Thursday, September 10, 2009

Death by Black Hole

Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries
© 2007 Neil deGrasse Tyson
384 pages

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Although I've encountered Dr. Tyson before -- chiefly through interviews in podcasts like The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe and the Humanist Network News -- I've never read anything by him. His Death by Black Hole is a collection of columns and articles he has written for scientific magazines, edited for continuity. The 42 essays are divided into seven sections: "The Nature of Knowledge", "The Knowledge of Nature", "Ways and Means of Nature", "The Meaning of Life", "When the Universe Turns Bad", "Science and Culture" and lastly, "Science and God".

Tyson has been billed to me as the next Carl Sagan, and in some ways I think the description fits. He's definitely passionate about popularizing science, and criticizes scientists like Richard Dawkins who he thinks have lost touch with the common people. Tyson as an astrophysicists writes essays mostly dealing with those themes, but he addresses a few other fields and science in general before the book is finished. The majority of these were fascinating, even if I don't particularly understand the subfield being worked in, and humor abounds. It's worthy of a read.

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