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Showing 1-10 of 281 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 398 reviews
on July 12, 2016
Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is also known as the “black science guy” on various internet forums, such as reddit. Dr. Tyson’s also got some popular internet memes styled after him such as the “we got a bad ass over here” meme. However, in real life he is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and is an extremely accomplished astrophysicist. In a lot of ways, he is the Carl Sagan of our generation. If you have seen the TV show Cosmos on either PBS or Fox, he is the new host for this revamped show which used to be hosted by Carl Sagan. He is very well known for his ability to take scientific concepts and distill them into something that we can understand. I’m no scientist, so I need someone who understands these concepts to explain them in a way that we can relate to.

This book is a selection of small essays that he’s written for various newspapers, magazines, and internet blogs. Death by Black Hole touches on a lot of amazing scientific concepts that are almost taken by granted by a lot of people today, but it provides a foundation for everything that we do in space or dealing with the cosmos. Dr. Tyson is excellent at taking these concepts and putting them in situations that we can understand as non-scientists complete with humor. A wonderful example of this is in the essay “Going Ballistic," where he states what happens to a person who jumps through a hole dug through the center of the earth. The old “what happens when you dig all the way to China” quandary. He says, "Now comes the fun part. Jump in. You now fall continuously in a weightless, free-fall state until you reach the earth’s center, where you vaporize in the heat of the iron core.” He then goes on to ignore that complication and then talk about gravity and what happens as you move closer to and then farther from a center of mass.

Dr. Tyson is one of the best scientific minds of our generation, and his major contribution to science is his ability to connect with the layman, which is you and me, and help them understand why science is so important to today’s society. So if you want a few laughs, and if you want to learn about astrophysics, astronomy, “regular” physics, and all the other amazing things that happen in our cosmos, I would recommend reading Death by Black Hole.
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DEATH BY BLACK HOLE is a good book. Neil deGrasse Tyson is among America's leading astrophysicists, and certainly its most successful in communicating to nonspecialists. In very readable prose, he takes us through a Cook's tour of our solar system, starting with the various revolts among astronomers that took us away from an Earth-centered universe toward a sun-centered one (heliocentrism), then toward our modern understanding of the solar system as nowhere near the center of our galaxy (the Milky Way) that is nowhere near the center of the billions of galaxies that constitute the known universe.

My personal favorite chapters in this book are the interior ones where Tyson unveils his specialty, spectroscopy, and shows how it has determined that most of our known elements and no small amount of chemical compounds (like ammonia) were born in the process of fusion in the largest stars (far larger than our own "dwarf") that then went super- or hypernova, scattering these elements -- to get a little fanciful -- to the solar winds and eventually to us. But here's the problem that makes DEATH BY BLACK HOLE merely a good book, not a near-great one: it was based on columns Tyson wrote for a journal that apparently ran at greater intervals than the couple of chapters even the most casual reader will go through in an evening. There was no editing out of re-taught facts and theories, so the reader is exposed to a good deal of "Previously, on DEATH BY BLACK HOLE," when a little trimming and redaction would have saved this glitch from happening. Also, by the book's concluding chapters we start to hear more about Tyson's thoughts on how we non-specialists should approach the cosmos. He is well equipped to do this, and welcome to do this, but nonetheless the topic of this book has edged out of 'Cosmic Quandaries' into social and educational quandaries of the author's delineation. Therefore, what should have been a five-star book becomes a four-star collection of columns in book form.
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on March 13, 2017
The book seems great, I just find the reader to have that "cheesy radio DJ voice", whilst also sounding a bit monotonous. Given how great of a speaker Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, I really wished he had been the one reading the book.
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on February 20, 2015
This review would have had a very different title if it was the first of NDT's books I read.

The book by itself is pleasant, entertaining, at times hilarious and uncovers many little wonders of the cosmos.


If you've read already some of his other books you will find out that some of its parts are a simple copy and paste exercise, the science never goes deeper than what a 10yo can grasp and some parts badly needed to be updated (by years) at the time the book had hit the shelves.

MDT is a smart and busy academic, yet this is no excuse to reuse whole chapters of previous pibblications in more tha one book whothout even caring to update.This is lazy, especially comming from someone who constantly complains about the lazyness of our species.

If it is your first NDT's book you read you will surely enjoy it all and ask for more. If it is the second, be ready to jump whole chapters that you've already seen.
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on February 26, 2007
Death By Black Hole is an impressive and wonderful trip through the cosmos

as seen and explained by the eminent author. Mr. Tyson has wowed me many times at the Planetarium and now I have caught up with his scholarly yet

accessible columns. Mr. Tyson is a shining star; descriptions do not bog down,but as the reader I flew along and loved the ride. Yes,I could go on and on and describe each chapter's pertinent details,but that would take the fun out of your own trip!
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on March 31, 2017
This book is AWESOME. Tyson does a great job of explaining complex processes, objects, and ideas while keeping a light tone with just the right amount of humor and sarcasm.
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on March 6, 2017
Great read, my teenage daughter loves this book.
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on April 6, 2017
If you are a NDT fan - you'll love this. Informative, thought provoking with plenty of timely humor.
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on March 18, 2017
my son likes this book
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on April 3, 2017
I got it as a gift for my nerdy boyfriend who loved it. Great gift!
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