Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was written for “all those who are too busy to read fat books, yet nonetheless seek a conduit to the cosmos.” Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist, author, and public personality (host of StarTalk and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey), blends scientific facts with his trademark fun and charisma in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, resulting in a fascinating and enjoyable read.
In recent years, there has been a plethora of science headlines in the news and television series and movies informed or inspired by science: Star Trek, Star Wars, Interstellar, and The Big Bang Theory, to name a few. Astrophysics has risen to the foreground of public consciousness more than any other branch of science, and for good reason; “At one time or another every one of us has looked up at the night sky and wondered: What does it all mean? How does it all work? And, what is my place in the universe?”
This book will try to answer some of these questions by providing a foundational fluency in the major topics of astrophysics (no previous scientific knowledge is required) including the birth of the universe, the laws of physics, matter we can see (planets, galaxies), and phenomena we cannot see (dark matter, dark energy, black holes). You will learn about concepts you may have never heard about before (or only briefly) such as quarks, bosons, cosmic rays, neutrinos, and pulsars. Or delve deep into the mysteries of extraterrestrial life and the multiverse.
This may sound like science fiction, but these facts comprise the foundation of our universe and ourselves. Engaging in a cosmic perspective of life is not just for scientists, it benefits everyone by providing a liberating larger view of life because “however big the world is – in our hearts, our minds, and our outsized digital maps – the universe is even bigger.” This universal view can provide a unity and harmony that goes beyond Earthly egotistical divides, where we begin to “think of people not as the masters of space and time but as participants in a great cosmic chain of being, with a direct genetic link across species both living and extinct, extending back nearly four billion years to the earliest single-celled organisms on Earth.” Acknowledging and learning about the universe is important because “We do not simply live in this universe. The universe lives within us.”
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (released May 2, 2017) is available at the Cornwall Public Library, Coles in the Cornwall Square, and online.
This and past reviews can be found at https://melaneemorinsbooknook.wordpress.com.