subject than I have. (Also remember I'm not a native speaker, maths and physics without images are hard to do in a second language.)
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Science and Inquiry: December 2014 - Origins 18 89 Feb 04, 2015 09:43AM  
صدر حديثا - كتب و...: البدايات 14 مليار عام من تطور الكون 1 60 Dec 04, 2013 01:53AM  
how we came to be... 1 14 Oct 04, 2007 06:02AM  

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Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson's professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our

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