Dale Jr.'s Reviews > Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Sep 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, science, 4-star, favorites

Neil deGrasse Tyson has become a bit of an inspiration and scientific hero to me. He's a man who strongly pushes forth to erase scientific ignorance and champions the exploration of our world and the universe to further human greatness.

His lectures are intensely interesting and full of scientific knowledge, yet easy to follow by anyone willing to listen and apply their minds. He boils down some of the most complex theories and scientific facts so that they're easily understood. His writing is no different.

I've been diving further and further into astrophysics and varying theories in related fields (string and multiverse theory is, simply put, awesome). This journey has made me quite familiar with Tyson and I figured it was about time to pick up one of his texts.

Death by Black Hole is a collection of essays and lectures spanning the entire field of astrophysics and cosmology. From the Big Bang, to the life cycles of stars. From the speed of light to the mind-boggling power of black holes. There's even a section where Tyson describes the three biggest ways our world will come to an end. And it has nothing to do with ancient Mayan prophecy or the second coming.

When scientifically investigating the natural world the only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.


Since it is a collection of various lectures and essays, some information is repeated here and there, but it does not detract from the wealth of knowledge contained between the covers. I learned a lot. Retained most of it in one reading due to Tyson's way of writing and explaining. This is a book full of information, yet you never feel like your reading something as dry as a text book. Tyson makes you want to keep reading. He injects humor along with serious scientific education.

I'm glad that his book lived up to my expectations of him and I will be sure to pick up his others. Quite frankly, this was the best non-fiction book I've read this year. Wonderfully executed and easily devoured. I feel both filled with new knowledge, and humbled by the amount I, and the rest of my human brothers and sisters, do not know yet.

But as Tyson lays out in his book, it's not wrong to be ignorant of something as long as you are continuing to try and figure it out.

Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to the problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes "acts of God" are the people who write insurance forms.
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Reading Progress

September 26, 2012 – Shelved
September 26, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction
September 26, 2012 – Shelved as: science
December 4, 2012 – Started Reading
December 4, 2012 –
page 73
19.01%
December 6, 2012 –
page 122
31.77% "Loving every word of this."
December 6, 2012 –
page 168
43.75%
December 6, 2012 –
page 185
48.18%
December 12, 2012 –
page 214
55.73%
December 14, 2012 –
page 238
61.98%
December 17, 2012 –
page 321
83.59%
December 18, 2012 –
page 384
100.0%
December 18, 2012 – Shelved as: 4-star
December 18, 2012 – Finished Reading
December 19, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites

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