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Death by black hole : and other cosmic quandaries
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  Library Journal Review

This essay collection was originally published over 11 years in Natural History magazine. Professional astrophysicist Tyson (director, New York City's Hayden Planetarium) talks here mostly about the cosmos as seen by contemporary science, also touching on the history of science. He demonstrates a good feel for explaining science in an intelligible way to interested lay readers; his rather rakish sense of humor should aid in making the book enjoyable. The two concluding chapters address the relationship between science and religion (Tyson is forthright in arguing that "intelligent design" is not science). Because some of the essays concern overlapping topics, certain brief sections might seem repetitious for those reading the volume straight through, but this does not detract significantly from the overall value of the book. Recommended for public and undergraduate college libraries.-Jack W. Weigel, formerly with the Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

What would it feel like if your spaceship were to venture too close to the black hole lurking at the center of the Milky Way? According to astrophysicist Tyson, director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, size does matter when it comes to black holes, although the chances of your surviving the encounter aren't good in any case. Tyson takes readers on an exciting journey from Earth's hot springs, where extremophiles flourish in hellish conditions, to the frozen, desolate stretches of the Oort Cloud and the universe's farthest reaches, in both space and time. Tyson doesn't restrict his musings to astrophysics, but wanders into related fields like relativity and particle physics, which he explains just as clearly as he does Lagrangian points, where we someday may park interplanetary filling stations. He tackles popular myths (is the sun yellow?) and takes movie directors most notably James Cameron to task for spectacular goofs. In the last section the author gives his take on the hot subject of intelligent design. Readers of Natural History magazine will be familiar with many of the 42 essays collected here, while newcomers will profit from Tyson's witty and entertaining description of being pulled apart atom by atom into a black hole, and other, closer-to-earth, and cheerier, topics. 9 illus. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
<p>A vibrant collection of essays on the cosmos from the nation\'sbest-known astrophysicist.</p> <p>Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in NaturalHistory magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson\'s talentfor guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with stunningclarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. Here, Tyson compiles hisfavorite essays across a myriad of cosmic topics. The title essayintroduces readers to the physics of black holes by explaining thegory details of what would happen to your body if you fell intoone. "Holy Wars" examines the needless friction between science andreligion in the context of historical conflicts. "The Search forLife in the Universe" explores astral life from the frontiers ofastrobiology. And "Hollywood Nights" assails the movie industry\'sfeeble efforts to get its night skies right.</p> <p>Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, andhumor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the mostcomplex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing hisinfectious excitement about our universe.</p>
Table of Contents
Prefacep. 11
Acknowledgmentsp. 13
Prologue: The Beginning of Sciencep. 15
Section 1The Nature of Knowledge: The challenges of knowing what is knowable in the universe
1Coming to Our Sensesp. 25
2On Earth as in the Heavensp. 31
3Seeing Isn't Believingp. 38
4The Information Trapp. 48
5Stick-in-the-Mud Sciencep. 60
Section 2The Knowledge of Nature: The challenges of discovering the contents of the cosmos
6Journey from the Center of the Sunp. 69
7Planet Paradep. 75
8Vagabonds of the Solar Systemp. 85
9The Five Points of Lagrangep. 95
10Antimatter Mattersp. 102
Section 3Ways and Means of Nature: How Nature presents herself to the inquiring mind
11The Importance of Being Constantp. 111
12Speed Limitsp. 119
13Going Ballisticp. 127
14On Being Densep. 135
15Over the Rainbowp. 144
16Cosmic Windowsp. 152
17Colors of the Cosmosp. 161
18Cosmic Plasmap. 168
19Fire and Icep. 175
Section 4The Meaning of Life: The challenges and triumphs of knowing how we got here
20Dust to Dustp. 185
21Forged in the Starsp. 192
22Send in the Cloudsp. 199
23Goldilocks and the Three Planetsp. 207
24Water, Waterp. 213
25Living Spacep. 221
26Life in the Universep. 229
27Our Radio Bubblep. 238
Section 5When the Universe Turns Bad: All the ways the cosmos wants to kill us
28Chaos in the Solar Systemp. 249
29Coming Attractionsp. 254
30Ends of the Worldp. 263
31Galactic Enginesp. 268
32Knock 'Em Deadp. 275
33Death by Black Holep. 283
Section 6Science and Culture: The ruffled interface between cosmic discovery and the public's reaction to it
34Things People Sayp. 291
35Fear of Numbersp. 298
36On Being Baffledp. 303
37Footprints in the Sands of Sciencep. 309
38Let There Be Darkp. 320
39Hollywood Nightsp. 327
Section 7Science and God: When ways of knowing collide
40In the Beginningp. 337
41Holy Warsp. 346
42The Perimeter of Ignorancep. 353
Referencesp. 363
Name Indexp. 369
Subject Indexp. 373
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