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Letters from an Astrophysicist

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  429 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The natural follow-up to the phenomenal bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has attracted one of the world’s largest online followings with his fascinating, widely accessible insights into science and our universe. Now, Tyson invites us to go behind the scenes of his public fame by unveiling his candid correspondence with peo
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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Will Byrnes
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 just where to s
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dan Graser
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful brief volume is an excellent follow-up to his equally brief and equally potent, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry," in that you get a varied glimpse into the ebulliently enthusiastic workings of a great mind. Here, the story is told through the dying art form of letters (mostly, though of course there are some "open letters" and extended Facebook posts included) in which NdGT talks with fans, to open audiences, to folks challenging his views, and to a wide swath of the public on ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book touches on an array of subjects giving you a glimpse into Dr. Tyson's mind over the years. Perhaps "the universe is under no obligation to make sense to [us]," but these letters help you reach closer to it. Don't treat this book as a novel; rather, imagine it as a buffet of ideas to which you can come back to for advice, hope, motivation, and--yes--imagination., for Dr. Tyson's words permeate the blunt scientific language of academia.
Ryan Boissonneault
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
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 his videos or
Tina Gundy
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dear Neil...

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson held my interest and is one you should give a listen to. It’s uplifting, sometimes sad, and at times gives you something to ponder.

What’s it about? It consists of letters or emails written to Neil with a question or comment pertaining to a certain subject, his response, and some of his life experiences (breakdown below). His answers occasionally contain data and at other times are his personal thoughts on t
Free Fallin’ Reader
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rather than a formal review, I’d like to share a few quotes and sections that stood out to me. Since this is a nonfiction book, I do not consider this to be a spoiler, however, if you’re wanting to read this book without any insight into its contents, refrain from reading further.

First, a recommended reading list. As a bookworm, when someone I admire shares a recommended reading list, my nerd heart begins to pitter pat with giddiness!

“Books that should be read by every intelligent person on th
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
Lee Underwood
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tyson is a staunch and unrepentant defender of scientific truth. I like that, and relish his quarrels with those challenging scientific truth. But that’s not where he’s at his best. To me, he’s at his best when he’s written through his data and his formulas and his scientific explanations and is left at the end of it all with only sublime astonishment. When his tight and concise arguments turn to poetry. And while he doesn’t simmer in this sublimity as much as Sagan liked to, he does it with a f ...more
Michael Kress
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, 2010s
This is the third book I've read by Tyson, and by far the best. He's the king of fun facts. What makes this better than the other two is that it appeals in the same way his television persona originally appealed to me. He answers people's questions and responds to their challenges in an articulate, and tactful yet direct, way. For a while, I've had the notion that letter writing might be one of the best forms of communication. There are obvious flaws in comment sections, which often seem like ro ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
523.01092 This 2019 non-fiction volume by author Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a collection of selected correspondence over the past two decades. The collection is an entertaining view of the extent of topics addressed by Tyson. While it demonstrates the breadth of Tyson's knowledge and interests it is more entertaining than educational.

Tyson shares 101 letters from people across the globe who have sought him out in search of scientific answers. A luminous companion to the phenomenal bestse
C.L. McCollum
Oct 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
So my husband got this audiobook for a roadtrip this last weekend, and while I've enjoyed his books before (ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY was a fave), this one was... well it was condescending and insulting as hell in a lot of places, particularly directed at people who write to him grieving and talking about their possible supernatural experiences with their lost loved ones. Like, I get it - he very strongly disbelieves in anything psychic/alien/etc. as a scientist, but there is no need to ...more
There exist very less number of things in this world which are better at giving certain joy than few hours of Neil Degrasse Tyson talking about the things he cares for.

The book is a collection of written correspondences mainly between Neil and his fans. We live in an age where we rely on a bunch of smileys to communicate how we feel about things. I occasionally write long-form letters to my friends about things that matter to me. Maybe that is why I was able to relate to this book.

Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
When I was in high school, I hated science class. Then in college I took a mandatory biology class from a professor who made everything interesting because she explained things we wanted to know, like why to trees stand tall and how a little tide pool was a whole ecosystem. The reason I like Neil deGrasse Tyson so much is that he explains the wonders of astrophysics in a way that I can understand (at least mostly). But I wasn't as fond of this book as I have been of his others. The reason is tha ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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 readi
Mustafa Jawad
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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. I
Patti Cantrell
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one so much! I found it equal parts amusing and inspiring, and got a lot out of it that I didn't expect to. The 9/11 chapter I found especially moving, and I'm not usually one to get emotional over the event. The letters he enclosed that he wrote to various individuals were always insightful, and I particularly liked the line he delivered about berevity about halfway in:

"Personally, I try to spend twice as much time to make things half as long."

I feel like
Brian Mikołajczyk
Neil deGrasse Tyson gathers a collection of letters he has received throughout his work as an astrophysicist and his responses to them. Several are insightful, many have to do with the interaction between science and religion, but many are people thanking him.
It would be Tyson to pen such a egocentric work, however I found it quite entertaining. Some of his answers are clearly patronizing, like a lot of his Twitter content, but he is a brillant science communicator and I love to follow his
Merek Smith
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wide array of subjects with awesome answers from Neil. This was a refreshing book to listen to (audiobook read by Neil).

It was very fun getting little bits of random knowledge. I think Neil does a fantastic job answering so many different questions. He has a very special way of responding, never making the person look or seem to be stupid or completely wrong. He takes all the questions seriously and provides thoughtful answers.

I very much enjoyed listening to this and already list
Tim Williams
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
NDT has a very eloquent and thoughtful response to each one of the letters contained here. In places where he could take the low road when someone challenges him on religion - or in more extreme cases when someone insults him - he provides unexpected insights and responds in a way that opens up your mind and hopefully the letter writer’s to different ways of looking at the same thing. As he says, it’s more important to know how to think than to simply know things. Recommended.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The audiobook is excellent, Tyson has a great narrator's voice.
These letters range from incredibly personal to ignorantly aggressive, but I think show the range of contacts celebrities gain along with their fame. I've known people who reached out to celebrities, as if someone being famous means they owe you their time or attention, and kudos to Tyson for finding the energy to reply to at least some of them.
A short but entertaining read.
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.
Chad Manske
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A natural follow up to the wildly popular 2017 “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” deGrasse Tyson rides his educator popularity by candidly displaying 100 letters he’s received over his career, and his responses. Topics range from science, religion, Pluto, God, 9/11, and many more reveal his humor and straightforward approach to his profession. A short, fast read—especially if you’re in a hurry!
Janet Clark
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This man's perspective and energy are fascinating to me. The book was delightful until he got to 9/11. The images are so powerful they are debilitating and once I set it down--it was difficult to pick the book up again. Overall, a good read. Leaves the reader w/ many interesting things to think about in the middle of the night.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I like Neil DeGrasse Tyson so it was not asurprise that I liked the book. However, I was not enthralled with it. It seemed like a mishmash of ideas, sometimes repetitive. But, I like his thinking, his views on god, religion, learning. I look forward to his next book, no matter the subject matter.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful compendium of responses from NGT to his fans/readers/provocateurs across a broad range of topics from astronomy to zoology. I enjoyed some of the more critical responses to questions asserting creationism/intelligent design to natural evolution. But in all, it is an insight into the personality and thoughtfulness of the author.
Andrew Reiter
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read. It is like peering into Dr. Tyson's life. It is a compilation of letters written to Dr. Tyson with his responses and rebuttals. This would make a good devotional for anyone who wants to become a better writer/public speaker. Not sure why my local Barnes and Noble had this book out early but I am thankful the did it was a fun read this evening at work.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Would you like to see a selection of the daily responses to many letters that an astrophysicist receives? On topics ranging from space to religion? If yes, pick this up. It's a fun, sometimes snarky, look into the mind of one of the great simplifiers of our day.

On topic after topic, I found myself saying "That's exactly how I feel" but crediting him with saying it more eloquently.
Dwain Sharp
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An awesome read!

The questions asked in the book are questions I'm sure many of us would like to ask Dr. Tyson himself. This gives us a small insight into his thought process on many subjects.
Víctor Álvarez
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
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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 stru
“True science literacy is less about what you know and more about how your brain is wired for asking questions.” 1 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.” 0 likes
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