How we came to know the cosmos

by Dr Helen Klus


We live in a universe that is both infinite and ever expanding, that contains dimensions we can never see, and places we can never go, even if we travelled forever. There may be millions of other planets in our galaxy that contain life and there may be multitudes upon multitudes of multiverses. This may mean everything that’s physically possible is actually happening somewhere.

Modern science has become so astonishing that many people find it difficult to believe. How we came to know the cosmos addresses this by showing how we came to such bizarre conclusions.

How we came to know the cosmos: Space and Time looks outwards, describing how we have come to understand our place in the universe and How we came to know the cosmos: Light and Matter looks inwards, asking what we are made of. Each book starts from first principles and shows how one discovery led to another, ending with a summary of our current knowledge.

The name How we came to know the cosmos comes from the Carl Sagan quote: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”.

How we came to know the cosmos is adapted from articles first published on and will be on sale later this year in print, EPUB, and Kindle AZW3 formats.

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How we came to know the cosmos: Light and Matter. Image credit: Helen Klus/CC-NC-SA.

How we came to know the cosmos: Space and Time. Image credit: Helen Klus/CC-NC-SA.

About the author

Dr Helen Klus has a BSc in Astronomy and Philosophy (2006) from the University of Sheffield, an MA in Philosophy of Physics (2008) from the University of Leeds, and a PhD in Physics (2015) from the University of Southampton.

During her time at the University of Leeds, she specialised in the many worlds approach to quantum mechanics. While at the University of Southampton, she calculated the magnetic fields of neutron stars and found that they exhibit quantum-like behaviour. She has used some of the largest telescopes on Earth, given talks at international conferences, and written numerous scientific papers.

Photograph of Dr Helen Klus.

Dr Helen Klus. Image credit: Helen Klus/CC-NC-SA.

Klus was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize in association with the 'Guardian' and the 'Observer' and has been published on The Toast (Why Are There So Few Female Scientists?), and the Wellcome Trust Blog (Armchair Explorers: how members of the public are taking an active role in the search for other worlds).

A full list of academic and non-academic publications is given here.


You can contact Dr Helen Klus by email or follow The Star Garden on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Last updated on 5th August 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

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The Star Garden is a science news and science education website run by Dr Helen Klus.

How we came to know the cosmos covers the history of physics focusing on space and time, light and matter, and the mind. It explains the simple discoveries we made in prehistoric times, and how we built on them, little by little, until the conclusions of modern theories seem inevitable. This is shown in a timeline of the universe.

The Star Garden covers the basics for KS3, KS4, and KS5 science revision including SATs, GCSE science, and A-level physics.