Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you

What is the book about?

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, who needs no introduction.

This book is an introduction to astrophysics for people who do not have the time to delve deep into the subject. It is a slim volume which whet the appetite of the curious.

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What does this book cover?

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” starts off with a description of the universe from the first few moments of its creation (10^-43 seconds)  to its current state today . We still do not know what happened before this i.e. the ‘Planck Era’. The next chapter deals with gravity and its universality.

We, then, get to see light and the Cosmic Microwave Background. After which, we learn about the galaxies  and dwarf galaxies and the not so empty spaces between them. Dark Matter (the popular sexy term) is the subject of the next chapter; following which comes the chapter on Dark Energy. Essentially, our current theories cannot account for the current mass and energy of the Universe, given the observations. So this means that either out theories are wrong, incomplete or our observations are or that we have a wrong model and perspective with which we look at the Universe.

Next, we see the creation of elements and how, when and where they have been created. We then understand the beauty of the spherical shape and its prevalence in nature. The various aspects of light (radiation) is explored next. We, then, look at our solar system in detail and what exists between the planets and beyond. The book talks about exoplanets in the next chapter. The last chapter is a philosophical one on our place in the Universe.

What did I like?

I was fortunate enough to read this book right after “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”. Both of them are excellent books on science. Neil deGrasse Tyson has done a brilliant job of making complex topics simple as well as conveying their core concepts with minimal verbiage.

What did I not like?


My Recommendation

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” does what it says. It is a brilliant book in its scope and communication.

I strongly recommend this book for all.

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Also published on Medium.