I may not be a person in a hurry, but when it comes to math and science I’m pretty slow and I looked at this book more as a “Dummies” or “Idiots” guide and that seemed to work pretty well for me. On occasion the book got a little too technical for my simple brain, but for the most part even I was able to follow along and learn some pretty good things.
One of the very best aspects to this book is that Tyson writes exactly the way he speaks. You can’t help but hear his voice saying these words as you read it. It is a very calming feeling and one filled with confidence. It also contains that wry sense of humor that those of us who have followed Tyson, even just a little, have come to expect. One of my favorite passages comes early in the book when Tyson describes ‘quarks’ and how they got their name. “One thing quarks have going for them,” Tyson writes, “all their names are simple – something chemists, biologists, and especially geologists seem incapable of achieving when naming their own stuff.”
This is a very abbreviated textbook. This isn’t intended to replace the thick college physics texts, but it is, as Tyson says, intended to give the reader “a foundational fluency” in the leading ideas in astrophysics in order to be “culturally conversant.”
I really enjoyed this book. There are aspects of astrophysics that I understand much better, although the true astrophysicist might find this too simple. I believe that this does exactly what it sets out to do, which is to give the layperson just enough knowledge to be able to listen intelligently and perhaps even contribute to a conversation when it turns to the stars, space, and everything in between.
Looking for a good book? Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson is an intelligent read, bringing the non-physicist up to speed with what is happening in the universe.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
hardcover, 144 pages