Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

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 co...

Title:Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0393609391
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:222 pages

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Reviews

  • Trish

    This book, as its author, is difficult to rate.

    I am always happy to see "normal" people like me interested in sciences instead of not caring or just accepting what they are told instead of questioning and discovering for themselves. Naturally, we can't all be scientists of the first grade, having deep knowledge of every aspect of the natural world (or technology or whatever). However, curiosity only killed the proverbial cat - in reality, it's vital and good.

    Many people feel clubbed to death, h

    This book, as its author, is difficult to rate.

    I am always happy to see "normal" people like me interested in sciences instead of not caring or just accepting what they are told instead of questioning and discovering for themselves. Naturally, we can't all be scientists of the first grade, having deep knowledge of every aspect of the natural world (or technology or whatever). However, curiosity only killed the proverbial cat - in reality, it's vital and good.

    Many people feel clubbed to death, however, when you start conversations about black holes and the theory of relativity, which is not too hard to understand. It's the problem with many teachers, professors, and other lecturers: they lack the charisma to hold people's attention. What is more, if you can't explain something in layman's terms, don't bother.

    NDT is one of those rare people, who do not only know what they are talking about (more about that further down), but also have a very unique way of HOW he explains phenomena. Some people even call him a rock star of science. And that is where the problems begin.

    Many people are of the opinion that we should leave science to the experts, much like the Vatican wants us to leave faith to the priests/cardinals/popes and just blindly accept what they put in front of us and that people like NDT are counterproductive by "dumbing" complex matters down (funnily enough, the people complaining are NOT scientists themselves). I, as you probably have guessed, disagree.

    Yes, compromises have to be made when explaining highly complex matters like the beginning of the universe (as much as we know about it at least) to people without any science degree. Nevertheless, the easy way is not always the right way (yes, I just quoted Dumbledore in a review about a science book but I think NDT would approve).

    As long as people are interested and learn, we - as a society - can only gain from that. Many discoveries have not necessarily been made by people who already had big names or held titles in their respective fields. And even if it only serves to make someone infect their children with a natural thirst for knowledge, it's worth it (when I look around day after day, I see enough people who enjoy sticking their heads in the sand because it's easier to let others do the work for them).

    Admittedly, even I (very interested in all sciences and reading a lot about different fields) only know half-truths because some things are too difficult to understand by simply reading about them. But knowing half is better than not knowing at all. Especially since it results in me constantly wanting to learn more.

    So to all people criticizing NDT and people like him, I say this: keep in mind that the guy is a graduate from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, then went and got a BA in physics from Harvard and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia, before being with the American Museum of Natural History (NYC) and serving as their Director of the Hayden Planetarium. He knows what he's talking about.

    The fact that he's a funny guy who can break down the most complex things into an interesting narrative is an added bonus!

    This book then is his introduction to the topic of astrophysics. In my opinion, even young teenagers can read it. Make no mistake, it's not even scratching the surface, but only tickling it. However (and this is vitally important), it does so in a way that makes you get hundreds of books of secondary literature and really start digging into the respective topics discussed in the 12 chapters of this book. And THAT is how you catch 'em and reel them in! Really, it's a stroke of genius if you think about it. :D

    NDT plays his cards right. He knows he's charismatic and he knows that people like listening to him because he makes them laugh in an intelligent way. Just look at this photo from the cover:

    Yep, playing the rock star card. Big-time. But so what?! He's playing to his strengths and we're all benefitting from it!

    I've seen a few interviews with him, my favourite being when he dismantles someone who verbally attacks him (idiot) about GMOs. Bwahahahahaha! This man's mind is as sharp as a whip and as far as I can tell from what I've seen/listened to/read from him (I'm following his podcast too), he's never been wrong with what he told people. So yeah, I'll read more about the topics in this book and I'll read more of NDT's books. Sometimes it takes a rock star to make you care about the sincere topics.

  • Jessica Rodrigues

    Imagine you are standing with your face up and your mouth wide open underneath a waterfall of Skittles.

    At first, a few Skittles get into your mouth and you can taste them. Awesome, you think. I love Skittles.

    Then, the Skittles become overwhelming, as more and more try to force themselves in, and millions and millions puddle around your feet, piling up past your knees.

    That's kind of how this was.

    I'm all about learning new things, but there were SO MANY FACTS IN SUCH A SMALL SPAN. By the time I h

    Imagine you are standing with your face up and your mouth wide open underneath a waterfall of Skittles.

    At first, a few Skittles get into your mouth and you can taste them. Awesome, you think. I love Skittles.

    Then, the Skittles become overwhelming, as more and more try to force themselves in, and millions and millions puddle around your feet, piling up past your knees.

    That's kind of how this was.

    I'm all about learning new things, but there were SO MANY FACTS IN SUCH A SMALL SPAN. By the time I hit page twenty, I realized I was mentally absent as my eyes and mind processed words but failed to commit those words to actual thought.

    I wanted to love this book. I want you to love this book.

    Alas, I just felt overwhelmed.

    I recommend this book, but read it slowly and in small sittings. As a person in a hurry, I tried to plow through it all at once and became lost.

  • Amanda

    ***I received an advance reader copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review***

    I love Neil deGrasse Tyson and the way he so easily puts concepts into terms regular people can understand. I love how excited he gets about the universe. This short and simple book is a great intro to our place in the universe.

    Also, watch the documentary "We are Stars" at your local planetarium if you get the chance (this book and that documentary go very well together).

    I ❤ science!

  • Tulay

    Just spend a half a day with this book, time you spend, reading or listening won't be wasted.

    From the big bang 14 billion years ago, to today. Milky way was formed 9 billion years ago, how it was named? How the planes and asteroids was named? How we fit in the universe, or the universe within us? Kuiper belt and Pluto, and wonder are we all Martians.

  • Ivan

    Short and sweet introduction to astrophysics. Science was bit basic for me as I posses some knowledge of the subject but it's perfect gift for my nephew who has shown interest and keeps asking me to explain this stuff to him. Neil deGrasse Tyson is great with words and simple explanations of complicated things. His writing style is fun and even funny at times and makes all of this sound incredibly cool. That in combination with very short length makes this book perfect if you are trying to set c

    Short and sweet introduction to astrophysics. Science was bit basic for me as I posses some knowledge of the subject but it's perfect gift for my nephew who has shown interest and keeps asking me to explain this stuff to him. Neil deGrasse Tyson is great with words and simple explanations of complicated things. His writing style is fun and even funny at times and makes all of this sound incredibly cool. That in combination with very short length makes this book perfect if you are trying to set child onto the righteous path of nerd or trying to convert an adult.

    Also I plan to get it as hardcopy for my nephew but I listened to audiobook version and Tyson's narration is just marvelous.

  • Darwin8u

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

    Physicists are a unique breed. Most people exist in a sphere that is directly impacted by the work of physicists, but only possess a minimal knowledge of some basic Newtonian physics. But even with this gap

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

    Physicists are a unique breed. Most people exist in a sphere that is directly impacted by the work of physicists, but only possess a minimal knowledge of some basic Newtonian physics. But even with this gap of knowledge, a few physicists rise to the level of rockstars. Albert Einstein is arguably one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century. Newton may be one of the most important, and influential, men to have ever lived and exists both in myth and history as a figure almost as important as the founders of major religions (Jesus, Moses, Muhammed). The group of physicists that came to age during the nuclear age also achieved a near rockstar-level reputation and noteriety (Oppenheimer, Fermi, Feynman, etc).

    In our modern age, a physicist needs to be at one level a genius at math and high-level physics, but also needs to be a great communicator. Neil deGrasse Tyson is almost as much a translator of physics as an astrophysicist in his own right. He bridges that gigantic gulf between the bleeding edge of science and the average person's attention span (not an easy task). He has a talent for understanding his subject, but also getting his audience. He is funny, cheeky, and cognecent that the average reader isn't going to read a 500+ page book on physics (no matter how interesting). So Tyson distills, refines, and delivers just a glimps of what is happening and has happened in the Universe during the last 13.8 Billion years. He does this just as easily in a 140 character tweet as he does in a 208 page book. Some academics are geared toward research and some are geared toward education. Dr. Tyson = Education^3

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    I had different expectations about this book, and the problem is likely me and not the book. The book explains astrophysics, or what we know to date about this subject from the beginning (the Big Bang) to today and also the possible future. Everything is explained theoretically and clarified as that.

    I love reading about science facts and that's what I expected but the subject is astrophysics which is defined as:

    I had different expectations about this book, and the problem is likely me and not the book. The book explains astrophysics, or what we know to date about this subject from the beginning (the Big Bang) to today and also the possible future. Everything is explained theoretically and clarified as that.

    I love reading about science facts and that's what I expected but the subject is astrophysics which is defined as:

    So clearly I didn't have an idea of what I was getting into. However, the definition of astrophysics was clarified while reading this book. Neil deGrasse Tyson does an

    . A lot of the concepts went over my head and require abstract thinking from the part of the reader.

    I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, he did a wonderful job at that.

    Overall I liked it but did not love it.

    Review posted on

    .

    FINAL NOTE: The author is very charismatic and if you follow him on

    you probably have realized this by now. His tweets are poignant, interesting and funny.

  • Rick Riordan

    Ah, yes. Nothing like an astrophysics book for beginners to remind me why I’m not an astrophysicist! Even at the basic level, with Tyson’s clear, funny and accessible writing, I found a lot of these concepts WAY over my head. Nevertheless, it is fascinating stuff. My big takeaway was humility: just how small humans are in the grand scheme of things, and there is something freeing about that. It reminded me of a fake headline on The Onion news satire site that made me chuckle: Obama Reassures Ame

    Ah, yes. Nothing like an astrophysics book for beginners to remind me why I’m not an astrophysicist! Even at the basic level, with Tyson’s clear, funny and accessible writing, I found a lot of these concepts WAY over my head. Nevertheless, it is fascinating stuff. My big takeaway was humility: just how small humans are in the grand scheme of things, and there is something freeing about that. It reminded me of a fake headline on The Onion news satire site that made me chuckle: Obama Reassures Americans: ‘The future, and I’m talking three billion years from now, is still bright.”

    The amount we don’t know about the universe is staggering. Dark matter, dark energy . . . how can we be completely unaware of forces that make up the bulk of our universe? But also, how amazing is it that we can find this stuff out from our little speck of a planet in the suburbs of Nowheresville, Milky Way Galaxy? This is a short book, perfect, as the title says, for people in a hurry. If you would like your mind exploded by science, and get a few chuckles out of the deal, check it out!

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