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Letters from an Astrophysicist

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,786 ratings  ·  456 reviews


Join the galactic conversation on the biggest issues in the universe, from the 'most popular scientist in the world'

‘Don't fear change. Don't fear failure. The only thing to fear is loss of ambition. But if you've got plenty of that, then you have nothing to fear at all’ – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is arguably the most influen
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 10th 2019 by WH Allen (first published October 8th 2019)
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Tanvir Khan Indeed it is, enjoy! Electronic reproduction by W. W. Norton & Company.
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Will Byrnes
Yes, the universe wants to kill us. But on the other hand, we all want to live. So let’s find a way together to deflect the asteroids, find the cure to the next lethal virus, mitigate hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc. This can only be enabled by the efforts of a scientifically and technologically literate public. Therein lies a hope on Earth far greater than ever promised by the act of prayer or introspection.
It can be a bit of a challenge when talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson, deciding
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, memoirs
This is a very engaging book; it is simply a collection of letters and emails that Neil Tyson has received, along with his responses. Most of the correspondence dates back ten or twelve years ago, with some outliers. It never occurred to me that he would receive such voluminous correspondence, and much of it not at all related to his specialty--astrophysics. People ask him questions and for his opinion on a very wide range of subjects; some of the questions deal with philosophical issues, and do ...more
Ryan Boissonneault
Letters from an Astrophysicist is a collection of letters and replies from Neil deGrasse Tyson to his fans and other inquirers, collected over a span of more than two decades. The topics range across science, religion, philosophy, politics, ethics, education, and more, with Tyson doing his best to impart his cosmic wisdom to his often ill-informed interrogators.

You might ask what benefits can be derived from reading this collection of letters, rather than reading Tyson’s other works or watching
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Letters From an Astrophysicist is a snack-sized book packed with good reading. In less than 300 pages, this collection of letters and emails Tyson has received and responded to over a 20 year span offers up a variety of topics that all touch on science: parenting, disbelief, motivation, compassion, education and other concerns. Tyson loosely groups these communications into categories. The correspondence between Tyson and the senders is an interesting glimpse into what conc ...more
Ross Blocher
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great! More detailed review to come.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Letters from an Astrophysicist” by Neil deGrasse Tayson 🔭 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is my Second book by the always masterful Neil degrades Tyson and i completely loved it! Is brilliant and even though there is a lot of questions for this great science man all of them have a unique and masterful response, Neil Could easily do a mic drop with every answer, this book is full of knowledge, answers and powerful stories. I always pick Neil books on audible when he is the narrator is priceless to listen to him
Mustafa Jawad
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I give a book 5 stars, I ask myself: Did I not want to stop reading? Was I turning the pages as time seemed to fly by? Did I feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment after completion? This book matches my criterion.
The letters are short, witty, quick, and an excellent source of bite sized, intellectual eloquence. This book is far more pragmatic than say," Astrophysics For People In a Hurry." It has all the personality and heart that neil tyson intended to pour into this book. If you
Mark Mortensen
In this book astrophysicist author Neal deGrasse Tyson reveals his inner thoughts through personal correspondence.

As a pure scientist he aligns with hard proven facts. His NYC residence was just 4 blocks from the world towers on 9/11/2001. I’m amazed that he witnessed the horror and carnage as mere facts. Life would be boring if everyone were the same; however I feel fortunate that I trust facts, but also have faith in a higher power, a God and believe in the power of prayer.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a wonderful book which is a collection of letters and emails Tyson has received over many years of being active as a science communicator. The letters cover a range of different topics, from alien encounters to possibility of life on other planets, to skepticism and so on. The most important thing that I learned from this book is that an objective reality is true irrespective of one's personal opinion or belief. Gravity is real whether or not you and I believe in it. That's why science i ...more
Tyson provides us with 101 letters--most are his responses to everyone from concerned parents to curious children to men behind prison walls to teachers to those who ardently disagree with his scientific stance. A few are his letters to the editor of various newspapers and magazines and one is his open letter to NASA on the occasion of its (and his own) 60th birthday.

The book is charmingly informative--full of Tyson's succinct and sometimes humorous responses to questions and argument. It is als
Abhishek Desikan
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have followed Neil deGrasse Tyson for a long time. YouTube, books, Star Talk podcasts, a live talk, Cosmos, etc., are some of the ways I've become accustomed to his style and views on all things under the sun (pardon the pun). In spite of that, this book was a refreshing change, as perhaps for the first time, we get to see the personal, empathetic side of the man, who is exceptionally rational most of the time.

The book is precisely what the title suggests - a compendium of various letters writ
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great companion for Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. This book is a compilation of letters that the author received from strangers as well as letters he wrote to everyone and as opinion pieces. The letters are filled with curious questions about science, complaints, and well-meaning fans just wanting to know where the author stands in topics that the letter-writers feel strongly about.

Advance reading copy provided by the publisher.
I put this in the “for writers” shelf, because Tyson is a master of succinctness and lucidity. I am the opposite, but that's why I'm reading books like this. Even if you don't care about science, this book is worth reading to appreciate his clear and engaging communication.

This is my first foray into Tyson's writing, and I definitely want to read his other books. I'm sure they dive much deeper into scientific concepts he touches on here. But the strength of this book, in addition to his writing
Erik Rostad
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books
Highly enjoyable, concise and human. Made me want to read his other books.
My wife Lisa received Letters From An Astrophysicist free with her ticket to see Neil deGrasse Tyson in person in Minneapolis last October. I had already purchased tickets to see Sleater-Kinney in St. Paul that night so I missed out, but I have seen Neil twice live and I'll see him when he returns to the Twin Towns.

In his latest book, Neil shares his correspondence with folks in a number of difference subjects. He touches on just about everything in the 101 letters. His responses range from hil
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened via friends audible - also purchased hard copy!!

Loved this book. Was told by another book club that this was one of the best books of the year and I was very hesitant because I tried to read Neil deGrasse Tyson's other book - Astrophysics for Dummies. This book is completely different. How awesome it must be to be a real smart ass. I mean, the way he is able to shut conspiracy theorists down is amazing. There is lots to discuss in this book which is why I picked it for my book club!
megan baggins
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In any case, I am delighted to learn that I have helped, in whatever small way, to sustain the rage of your cosmic flame.

Really, really enjoyed this! What a brilliant man 💫

Also, I love when famous thinkers and doers take time out of their busy days and busy lives to write back to those they've inspired. It warms my heart.
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
You know, this really changed my mind about Neil deGrasse Tyson. I always thought he was a very noble, even keel, nice-guy scientist, and it turns out he is often kind of a jerk. And he got to pick what went into this book, so it's not like he could've been unfairly portrayed. Often brusque, often unfeeling, often condescending, often rebuffs the well-meaning correspondent, he does not come off well in this book of letters. He is (yuck) pontifical. But I still kinda liked it. I'm a sucker for th ...more
Carlos Gonzalez
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s was good. I like Neils explanations on religion and science and how the in a way can come to common ground but not really. It’s very interesting both all the letter to Neil and Niels responses and his point of views. Definitely a must read!
Hannah Bergstrom de Leon
I found this book thought provoking. Tyson pushed me to reconsider and re-articulate some of my deepest beliefs and I appreciate him for that. It is a practice that continues to keep my belief system engaged and imbued with vitality and clarity. I also deeply appreciated his deeply compassionate side for many of those who wrote him.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Dear Dr. deGrasse Tyson, thank you for assembling a lovely collection of correspondence than gives me bucket-loads to add into my own teaching of students, as well as thoughts that mirror my own views of life, the universe, and everything. Wonderful stuff!
Kristina Robbins
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to Dr. Tyson, his writing style and his beliefs. I love the way he communicates and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed that it’s mostly not about astrophysics

From a massive NDT fan, I was disappointed to find that it’s not a book about astrophysics but just random thoughts and stories. I thought the title was misleading because I sadly expected this book to be a merging of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and Brief Answers to the Big Questions, which was also a compilation of letters and responses by Stephen Hawking.
Sandra (folded.between.pages.of.books)
Not really sure how to rate this one but I enjoyed reading his take on things, him standing up for himself and some of his mindblowing revelations. I did sometimes think he came across a little egocentric and sometimes I didn't think his answers were really answers... but maybe that's just me.
Either way, I did enjoy this and it was a very quick read.
Víctor Álvarez
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If a spacecraft could survive the temperatures on the surface of the Sun, it would be cold compared to the burns delivered by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

This books offers a look to the inner workings of the mind of Dr Tyson.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Whether he is getting deep into scientific explanation or into something more personal, whether his responses were informative, funny, a sick burn or mic drop, or insightful and thought provoking...I enjoyed every letter he included and how he responded to them all.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is poetry for the scientific-minded. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives an insight into some of his correspondence with fans, colleagues, and haters who wrote to him when his e-mail was publicly available. He responds to the fans, the curious, the religious, and atheists in equal measure, and gives well thought out answers, all the while using (if not outright defending) the scientific method as a tool to better understand the world around us. In a charged political climate, his writings ha ...more
Nick D
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love NDT and he's a national treasure. An excellent writer and the consummate science communicator, he is truly someone I want to emulate in my on communications. This is a collection of his personal correspondence to friends, family, fans, and haters, and covers many aspects of astrophysics and science. Too much on religion for me, but I guess that's interesting to some people.

One thing he emphasized that stuck out to me was that he's not concerned as much with teaching people facts but rath
Vaishnavi Jayakumar
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This book is filled with wisdom in the form letters. I got answers to the questions I never thought existed. I never knew that there is a conflict between science and religion, which is majorly discussed here......
A person's excellence is seen when they come down to explain their knowledge to ordinary people,who know little about a complicated concept......u see this here.
After reading this book, I felt like Dr. Tyson is the Gandhi of science world.....
John Young
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020

“When I wonder what I am capable of as a human being, I don’t look to “relatives,” I look to all human beings. That is the genetic relationship that matters to me. The genius of Isaac Newton, the courage of Joan of Arc and Gandhi, the athletic feats of Michael Jordan, the oratorical skills of Sir Winston Churchill, the compassion of Mother Teresa. I look to the entire human race for inspiration for what I can be—because I am human. I don’t care if I am a descendent of kings or paupers, sain
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Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson's professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our

Articles featuring this book

For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated...
87 likes · 17 comments
“True science literacy is less about what you know and more about how your brain is wired for asking questions.” 8 likes
“Now think of a professor who faces you from the front of the room; who makes eye contact with the audience; who has invested time and energy thinking about how you think; who pays attention to your attention span; who is aware of what words you know and what words or concepts confuse you; who knows the demographics of the audience—age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, political leanings, cultural leanings, propensity to laugh, to cry; who carries some pop-culture fluency, for easy reference and analogy, but only when teaching the subject can be assisted by such references. That person is not lecturing to you. That person has opened conduits tailored to that audience in that moment, and at that time. That’s communicating.” 1 likes
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