Astrophysics For People in A Hurry
The following is a review of “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson by Marc Primo Pulisci
“Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson is a book that explores the nature of space and time. The author explains the nature of the cosmos using simple language that can be understood by any reader. This is why book reviewers consider Tyson a very successful writer. Every chapter in the book deals with one basic topic, for example, how the elements were formed and distributed, the origins of the cosmos, dark matter, the electromagnetic spectrum, and dark energy among others.
One of the captivating chapters in the book is chapter 11 titled “Exoplanets”. The chapter starts by explaining features of the Earth that are visible far away from the planet. For instance, the features an individual is likely to see from an airplane, or from the moon. The author then proceeds to discuss the type of things an alien civilization observing the earth using a technology similar to ours is likely to learn. By discussing the Earth from an exoplanet perspective, the author assists the reader to understand how scientists discover and determine the features of exoplanets. Moreover, the author points out some of the limitations astrophysicists faces.
In his book, Tyson does a good job in explaining abstract concepts to lay people. For instance, the author uses comparisons to demonstrate measurements. He shows that two cubic feet of the element iridium weigh the same as a Buick. In addition, in approximating the density of a pulsar, the author equates the density with placing one hundred million elephants into a Chap-Stick casing.
Tyson is a master of his field, and it comes through throughout the book. This is evident in the manner in which the author expounds on the theory of relativity and his knowledge of dark matter. The author emphasizes theories that have been scientifically proven, while acknowledging that there is still much to be discovered. Additionally, Tyson argues that astrophysics should not be a preserve of academia, but knowledge accessible to all because cosmic awareness gives us a higher understanding. This transcends the primal behavior we engage in when looking for mates, food and shelter.
Tyson concludes his book with a chapter titled “The Cosmic Perspective”. This chapter discusses our place and connection to the universe, and discourages the grander view of life. At the beginning of the book, Tyson discusses astronomical concepts based on popular culture. However, towards the end, he adopts a sober view of the place of humanity in the universe, and urges readers to embrace this view.
Most of the content in the book “Astrophysics For People in A Hurry” came from the several “Universe” essays Tyson wrote 20 years ago. Nevertheless, the content still reads fresh, and the author has made the necessary updates. For example, the recent identification of gravitational waves and designation of Pluto as a dwarf planet has been added.
Reading the book is a very rewarding experience because it enables one to marvel at the wonders of the universe, try to figure them out, and encourages individuals to take care of the environment.
“Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson reviewed by Marc Primo Pulisci