Book Review: Dispatches from Planet 3: 32 (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond by Marcia Bartusiak

Cover of the book Dispatches from Planet 3: 32 (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond by Marcia Bartusiak
Dispatches from Planet 3: 32 (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond
by Marcia Bartusiak
Yale, 2018

This review was first published by Booklist on August 13, 2018.

These 32 short essays cover major events in the history of astronomy and cosmology, ranging from the demotion of Pluto to the status of dwarf planet, the evolution of galaxies, the detection of gravity waves and neutrinos, and the role of time in the Big Bang. Bartusiak’s (The Day We Found the Universe, 2009) goal is to provide historical context for many recent discoveries and a summary of how we got to where we are now in the science of space, offered in easy-to-read, bite-size morsels. Many of these essays cover events from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, the period when modern cosmology was born, but the collection isn’t arranged chronologically. Rather, the essays are grouped, small to large, by topic, starting from the solar system and working out to the larger universe. Of particular value, several essays focus on women who did significant work, but who historically haven’t gotten credit. This is an informative and rewarding read for anyone interested in our understanding of the universe. Recommended for fans of Amanda Gefter’s Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (2014).

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