Cosmic Queries by Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil
3/2/21; 312 pages
Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil is a very highly recommended informative, educational, and entertaining book explaining the universe.
"Cosmic Queries" is a popular part of the StarTalk series of
shows where the questions fans ask on a topic are answered. Some of
these questions require too deep or involved an explanation to be
answered on the show so the book Cosmic Queries tackles those
deeper, more philosophical questions in a conversational style that is
informative, educational, approachable, and infused with some humor. The
history of all related topics is included and assists readers
unfamiliar with astronomy, astrophysics, and quantum mechanics to gain an understanding of the topics. Naturally the illustrations and photographs are beautiful and abundant.
What Is Our Place in the Universe?
How Do We Know What We Know?
How Did the Universe Get to Be This Way?
How Old Is the Universe?
What Is the Universe Made Of?
What Is Life?
Are We Alone in the Universe?
How Did It All Begin?
How Will It All End?
What Does Nothing Have to Do With Everything?
Each chapter then has talking points noted under the title. For
example "Chapter 1: What Is Our Place in the Universe?" is followed by:
Is the Earth a Planet?; Astronomy with a Stick; The Parallax Solution;
How Big is the Solar System; Henrietta Leavitt & The Standard
Candle; Galaxies; Billions & Billions; A Final Word. Interspersed
throughout the text are copies of tweets Neil deGrasse Tyson sent out
which span the gamete from philosophical to informational to humorous.
What really shines is the ability of Tyson to present difficult topics in an understandable manner. As someone who once answered the question "what boggles your mind?" with "the vastness of space," I appreciated the use of analogies and metaphors to explain complicated concepts. There are still many questions to be explored and answered and this book will likely encourage young scientist to consider a life devoted to the scientific endeavor of exploring the complexities of the universe.