Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

We have a guest post from my student Alex S.!

From Amazon:

Celebrity scientist Tyson’s profound intellect is matched by his charm and wit. In this slim title, he attempts to explain some of the most complex astrophysics concepts in layman’s terms. Readers should be prepared for a challenging yet edifying experience from the get-go: “In the beginning…all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.” Tyson riffs on topics such as gravity, the speed and makeup of light, the shape of space, and dark matter, maintaining as chatty a tone as possible as he tries to make these important principles comprehensible to the uninitiated. VERDICT Likely to resonate the most with those with a scientific bent, but Tyson’s pop culture appeal expands the audience somewhat.—Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library

Alex’s Commentary:

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil Degrasse Tyson, has instantly become one of my favorite books. While that may be because I am a science freak, I think that, objectively, this book is a well written, amazingly edited, and incredible informational book. I believe this because while I read it I could easily hear Neil’s voice; it sounded like something Neil would say. This only makes me think that his editors did an amazing job because they didn’t mess with his voice or make him sound different. Throughout the entire book, Neil and his editors keep their information as concise and fluid as possible. They pack as much information into as small of a space as possible, as well as making that information flow together. It does so by making as many transitions as possible, as well as sectioning off chapters where it isn’t possible to transition.

As for the information in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil goes in depth on many concepts and ideas throughout history, such as how the universe started and the conditions of such. He also explains how throughout human history our concepts changed, like how Einstein’s theories have been seen as absurd, even by himself at times. As time passed, people saw how these concepts could integrate. They tested them and some even worked. This book is only similar to textbooks in the way it presents information. Unlike textbooks, though, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry presents the information in a way that is easily understood and well written so people who are unfamiliar with the subject can still have an understanding.

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