COSMIC VIEW: The Universe in 40 Jumps
by Kees Boeke

This is a copy of Kees Boeke's book, COSMIC VIEW: The Universe in 40 Jumps (1957).

[ jacket - full front and back ]
Top Flaps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Powers of ten: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 <> 1 0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 -11 -12 -13

Kees Boeke's Cosmic View is a classic on learning about the scale of things. It is similar to the Morrison's Powers of Ten, but aimed at a younger audience. Its legacy includes Charles Eames's film Powers of Ten, the resulting book by Philip and Phylis Morrison, and several similar books which followed. Unfortunately, the problems Kees hoped to address, including peoples' understanding being fragmented by scale, remain as pressing today as they were in 1957. I place it online in the hope of encouraging awareness and activity in this area. Comments welcome - Mitchell Charity.

If you enjoy this book, you might also like my A View from the Back of the Envelope.

A note on copyright. I have placed this book online without permission. It has been 4 decades since Cosmic View was written, 3 since Kees Boeke died, and perhaps 2 since the last printing. Out of print, difficult to find, and largely forgotten. My hope is this noncommercial posting will further Kees's goal that every child and grownup develop a "cosmic view". If the current copyright holder, whomever that now is, should ever raise objection, the attached pages may go away.

The book Cosmic View is
Copyright (C) 1957 by Kees Boeke. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted, or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photo-copying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system, without permission.


The url of this page is

There is now another version of Cosmic View at Caltech.
And a list of Cosmic View sites here.

       Author:  Boeke, Kees
        Title:  Cosmic View
     Subtitle:  The Universe in Forty Jumps
    Publisher:  John Day Company, Incorporated,
   Publ. Date:  1957
  Contributor:  Compton, H.
Audience Type:  Juvenile
   Aud. Grade:  Fifth Grade thru All Upper Grades
         ISBN:  0381980162
      Binding:  Trade Cloth
     Language:  English
       Status:  Out of Print
        LoC #:  57-014500

The images in the book were intentionally 15 cm across. Rather than trying to make this happen on your screen, I have included a ruler for calibration. My images are smaller than the originals, and of lower quality.

Some of the science is dated.
Some of the illustrations are color as thumbnails on the inside covers, but mono in the book.
I have not included the thumbnail diagrams from the inside covers.
I have not included the `nested squares' icon from the front cover.
I have not included jacket front and back text (it's rather bogus).
Page numbers are original.
A few spelling errors have been been preserved.

  A final verification pass.
  Clean up the intro text.
  Should have a different background than Envelope.
  Observe a user to reality check interface.
  Do thumbnails page like inner covers.
  Add `some of this science is dated' flag to pages?
    How to deal with the inaccuracies...

2001-Feb-18   Added a `Powers of ten' navigation bar for easier random access.
              Added links to Caltech and Friedan sites.
2001-Jan-04   Added `the url of this page is'.
2000-Mar-07   Added large images of the full jacket.
              Thanks to a reader for the suggestion and the images.
2000-Mar-02   Added a large image of front jacket cover, linked from the
              jacket thumbnail.  Thanks to a reader for the suggestion.
1998.Jul.07   Added link to `A View from the Back of the Envelope'.
1998.Jun.09   Another.
1998.Jun.08   Corrected an OCR error ("whole" -> "whale", pg 7).
                Thanks to a reader.
1998.Jun.05   Created over the last few days.

Comments encouraged. - Mitchell N Charity <>