Cover image for Letters from an astrophysicist
Title:
Letters from an astrophysicist
ISBN:
9781324003311
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
xv, 247 pages : color illustrations ; 20 cm.
Contents:
Preface -- Prologue: A memoir, of sorts -- I. Ethos : the characteristic spirit of a culture, manifested in its beliefs and aspirations. Chapter 1. Hope ; Chapter 2. Extraordinary claims ; Chapter 3. Musings -- II. Cosmos : the universe seen as a well-ordered whole. Chapter 4. Hate mail ; Chapter 5. Science denial ; Chapter 6. Philosophy -- III. Pathos : a plaintive appeal to emotions that already reside within us. Chapter 7. Life and death ; Chapter 8. Tragedy ; Chapter 9. To believe or not to believe -- IV. Kairos : a propitious moment for decision or action. Chapter 10. School days ; Chapter 11. Parenting ; Chapter 12. Rebuttals -- Epilogue: A eulogy, of sorts.
Summary:
A luminous companion to the phenomenal bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has attracted one of the world's largest online followings with his fascinating, widely accessible insights into science and our universe. Now, Tyson invites us to go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers. In this hand-picked collection of 101 letters, Tyson draws upon cosmic perspectives to address a vast array of questions about science, faith, philosophy, life, and of course, Pluto. His succinct, opinionated, passionate, and often funny responses reflect his popularity and standing as a leading educator. Tyson's 2017 bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry offered more than one million readers an insightful and accessible understanding of the universe. Tyson's most candid and heartfelt writing yet, Letters from an Astrophysicist introduces us to a newly personal dimension of Tyson's quest to explore our place in the cosmos.
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Summary

Summary

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has attracted one of the world's largest online followings with his fascinating, widely accessible insights into science and our universe. Now, Tyson invites us to go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers. In this hand-picked collection of 101 letters, Tyson draws upon cosmic perspectives to address a vast array of questions about science, faith, philosophy, life, and of course, Pluto. His succinct, opinionated, passionate, and often funny responses reflect his popularity and standing as a leading educator.Tyson's 2017 bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry offered more than one million readers an insightful and accessible understanding of the universe. Tyson's most candid and heartfelt writing yet, Letters from an Astrophysicist introduces us to a newly personal dimension of Tyson's quest to explore our place in the cosmos.


Author Notes

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City on October 5, 1958. Interested in astronomy since he was a child, Tyson gave lectures on the topic at the age of 15. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and was the editor-in-chief for its Physical Science Journal. After earning a B.A. in Physics from Harvard in 1980, Tyson received an M.A. in Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983. He earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Columbia in 1991.

Since 1996, Tyson has held the position of Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History. In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. In 2004, Tyson joined the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. He has hosted PBS's television show NOVA scienceNOW since 2006. Tyson can also be seen frequently as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Tyson has written many popular books on astronomy, and he began his "Universe" column for Natural History magazine in 1995. In 2009, he published the bestselling book The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet to describe the controversy over Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet. His other books include Accessory to War: The Unspoken alliance between astrophysics and the military.

Tyson was recognized in 2004 with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, and Time named him one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, 2017, etc.) receives a great deal of mail, and this slim volume collects his responses and other scraps of writing.The prolific science commentator and bestselling author, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, delivers few surprises and much admirable commentary. Readers may suspect that most of these letters date from the author's earlier years when, a newly minted celebrity, he still thrilled that many of his audience were pouring out their hearts. Consequently, unlike more hardened colleagues, he sought to address their concerns. As years passed, suspecting that many had no interest in tapping his expertise or entering into an intelligent give and take, he undoubtedly made greater use of the waste basket. Tyson eschews pure fan letters, but many of these selections are full of compliments as a prelude to asking advice, pointing out mistakes, proclaiming opposing beliefs, or denouncing him. Readers will also encounter some earnest op-ed pieces and his eyewitness account of 9/11. "I consider myself emotionally strong," he writes. "What I bore witness to, however, was especially upsetting, with indelible images of horror that will not soon leave my mind." To crackpots, he gently repeats facts that almost everyone except crackpots accept. Those who have seen ghosts, dead relatives, and Bigfoot learn that eyewitness accounts are often unreliable. Tyson points out that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so confirmation that a light in the sky represents an alien spacecraft requires more than a photograph. Again and again he defends "science," and his criteriaobservation, repeatable experiments, honest discourse, peer revieware not controversial but will remain easy for zealots to dismiss. Among the instances of "hate mail" and "science deniers," the author also discusses philosophy, parenting, and schooling.A media-savvy scientist cleans out his desk. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Astrophysicist and ebullient educator Tyson is back with another scintillating compendium of science topics illuminated in correspondence received over two decades. Think of it as a scientific Dear Abby advice column that talks about black holes, extraterrestrial sightings, and human predicaments. The 101 letters are organized in four sections that address the ethos (the spirit of a culture), pathos (the emotions), kairos (the favorable moment for an action) and, of course, cosmos (the universe). Tyson is nothing but consistent in his responses as he allows science to reveal the truth, however astonishing and difficult to believe it may be. Readers who bring up religion, conspiracies, and unprovable propositions are presented with a variety of analogies and indisputable facts in Tyson's signature matter-of-fact manner. That, combined with the accessibility of the letters, encourage further exploration into a lively variety of subjects, including evolution, aliens, life's purpose, making mistakes, and science's utility. An account of what happened during 9/11 and a eulogy to his dad reveals a side to Tyson that readers don't often get to see. Tyson's latest is a stimulating companion to his Astrophysics For People in a Hurry (2017) and both are recommended for inspiring readers wary of science to give it a chance.--Andrienne Cruz Copyright 2010 Booklist