Dave Eicher to write big astrophysics book for Cambridge University Press

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Credit: Tony Hallas
Following my recently released book COMETS! Visitors from Deep Space — (I hope you have your copy!) — from Cambridge University Press, I’m now embarking over the next year to write a detailed, full-color, hardcover summary of astronomy, cosmology, and planetary science for the same publisher. The book will contain 100,000 words, 100 color photos and illustrations, and be written for smart general readers.

The book will be titled THE NEW COSMOS: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions and will be out sometime in 2015. It will deliver a state-of-the-union report on where we are with many key subjects in which explosive research has taken place in just the last decade or so.

The book was inspired by Carl Sagan and Cosmos, who was a friend before his premature death. Cosmos was published in 1980, and some months ago it struck me how much of the landscape of astronomy has fundamentally changed over those 30 years.

So topics that will be explored include the end of life on Earth, how the Moon formed, water on Mars, the Milky Way as barred spiral, dark matter, dark energy, the size of the universe, the ubiquitous nature of black holes, the cosmic distance scale, the fate of the cosmos, and many more.

A who’s-who team of advisors will weigh in on emphasis and coverage, including Bruce Balick, Robert Benjamin, Debra Fischer, Jay Gallagher, Jim Head, Dan Hooper, Alex Filippenko, Rocky Kolb, John Kormendy, Avi Loeb, Alfred McEwen, Michael Rampino, Martin Rees, Adam Riess, Seth Shostak, Paul Spudis, and Alan Stern. What a brain trust to draw on to make sure that I’m being honest with my descriptions!

I’m delighted to be working with the Cambridge team again, including my editor Vince Higgs, superb publicist Rachel Ewen, and Editorial Assistant Sara Werden in New York.

This will no doubt be a big, fun project, and I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

I think the rapid discoveries remind us that the universe remains a complex and amazing place. I like to think of the 13th-century quotation from Alfonso X of Castile, “If the Lord Almighty had consulted me before embarking on creation thus, I should have recommended something simpler.”

* * *

FLASH! And soon I should have news on two other very big projects for next year, one of which has been brewing for a very long time and another that has come up suddenly. I can’t describe them quite yet, but they bring together lots of elements to create some news of the world. How’s that for innuendo?

Alas, they are in the works. For the moment, we are under pressure to get the paperwork finished and figure out the timing and scheduling. More to come soon.

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