- Cosmos (book)
Author(s) Carl Sagan Cover artist Adolf Schaller Country USA Language English Genre(s) Popular science Publisher Random House, New York Publication date 1980 Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback) Pages 365 ISBN 0-394-50294-9 OCLC Number 6280573 Dewey Decimal 520 LC Classification QB44.2 .S235 Preceded by Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science Followed by Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Cosmos (1980) is a popular science book by astronomer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sagan. Its 13 illustrated chapters, corresponding to the 13 episodes of the Cosmos TV series on which the book was based, explore the mutual development of science and civilization. Spurred in part by the popularity of the TV series, Cosmos spent 50 weeks on the Publishers Weekly best-sellers list and 70 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list to become the best-selling science book ever published at the time. In 1981, it received the Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book. The book's unprecedented success ushered in a dramatic increase in visibility for science-themed literature. The sequel to Cosmos is Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994).
Cosmos has 13 heavily illustrated chapters, corresponding to the 13 episodes of the Cosmos television series. In the book, Sagan explores 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of science and civilization. Cosmos traces the origins of knowledge and the scientific method, mixing science and philosophy, and speculates to the future of science. The book also discusses the underlying premises of science by providing biographical anecdotes about many prominent scientists throughout history, placing their contributions into the broader context of the development of modern science. Cornell News Service characterized the book as "an overview of how science and civilization grew up together."
The book covers a broad range of topics, comprising Sagan's reflections on anthropological, cosmological, biological, historical, and astronomical matters from antiquity to contemporary times. Sagan reiterates his position on extraterrestrial life—that the magnitude of the universe permits the existence of thousands of alien civilizations, but no credible evidence exists to demonstrate that such life has ever visited earth.
Cosmos utilizes a light, conversational tone to render complex scientific topics readable for a lay audience. On many topics, the book encompasses a more concise, refined presentation of previous ideas about which Sagan had written. One critic characterized the book as containing religious rhetoric in its descriptions of science and the universe.
In The New York Times Book Review, novelist James Michener praised Cosmos as "a cleverly written, imaginatively illustrated summary of [Sagan's]... ruminations about our universe... His style is iridescent, with lights flashing upon unexpected juxtapositions of thought." David Whitehouse of the British Broadcasting Corporation proclaimed "there is not a book on astronomy – in fact not one on science – that comes close to the eloquence and intellectual sweep of Cosmos... If we send just one book to grace the libraries of distant worlds..., let it be Cosmos." Kirkus Reviews described the book as "Sagan at his best." In 1981, Cosmos received the Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book.
Cosmos became the best-selling science book ever published in the English language. It was only surpassed in the late 1980s by Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time. Though spurred in part by the popularity of the television series, Cosmos became a best-seller by itself. Cosmos spent 50 weeks on the Publishers Weekly best-seller's list, where it became the first science book to sell more than half a million copies. The book also spent 70 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Cosmos sold more than 900,000 copies while on the best sellers list and continued to sell well for years later, selling around five million copies internationally. Shortly after Cosmos was published, Sagan received a $2 million advance for the novel Contact. This was the largest release given for an unwritten fiction book at the time. The success of Cosmos made Sagan "wealthy as well as famous." It also ushered in a dramatic increase in visibility for science books. Science historian Bruce Lewenstein of Cornell University noted that among science books "Cosmos marked the moment that something different was clearly going on."
Lewenstein also noted the power of the book as a recruitment tool. Along with Microbe Hunters and The Double Helix, he described Cosmos as one of the "books that people cite as 'Hey, the reason I'm a scientist is because I read that book'." Particularly in astronomy and physics, he said, the book inspired many people to become scientists.
- Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
- Carl Sagan
- ^ "Pale Blue Dot". Powell's Books. http://www.powells.com/biblio?PID=27627&cgi=product&isbn=9780345376596. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Cosmos: Bibliographical Data". Book Depository. The Book Depository International Ltd. http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780349107035/Cosmos?b=-3&t=-26#Bibliographicdata-26. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Cosmos: Full Description". Book Depository. The Book Depository International Ltd. http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780349107035/Cosmos?b=-3&t=-20#Fulldescription-20. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Cosmos: About this Edition". Borders. Borders, Inc. http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0345331354. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ a b Lessel, Thomas (May 1985). "Science and the Sacred Cosmos: The Ideological Rhetoric of Carl Sagan.". Quarterly Journal of Speech 71 (2): 175–187.
- ^ a b Brand, David; Blaine P. Friedlander, Jr (2001-02-19). "From somber Silent Spring to creative Cosmos, author's style can make difference in selling science, says Cornell researche". Cornell News (Cornell University). http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb01/Lewenstein.AAAS.je.deb.html. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ a b Michener, James (25 January 1981). "Ten Million Civilizations Nearby". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/25/books/ten-million-civilizations-nearby.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- ^ Dicke, William (1996-12-21). "Carl Sagan, an Astronomer Who Excelled at Popularizing Science, Is Dead at 62". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1109.html. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ Whitehouse, David (1999-10-15). "Sci/Tech Carl Sagan: A life in the cosmos". British Broadcasting Corporation. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/475954.stm. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Reviews". Kirkus Book Review. DC Public Library. 2010. http://catalog.dclibrary.org/vufind/Record/u330611/Reviews. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- ^ "Cosmos". Goodreads. 2002-05-07. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55030.Cosmos. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Carl Sagan to lecture at Stanford April 23". Stanford News Service (Standford University). 2012-04-04. http://news.stanford.edu/pr/93/930412Arc3331.html. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- ^ "Carl Sagan: Founder and First President of The Planetary Society". The Planetary Society. http://www.planetary.org/about/founders/carl_sagan.html. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- ^ Garreau, Joel (2003-07-21). "Science's Mything Links As the Boundaries of Reality Expand, Our Thinking Seems to Be Going Over the Edge". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/ear/nsc110/Crystal/WashPost.html. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ "Meet Dr. Carl Sagan". The Science Channel. http://science.discovery.com/convergence/cosmos/bio/bio.html?clik=fsmain_feat3. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- ^ Shermer p. 490
- ^ a b c Lewenstein, Bruce (2002-03-08). "How Science Books Drive Public Discussion". National Institute for Standards and Technology. http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/bestpractices/Lewenstein2.htm. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ a b "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Understanding". National Science Foundation. 2004. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind04/c7/c7s1.htm. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ Brand, David (1996-12-20). "Carl Sagan, Cornell astronomer, dies today (Dec. 20) in Seattle". Cornell News (Cornell University). http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Dec96/saganobit.ltb.html. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- ^ a b Nord, David; Joan Shelley Rubin (2009). "Science Books Since 1945". A History of the Book in America: Volume 5: The Enduring Book: Print Culture. Michael Schudson. UNC Press. pp. 357. ISBN 9780807832851. http://books.google.com/books?id=1lLetiCmAIkC&pg=PT376&lpg=PT376&dq=#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- ^ Ruprecht, Louis (1996). "Book Reviews". Journal of the American Academy of Religion (Oxford Journals) LXIV (2): 459–464. ISSN 1477-4585. http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pdf_extract/LXIV/2/459. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- ^ a b Lewenstein, Bruce (2007-03). "Why should we care about science books?". Journal of Science Communication (International School for Advanced Studies) 6 (1). ISSN 1824–2049. http://www.weizmann.ac.il/library/find/ScienceBooks.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- ^ Morrison, David (2007). Man for the Cosmos: Carl Sagan's Life and Legacy as Scientist, Teacher, and Skeptic. Skeptical Inquirer January/February, 31(1), pp. 29-38.
- Shermer, Michael (August 2002). "This View of Science: Stephen Jay Gould as Historian of Science and Scientific Historian, Popular Scientist and Scientific Popularizer". Social Studies of Science (London: SAGE Publications) 32 (4): 489–525. ISSN 0306-3127. OCLC 2242476. http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/shermer_sjgould.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
Carl Sagan BooksMars and the Mind of Man · The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence · Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science · Cosmos · The Nuclear Winter: The World After Nuclear War · Contact · Comet · A Path Where No Man Thought: Nuclear Winter and the End of the Arms Race · Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are · Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space · The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark · Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium · The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God MediaCosmos: A Personal Voyage · Contact See also
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cosmos (disambiguation) — Cosmos generally refers to an orderly or harmonious system, and is used as a synonym for Universe when emphasizing that the universe is governed by an orderly system of physical laws; this usage originated with the philosopher Pythagoras in the… … Wikipedia
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage — For the book based on the series, see Cosmos (book). Cosmos: A Personal Voyage Cosmos title card Genre Documentary Created by … Wikipedia
Cosmos (comics) — Cosmos, in comics, may refer to: Cosmos (Transformers), a Transformer who has appeared in the comic books based on the toys Cosmos, a Wildstorm character from Welcome to Tranquillity Cosmos, an Image Comics character from Red Mass for Mars by… … Wikipedia
Cosmos (Transformers) — Cosmos is the name of several fictional characters in the various Transformers universes. He is sometimes referred to as Autobot Cosmos for trademark purposes. Wired Magazine once nominated him as one of the 12 most ridiculous Transformers of… … Wikipedia
Cosmos 426 — Estado Reentrado en la atmósfera Fecha de lanzamiento 4 de junio de 1971 … Wikipedia Español
Cosmos Rossellius — (died 1578) was a Florentine Dominican friar who wrote a book about memory. Theasurus artificosae memoria was published in Venice in 1579. He gives a Dante esque description of hell as a memory space system arranged around a well at the top of a… … Wikipedia
Book of Abraham — For other meanings of this name, see Book of Abraham (disambiguation). A portion of the papyri considered by some to be source of the Book of Abraham. The difference between Egyptologists translation and Joseph Smith s interpretations have caused … Wikipedia
Cosmos 1686 — Infobox Space station station = Cosmos 1686 station station image size = station image caption = Cosmos 1686 (top) docked to Salyut 7, imaged by Range Doppler radar. insignia = Salyut insignia.jpg insignia caption = Salyut program insignia sign … Wikipedia
Cosmos 1267 — Infobox Space station station = Cosmos 1267 station station image size = station image caption = TKS spacecraft diagram insignia = Salyut 6.gif insignia caption = Salyut 6 insignia sign = Salyut 6 launch = 1981 04 25 02:01:00 UTC Docked to Salyut … Wikipedia
Pale Blue Dot (book) — Infobox Book name = Pale Blue Dot title orig = translator = image caption = author = Carl Sagan illustrator = cover artist = country = language = English series = subject = genre = publisher = release date = 1994 english release date = media type … Wikipedia