Already well known as a lively and informative writer of science for the layman, this latest book of Professor Gamow is no less interesting. The third in a trilogy of which the first two were The Birth and Death of the Sun and The Biography of the Earth, this propounds the author's theories as an expansionist -- in language that is simple, yet mindful of the complexities of science and relatively unmincing in its terminology. Briefly, Dr. Gamow theorizes that the universe was a compressed superatom some three billion years ago. But in an hour a ""cooking"" process took place and expansion began. Then for thirty million years nothing much happened until the gases formed by atoms broke into clouds and through successive condensations formed protogalaxies -- a continuing process of expansion to infinity. The book starts with a historical survey of the science of cosmology -- the early theories of Hubble, then goes on to age problems, the expansionist theory itself, the Ylem theory of the formation of atomic species, the hierarchy of condensations, the lives of stars. It is exciting stuff to think about, accurately presented by an astrophysicist with a good imagination.