The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is
by Roberto Trotta
Basic Books, 2014

Some of the most fundamental concepts in science can also be the most impenetrable. In an effort to make the study of the universe's origins accessible, cosmologist Trotta challenged himself to explain it using only the 1,000 most common words in English. That leaves out words such as “galaxy” (which he calls “Star-Crowd”) and “universe” (“the All-There-Is”). For example, on Edwin Hubble wondering if the fuzzy blobs in the night sky that turned out to be galaxies actually lay beyond the Milky Way, he writes, “If he could answer the question of how far away the White Shadows were, he reasoned, he would find out whether they were part of our own Star-Crowd. And if they weren't, this would show that the All-There-Is was much bigger than anyone thought.” The result is a surprisingly clear, and often poetic, primer on such complicated topics as the big bang, dark energy and the possibility of multiverses.