Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.But today, few of us have time to contemplate the co...

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Title:Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Author:Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Edition Language:English

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Reviews

  • Tulay

    Just spend a half a day with this book, time you spend, reading or listening won't be wasted.

    From the big bang 14 billion years ago, to today. Milky way was formed 9 billion years ago, how it was named? How the planes and asteroids was named? How we fit in the universe, or the universe within us? Kuiper belt and Pluto, and wonder are we all Martians.

  • Rick Riordan

    Ah, yes. Nothing like an astrophysics book for beginners to remind me why I’m not an astrophysicist! Even at the basic level, with Tyson’s clear, funny and accessible writing, I found a lot of these concepts WAY over my head. Nevertheless, it is fascinating stuff. My big takeaway was humility: just how small humans are in the grand scheme of things, and there is something freeing about that. It reminded me of a fake headline on The Onion news satire site that made me chuckle: Obama Reassures Ame

    Ah, yes. Nothing like an astrophysics book for beginners to remind me why I’m not an astrophysicist! Even at the basic level, with Tyson’s clear, funny and accessible writing, I found a lot of these concepts WAY over my head. Nevertheless, it is fascinating stuff. My big takeaway was humility: just how small humans are in the grand scheme of things, and there is something freeing about that. It reminded me of a fake headline on The Onion news satire site that made me chuckle: Obama Reassures Americans: ‘The future, and I’m talking three billion years from now, is still bright.”

    The amount we don’t know about the universe is staggering. Dark matter, dark energy . . . how can we be completely unaware of forces that make up the bulk of our universe? But also, how amazing is it that we can find this stuff out from our little speck of a planet in the suburbs of Nowheresville, Milky Way Galaxy? This is a short book, perfect, as the title says, for people in a hurry. If you would like your mind exploded by science, and get a few chuckles out of the deal, check it out!

  • Jilly

    Neil deGrasse Tyson has the gift of helping non-geniuses get a slight clue on what those geniuses are talking about. Slight.

    Don't even think you can sit down and read this baby in a night. It is definitely a read-a-chapter/think-for-a-bit kind of book. I read a chapter after each fiction book I was reading, and then I would talk about it with my genius son who somehow understands all this stuff. I homeschooled the kid. How does he know so much more than I do? I think he might have been cheating

    Neil deGrasse Tyson has the gift of helping non-geniuses get a slight clue on what those geniuses are talking about. Slight.

    Don't even think you can sit down and read this baby in a night. It is definitely a read-a-chapter/think-for-a-bit kind of book. I read a chapter after each fiction book I was reading, and then I would talk about it with my genius son who somehow understands all this stuff. I homeschooled the kid. How does he know so much more than I do? I think he might have been cheating on me!! He was out learning shit on the side! Little bastard!

    Anyway, like all geniuses, Neil deGrasse Tyson can only dumb stuff down so much, so there are quite a bit of mathmatical and scientific terms in the book that he assumes we can understand. Those geniuses don't get just how dumb we are. See? I know something he doesn't. People are morons. Myself included.

    Damn! Because pictures really would have helped.

    Still, I really enjoyed getting less dumberer from reading this. I'm going to read more by NDT and hopefully find something my son doesn't know and rub it in his smug little face. Ha! That'll teach him!

  • Trish

    This book, as its author, is difficult to rate.

    I am always happy to see "normal" people like me interested in sciences instead of not caring or just accepting what they are told instead of questioning and discovering for themselves. Naturally, we can't all be scientists of the first grade, having deep knowledge of every aspect of the natural world (or technology or whatever). However, curiosity only killed the proverbial cat - in reality, it's vital and good.

    Many people feel clubbed to death, h

    This book, as its author, is difficult to rate.

    I am always happy to see "normal" people like me interested in sciences instead of not caring or just accepting what they are told instead of questioning and discovering for themselves. Naturally, we can't all be scientists of the first grade, having deep knowledge of every aspect of the natural world (or technology or whatever). However, curiosity only killed the proverbial cat - in reality, it's vital and good.

    Many people feel clubbed to death, however, when you start conversations about black holes and the theory of relativity, which is not too hard to understand. It's the problem with many teachers, professors, and other lecturers: they lack the charisma to hold people's attention. What is more, if you can't explain something in layman's terms, don't bother.

    NDT is one of those rare people, who do not only know what they are talking about (more about that further down), but also have a very unique way of HOW he explains phenomena. Some people even call him a rock star of science. And that is where the problems begin.

    Many people are of the opinion that we should leave science to the experts, much like the Vatican wants us to leave faith to the priests/cardinals/popes and just blindly accept what they put in front of us and that people like NDT are counterproductive by "dumbing" complex matters down (funnily enough, the people complaining are NOT scientists themselves). I, as you probably have guessed, disagree.

    Yes, compromises have to be made when explaining highly complex matters like the beginning of the universe (as much as we know about it at least) to people without any science degree. Nevertheless, the easy way is not always the right way (yes, I just quoted Dumbledore in a review about a science book but I think NDT would approve).

    As long as people are interested and learn, we - as a society - can only gain from that. Many discoveries have not necessarily been made by people who already had big names or held titles in their respective fields. And even if it only serves to make someone infect their children with a natural thirst for knowledge, it's worth it (when I look around day after day, I see enough people who enjoy sticking their heads in the sand because it's easier to let others do the work for them).

    Admittedly, even I (very interested in all sciences and reading a lot about different fields) only know half-truths because some things are too difficult to understand by simply reading about them. But knowing half is better than not knowing at all. Especially since it results in me constantly wanting to learn more.

    So to all people criticizing NDT and people like him, I say this: keep in mind that the guy is a graduate from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, then went and got a BA in physics from Harvard and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia, before being with the American Museum of Natural History (NYC) and serving as their Director of the Hayden Planetarium. He knows what he's talking about.

    The fact that he's a funny guy who can break down the most complex things into an interesting narrative is an added bonus!

    This book then is his introduction to the topic of astrophysics. In my opinion, even young teenagers can read it. Make no mistake, it's not even scratching the surface, but only tickling it. However (and this is vitally important), it does so in a way that makes you get hundreds of books of secondary literature and really start digging into the respective topics discussed in the 12 chapters of this book. And THAT is how you catch 'em and reel them in! Really, it's a stroke of genius if you think about it. :D

    NDT plays his cards right. He knows he's charismatic and he knows that people like listening to him because he makes them laugh in an intelligent way. Just look at this photo from the cover:

    Yep, playing the rock star card. Big-time. But so what?! He's playing to his strengths and we're all benefitting from it!

    I've seen a few interviews with him, my favourite being when he dismantles someone who verbally attacks him (idiot) about GMOs. Bwahahahahaha! This man's mind is as sharp as a whip and as far as I can tell from what I've seen/listened to/read from him (I'm following his podcast too), he's never been wrong with what he told people. So yeah, I'll read more about the topics in this book and I'll read more of NDT's books. Sometimes it takes a rock star to make you care about the sincere topics.

  • Darwin8u

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

    Physicists are a unique breed. Most people exist in a sphere that is directly impacted by the work of physicists, but only possess a minimal knowledge of some basic Newtonian physics. But even with this gap

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

    Physicists are a unique breed. Most people exist in a sphere that is directly impacted by the work of physicists, but only possess a minimal knowledge of some basic Newtonian physics. But even with this gap of knowledge, a few physicists rise to the level of rockstars. Albert Einstein is arguably one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century. Newton may be one of the most important, and influential, men to have ever lived and exists both in myth and history as a figure almost as important as the founders of major religions (Jesus, Moses, Muhammed). The group of physicists that came to age during the nuclear age also achieved a near rockstar-level reputation and noteriety (Oppenheimer, Fermi, Feynman, etc).

    In our modern age, a physicist needs to be at one level a genius at math and high-level physics, but also needs to be a great communicator. Neil deGrasse Tyson is almost as much a translator of physics as an astrophysicist in his own right. He bridges that gigantic gulf between the bleeding edge of science and the average person's attention span (not an easy task). He has a talent for understanding his subject, but also getting his audience. He is funny, cheeky, and cognecent that the average reader isn't going to read a 500+ page book on physics (no matter how interesting). So Tyson distills, refines, and delivers just a glimps of what is happening and has happened in the Universe during the last 13.8 Billion years. He does this just as easily in a 140 character tweet as he does in a 208 page book. Some academics are geared toward research and some are geared toward education. Dr. Tyson = Education^3

  • paulie

    4 stars for the information, of which there seems to be an abundance, but 1/2 a star as far as reading experience/enjoyment. this left me frustrated and fatigued. btw, this isn't so much a review of the book than personal drivel.

    perhaps a couple of months ago, i don't quite know how i discovered it, but i started showing signs of astrophobia, fear of stars. let me explain as best as i can: i am not afraid of aliens or ufos. i can look up in a daylit sky and not feel any anxiety. the sun does not

    4 stars for the information, of which there seems to be an abundance, but 1/2 a star as far as reading experience/enjoyment. this left me frustrated and fatigued. btw, this isn't so much a review of the book than personal drivel.

    perhaps a couple of months ago, i don't quite know how i discovered it, but i started showing signs of astrophobia, fear of stars. let me explain as best as i can: i am not afraid of aliens or ufos. i can look up in a daylit sky and not feel any anxiety. the sun does not frighten me, nor the moon (i look at the moon quite often and feel fine, but if a star crossed my view i would cower). i. don't. know. why. i look(ed) at stars, like most everyone else, my whole life. i have never even looked through a telescope to see closer, more intricate details of our sky/universe so i just see areas of light with my naked eye. suddenly, maybe august, it scared the proverbial shit out of me. i could look up in a nocturnal sky full of clouds and be fine; one star and i shivered. a few weeks ago i saw this book as a new release in my library system and placed a hold on it. even before i received it, these symptoms of astrophobia seem to have greatly dissipated (anxiety at maybe a 3 where before it seemed like a high 8 to 9). oh, well.

    i haven't ever really been fascinated, to the point of studying, the universe. bottom line, i don't understand it, but it's out there. i have been trying to figure out how to make sense of a question i have regarding the earth's shape. hold on, before you jump to a wrong conclusion, i do not believe the earth is flat. i just don't understand how it is round. wad a piece of paper together - i see this as the earth with it's peaks, valleys, crevaces in which oceans or chasms exist. so now there's this blue material/atmosphere surrounding our planet, making us look like a marble, but it's not solid. has anyone seen the movie

    ? besides it being a crazy ass (mostly good) film, i really liked the ending where melancholia "collided" with earth. but did it really? or did it's coloured atmosphere cross into ours (flashlights competing beams don't "collide" into each other). i wish i knew people which i could ask these questions, but i find this book.

    i was just reading words. quarks and dark matter and things always somehow having nice round numbers (why is everything 14 million or billion and not 9 billion 437 million 914 thousand 17?) even the chapter called "on being round" didn't answer squat for me. the last half of the book i skimmed enough to be fired and jailed if i was a business accountant. maybe it doesn't matter but there aren't even photos in the book, just words and words and words and words that left me as clueless and now more perturbed.

    but i can look at stars a bit better than before.

  • Dan Schwent

    Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a very readable account of the creation of the universe and how the universe works, as related by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    I had this on my watch list for a long time but didn't pull the trigger until it went on sale for $1.99.

    Since the first movie I saw in the theater was a rerelease of Star Wars sometime in the early 80s, space has always given me a sense of wonder. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is an easily digestible summation of the universe, from the b

    Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a very readable account of the creation of the universe and how the universe works, as related by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    I had this on my watch list for a long time but didn't pull the trigger until it went on sale for $1.99.

    Since the first movie I saw in the theater was a rerelease of Star Wars sometime in the early 80s, space has always given me a sense of wonder. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is an easily digestible summation of the universe, from the big bang to the present.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the universe into manageable chunks, from leptons to galaxies. He does a good job with theoretical concepts like dark matter and dark energy, pulsars, quasars, and other flashing bits. Since I've watched many of his appearances, it was easy to hear his voice in my head. There's a fair amount of humor but not enough to distract from all the sciencing going on.

    Seriously, it's a pop science book about the universe. How much else can I say? If you already know a lot about astrophysics, it's probably not the book for you. However, if all you know about the formation of the universe is dimly remembered things from grade school, you'll probably enjoy it. Since most of my recent scientific knowlege comes from Doctor Who episodes, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Four out of five stars.

  • Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)

    This rating may be more reflective of my personal tastes than the book itself, as this is definitely about

    My interests always veer towards understanding people and the world around me, less than wondering about our beginnings or the scope of the cosmos. As much as I want to learn, all the theoreticals tend to bore me.

    But, this book does a really great job of presenting the material from a

    Tyson uses funny anecdotes (m

    This rating may be more reflective of my personal tastes than the book itself, as this is definitely about

    My interests always veer towards understanding people and the world around me, less than wondering about our beginnings or the scope of the cosmos. As much as I want to learn, all the theoreticals tend to bore me.

    But, this book does a really great job of presenting the material from a

    Tyson uses funny anecdotes (my favorite is the one about whipped cream and gravity) to help explain these strange, difficult concepts, and it's overall very well done. Plus that chapter on Dark Matter? Spooky and all types of interesting.

    At the end of the day, I can't rate this any-higher, because I still zoned out more often than I want to admit. But, I was less confused than I thought I'd be,

    more interested than I thought I'd be, so that's something?

  • decafJess

    Imagine you are standing with your face up and your mouth wide open underneath a waterfall of Skittles.

    At first, a few Skittles get into your mouth and you can taste them. Awesome, you think. I love Skittles.

    Then, the Skittles become overwhelming, as more and more try to force themselves in, and millions and millions puddle around your feet, piling up past your knees.

    That's kind of how this was.

    I'm all about learning new things, but there were SO MANY FACTS IN SUCH A SMALL SPAN. By the time I h

    Imagine you are standing with your face up and your mouth wide open underneath a waterfall of Skittles.

    At first, a few Skittles get into your mouth and you can taste them. Awesome, you think. I love Skittles.

    Then, the Skittles become overwhelming, as more and more try to force themselves in, and millions and millions puddle around your feet, piling up past your knees.

    That's kind of how this was.

    I'm all about learning new things, but there were SO MANY FACTS IN SUCH A SMALL SPAN. By the time I hit page twenty, I realized I was mentally absent as my eyes and mind processed words but failed to commit those words to actual thought.

    I wanted to love this book. I want you to love this book.

    Alas, I just felt overwhelmed.

    I recommend this book, but read it slowly and in small sittings. As a person in a hurry, I tried to plow through it all at once and became lost.

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