Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I know that Neil deGrasse Tyson has been the new poster child of capital-S Science in the last few years, but I have lived in blissful ignorance. I didn't watch Cosmos, for instance. But I like astrophysics, the parts I can grasp, and have an admiration for people who can grasp the science and math and concepts enough to push our understanding forward.
This is a short book, and I will recommend the audio read by the author. He is very passionate and exuberant about his topics, and it still came across a bit sped up (which I felt it needed.) The different chapters are sometimes previous essays, compiled into this layman's overview of astrophysics - intentionally short, concepts boiled down to the core of where our understanding started, what we know now, and what we do not know. It's clear that the one thing we really have gained understanding of is all that we do not know!
I was least thrilled by the periodical table chapter, but I get it, the elements are not unique to earth, and that can be used as evidence for some things, mostly things I'm not super interested in the debate on. But I loved his cosmic perspective and where humanity fits as much as I loved his visual description of what the galaxies looked like in the past, and his questions about the things that we can never know we don't know because they are gone.
This is the best science book I've read all year, and possibly also the only science book I will have read this year.
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