A new book from an All About Space editor makes sense of a big universe.

" The Short Story of the Universe (opens in new tab)" is a book written by an astronomer. The book can be purchased from the publisher. All About Space and Space.com are sister websites and are written by Lavender.

A pocket-sized look into how the universe came to be, why it matters and what it means for the public today is provided by lavender.

Lavender talked to Space.com about her aims for the book, what readers can learn and where they can get more information after they finish the book. You can purchase lavender's previous books at Amazon.


There is a glitch in the universe.

Gemma Lavender Headshot

Astronomer Gemma Lavender, author of "The Short Story of the Universe." (Image credit: Future)

The book puts your team's work at All About Space in mind, as well as the physics research you have done at the university. Can you tell us about your life and work experiences?

The universe is so complex that it can be hard to understand how fascinating it is. The general public want to be able to comprehend, but may not have been taught in the right way at school, or they may have been bogged down in the mathematics.

Is there a way to communicate space science to inspire and engage in such a way as to encourage school leavers to go onto college to study a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Is there a formula that can be used to increase the number of astronomy, astrophysicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, writers, editors, and other associated professions?

This is what inspired the short story of the universe. It was created with accessibility in mind and was designed to engage and educate everyone about the universe.

In 10 easy steps, you can read the history of the universe.

Gemma Lavender Headshot

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All About Space magazine issue 131 is out now.

(Image credit: Future)

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The universe is a huge topic. How did you come up with the ideas for this guide?

I wanted to make sure that there was a complete overview of the universe, while also making sure that each section was small. My career has taught me that you only have a small window to grab the attention of a reader, so it's important to pull out the how, what, where and why with each of the subjects.

Science is built on math, so how did you teach readers the things they need to learn about quantum physics, without bringing them through a lot of equations?

This was a challenge for me when I began writing. Knowing who you're talking to before you begin writing means that you leave the equations out. The equations tell us something important, but what do they tell us in words? I need to think about this.

A field of distant galaxies captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.

A field of distant galaxies captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)

Space.com asked how one chooses an artist's conception of some of the theoretical parts scientists are still struggling with.

The balance of scientific accuracy and accessibility is important when choosing images. Ensuring that there are recognisable elements in a concept brings some of the most complex ideas to life. It's important to get the more widely accepted theories into our artist's ideas.

When you were writing the book, what were you surprised by?

Even if you've been producing content about the universe for a long time, there is always something new to learn. I will be amazed by how big the universe is and how we think it will end.

What do you think people should learn from the book and where should they go next?

I hope that the readers of "The Short Story of the Universe" feel the same way as I do, that they are in the privileged position to engage, inspire and educate about the universe. Even if the book helped a student with their homework or if they learned a small factoid.

I can vouch for the work of Stephen Hawking and others. I can definitely recommend Space.com and All About Space magazine if I were being biased.

The co-author of Why Am I Taller is Elizabeth Howell. A book about space medicine is in the works. Follow us on social media, like us on Facebook (opens in new tab)