A compilation of BBC lectures by a brilliant young British astronomer provides- in one volume -- the best and worst of science literature for the layman. Best for its lucid, incisive, vivid style, occasionally even poetic, for its logical organization of material, for its choice of questions young and old still ask. The text sings with a nse of the breathless wonder of infinite time and space, the universe, the galaxies and stars evolving out of primal, tenuous stardust. And here's where we get popular science at its worst. ""It does not come from anywhere. Material simply appears-- is created. At one time the various atoms composing the material do not exist, and at a later time they do."" Period. No explanation, no documentation, no authority. Just a casual statement loaded with theological and scientific dynamite. Acceptable, perhaps, in the glib format of a radio program, but in an otherwise magnificent structure of a book, they weaken it almost to the point of collapse.