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ROBERTO TROTTA is a senior lecturer in astrophysics at Imperial College London. An experienced science communicator, he has given hundreds of public lectures, published dozens of articles in national magazines, and appeared several times on radio and television. He also works as a scientific consultant for museums, writers, filmmakers, architects and artists, providing the help and support they need to make their artistic creations scientifically sound. In collaboration with artists and architects, he has created artwork that has been exhibited in prominent international venues, including the Venice Biennale. His outreach work has been recognized by several awards, including the Lord Kelvin Award of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is 36 years old and lives in London.



Roberto Trotta's website

Featured titles


All you need to know about the All-there-is (using only the ten hundred most used words in this tongue)


 A poetic primer on the universe… one part children’s book for grownups, one part imaginative exercise in economical yet lyrical language, and wholly wonderful – Maria Popova, BRAIN PICKINGS


A simplified but by no means simplistic introduction to modern cosmology and physics…. An entertaining exercise… for those student-people who like to ponder the All-There-Is while testing the always-inadequate limits of language – KIRKUS REVIEWS


The spare writing is elegant, even poetic. Literary experiments tend either to work or to flail with awkwardness; in Trotta’s hands, this beautifully written book… soars – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review


A surprisingly clear, and often poetic, primer on such complicated topics as the big bang, dark energy and the possibility of multiverses – SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN


Inventive, enjoyable and thought-provoking – NATURE

Imagine a short book presenting the latest discoveries and outstanding mysteries in modern cosmology — but written using only the most common thousand words in English, based on ten million works of contemporary fiction...

THE EDGE OF THE SKY does just that (the only exceptions being names of people). From the big bang to planets in other solar systems, from dark matter to dark energy, from the destiny of the Universe to its fundamental reality, from the work of Hubble to Einstein, it explores the most important cosmological ideas through the eyes of a fictional female scientist hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes on Earth.

Written by an acclaimed astrophysicist, THE EDGE OF THE SKY shows that it is possible to explain complex, abstract ideas using only common words that everybody can understand. At the same time, with its necessarily metaphorical, almost poetic style, the book can be enjoyed by novices and experts alike, with readers stimulated to interpret the figurative language, which ranges from the whimsical to the profound. Thus ‘the Universe’ becomes ‘the All-there-is’, a ‘telescope’ becomes ‘Big-Seer’, ‘particle collisions’ become ‘matter drops hugging', and so on.

Because of its simple building blocks, the book can be understood on a literal level by anyone, but it requires readers to make a conscious imaginative effort to decrypt the symbolism at a deeper level. Scientific detail and technical jargon take a back seat, while the evocative imagery is brought to the fore to illuminate the science in the simplest yet most accurate way possible. The result is a surprising, entertaining and entrancing little book for all – a unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularization that brings science back to the human scale and offers a startling new perspective on the Universe and our place in it.


Publisher: BasicBooks (US/UK)

Publication Date: Autumn 2014

Length: 144 pages


All rights available excluding:

World English Language