Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysicist and director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson (StarTalk) stands out as an engaging, charismatic and supremely knowledgeable science popularizer who knows how to explain the fundamentals of physics and astrophysics. Tyson promises Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is "a brief but meaningful introduction to the field" where readers "will earn a foundational fluency in all major ideas and discoveries that drive our modern understanding of the universe."

In about 200 pages, Tyson introduces big ideas, questions and concepts, and explains essential background information in breezy, humorous and concise language for laypeople to digest easily. "A mere sixty-five million years ago (less than two percent of Earth's past), a ten-trillion-ton asteroid hit what is now the Yucatan Peninsula and obliterated more than seventy percent of Earth's flora and fauna--including all the famous outsized dinosaurs," writes Tyson, explaining how mammals that were previously T. rex hors d'oeuvres evolved into Homo sapiens.

"The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you," reminds Tyson. But thankfully, Tyson does feel this compulsion, and succeeds in giving non-scientists an excellent introduction to quasars, dwarf galaxies, dark energy, black holes, the formation of Earth (nine billion years after the Big Bang), exoplanets and quarks. He even explains why no one saw the last two exploding planets, and ties it into a reference to Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Tyson's fun introduction to science, physics and astrophysics is a book that will create future scientists. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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