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Cosmos: Possible Worlds

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  95 reviews
This sequel to Carl Sagan's blockbuster continues the electrifying journey through space and time, connecting with worlds billions of miles away and envisioning a future of science tempered with wisdom.

Based on National Geographic's internationally-renowned television series, this groundbreaking and visually stunning book explores how science and civilization grew up toget
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by National Geographic (first published December 2019)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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Gabriela Kozhuharova
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
Beautiful, poetic and very inspirational love letter to science, life and the human potential.
Kam Yung Soh
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and at times, personal, journey through time, space, and history by the author as she explores not the just the universe as we know it, but also the various stories of people throughout history who have placed the importance of science and other people above their own. The book is not only about 'Possible Worlds' but also, like the first Cosmos series by Carl Sagan, a 'Personal Journey' by the author who not only wants the readers to see the wonders the universe has to offer, but a ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love the original Cosmos more than just about anything in the world.

Ann does a superb job trying to captain the ship all by herself. And in truth she isn't alone. She had feedback including from her son Sam.

Hits the mark:

* Poetry and cosmic perspective; I wept several times
* Inspiring, relevant stories from the history of science

Misses the mark:

* Critical thinking and skepticism
* Scientific and historical accuracy

For example, the section about quantum mechanics gets a few things wrong.

1. It's
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Our universe began some 14 billion years ago when matter, energy, time, and space burst forth.

And the darkness was cold, and the light was hot, and the union of these extremes gave shape to matter and there was structure.
And there were great stars hundreds of times the mass of our sun. And these stars exploded, sending oxygen and carbon to the worlds to come and adorning them with gold and silver. And in their deaths, the stars became darkness and the weight of their darkness anchored the light.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science, 2020
4.5 stars. "Cosmos: Possible Worlds" is the sequel to Carl Sagan's book, "Cosmos" and it is a worthy follow-on. This book explores so many corners of our universe and highlights many people who took scientific exploration further than it has ever gone before and tried to figure out this big, amazing world.

Sometimes you just want a book that totally sucks you in and makes you mull over so many different things that you've never thought of before. This is that book. The book opens with the story
This was an interesting book. I have read a few books by Carl Sagan, and also enjoyed the 2014 reboot of the show Cosmos which featured author Ann Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Author Ann Druyan is the widow of Carl Sagan. She is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning American writer, producer, and director specializing in the communication of science. She co-wrote the 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan, whom she married in 1981. She is the creator, producer, and writer of
La Crosse County Library
“And slowly, we learned to read the book of nature, to learn its laws, to nurture the tree. To find out where and when we are in the great ocean, to become a way for the cosmos to know itself and to return to the stars.” -Ann Druyan (p. 370)

This book was an unexpected gem for me, in a year of doom and gloom where COVID-19 and a new economic recession have dominated the headlines. It was a welcome escape and, like the best books, whether or not they are fiction or nonfiction, reignited my sense
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"The universe makes galaxies. Galaxies make stars. Stars make worlds."

Using the Cosmic Calendar as a guide, Ann Druyan takes us on a trip through time and space in Cosmos: Possible Worlds.  Written in a way for anyone to understand, Ann uses stories to make the science of the universe come alive.  Beginning with the start of life on Earth might seem like an impossible amount of information to fit into book,; however, only selected important advancements in science are highlighted throughout time
Ace Boggess
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm torn about this book. It was fascinating and captivating, but at same time not structurally coherent or what the subtitle implies. The book discusses science, history, and religions (much in the same way Bill Bryson does in A Short History of Nearly Everything, but without the humor). However, it does so tangentially, without really following a path. This is a book of tangents. They're all interesting tangents. I learned weird things, and I'm a lover a learning weird things. But if you're lo ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great
The Cosmos brand has always been elevated over other exemplars of science writing for infusing scientific exploration with heartfelt wonder and reinforcement of joy over the never-ending quest of learning new things. Carl Sagan's amazing life partner, Ann Druyan, continues that unique tradition in this wonderful book. I learned a lot of things I hadn't thought of before, such as the possibility of consciousness among trees and of dreams among bees, and the desirable prospect of life in near-orbi ...more
Bob Perry
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great read from the only person that was so close to Carl Sagan that his voice can be heard in her writing. I was not disappointed in the scope and knowledge that is transferred to the reader. It's not Carl Sagan, but there is no one to match his brilliance and communication skills.

As with keeping with Sagan the book gives hope and warnings. Fortunately Carl didn't have to live in the nightmare that is our country now. I believe he would have been able to slow the erosion of morals, ethics, e
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Based on the National Geographic television show “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” this compelling volume explores how science and civilization grew up together. Lavishly illustrated, thought-provoking, and captivating, the narrative begins with a look at the 1939 World’s Fair after which it proceeds to investigate history, humanity, and science. It ends, prophetically, with a visit to the 2039 World’s Fair

It’s about knowing and relating and communicating. It’s about education and truth and discovery.
Mark Tyra
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the original Cosmos book and I love many parts of this book. So many vignettes are interesting that make it worth the price I paid for the book many times over. But it can be difficult to follow the thread of the book or of a chapter. You wonder how this is related to what you thought was being discussed, and then—just like that—the spell of the book is broken and you are free to resume reading or put it down for a while. Another reviewer called it a book of tangents; I can see why someon ...more
Peter Gordon
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read quite a bit of non-fiction science and this book still had some surprises. I expected it to be about cosmology and while that topic runs though the whole book, much of the story is dedicated to examples of how humankind has arrived where we are at today in terms of our understanding of the universe. It's a surprisingly personal book, and it was nice to hear some stories about Druyan's relationship with Sagan. The science is presented in an accessible way as well, I think. ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great companion to the new series, with more detail than you obviously are going to get in a 45 minute episode, but still similar to the topics as presented on screen. But it also ended up being pretty personal at times by the author, using those moments of life to show us how she got into science and why she's trying to tell people about it. Some really good stuff here. ...more
Ross Cohen
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It feels good to wonder and hope realistically.
Nestor Jimenez
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: astronomy
What a beautiful book! One of them to keep close to you, the same as COSMOS. There is no words only READ IT! READ IT! READ IT! (and share with everyone)
Subhasree তন্নি Das
Magnificent ! Brilliant ! I love it !
Scott Kardel
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: astronomy, science
I very much enjoyed Cosmos: Possible Worlds. There is less about space and the universe then there was in the original Cosmos, but like the original there's plenty about history, science, humanity and how we relate to the vast universe we inhabit. ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit, I adore the original series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage when it originally came out. It was the first DVD I ever purchased even before I had something to play it on cause I was going to have my own copy!

Of course, since then, Carl Sagan has died but he left a body of work that continues to reach into the future and this book - the companion to the third series that bears the name "Cosmos" continues to lead us through space and time. Ann Druyan - a renowned scientist in her own rig
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
For more reviews and Bookish posts visit:

Cosmos: Possible Worlds by Ann Druyan is a sequel to Carl Sagan’s classic, and a companion book to the celebrated television series. Ms. Druyan is an award winning writer, director, and producer specializing in making science accessible.

The first thing I noticed when holding this book is the quality of the item. The book is lavishly printed, quality pages and magnificent photographs throughout. Cosmos: Possible Worlds by Ann Dr
John Michael Strubhart
As a voracious consumer of science writing, I appreciate a presentation of information, details of process and a recounting of events that allow me to gain a new perspective that makes me feel a kind of joyous wonder. It's absolutely the biggest payoff of reading good science writing for me. I am acquainted with a few people who just don't get it. They need someone to write with an exuberance of feeling so that they can feel what the author does. I don't get that. So, we don't get each other. Ho ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: space nerds, everybody who is curious about the universe, and witches with a cosmic perspective
Cosmos was a joy to read! I bought it from a local bookstore, which sells graphic novels about ghosts and witches, angels and demons, aliens and superheroes, as well as science fiction from the 60s, runes, tarot decks, and weird candles. Cosmos was placed next to a book on modern witchcraft on the shelf – 14 billion years of cosmic evolution next to old-time religions and magical traditions. I bought both.

Cosmos is packed with science, art, and human history. If you are interested in quantum wei
Fardila Metavia
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book has taken me on a journey of discovering science, the universe, and humanity.

At first, I picked up this book for the sole purpose of knowing more about astronomy because outer space has always been my utmost curiosity. But after more chapters, I got completely hooked on the premise of life itself, that Ann Druyan has covered so many aspects and topics from various fields, starting from biology to science, chemistry to geology, and also numerous history lessons that shaped the
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Most certainly a thought provoking and big picture orientated read. It was most helpful to present Earth and life on it in the perspective of a cosmic year. Although Earth has about a billion years left before Sol turns into a red sun, the Cosmic year has us plotted at late December. Regarding human life we are in our terrible adolescence, which reflects in the ways rapidly destructing our planet. Ann Druyan does project hope, but we as a planet need to take the science seriously. Climatic event ...more
Antonio Gallo
Using her unique gift of bringing complex scientific concepts to life, acclaimed author Ann Druyan documents where humanity has been and where it is going in this sequel to Carl Sagan's blockbuster, Cosmos.

Based on National Geographic's renowned television series, this innovative and visually stunning book explores the convergence of science and civilization. Covering topics from the Big Bang to the intricacies of intelligence in many life forms, Druyan explains how we humans can garner a new un
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cosmos: Possible Worlds is probably one of the best books I've read. It means a lot to me because going through middle school and high school I had a lot of dull, boring science teachers that made science classes unbearable. The types that would put notes on an overhead all class then give you a huge packet of worksheets to turn in. I remember trying to get through those boring classes yawning and trying not to fall asleep. This book got me finally interested in science again at the age of 29.

Lee McKerracher
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous read! Ann Druyan has such a wonderful way of making science and astronomy accessible to everyone. Her passion for space exploration is clear and this is such an entertaining way to learn about our solar system, the universe and the history of scientific discovery around the world.

She has taken her late husband, Carl Sagan's work, and given it a new life and has included more recent discoveries and theories. I was lucky enough to meet Ann when she toured Australia in early 2020 wi
Paige McLoughlin
Really interesting book talking about our current extreme peril and some real promise in the future (with dangers of course) there are always going to be complications. I listened to an audiobook version of this work and damn it was hard-hitting. Climate change is probably the most pressing issue we have to face among all the other twentieth and twenty-first-century perils. The promise on the other hand was a great exercise in some really good speculation which actually might pan out if we are l ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yes, it’s not strictly speaking an astronomy book. Yes, there are better books for those interested in gathering scientific knowledge or understanding the mechanisms of life and the universe. Yes, it’s clearly a personal account and not a scientific paper or essay (I don’t think that anyone can complain about this anyway, as it wasn’t advertised as such). And yes, being a personal account it has personal references to the Sagan family.

All that said, this is a deeply inspiring, holistic book whic
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Gracias ! 1 3 May 28, 2020 07:53AM  

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Ann Druyan (born June 13, 1949) is an American author and media producer known for her involvement in many projects aiming to popularize and explain science. She is probably best-known as the last wife of Carl Sagan, and co-author of the Cosmos series and book, along with Sagan and Steven Soter.

In her writings, Druyan has stressed the idea that people can have a sense of awe and wonder about the u

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“A world that tiny cannot possibly be the center of a cosmos of all that is, let alone the sole focus of its creator. The pale blue dot is a silent rebuke to the fundamentalist, the nationalist, the militarist, the polluter—to anyone who does not put above all other things the protection of our little planet and the life that it sustains in the vast cold darkness.” 3 likes
“This is one of the things I love about science. When the evidence for a slightly older universe was discovered, there were no scientists who sought to suppress it. As soon as the new data were verified, this revision in our understanding was embraced by the whole scientific community. That permanently revolutionary attitude, that openness to change, at the heart of science is what makes it so effective.” 1 likes
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