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Death by Black Hole
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About the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of its world-famous Hayden Planetarium, host of the hit radio and TV show StarTalk, and the New York Times best-selling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. He lives in New York City.

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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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Characteristically fun and jaunty." -- Sky and Telescope "Tyson proves that no topic is too big or small for his scrutiny... [He] tackles an impressive range of subjects... with great humor, humility, and-most important-humanity." -- Wook Kim - Entertainment Weekly "Dr. Tyson has a grand time dissecting certain forms of foolishness. Get it, plan to savor it" -- Angela Gunn - USAToday.com "Tyson comes across as having an excellent grasp of the current state of astrophysics, cosmology, chemistry and other scientific disciplines... he conveys knowledge clearly to the nonspecialist, often with ingratiating humor and wit." -- Roy E. Perry - The Tennessean

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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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