Read Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson Michael A. Strauss J. Richard Gott III Online


A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Welcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all—from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, woA NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWelcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all—from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel.Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works.Breathtaking in scope and stunningly illustrated throughout, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide....

Title : Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour
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ISBN : 30282975
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 462 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-03-22 04:03

    Let's look at this book. What can we say about it? It's got nearly 500 pages, it's nicely produced, it's got some famous names on the cover. The blurb says it's based on a popular introductory astronomy course the authors gave at Princeton. Well, that tells us something, but it doesn't tell us what we want to know. Is it any good? So let's stop for a moment and think about how we might answer the question. It doesn't really make any sense unless we have something to compare it with. What other books are like that, introductions to astronomy written by experts and aimed at smart laypeople?So I'm going to start by taking three books that fit the general description, and I'm going to talk a bit about what they're like and how they're organized. I could pick books written recently, but I think that's a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, there aren't a lot of books like this, and second, you don't have any perspective when you take recent stuff. I'm going to take some older books, where we know how things worked out for them from our early twenty-first century point of view. I'm going to look at those books and at the end I'm going to compare them with Welcome to the Universe.Number one. Here's Exposition du système du monde, by Pierre-Simon de Laplace. Laplace published it in 1796 and it was the most famous pop science book in France for the next century. It's worth reading even today. Next up, Arthur Berry's A Short History of Astronomy. It came out in 1898, and it was still the standard text at the beginning of World War II. And third, Fred Hoyle's Frontiers of Astronomy. It was published in 1955, and it was a major non-fiction bestseller. I read in Alan Lightman's and Roberta Brawer's very nice book Origins that it inspired a whole generation of astrophysicists.Now all these books are examples of what Welcome to the Universe is trying to give you, a good one-volume summary of modern astronomy. What do we find in them? First of all you're going to get some history. People have been doing astronomy for more than two thousand years. You've got to say something about that, both the things they got right and the things they got wrong. Because when you do science, you always get some things wrong. Later generations of scientists correct the things you got wrong. That's how you make progress. Next, you write about the things scientists have found out recently, the cutting-edge material. Some of your audience will know this stuff but most of them won't. And then you add some bullshit, because scientists are just people and they love to bullshit when they think they can get away with it.If you look at the three books I just showed you, you can see that they tried to mix up those ingredients a bit differently. Berry is quite conservative. He puts in a lot of history and you can see he's trying not to bullshit you. But sometimes you bullshit without meaning to and he does that quite a lot. He tells you people like Kant once thought that galaxies were huge collections of stars a long way off, but no one takes that seriously any more. He was wrong! 25 years later, Hubble got good pictures of nearby galaxies, and then you could see that they really were huge collections of stars. Kant was right all along. Hoyle is the opposite of Berry. He doesn't give you much history and the last third of the book is nothing but bullshit. He has his own theory, the Steady State theory, of how the universe had no beginning and has always been the same. He makes it sound very convincing. But it was completely wrong. Ten years later they found the Cosmic Background Radiation, and then everyone knew Hoyle's theory was wrong and the Big Bang theory was right. Laplace's book is remarkable. He has a very good, careful history of astronomy. He gives a terrific overview of Newtonian gravitational theory, which was then cutting-edge, state of the art research. He tells you how it was used to explain the movements of Jupiter and Saturn and the Moon, which are really complicated. They are so complicated that some people thought Newton's gravitational theory was slightly wrong, but Laplace showed it was correct and explains everything. At the end, he has a bullshit section about how the Solar System started. He says he thinks it condensed out of a rotating cloud of gas. This was way past the state of the art in 1796. He was just guessing. But he was right! His bullshit wasn't bullshit, it was prophetic. We can say that now because we know more. Very few people are as smart as Laplace was.So let's get back to Welcome to the Universe. What's the mix there? There's quite a lot of history. They don't talk much about the ancient history of astronomy, there's nothing about the old Ptolemaic system with the epicycles and the deferents which Laplace and Berry explain in detail, but they do the more recent stuff very well. They tell you how Planck found his radiation formula. They do a really good job of explaining what it means and showing you how it's completely central to modern astrophysics. The same with explaining Maxwell's field equations and Einstein's theories of special and general relativity. I really liked this part. For example, they tell you how general relativity went through several different versions as Einstein was developing it, and how he used a version that wasn't quite right when he did one of his most famous calculations, the one about the advance of the perihelion of Mercury, but luckily it made no difference. There are lots of other good things, like they give the details of how Rømer used eclipses of Jupiter's moons to estimate the speed of light back in 1676. I'll give them an 8 or even a 9 on the history.Next, the recent stuff. This is also very good. You get a bang up to date tour of the Solar System with lots of new material about Kuiper Belt objects. There's an interesting section on exoplanets. There's lots of material about galaxy formation, showing you how we now know that dark matter and black holes play an essential role. Hoyle's 1955 book had a couple of chapters about galaxies. They sound plausible, but today we can see it was all bullshit. Hoyle didn't know about dark matter and black holes. Welcome to the Universe probably gets it right, we have so much more data now. They have nice material about the LIGO gravitational wave experiment, and how it found a collision between two black holes, and what it means. That's just from last year. Like I said, this book is up to date. I'll give them an 8 or a 9 for the recent stuff too.And last, the bullshit. To be honest, I think this book has just a bit too much bullshit. I don't mean that in a bad way. Like I said, Hoyle's book has too much bullshit and it was truly inspiring. But I still think this book has too much. There's a very speculative chapter on life in the universe. There's an even more speculative chapter on time travel. They use the time travel when they talk about what possibly came before the Big Bang. Maybe they'll get lucky the way Laplace did and it will turn out that the bullshit is actually correct! But I think that's against the odds. I'm giving them a 6 on the bullshit.So all in all, I think this is a pretty good book. I'd say it's better than Berry. It's maybe even better than Hoyle. It's not as good as Laplace, but then that would be a miracle. If you're a smart young teen and you think you might want to be an astrophysicist, you should go out and get a copy. Maybe it'll inspire you.

  • Muthuvel
    2019-03-26 08:57

    Yeah! Welcome to the Universe! The work about the cosmos done by a combo package of renowned astrophysicists. Richard J Gott, a person widely famous for his terrific works on time travel research and applied solution of various longevity predictions using Copernican Principles.Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the well known astrophysicists in the planet and also as a widely served public science educator. Michael Strauss, an uber explorer in the field of extra galactic astronomy and observational cosmology, has made several works through spectroscopic surveys of the sky studying distant objects.The book gives you all that you wanted to know about the world - in a more broadened perspective. It's almost everything we know about the Universe.It's almost hard for anyone to give less than 5 star rating for this work unless the person has one of the following cases or even more than one.. 1. Have Professional career/ Strong foundation in Astronomy or know most of the stuffs already prior reading.2. Have a personal dislike for any one of the authors - most probably Neil Tyson as being the public educator is not that easy these days. 3. Don't have that much interest in astronomy and oblivious of our future frontiers in space. In case you're a science enthusiast, I'm afraid if you don't know about this work yet. After reading the part on time travel, I'm so much optimistic though my generation probably not going to witness it. Overall, more than a good book on Astronomy that covers from the scratch to the intricate machinery of the Cosmos.I'm grateful to Netgalley and Princeton University Press for catering the eBook in exchange for an honest review.

  • MystaryPi
    2019-03-23 03:46


  • Leah
    2019-02-28 08:46

    From 2+2 to Superstring Theory and beyond...The preface explains that this book arises from a course run by the three authors at Princeton University – a course on the universe for non-science majors; indeed, for students who perhaps had never taken a science course before. My knowledge of science is pretty basic and my maths is, if anything, even dodgier. So although the idea of the book intrigued me, I feared it might be way over my head.The book is divided into three sections, each written mainly by one of the authors with the occasional contribution from one of the others. The first section is Stars, Planets and Life with Tyson as the main author and a couple of chapters from Strauss. It starts brilliantly for the beginner, with an introduction to the very simplest stuff, like how long it takes for the Earth to revolve on its axis. At this early stage, Tyson assumes no prior knowledge and lays down some terminological groundwork for the more difficult stuff to come later. For example, he explains exactly what an Astronomical Unit is and that it is abbreviated to AU. He's very funny, so that these chapters are entertaining as well as informative. Each section takes the history of scientific discovery as a template for explaining what scientists know about the universe today and how they know it. All through the book, the authors are careful to credit those who came before, even when subsequent discoveries may have proved them wrong in some aspect. They show how even disproven theories contributed to the advances made by later scientists. There are a couple of chapters in this first section that are very heavy on maths and, truthfully, lost me so badly that I wondered whether there was much point in continuing. But I decided to struggle on and happily discovered that most of the book is perfectly accessible even to those of us whose eyes glaze over at any equation more complex than 2+2=4. On the other hand, there's loads of very well explained maths in there for anyone whose mind works that way, or who wants to get a feel for whether they would like to study astrophysics at higher levels perhaps.Tyson takes us through how scientists learned to measure distances between stars, how they work out their composition and age, and goes into considerable depth on the lifecycles of stars. It's fascinating stuff and made me realise how often popular science books just tell the reader something and expect us to accept it. Not this one – every statement is backed up with detail of how we know these things and what they mean in the broader context of the universe. Throughout, the book is superbly illustrated, not just with pretty pictures (though most of them are) but with clear, beautifully designed and explained diagrams and charts that are hugely helpful in understanding the text and visualising things like size comparisons. This section finishes with a chapter on the search for planets that could support life, explaining exactly what scientists are looking for and why, and how they're going about it. Strauss takes over as the main author for the second section on Galaxies. He takes the reader through the history of how our own galaxy was first mapped and then the discoveries that led to scientists realising that the Milky Way is only a tiny part of the universe. This section has some fantastic images from the various exploratory missions like Hubble, but the really great thing is that Strauss explains in detail what we're actually seeing – how to interpret the images rather than just admiring them. He then goes on to explain the discovery that (almost) all galaxies are moving away from each other, proving that the universe is expanding and enabling scientists to estimate its age and speculate as to its future. There is a fair amount of maths again in this section, but I found it easy to ignore for the most part while still grasping the concepts Strauss describes.The final section is by Richard Gott and takes us from Einstein's relativity back to the Big Bang and beyond. I hold my hands up – it's at Einstein that my brain always closes down and I find myself overwhelmed with an urgent desire to giggle, somewhat hysterically. However, Gott actually explained the whole E = mc2 thing well enough for me to more or less grasp, plus for the first time I now kinda understand why nuclear bombs work (not sure of the usefulness of that knowledge, but you never know when it might come in handy). His explanation of black holes and spaghettification is both humorous and clear. He then takes us through all the stuff that sound more like Star Trek plots than science (to my limited mind) – cosmic strings, wormholes, time travel, superstring theory, inflation, etc. While I'll never fully grasp this stuff and retain a large degree of cynicism about a lot of it, Gott's explanations are great, and hugely enhanced by some of the best and clearest diagrams I've come across, including a spectacular six-page spread in full colour showing Gott's own map of the universe. He finishes with some speculation about the beginnings of the universe and even what may have come before the Big Bang, and shows how these (crazy-sounding) ideas arise out of the most recent science, while making very clear which bits have been confirmed by observation missions and which haven't yet. Fascinating stuff! His final plea is for Earth to look quickly at colonising Mars to increase our species' chances of longterm survival.This is a great book, managing to be both hugely informative and entertaining – undoubtedly the best and most comprehensive of its kind that I've come across. It seems to me it is indeed suitable for a beginner so long as s/he has an enquiring mind and either the ability to understand the maths or the willingness to skim over those bits that are maths-heavy. Highly recommended, but do get the hardback rather than the Kindle – it's beautifully designed and produced, and the illustrations are an essential aid to understanding the text.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Princeton University

  • Brian Clegg
    2019-03-24 08:53

    One of the first things a writer is encouraged to do is to be aware of his or her audience. I think it's interesting that this book, like many written by physicists, mostly has comments on the back from physicists, because the book is written as if they were the audience. Not as serious reading - more the equivalent of a heavy literary fiction reader indulging in a bit of Agatha Christie for light relief. The trouble is that this isn't the audience it's supposed to be for. To make things worse, each of the three authors pitches their writing differently.Neil deGrasse Tyson is his usual ebullient self, using a style that mixes the shouty with a touch of condescension. However, his content is more detailed than usual with a strong smattering of equations - enough that this sometimes feels like an introductory textbook. The opening has something of the manic 'space is really big' approach of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but then settles down to a quick rattle through '3,000 years of astronomy.' However, to ensure it's not too interesting he also tells us that he is not going to include details of people and discoveries. To be fair, this may be because Tyson has been slated in the past for poor history of science.Despite the style, Tyson manages a reasonable balance of general observation and introduction of physical concepts. There is one odd chapter, about the demotion of Pluto from a planet which doesn't fit with the rest at all - it seems a bit of a vanity project for Tyson - but the rest fits together quite well. We've already come across Michael Strauss in this first section on 'stars, planets and life' as he interposes a few chapters amongst Tyson's, but he comes into his own in the second, shortest section, 'galaxies'. This is probably the least technical section of the book, being mostly descriptive. In a dry, but generally accessible fashion, Strauss takes us from the interstellar medium to quasars and supermassive black holes.Finally we get to Richard Gott's section, 'Einstein and the Universe'. This the heaviest section of a literally heavy book (1.35 kilograms - get the Kindle version), but in some ways the most satisfying. Gott is not a great explainer, and does perpetuate the myth that Wheeler named the black hole (a common enough misunderstanding 10 years ago, but generally done away with by now), however he gives us a brisk introduction to special and general relativity (John Gribbin would not be impressed that he refers to 'the theory of special relativity'), going on to the implications of these theories for astrophysics and even time travel. Reading Gott is hard work, but it is rewarding. However, this section feels like a completely different book - the first two parts very much fit with the subtitle, 'an astrophysical tour', but the final part is very much physics with astrophysical applications.Overall, there's a lot going on in this book, with more equations and working out than I've ever seen in a book from a mainstream publisher aimed at a popular science audience. I think it will work well for a segment of that audience - high school students who are already specialising in physics, and regular popular science physics readers who want more depth (provided they can get through the Tyson section). But the book's inconsistent approach and heavy content won't be for everyone.

  • Jafar
    2019-03-22 06:47

    This is probably the best pop-physics book that I've read. A great summary of modern astrophysics (and physics in general) plus a lot of good history.

  • Dan Graser
    2019-03-21 06:44

    This gorgeous introduction to several areas of physics and cosmology is perhaps the best of its kind to be published if there are even comparable works (in terms of scope, not subject matter). Richard Gott, Michael Strauss, and Neil deGrasse Tyson are all very engaging and informative writers and even though they each write their own individual chapters the book has a very even read to it, with Tyson perhaps being the most engaging of the three. You will leave this book with firmer grasp as to the landscape of the Universe and also how it and its component parts were formed, the names behind these important discoveries, and what is left to be studied/discovered. Beautifully bound with vivid and informative full-color graphs and images, this is precisely what you would want a textbook for an Introduction to the Universe class to be like.

  • Armen Grigoryan
    2019-03-06 03:52

    If you want to widen your imagination of the universe then you should read this mind-blowing book

  • Matthew Barnes
    2019-02-27 05:44

    Such an amazing universe we live in! This book blew my mind!

  • Menglong Youk
    2019-03-26 06:58

    Welcome to the Universe is one of the best astrophysics books I've read so far. Not only it includes many equations more than many other science books, but it also gives readers a thorough explanations from the history to the frontiers of astrophysics. Most of the topics are familiar to me, but the last part on anthropic principle is quite impressive. I came across the concepts of the principle before, but the scenario to which it is applied is new to me, and that's exciting.I'm looking forward to reading this book again in the near future.

  • Meg
    2019-03-07 00:41

    Some of this stuff went way over my head, but it was interesting! And definitely better read in sections as each chapter is essentially a lecture!

  • Matt
    2019-03-18 05:44

    This book is an overview of modern cosmology, with explanations of things ranging from Newtonian physics to the Big Bang to string theory and the slow death of the universe. It is basically a distillation of the ideas the authors presented in an entry-level general course at Princeton. Much of it is familiar territory, but there are also in-depth explanations that are simultaneously challenging and accessible.The ideas and concepts discussed are interesting, but the explanations are often tedious. It can be especially frustrating when the authors treat a particular chapter like a mystery novel - laying out all the evidence before explaining what they're driving at. Done well, that could be an interesting technique. In this book, there were multiple instances of extended analogies before the concept they were analyzing was presented. I found that this occasionally required re-reading passages to pick up on the nuances.

  • Helen Marquis
    2019-03-24 05:45

    A great book. This takes the really complex subject of astrophysics and turns into something anyone can appreciate and in a lot of cases, actually understand! The writing is superb - really engaging and takes us from a world that people once thought was flat, to the outer reaches of the cosmos! I'd say that this makes a great companion to "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking, as it's equally mind-bending and mind-expanding! Recommended!

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-23 04:54

    “As a scientist, you must embrace the inconstancy of knowledge. You learn to love the questions themselves.”

  • Kim
    2019-03-15 04:54

    This book covers a wide variety of topics around the core notion of astrophysics. Tyson, Strauss, and Gott each take chapters in turn and cover everything from gravity to photons to the infinite universe to why Pluto is no longer counted as a planet. (This last duplicates information already covered in Tyson's The Pluto Files.)Unlike many popular books on science, Welcome to the Universe is brave enough to walk readers through the actual equations that helped develop our understanding of the science discussed. This includes descriptions of famous equations such as E=MC² and calculations to determine the mass of the sun. It's not all numbers, however. All three writers are excellent teachers and communicators and offer basic concepts and historical perspective on the principles they are writing about. The book also has photos and illustrations to flesh out ideas.It's a wide ranging book. Not simple and easy but a great book for anyone interested in the science of the universe and the stars inhabiting it. Some are just fun, such as the true odds of life on other planets and science geek complaints about the aliens in fiction and movies. They even touch on time travel. A great read for anyone from interested and motivated high school students to adults who wish they knew more about the subject and missed out in college.

  • Nikki
    2019-03-08 00:41

    Only took me almost a year to read this, lol!RTC

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2019-03-25 08:54

    This is a fairly good guide covers the important ideas in astronomy from earth's rotation, Heliocentrism, Newton's laws, planets, Star life cycle and burning, galaxies, black holes, Quasars, Big Bang, Cosmic Expansion, Inflation etc. Covers the main points. I have read much of this before but for someone new to the topic it is as good a place as any to pick up these ideas.

  • Lenny Ankireddi
    2019-03-21 04:03

    True to the title, it is for the most part, an Astrophysical tour that takes you across solar systems, galaxies, quasars, black holes and other massive entities in the universe. However, it also deals a little bit with fundamental particles, their nature and interaction and the underlying physics that leads to the behavior of the infinitesimally small and the unimaginably large. Having read many books over the past year from Lawrence Krauss, Sean Carroll, Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark and various other focused on similar topics, I was not so sure how much new knowledge I would gain from reading this one. I was pleasantly surprised that while it was enlightening to gather a different perspective on these topics from the likes of Neil Tyson and J. Richard Gott, this book also makes a very concerted attempt, at being more educational and trying to explain complex things in simpler ways, to those that are not as mathematically adept as it would take to unravel the mysteries of the universe.It is simultaneously humbling and invigorating to realize how much there is to know that we do not know about the universe and at the same time being able to marvel how much , we an intelligent species, have been able to divine about the the 13.8 billion years of existence as we know it in the meager few last centuries we have spent working on these problems. The book builds up from small concepts that everyone knows and understands to bigger ones that you start to get a better appreciation for to really large hairy ones that you will consign to a second reading to get a better handle of. It is also replete with profound thought on various subjects as it attempts to construct understanding of complex constructs through thought experiments and analogies.You shall not come away from a reading of this book, with a well-rounded understanding of everything there is to know about the universe. You will however gain a fair deal of understanding of how much there is to know that we do not know and how well we do know those things that we do. It establishes with more certitude through the derivation of some truths, some of those concepts that we have come to accept at their face value, by virtue of their having emanated from what we consider as greater minds than our own. It makes those constructs more relatable because we have followed the thought processes in the minds of those greats that led them to those conclusions, that we, through our own machinations, and as does so often happen with science, have inevitably arrived at ourselves. A great read for the enthusiasts and a definite second read for the dilettantes.

  • Claudia
    2019-03-03 05:05

    This was such an entertaining and interesting book, I greatly enjoyed reading it. With Neil deGrasse Tyson, J. Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss you not only get three of today's heavyweights in astrophysics as authors, but also three people who write interestingly, with humour and great passion about their subject.The book aims to adress the interested layman, and while I would certainly call myself that and have read many books on the subject, I do have to say: it was still waaaay over my head. But I still found it extremely interesting, and what I understood made me wish to understand more. If you really want to follow everything touched on in this book, you need to be able to understand very complex higher lever maths. But it is all explained very well and in an approachable way, so that even if you can't follow the equations you can still understand the underlying principles and get a good grasp of the concepts being described.I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in "popular science astrophysics". However, I would NOT recommend getting this as an audiobook (like I did). Can you follow complex mathematical equations in your head? If you just said "no", you need to get yourself a physical copy or the e-book (personally, I couldn't even follow them if they hit me on the head, but that's another story). The book also contains a multitude of pictures, diagrams and illustrations, and while you can download these as a PDF, that won't be of use to you if (like me) you like to listen while out and about or driving. Some of the illustrations are interactive, too, encouraging the reader to follow as set of instructions while looking at them to create an optical illusion. I feel there's a lot you miss by listening to the audiobook.

  • Suncerae
    2019-03-08 06:38

    Based on the introductory astronomy course co-taught by the authors, Welcome to the Universe is a one-volume summary of modern astronomy, from our solar system and beyond—including planets, stars, galaxies, and black holes.I've read a lot of popular science books, and this one stands apart. I find it's content entertaining, approachable, and scientific, extremely broad in scope, but detailed enough to keep my interest. The history of astronomy and its contributors represent a significant portion of the book, with most of the focus on recent astronomers and explanations of the equations they contributed, especially Planck, Maxwell, Newton, and Einstein.Most interesting of all is the new information that is more difficult to find in popular science books (with the exception of black holes—everyone loves those), including Kuiper belt objects,  exoplanets, dark matter, and black hole specifics, like the LIGO gravitational wave experiment. Dr. Tyson's narrative of how Pluto lost its planetary status is notably fun.Toward the end, the content moves from physical data to mathematical speculation, which is inspiring and meant to be so, but also feels more un-grounded, especially with regard to intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, time travel, and infinite multiverses.My biggest beef has nothing to do with the meat of the material at all. Most pop-science books are fine for audiobook formats, but this one references equations and diagrams constantly, and while they are provided separately for the audio version, I did not pull them up during my morning commute. Make sure you can read this one on the page and in full color!Recommended as an introductory astronomy text for anyone interested in learning some real science!

  • Jamie
    2019-03-08 08:01

    There was a lot of math to show how discoveries were made. I don't need multiple pages explaining the evolution of an equation, but would rather be told how things were related, and move on to the discussion of the idea. It probably seems childish to complain about the amount of math in a book on astrophysics, but I found it distracting and unnecessary for a book oriented toward the layperson./It was my understanding there would be no math

  • Noah
    2019-03-19 07:46

    Welcome to the Universe is a comprehensive guide into Astrophysics. It is a very well written book that is very factual, yet includes an occasional joke; making the book more enjoyable. Welcome to the Universe covers many territories that range all the way from the physics of time travel and wormholes to the interstellar medium and life on other planets. This is a book not for people looking for an easy read, as there are explanations involving physical formulae and other such things. The book includes many real life examples to help you understand the text, and definitions for the more complicated words. It also includes many diagrams that are easy to understand and at one point, helped me to understand the string theory more clearly. Over all, this is a good book that is clearly written and scientific. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comprehensive guides and is looking to understand astrophysics more clearly.

  • Ali Schultz
    2019-03-16 03:04

    Very good. I learned quite a lot and have developed a renewed sense of fawning excitement about all that has been discovered and is yet to be discovered in our universe. Michael Strauss was definitely the strongest and clearest of the contributors, but it was excellent in general.

  • Christopher Sharp
    2019-03-26 01:58

    Bloody brilliant

  • Mac
    2019-03-25 05:58

    To say I read all of Welcome to the Universe would be inaccurate. To say I understood all of what I read would be misleading. To say I thoroughly enjoyed the book would be true. Welcome to the Universe is an entertaining, enlightening, challenging book full of fascinating information about the universe. The book is divided into three parts each tackled primarily by one of the three authors: Tyson's Part I. Stars, Planets, and Life. Strauss's Part II. Galaxies. And Gott's Part III. Einstein and the Universe. And each section is full of numerous mind bending ideas, plenty of examples, and many clarifying analogies.My problem: The book is also full of math I didn't understand. Because my math knowledge and aptitude are limited, my reading frequently ground to a halt, and just as frequently I skipped over the math out of necessity. The best laugh line in the book is not one of Tyson's corny jokes. It's Gott who, upon nearing the end of a very long mathematical analysis, precedes his conclusion with "Of course." To that I laughed and said, "Of course, your analysis is correct"--not because I can confirm your math but because I don't have a clue what you are talking about. For me, it was as if the book had portions translated into a foreign language, and as a result I left the formulas behind and jumped to the next section.So with deep curiosity about the universe and a sense of humor about the book's math challenges, I completely enjoyed Welcome to the Universe (the parts I read).

  • Tyler Horken
    2019-02-27 07:48

    Everything I was looking for. How orbits work, life cycles of stars, the Big Bang, scale of the universe, relativity, etc. All there and covered fairly accessibly but probably quite a bit more than most everyday joes with a garden variety interest in space are looking for. It gets progressively more difficult to grasp the concepts in each chapter, and by the end I was pretty well lost, but in a way that makes me want to keep at it - you can tell there are some mind blowing epiphanies in there, if you can somehow wrap your head around it.

  • The Busy Reader
    2019-03-03 08:04“Astrophysics to this day resides in my same mental category for magic and mysticism... potentially dangerous if I’m not careful.”When I hear the word “astrophysics”, I often remember a specific physics problem from my university days: “What is the angular momentum of a chair that is rotating about its axis while bolted to a merry-go-round, and the merry-go-round itself is rotating?” This image nearly always evokes uneasiness in me because I never did solve that problem. Astrophysics to this day resides in my same mental category for magic and mysticism: incomprehensible and potentially dangerous if I’m not careful. Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour, by Professors Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott, is the collaborative effort to make this subject a little more accessible to the general public, and a little safer for me. "It then details the life and death of stars, the Big Bang, and the curious physics of black holes."The title of the book does not disappoint, and it indeed takes us on a grand tour of our universe. It starts with our life on Earth and recalls how mundane weather and seasonal details are actually astrophysics forces at work. It then details the life and death of stars, the Big Bang, and the curious physics of black holes. It addresses contemporary debates currently capturing mainstream society’s attention, like the possibility of alien life and the (non-)planetary status of Pluto. What are quasars, and why are they called that? How can there be a 4th dimension (or 10th dimension), and what does that imply for our universe? Is there actually a multiverse? This book talks about it all. "Our math equations, from E=mc^2 to the general theory of relativity, are nothing more than a summary of what we are observing."Explanations within the realm of astrophysics invariably involve math equations. To overcome these inherent complexities, the authors also focus on astrophysics’ historical roots, when we had nothing more than our eyes to observe the sky. This is the heart of the book’s genius. Over and over again, the authors emphasize that astrophysics, like any branch of science, is in the business of making observations and making sense of these observations. Our math equations, from E=mc^2 to the general theory of relativity, are nothing more than a summary of what we are observing. Those math equations then suggest new possibilities about our universe (like dark matter), which then help point our telescopes in the direction of the next big discovery. "Astrophysics offers elegant answers to big questions, if only we care to look carefully at the world around and above us."Astrophysics offers elegant answers to big questions, if only we care to look carefully at the world around and above us. It is a field where the possibilities seem endless, and the next earth-shattering revelation about our universe seems just around the corner. I look forward to these new discoveries. Now about that merry-go-round…

  • Meghan
    2019-03-15 07:39

    Ugggggg .... I have been trying to write this review for four days. Maybe it takes me a percentage of the time I took to read the book to formulate a review? It did take me over a week to read Welcome to the Universe, with Neil deGrasse Tyson's name in bigger font than the other two co-authors. At first that made me sad for the other two authors, but then I got miffed over J. Richard Gott's chapters, where there's a lot of I did this!, which probably shouldn't annoy me as much as it did, since he did figure this stuff out, but it seemed kind of braggy to me and I just want to learn abstractly about science, not be amazed that the author I'm reading now did this stuff.So I got annoyed.Cool idea I did get from Welcome to the Universe: think of everything as bread. Slice horizontally (like here in North America) for one slice of space-time, but slice on an angle (like a baguette) for a relative slice of space-time. The bread is still the same, but how one views what's happening in/on the bread changes. I'm glad I got to that before I got fed up with physics.Ooh -- and something else -- I found out what word I wanted for physics book ages ago ages ago: falsifiable. I couldn't remember that word, but much of what was written in The Universe is a Machine wasn't falsifiable, so, from a science perspective, those ideas were kind of a non-starter. But that has nothing really to do with the book I'm supposed to be reviewing ...I'm in a weird place with physics books. I probably have enough math background that if I really wanted to, I could read textbooks rather than pop-science books (albeit much more slowly, and with a pad and pencil in hand for figuring things out), but I don't want to read a physics textbook. But then I read pop-science books and get frustrated that details I want to understand (like math stuff) is missing. But I don't want to read a physics textbook. But I want to know more about what's behind the science, which is generally math that I could probably understand given enough time and pencil lead. But I don't want to write physics notes in bed. But I want to know more!Is the moral that I should stop reading about cosmology and relativity? I mean, both of those things are going to go scootering on along in life without me understanding them or not.Science is hard.Welcome to the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott went on sale September 1, 2016.I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Solita
    2019-02-25 04:02

    I've never been particularly interested in science. But I saw Neil deGrasse Tyson on a T.V. talk show, and I thought him quite likeable. As a youngster (a teen, I believe) he went up onto the roof of an apartment building (in New York), with a telescope under his arm. Someone called the police. (Naturally.) But Tyson was well advised by his parents, to understand that the police were armed, so he was to remain calm and reasonable if he were ever approached by them. (No attitude, defensiveness, anger.) Tyson said when he saw the police he asked them if they'd ever seen Saturn. The officers apparently enjoyed looking at the planet. I enjoyed hearing him tell this story. So, I decided to read something he wrote. I enjoy Tyson's humor, and how he makes the information as easily accessible as possible for folks like me, folks who are not science "nerds." Well, all three astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott, make the information digestible. But it's still astrophysics, so I didn't even try to understand the math. O.K. So, that's the equation for this, and the one for that, and so on. I don't have to understand it. I don't really want to. I'll just take their word for it. I'm not interested in time travel, so I confess I skipped through most of that. But I was in awe to read about black holes and wormholes. And the pictures of galaxies and red stars and quasars are fabulous. What beauty.It's all fascinating, but really some of this just goes over my head. I'm really more interested in the internal landscape of human beings. Can we learn what is in there so that we might create a more cooperative existence? Will understanding the cosmos contribute to that? Apparently, in some 6 billion years the sun is going to swallow the earth. Interesting. Is this what compels humans to want to go into outer space? I wonder.

  • Matt Robinson
    2019-03-04 06:56

    First don't get this as an audiobook. It's not bad as an audiobook, but there are far too many diagrams, equations and referenced pictures for this to flow well as an audiobook. I ended up spending about an hour with the 100 page PDF that accompanies the audible version of this after finishing the audiobook just to catch up, and that's just not as good as having things inline. Also having equations read is pretty worthless.All that said it's an awesome summary of modern astrophysics. It seems to me like an update of Brian Greene's "Fabric of the Cosmos", although I read that so long ago I only remember it generally. After getting past Neil deGrasse Tyson's intro topic on the unbelievable scale of the universe, this covers topics such as black holes, the shape of the universe, dark matter and energy, and more. Having multiple authors means the different chapters have different presentations styles, some going into more depth than others.