Converse's Reviews > The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist

The Sky is Not the Limit by Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Nov 19, 11

bookshelves: astronomy, autobiography
Read in November, 2011

I enjoyed this brief book, which is a combination of autobiography and popular science. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden planetarium in New York City and has a doctorate in astrophysics. He grew up in the Bronx (but not in poverty; his father is a sociologist) and managed despite the urban environment to observe the stars, helped by the fact that the family lived in a 20 story apartment building with roof access. He got to do some fun stuff as a teenager, thanks to his involvement with the Hayden planetarium and the connections he made there, such as going on an ocean voyage in the early 1970s to observe an eclipse. He also gets to do fun stuff as director of a planetarium in NYC; being near the television network offices makes him someone they can easily go to for comment on unusual astronomical events. The book doesn't go much into his research interests as an adult scientist, and the combination of popular science (the last chapter is on how the earth is ultimately doomed, though unless an asteroid or comet gets us the planet probably has billions of years left)doesn't lend itself to continuous story line. He does describe briefly the difficulties that the reactions of white colleagues to the rare sight of an African-American astronomer have caused him.
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