How did our sun come into being? What keeps it hot and luminous, and what will be its ultimate fate? This fascinating and informative book offers answers to some of nature's most exciting and difficult questions. George Gamow, renowned physicist and author of the best-seller One Two Three . . . Infinity, outlines the fundamental discoveries and theories of modern physics that illuminate the evolution of our world. One of the founders of Big Bang theory, Gamow traces the anatomy of matter in terms of modern physics. In language that's both scientifically accurate and simple enough for nonspecialists, he explains the development of atomic theory from its earliest articulation by Democritus in 375 B.C. through studies of nuclear reactions and radioactive decay. Along the way, Gamow discusses the formation of the stars and planets, the nature of red and white dwarfs, the dimensions of our stellar system, the infinity of space, and other fascinating subjects.