A sweeping account of humanity's evolving vision of the universe, as viewed through the writings of the most exceptional thinkers in history. What is the cosmos? How did it come into being? How are we related to it, and what is our place in it? The Book of the Cosmos assembles for the first time in one volume the great minds of the Western world who have considered these questions from biblical times to the present. It is a book of many authors-Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo are here, of course, in all their genius, but so are Edgar Allan Poe, Annie Jump Cannon (a "human computer" and lyrical classifier of stars), and Sir Martin Rees, who proposes an "ensemble of universes" of which ours happens to be among the most interesting.In these pages the universe is made and unmade in a variety of configurations; it spins along on superstrings, teems with intelligent life, and could end without warning. The Book of the Cosmos provides a thrilling read to set the heart racing and the mind soaring.