When staring up at a starlit night, who doesn’t wonder how the universe began, how the stars were born or how we happen to be here on Earth? These questions have existed since the beginning of time, but only recently have we been able to find any of the answers. Yet the answers, which are being discovered with dizzying speed, are not easily accessible to the general public. Everyone has heard of the big bang and Einstein’s theory of general relativity, but precious few of us have the time to learn the science behind them. Happily, in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson answers our questions about how the universe ticks—without the painful mathematics.
Perhaps no one has done more to educate the nonscientific community about the universe than Tyson. As director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, an author and a popular television personality, Tyson is, for many, the face of astrophysics—and for good reason. He is passionate about astrophysics and wants everyone else to be, too. This book, a compilation of 12 essays he wrote for Natural History magazine, is infectiously enthusiastic, humorous and, above all, accessible. Tyson is able to convey complicated concepts with clarity.
Ultimately, reading Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is both a humbling and exhilarating experience. Compared to the vast and expanding universe, we are tiny, irrelevant specks. But at the same time, by encouraging us to take a cosmic perspective, Tyson also reminds us that everything around us and in us—the Earth, the elements, perhaps even life itself—originated in space. We truly are made out of stars.