Book Talk: The Human Cosmos: A Secret History of the Stars
with Jo Marchant
For most of human history, we have led not just an earthly existence but a cosmic one. Celestial cycles drove every aspect of our daily lives. Our innate relationship with the stars shaped who we are—our religious beliefs, power structures, scientific advances, and even our biology. But over the last few centuries we have separated ourselves from the universe that surrounds us. And that disconnect comes at a cost.
In The Human Cosmos, Jo Marchant takes us on a tour through the history of humanity's relationship with the heavens. We travel to the Hall of the Bulls in Lascaux and witness the winter solstice at a 5,000-year-old tomb at Newgrange. We visit Medieval monks grappling with the nature of time and Tahitian sailors navigating by the stars. We discover how light reveals the chemical composition of the sun, and we are with Einstein as he works out that space and time are one and the same. And we find out why stargazing can be really, really good for us.
It is time for us to rediscover the full potential of the universe we inhabit, its wonder, its effect on our health, and its potential for inspiration and revelation.
Jo Marchant is an award-winning science journalist. She has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology, and an MSc in science communication. She has worked as an editor at New Scientist and Nature, and her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Wired, Observer, New Scientist, and Nature. Jo Marchant’s previous book, Cure, hit the New York Times bestseller hardcover nonfiction and science lists and was licensed to 27 countries. She is also author of Decoding the Heavens, which was, like Cure, shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books.