Scott Tremaine

Astrophysical Wonders is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Scott Tremaine, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study and an internationally renowned expert in both galactic-scale and planetary-scale astronomy. Topics that are part of this extensive conversation include the process of scientific discovery, in particular related to comets, Pluto, planetary rings, shepherding satellites, exoplanets, chaos theory and the formation, stability and uniqueness of our solar system. 

Further topics include galactic-scale astronomy, galaxy formation, dark matter, quasars, black holes, the large-scale structure of the universe and many outstanding open questions of contemporary astrophysics.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, On Butterflies and Fish, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Personal Reflections – Astrophysical origins and research-administration balance
  2. Exoplanetary Insights –  Looking beyond to assess our uniqueness
  3. Puzzles and Solutions –  Solar system formation and shepherding moons
  4. Rings, Comets and Pluto – Mysteries, discoveries and evolving definitions
  5. Investigating Stability – Considering past and future
  6. Large-scale Issues –  Colliding galaxies and dark matter
  7. Black Holes – Different types, different evidence and open questions
  8. Fundamental Questions –  The need to stay in contact with experiment
  9. Concluding Thoughts – Public policy and capitalizing on the moment




Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including:





Astrophysical Wonders is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Astrophysics & Cosmology, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.


We’ve produced two videos of this extensive conversation which are now available on Vimeo On Demand called Astrophysical Wonders, Part I: Solar System Astronomy and Astrophysical Wonders, Part II: Galactic-Scale Astronomy.