The Universe in a Box

The Universe in a Box

A New Cosmic History


Will we ever truly understand the universe? This is the story of the technologies that allow us to look up, to learn and to discover our place in the cosmos.

'An electrifying new history of the universe' HANNAH FRY, author of Rutherford and Fry's Complete Guide to Absolutely Everything

We are part of an incredible chain of events stretching 13.8 billion years into the past and even further into the future. But what does that future hold? And how do scientists study the entire universe?

The Universe in a Box is Andrew Pontzen's tribute to simulations - the remarkable computer codes that, over the last century, have allowed us to understand the distant past and far future of the universe. It reframes what we think we know about galaxies, black holes and matter itself.
And it reveals the stories of the pioneering scientists who unlocked the mysteries of space, from redshift to improbable dark materials that pass, ghostlike, through solid rock.

Illuminating, provocative and bold, this is the perfect book for anyone curious about the cosmos.


  • A truly excellent exposition of a fascinating, little-understood, and very important scientific activity. I was enlightened, amazed, and profoundly impressed. I've seldom seen a book (and this is an age of really good writing about science for the general public) so clear, so vivid
    Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials

About the author

Andrew Pontzen

Andrew Pontzen is a professor of cosmology at University College London. He has written for the New Scientist, BBC Sky at Night and BBC Science Focus; lectured at the Royal Institution; appeared on BBC, Amazon Prime and Discovery Channel documentaries; and contributed to BBC Radio 4 programmes including Inside Science and The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry. The Universe in a Box is his first book.
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