I Wanna be Literated #169

I Wanna be Literated #169

Thursday, 02 November 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I’ll never quite understand all the shit that gets flung at Neil deGrasse Tyson (NDT). Sure, he can come across as arrogant at times, but often we try to shoot the messenger. I think part of the problem here is that we like living in our fantasy worlds and cherish mystery and wonderment when in fact there is a clear scientific explanation for many of them. It’s healthy to have our bubbles burst once in a while. Shouldn’t we look things up instead of being blissfully ignorant?

Well, NDT has certainly been a presence in mainstream media, and in my opinion, has done quite an excellent job of being a reasonably and charming spokesman for science in our lives. Part of this has to do with his ability to communicate very complicated scientific things in ways the common person can understand. This skill is rarer than you would think, and it makes NDT an ideal person to write a book like this: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

This effort is commendable to say the least because having been interested in matters concerning the cosmos, finding non-threatening and accessible books is the name of the game unless you want to devote an academic life to the field.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a small volume, but it packs quite a punch, discussing things like the birth of the universe from its first moments, the formation of planets, the role of light, dark matter, dark energy, life on other planets, and our exploration for other inhabitable planets. There is a lot to learn in so few pages. And even though NDT keeps the jargon to a minimum at times one can feel lost because we’re dealing with very complex science that’s being simplified but not exactly at a rate that’s easy for the reader to digest. Maybe this is just a small setback and means the book benefits from additional readings.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a must read for both the common human who wants to understand what we’ve learnt so far about our universe. It’s funny, (hopelessly) nerdy, informative, fascinating, and fills you with hope in the end.

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