Jillian Scudder is an astrophysicist and assistant professor at Oberlin College, Ohio. She has been writing 'Astroquizzical', a blog answering space-related questions from the public, for over four years. Her writing has also been published in Forbes, Quartz, Medium, and The Conversation. This is her first book.
`[Jillian Scudder's] excellent debut book is all about making complex concepts, if not exactly easy to understand, then at least a little easier to grasp. ... In her enthralling cosmic journey through space and time, astrophysicist Jillian Scudder discusses our home planet's place in the universe. ... The result is a highly readable primer for a basic understanding of phenomena such as shooting stars, black holes, galaxies and the origins of the universe. Beyond the flawless presentation of known facts and current thinking, Scudder explores further by positing counterfactuals and thought experiments. ... The real triumph of Scudder's Astroquizzical is that it brings high-altitude, notionally abstract ideas to the general reader, presented in an entertaining and accessible way. For those more familiar with the universe it will also help to fill some of the knowledge gaps created by advancements in current thinking. In short, it should be required reading for every engineer and technologist.' Engineering & Technology magazine `Scudder is an astrophysicist who studies star formation in very distant galaxies but takes time out to passionately engage in outreach, getting into schools and the community as often as she can. This, her first introductory book on astronomy, benefits from that outreach. ... The narrative form that Scudder employs is an imaginary cosmic journey that begins on our home planet and takes us in seven steps to the furthest galaxies. This simple format has been tried countless times before by big-name astronomers. What's different here is an intense level of engagement between writer and reader. Vivid storytelling explains the physics without equations. ... Her aim is to get people to think issues through for themselves, and that works. The clarity of Scudder's writing is impressive.' Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education