Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Published October 8th, 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
This book is just a behind-the-scenes look into the letters/emails the Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, receives/received over the years. This covers a wide variety of topics from aliens to the World Trade Center (9/11/01). His opinionated and humorous responses make it easier to understand why he is so well known / loved as an educator. There are 101 letters that will make you feel every kind of emotion!
“But one must always recognize the difference between knowing that something is true, knowing that something is not true, and not knowing one way or another.”
I loved this book with every fiber of my being. Whenever I put it down I wanted to pick it right back up. I laughed, cried, learned something new (quite a few new things actually), and I got angry at some of the letters he received. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. The day I finished it I went to BAM, bought a copy, and tabbed it. I also picked up Astrophysics for People in a Hurry from the library.
I absolutely love how honest he is, but he does it in an educated manner. I didn’t feel like he ever placed someone below him. He does go off a little bit at the end, but I think it was pretty much intentional considering the topic is: Rebuttals. He explains everything very well to the point that I didn’t struggle to understand. Science has never been a strong subject for me, but reading this has opened my eyes. There are so many routes to take if you enter the science field—IT’S WILD.
He has a strong love for his family—wife, children, mother, and father. He supports them and loves them to no end. He wants to see his children succeed and he talks very highly of his father. He is so proud to call them his family. It makes me grin ear to ear.
If you want to get a good chuckle, pick this up and read the letter to him about Pluto. It’s from a third-grader who lives in Florida. It’s honestly the cutest thing, and I hope that Tyson got a good chuckle out of it when he read it.
If you want to cry, read the letter called Farewell by Morg Staley, or read about Tyson’s experience on 9/11. Both of those are heartbreaking. If you are sensitive to 9/11 stories I suggest you skip that part.
“I think we should all work hard to ensure that substance matters more than labels—that’s the society I strive to live in.”
I do believe that Tyson has become a figure I look up to. He is smart, well mannered, compassionate, knows / understands what he believes in, and doesn’t take any crap. I feel like I would read anything he writes. I recommend this if you’re looking for something quick to get through, but you also want to feel productive. You’ll learn about so many views / experiences. It’s truly incredible what people go through / believe.
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