Library Journal
"This short, delightful book is essential reading for those educated in the liberal arts who have never had the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of mathematics and physics." ... "His seamless development leads the reader almost effortlessly from the early efforts of the ancients to measure the earth through the open problems in modern cosmology. Strongly recommended."

Harold D. Shane

(Selected for Library Journal's annual list for the "Best Scientific and Technical Books for General Readers.")

"as lucid, comprehensible, and engaging as will be found in this category of scientific writing."

New York Times
"There have been many books on how the universe expanded into its present shape from the big bang. But I have seen none that so successfully help us stretch our minds so that we can see expanding space curved somewhat like the surface of Earth, but in three dimensions rather than two, and with the added fourth dimension, time."

David N. Schramm

Los Angeles Times
"Wow. This short book manages to pack a lot in. It is the story of how civilization discovered -- long before Columbus -- that the earth is round (even though it looks flat) and, by analogy, how scientists discovered that the universe is curved (even though it, too, looks flat). ... Throughout, Osserman keeps in mind the sheer beauty of these discoveries."

Lee Dembart

The Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Osserman justly calls Riemann's spherical universe 'one of the most original and radical departures from the standard world-view in the history of scince.' And through a series of deft analogies -- drawing on everything from the history of cartography to Dante's 'Divine Comedy' -- he gets the reader to appreciate its extraordinary power and elegance." ... "conveys just the right amount of mathematics -- enough so that you can start to savor the poetry of the universe in its original language."

Jim Holt

South Bend Tribune
"this is an enlightening, informative and gracious introduction to the universe. Certainly to be read by every student of mathematics, it should be required by anyone who wishes to have a greater understanding of mankind, our genius and our possibilities."

Tom Donaghey

"With the elegance of a mathematical proof, ... provides a brilliant synthesis of the history of mathematical representation. Happily for students of non-mathematical disciplines, Osserman deploys straightforward analogies, accompanied by clear and simple graphical illustrations, to describe practices and concepts ranging from ancient Egypt to the present."

Charlie La Via


The Professional Geographer
"Osserman's all too brief journey through the imagination carries the reader by leaps and bounds from cartography to mathematics to astronomy to physics and back again." ... "should be a required supplementary book for any cartography course or course in geographic information systems." ... "this stimulating book is elegantly and cleverly done; it is a must for anyone in the spatial sciences."

Sandra Lach Arlinghaus


"this book can be a real eye-opener and a handy reference. Both experts and novices of physics, mathematics, and astronomy can benefit from reading it." ... "after reading Poetry of the Universe it seems alomost unbelievable that modern history books are written without special attention to the place of math and science in past societies."

Larry O'Hanlon


Notices of the American Mathematical Society
"The writing style is concise and elegant, unadorned with flashy tricks that a writer less sensitive to the beauty of the subject might be tempted to throw in." ... "Osserman's ingenious explanations of hyperbolic space would be enormously useful to a student who is exploring the subject for the first time." ... "Although it is aimed at those with little background in science, mathematicians are sure to love this little book."

Allyn Jackson

Australian Mathematical Society Gazette
"... a wonderful book, clear and honest in its aims and beautifully written."

Marty Ross

Last updated 4/1 /98, Marlon Urias