Astrophysics for People in a Hurryby Neil deGrasse Tyson
The #1 New York Times Bestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
Author and astrophysicist Tyson (director, Hayden Planetarium, New York) has revisited, modified, consolidated, and, in some cases, updated a number of essays from his Universe column from Natural History magazine. Twelve independent chapters address topics such as the origin and development of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, and how both technology and location (spatial and temporal) influence our understanding of the cosmos. The astrophysicist's enthusiasm and sense of humor remain undiminished; few other science popularizers would think of writing, "I don't know about you, but the planet Saturn pops into my mind with every bite of a hamburger I take." Tyson is promoting this book as a quick and convenient introduction to the universe for people with scant free time, although readers will benefit from prior exposure to the physical sciences. Subject coverage overlaps unavoidably with the author's acclaimed Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (cowritten by J. Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss), but this newer title is more literary. VERDICT Those seeking pleasure reading—Tyson fans and newcomers alike—will enjoy this caper through the cosmos. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/16.]—Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono
America's most approachable astrophysicist distills the past, present, and (theoretical) future of the cosmos into a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read for a general audience.In his signature conversational style, Tyson (Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, 2012, etc.), director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and host of StarTalk, shows once again his masterly skills at explaining complex scientific concepts in a lucid, readable fashion. In fun, digestible chapters, he covers all the basics: the constituent bits that make up the universe, the forces and laws that govern their interaction, and the pioneering scientists who pieced together the mechanics fabricating our reality. Substituting down-to-earth wit for unnecessary jargon, Tyson presents ideas in clean, straightforward language and allows for the awesome nature of the universe to impress itself on readers unadorned. Also compelling is the author's contagious exuberance for his field, which he has consistently demonstrated throughout his writing and TV careers. Whether expounding on the general theory of relativity or the mystery of dark matter, he celebrates the many theories that have been experimentally confirmed while acknowledging the grand extent to which there is still so much left to discover. He also emphasizes that astrophysics need not be inaccessible. "The cosmic perspective comes from the frontiers of science, yet it is not solely the provenance of the scientist," he writes. "It belongs to everyone….The cosmic perspective enables us to see beyond our circumstances, allowing us to transcend the primal search for food, shelter, and sex." In short order, you'll be conversant in mind-bending trivia about "star stuff" that may fundamentally shift your perspective of our place in the universe—and convince you to pursue some of the many fine longer-form books on the subject. A sublime introduction to some of the most exciting ideas in astrophysics that will leave readers wanting more.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of its world-famous Hayden Planetarium, host of the hit radio and TV show StarTalk, and an award-winning author. He lives in New York City.
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So simple, so clear. Science and Space in a Nutshell. Just open it and fall in love.
The difference between a good artist and a great one is never a question of competency. No, the great artist reveals the beauty of the subject in a way that creates awe in us whereas the good simply represents. The great reawakens that childish sense of amazement. If this is true, then Neil deGrasse Tyson is a great artist. His gift is to be able to present the large, complex mechanisms of the universe in exciting and accessible ways. From his books to podcasts to the show Cosmos to twitter, Dr. Tyson is raising public interest in science. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Dr. Tyson's newest book, presents 12 essays to give anyone a survey of modern astrophysics. While each essay is built on a technical framework, the content requires nothing of the reader but a curiosity for the world as it is. This is non-fiction filled with imagination. In this book, Dr. Tyson reveals the beauty of our universe that is often buried in the technical, mechanical papers of academia. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry renews that sense of awe we get from looking up at the night sky. TL;DR: This is a great introduction to the universe in accessible, sensible writing. Highly recommended. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is twelve essays adapted from Dr. Tyson's "Universe" series in Natural History magazine. Since I didn't read that series, I can't say whether they are strict reprints or modified for this collection. It doesn't matter; these essays are an excellent overview of the astrophysics field. From the size of the universe to the Big Bang to dark matter and dark energy, this collection tackles big concepts in an accessible prose. My favorite essay was the final one, Reflections on the Cosmic Perspective. It's an argument for a more enlightened view. Dr. Tyson uses the perspective of an alien searching for life in the universe and what we may look like to them. With this essay, he's appealing to humanity to take the long view. It's a hopeful piece that urges us to put aside our differences to look into eternity; Dr. Tyson wants us to care for and about our world. "We do not live in this universe. The universe lives within us." This line from the essay typifies the wonder in which Dr. Tyson views his surroundings. The dark energy essay is dedicated to the redemption of the Einstein's cosmological constant. It mixes history with cutting edge science. Dr. Tyson also terrifies me here; he makes the claim that in the future the speed at which galaxies move away from us will be greater than the speed of light. This means that in the future, the sky might only contains stars from our own galaxy. It's almost too big to comprehend. Without a record of these times, future generations may never know there are other galaxies. I thought the weakest piece was The Cosmos on the Table. Conceptually, it is an excellent idea; the essay is a tour through the periodic table based on how the element is viewed/used in astrophysics. But somehow it doesn't work. Potentially this could be my bias against chemistry – definitely not my favorite subject. It just didn't rise to the eloquence and awe of, say, the Dark Energy chapter. This chapter seemed more utilitarian than the others. My only complaint is that this collection is too short. I'd love for a few more essays in here. Dr. Tyson, one of the few pop culture physicists, makes a strong argument for the beauty of the natural world. Read more reviews at https://primmlife.wordpress.com/
A great look into science and space. Awesome book.
Enjoyable quick read.