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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

by Venky

Neil deGrasse Tyson, with an admirable blend of wit and wisdom takes us through the esoteric, exhilarating and extraordinary workings of our universe, the marvels of which are to to a significant extent, still unfathomable. Beginning with the evolution of the Universe a ‘mere’ fourteen billion years before, when the cosmos was an infinitesimal footnote, Tyson handholds us through the passage of father time, advent of technology and the discovery of facts, hitherto deemed unimaginable.

As the title suggests, the book is a concise introduction to Astrophysics intended to whet the appetite of the reader. And whet it does! Tyson heightens the interest and inclination of the reader chapter by chapter, fact by fact and star by star. Using language that is completely bereft of physicist jargon, Tyson explains the apparent and invisible goings on in our transcendental universe with a passion almost bordering on the reverence. Quasars and pulsars are unveiled in all their glory; the interplay between the photons, neutrons and electrons are unraveled to the amazement of the reader, while dark matter, anti matter and dark energy are revealed to be matters of vital interest.

The apogee of the book however is the final chapter with its scientific, spiritual and almost philosophical bent. Tyson pleads for a broadening of the mindset for exploration and scientific research, a process which he emphasises will reduce to a significant extent the war mongering, political upheavals and social ills that currently plague the world. A realisation of both out infinitesimal place in the cosmos and also a pride in our ability to unearth the expanding nuances of our universe will ensure that the world is a much better place to revel in.

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