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Book Review: Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

In Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, Neil deGrasse Tyson triggers/invokes a sense of wonder and passion about the universe and some of its inner workings. His book is a collection of essays split into various sections - most having to do with astronomy, although others touching on vague concepts having to do with cosmology and string theory or a mix of subjects revolving around a central idea - like how can we, using the scientific model, prove or disprove God, different ways the cosmos can kill us, how we can find life on other planets and what it would be like to die via black hole.

Dr. deGrasse Tyson does a very good job of keeping the reader interested and introducing new facts and ideas about the world around us. A good example is of him answering the question, “Why are we weightless in space?”. He says because we are in constant free-fall and further describes in very elementary terms on what it means to be in free-fall in outer space. His explanations often make the reader go “Ahhh! Now that’s easy to understand”. He does this sometimes, with a bit of witty humor which adds a nice twist. The only downside to grouping essays together, unedited, is that in subsequent essays he sometimes repeats himself explaining a term or concept word-for-word.

This book reminded me of other book I have read, such as the series of books theoretical physicist, Brian Greene has written on cosmology and the such. Many topics he writes about, so does Neil deGrasse Tyson in this book. However, deGrasse Tyson touches more on basic concepts and, at least personally, explains complicated concepts much better in layman's terms compared to Greene. Reading this book before reading any of Greene’s books might have helped me better understand all of Greene’s. I would definitely recommend this book to people. The best way to decide, I believe, is if anyone that has found the TV shows like The Universe, How The Universe Works, Wonders Of The Solar System, etc fascinating, this book will continue to expand on such concepts some more advanced, but without being overwhelming.

If you enjoy this book and it’s “lighter” material I suggest any of the books written by Michio Kaku, such as “Physics of the Impossible”.

Literature


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