You don’t have to be an avid StarTalk listener to appreciate all that Cosmic Queries has to offer. From Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil, this new book published by National Geographic answers some big questions about the universe from two of the leading scientific experts. Inspired by questions submitted by StarTalk listeners, Cosmic Queries is full of fascinating and well-explained answers.

Fittingly enough, the book often reads like an episode of the most recent seasons of Cosmos hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Over the course of ten chapters, readers will get answers to big and profound questions. The level of deep research often includes the name of the scientist who made the discovery, in some cases giving credit to women or minorities who had their important work claimed by another.

Where did everything come from? How did earth begin? Where did life come from? Are we alone in the universe? These are the questions that keep many up at night because they’re not easy to answer. Approached from the disciplines of physics and astrophysics, the authors provide insightful answers accompanied by photos and artwork.

My only criticism of Cosmic Queries is the placement of some related additional information. Framed in a yellow border, the main narrative of each question is interrupted, usually by a partial page blurb. The extra information is fun, but the book would be easier to read if it came between questions rather than interrupting them. Sometimes these sections are big, taking up more than a page and interrupting the main narrative mid-sentence. It also embeds semi-related tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson which don’t necessarily add anything other than a reminder that you should be following him.

Fittingly, the final two chapters are called How Will It All End?” and “What Does Nothing Have to Do With Everything?” It’s full of proposed spoilers for events that we won’t experience in our lifetime while also bringing the book full circle. Going back to questions about the origin of life, the universe and everything, it also proposes questions about what came before nothing. It provides readers with food for thought and while it answers some of those questions that cause your insomnia, it also introduces some new ones.

Cosmic Queries is a fun read and with the entire book broken up into groups of related questions, it’s the kind of book that you can leisurely enjoy, reading a little bit each day. If you enjoy Cosmos and StarTalk, this is a must-read. And if you’re new to both of those things, each are recommended viewing/listening following your Cosmic Queries adventure.

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Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going: