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What would it feel like if your spaceship were to venture too close to the black hole lurking at the center of the Milky Way? According to astrophysicist Tyson, director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, size does matter when it comes to black holes, although the chances of your surviving the encounter aren't good in any case. Tyson takes readers on an exciting journey from Earth's hot springs, where extremophiles flourish in hellish conditions, to the frozen, desolate stretches of the Oort Cloud and the universe's farthest reaches, in both space and time. Tyson doesn't restrict his musings to astrophysics, but wanders into related fields like relativity and particle physics, which he explains just as clearly as he does Lagrangian points, where we someday may park interplanetary filling stations. He tackles popular myths (is the sun yellow?) and takes movie directors—most notably James Cameron—to task for spectacular goofs. In the last section the author gives his take on the hot subject of intelligent design. Readers of Natural History magazine will be familiar with many of the 42 essays collected here, while newcomers will profit from Tyson's witty and entertaining description of being pulled apart atom by atom into a black hole, and other, closer-to-earth, and cheerier, topics. 9 illus. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Whenever astronomy intrudes on the news, interviewers flock to the telegenic Tyson for an explanation. The high-profile astrophysicist is also an essayist for Natural History, the American Museum of Natural History's monthly that is the source for this volume. His pieces are organized under whimsical banners such as "All the ways the cosmos wants to kill us," and Tyson's style will connect with general readers who are interested in the form the apocalypse will take. Scientists know that in a few billion years, an expanding sun will vaporize the earth, provided it's not been previously destroyed by a rogue black hole. Besides regaling spooky stories, the selections deploy movies as an astronomy popularizer, with Tyson critiquing the accuracy of the sky depicted in various scenes. Elsewhere, topics in the history of astronomy and physics fall into two categories: essays about the discovery of physical laws, and about cosmic objects such as galactic gas clouds and quasars. Whatever readers' scientific tastes, something in Tyson's wide-ranging collection will sate them. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Just started reading it. There's a lot of very technical topics, but at the end of the chapter I have read is food for thought. Great stuff so far!Published 8 days ago by Griffin
I would recommend this book to everyone it is complex but fairly easy to read once you get the hang of it. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Tatyana S Nielson
I'm not a scientist but I've always enjoyed physics. This book is one of the best, and one of the best written, I have come across. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Bob
Awesome book about astronomy with just the right sprinkling of nerdy scientific jokes.Published 15 days ago by Freaky Franky
Still appears to be very current although in publication since 2007. Good reading for some Congressmen, especially in the Science Committee. Easy to understand.Published 17 days ago by Manfred Sanders
Neat book that is broken up into essay which allows for quick reads and never feels too overwhelming.Published 24 days ago by M Horter
Gave as a gift. Who knows if he'll actually read it, but I think he liked it.Published 1 month ago by Lex
This book will make you question the conjectures of science you hold near and dear to your heart. How much do you really know about the universe?Published 1 month ago by Colin Petty