Customer Reviews for

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended

I first read essays by Neil deGrasse Tyson when I subscribed to Natural History magazine. As someone with no academic background in the sciences I was enthralled to read articles by an astrophysicist that I could actually comprehend. Every piece in his Universe series ...
I first read essays by Neil deGrasse Tyson when I subscribed to Natural History magazine. As someone with no academic background in the sciences I was enthralled to read articles by an astrophysicist that I could actually comprehend. Every piece in his Universe series was spectacular and thought provoking. I strongly recommend his 2007 book, Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, a collection of essays he wrote for the magazine during the period from 1995 to 2007. His sheer brilliance combined with an elegant simplicity of writing and his trademark sense of humor take the reader on a fascinating excursion into galaxies, black holes and The Big Bang. Tyson¿s latest book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier also does not disappoint. This collection, beautifully edited by Avis Lang, focuses on the ¿Why,¿ ¿How,¿ and ¿Why Not,¿ of space exploration covering fifteen years of essays, articles, speeches, and interviews plus 53 ¿Space Tweets¿ cleverly interspersed throughout the book. Tyson, who is also the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, is an articulate and passionate advocate of investment in space research and exploration. He effectively counters complaints, heard even from those in the progressive community, that too much money is spent on NASA¿s budget. One urgent example: our ability to track the path of Apophis, the killer asteroid coming in our direction that could pass within a narrow range of altitudes called ¿the keyhole¿ in 2029? Should that happen, Earth¿s gravity will cause Apophis to slam into our planet in 2036 creating a tsunami that would be catastrophic for the west coast of North America, Hawaii, and the islands of the Pacific Rim. Perhaps saving our planet from global extinction might be reason enough for the naysayers to re-think their position on NASA funding (which by the way is much less than most people think). Sadly though, scientific literacy has been on the decline. Tyson points out that a recent survey found that one in five adults in the U.S. believes that the Sun revolves around the earth and that only 20 to 25% of the population can be considered scientifically literate. This might explain why some politicians feel comfortable disavowing the theory of evolution or ignoring the scientific data about climate change. By contrast, it¿s invigorating to read a book that reminds us of the successes (and failures) of the space program and underscores the way in which the accomplishments of NASA in the 1960s and 1970s inspired a generation to aspire to study science and aim for the stars. In the epilogue, Tyson lays out his ¿cosmic perspective¿ ¿ and it is truly breathtaking to read. Don¿t miss it!!!

posted by FrancescaNYC on November 13, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Watch the free Daily Show Interview instead

Tyson repeats the same arguments over and over in different ways. While there are some interesting anecdotes, the bulk of the book is in the 10 minute interview.

posted by 8452857 on March 4, 2012

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