Reflections on a Surprising Universe has been nominated for the Royal Society‘s prestigious scientific book award. The Royal Society is the oldest scientific academy in existence. Expert judges choose the book that they believe makes popular science writing compelling and accessible to the public. Past winners have included Stephen Hawking and Bill Bryson. All nominations come from the publishers.


“What a wonderful book… I would give this book 7 stars if I could”
—Faith S. Michael, NetGalley, Nov. 2019 

The book may be ordered in print and electronic form at outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and John Hunt Publishing. To Order click here.

Reflections on a Surprising Universe:
Extraordinary Discoveries Through Ordinary Eyes
by Richard Conrad Dieter

Explore our Universe from its grandeur to its most fundamental in this new, accessible and fascinating book.

“What a wonderful book” “MUST-READ!”

“The perfect book” “Fresh perspective, new insight”

“I’m loving this book. It’s fascinating.”

“Accessible and profoundly interesting read”

“Highly recommended” “Masterful”

“A great read” “Leaves you in awe”

“Wonderful insight” “A delight to read”

“Much more engaging…than Stephen Hawking”

Related video:
Related article: “It’s a Surprising Universe,”, Nov. 1, 2019.
SEE Press Release.

Do you feel a sense of excitement and awe in learning about both the vastness and intricacies of the world around you? Then let Richard Dieter guide you through the unique synthesis of recent scientific discoveries and what they reveal about us.

This book takes the reader beyond the headlines of the latest scientific breakthroughs, translating complicated topics into an understandable narrative. It covers a wide array of scientific developments in clear and concise language sharing a sense of wonder felt by the author about the universe we find ourselves in. The book covers such developments as the size and expansion of the universe, black holes, gravitational waves, the relativity of spacetime, the multiverse, exoplanets and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, DNA, fundamental particles, quantum mechanics and quantum computers, all in an accessible narrative.

What Reviewers Are Saying

5 out of 5 stars “I would give this book 7 stars if I could as it is not just full of mostly easy to understand language but it explains and gives answers that text books do not. From the depth of the material covered and the bibliography cited, the author has spent considerable time, effort and diligence in putting the material into a comprehensive package of interesting, cohesive information, theories and scientific discoveries.” (Read the full review)—Faith S. Michael, NetGalley, November 2019

“A great read and a great gift with the holidays upon us. It takes the majestic complications of the universe and presents them in understandable and fascinating terms. It’s the quick and handy guide to our universe. Written in an informative style reminiscent of Bill Bryson. MUST-READ!”
Event Horizon Radio, November 2019

5 out of 5 stars—I love it!
“I’m loving this book. It’s fascinating. I’m being brought to an appreciation of something I’ve known so little about, and it’s coming to me in a warm, gentle way. It feels as though I’m being introduced to an astonishingly impressive stranger by a trusted friend.”
Mike Farrell, on Amazon, December 2019

5 out of 5 stars—”I enjoyed Reflections on a Surprising Universe very much…it is a delight to read and gives a beautiful ‘bird’s eye’ view of much of what has always fascinated me about science and the universe. It is quite approachable, easy to read and presupposes no prior knowledge of the topics covered. I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing curiosity about the wonders of our universe.”
On Amazon, December 2019

5 out of 5 stars—”What a fun romp through space and time, the micro and the macro. Dieter masterfully tackles the awesome task of explaining to a lay audience the mysteries of quantum mechanics; the intricacies of evolution; and the unknowable basic units of light, matter, and gravity… perspective is fresh and provides new insight.”
Michael Lasher, on Amazon January 2020

5 out of 5 stars—Want to know what a multiverse is? How about string theory?
“This is a fine, very readable book that acquaints a non-scientist reader with many, many 20th and 21st century scientific theories and discoveries, told in a much more engaging way than Stephen Hawking managed in A Brief History of Time. The book won’t make an instant scientist of anyone, but every reader will come away with a passing acquaintance with current thinking about the nature of the universe and its elements — everything from black holes to gluons and of course the Higgs boson, otherwise known as the God particle.”
–Lisa Lerman, on Amazon, December 2019

5 out of 5 stars—Science and Ordinary Eyes
“[A] summary of the surprising physical universe in which mankind finds herself. With the help of ever more powerful telescopes and microscopes – and searing human intellectual pursuit – we now purvey a world that has previously only been grounds for speculation by the Greek philosophers through Newton, and even through Einstein. . .

“Through carefully worded introductions and segues, ordinary eyes expressly include people of religious faith. One of the excellent contributions of this book is the framing of modern cosmology as a human pursuit that has born much fruit, but in no way contradicts the ordinary experience of faith.”
Brian Hunter, on Amazon, December 2019

4 out of 5 starsReflections on a Surprising Universe is an accessible and profoundly interesting read. It . . . would be a great buy for someone perhaps interested in reading an introduction to said topics. . . . If you have even a passing interest in astronomy and/or physics this is a fantastic and insightful book to pick up. The author should be lauded for the sheer amount of research and hard work that went into creating such an intriguing and highly readable book which allows a layman to comprehend all they are being told. Everything is explained fully and simply and the text flows smoothly from one topic to the next. Highly recommended.”
Lou @readers_retreat, NetGalley, December 2019

4 out of 5 stars “This is well written. If you know nothing about physics or astrophysics you’ll probably like this. . . . it’s a good read, and you’re bound to learn some very interesting stuff.
Paul V., NetGalley, December 2019

4 out of 5 stars “I found this book to be a wonderful insight on what is going on in science right now. It was a nice read! 
Stephanie Cassidy, NetGalley, November 2019

4 out 5 stars “For a complete layman. . . this would be the perfect book. It explains the things it goes over quite simply, efficiently and attractively. . . it’s all quite fascinating.”
Evelina (avalinah, AvalinahsBooks), NetGalley, November 2019

“A good, ‘popular science’ introduction to quite a few concepts, including quantum physics, DNA, string theory and black holes. … I have no doubts that a reader wanting the ‘beginner’s version’ of these scientific ideas, before branching into more in-depth reading about them, will find Reflections on a Surprising Universe fairly useful, and easy to approach. … [A] fascinating read, if only for the author’s obvious (and contagious) passion for the subjects covered here. It is also a reminder that there is still so much we don’t know …Conclusion: Consider this a 4 stars

if you want to get into physics/astrophysics but have little or no knowledge about it yet, and could do with a good primer in layperson’s terms.”
Yzabel Ginsberg, NetGalley, March 2020

“Not many authors have the skill and breadth to masterfully explain the mysteries of science, and do so in literate language, but Richard Dieter easily ranks as one of them.”
Colman McCarthy, former Washington Post columnist

“In clear prose, Richard Dieter lays out a vision of the universe filled with curiosity and wonder. Dieter’s layman vision of the universe brings the majesty of the cosmos down to the level of the everyday in census of the weirdness that surrounds us on all sides. From the smallest particles to the vastest super-structures, this book is a great read for anyone looking up in the sky and wondering what’s out there.”
John Wenz, former Associate Editor, Astronomy magazine

“This book is like a 2019 version of ‘Powers of Ten’ that takes you 13 billion light years away, then brings you back to the DNA in your hand and leaves you in awe of the beauty and complexity of our universe. Dieter accompanies you on this trip with clear, concise explanations of extraordinary discoveries.”
—Paul Lyons, CEO Zapotec Energy, Inc., Cambridge, MA