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Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

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In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGra In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast. In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia--How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?--and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories. Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos. For all who loved National Geographic''s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond.


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In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGra In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast. In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia--How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?--and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories. Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos. For all who loved National Geographic''s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond.

30 review for Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

  1. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Who would have thought that rising raisin bread dough would be the perfect analogy for the expanding universe? Or that dropping a watch off a tall building and then analyzing the broken pieces and parts to try to figure out what is inside of it and how it works, is basically how the Large Hadroon Collider works. These kinds of literal down-to-earth explanations really helped me understand lots of things like: the big bang theory, how we determine how far away things are from Earth, and what will Who would have thought that rising raisin bread dough would be the perfect analogy for the expanding universe? Or that dropping a watch off a tall building and then analyzing the broken pieces and parts to try to figure out what is inside of it and how it works, is basically how the Large Hadroon Collider works. These kinds of literal down-to-earth explanations really helped me understand lots of things like: the big bang theory, how we determine how far away things are from Earth, and what will happen when the Sun eventually runs out of juice. Now, I will say the details of some things still flew right over my head - namely all the 'elementary particles' like quarks and leptons. Don't ask me anything about them, because I have no clue other than they apparently exist and they come in different 'flavors' with funny names like "strange" and "charm". But overall I thought this book did a great job of explaining a lot of interesting things and I recommend picking it up. Now, I did also read another book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, a little over three years ago. So how do these two books compare? Honestly I have no idea because I don't even remember much of that other book, sorry! But I think overall, Cosmic Queries was a lot more 'accessible' to the average non-scientific person like myself, for what that's worth. I do recall being a bit more lost while reading the other book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Several years ago, my family went to the Museum of Natural Sciences in New York City, and we attended a presentation narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I can still hear their voices in my head, as I looked at the stars on the ceiling in that mesmerizing room. His passion for the universe knows no bounds, and he shares scientific facts in an entertaining and approachable way. Because of that, I knew I had to read this book, and it was exactly what expected and more. Smart, scient Several years ago, my family went to the Museum of Natural Sciences in New York City, and we attended a presentation narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I can still hear their voices in my head, as I looked at the stars on the ceiling in that mesmerizing room. His passion for the universe knows no bounds, and he shares scientific facts in an entertaining and approachable way. Because of that, I knew I had to read this book, and it was exactly what expected and more. Smart, scientific, yet completely engaging, Cosmic Queries is astrophysics in consumable form. It’s absolutely fascinating! This is a Nat Geo book, so of course I have to mention the stunning photography and overall appearance of this book! I received a gifted copy I will forever treasure. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 4 out of 5

    La Crosse County Library

    Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (2021) is based on Neil deGrasse Tyson's Q & A science podcast StarTalk. I found this book to be engaging, fun, and conversational, almost as if the reader was sitting across from physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and talking about the big questions of our place in the universe. The biggest strength of this book for me is that it made big ideas, such as how the universe started, how life emerged on Earth, and the p Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (2021) is based on Neil deGrasse Tyson's Q & A science podcast StarTalk. I found this book to be engaging, fun, and conversational, almost as if the reader was sitting across from physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and talking about the big questions of our place in the universe. The biggest strength of this book for me is that it made big ideas, such as how the universe started, how life emerged on Earth, and the potential for life on other planets, accessible to a general audience outside of the science professions. Not to mention, the photography featured in each chapter was breathtaking and the graphics extremely helpful in trying to visualize say, the multiverse theory or basically any of the mind-bending concepts of theoretical physics or quantum mechanics! A must-read for all who are curious about our place in the universe! -Cora Find this book and other titles within our catalog.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    I pre-ordered the book and then went to the bookstore and found a random copy of the book 4 days early...this wasn't planned but I ended up buying the book and canceling my order. From what I've read so far, it's a great summary of the history of astronomy, the origins of the universe, and our possible future while still being enjoyable to read. It's not too technical so I would say beginners to this subject would love this book. I pre-ordered the book and then went to the bookstore and found a random copy of the book 4 days early...this wasn't planned but I ended up buying the book and canceling my order. From what I've read so far, it's a great summary of the history of astronomy, the origins of the universe, and our possible future while still being enjoyable to read. It's not too technical so I would say beginners to this subject would love this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pavithra

    Let me start with the most striking feature - Gorgeous photography. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a way of explaining hard subjects with analogies that makes it easier to relate. I knew what a dark matter was (saying that I understand or KNOW this subject especially for a non physicist, is a stretch. Lets just roll with it) but i did not understand how it helped form visible matter, later galaxies and slowed down the expansion. Tyson explained this is analogous to a bag of marbles dumped on a tabletop Let me start with the most striking feature - Gorgeous photography. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a way of explaining hard subjects with analogies that makes it easier to relate. I knew what a dark matter was (saying that I understand or KNOW this subject especially for a non physicist, is a stretch. Lets just roll with it) but i did not understand how it helped form visible matter, later galaxies and slowed down the expansion. Tyson explained this is analogous to a bag of marbles dumped on a tabletop with deep holes in it. Matter falls into the holes forming clumps around the holes. The holes is a metaphor for the gravitational pull that is exerted by dark matter. Learning about extremeophiles like Tardigrades living in extremes all over earth and tube worms in the deep sea vents, was something new as well. His quip at Aristotle for saying 'Nature abhors a vaccum' was unexpected. Overall, I think this book summarizes interesting topics for those who are willing to ask Cosmic Queries.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jack Hicks

    Cosmic Queries, StarTalk’s guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going Neil DeGrasse Tyson, 2021 Neil Degrasse Tyson is one of the great popularizers of Astronomy, and Astrophysics. In this volume he addresses not only those topics but also Chemistry, Quantum Physics and Biology. In essence a compendium of twenty first century science, contained in a volume illustrated with artistic conceptual renditions, gorgeous photography, written for the general public in language understandab Cosmic Queries, StarTalk’s guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going Neil DeGrasse Tyson, 2021 Neil Degrasse Tyson is one of the great popularizers of Astronomy, and Astrophysics. In this volume he addresses not only those topics but also Chemistry, Quantum Physics and Biology. In essence a compendium of twenty first century science, contained in a volume illustrated with artistic conceptual renditions, gorgeous photography, written for the general public in language understandable to those without an extensive science background. How to make a number of esoteric topics, non-common-sense topics available to general readership? Tyson makes use throughout of analogies and metaphors. In 1965 a group of Bell Telephone Laboratory engineers were working on microwave telephone communication using large transmission and reception antennas. Wherever they pointed their receiver antennas they picked up microwave background noise. What was this radiation? It turns out that they had detected the remaining energy from the Big Bang creation of the universe. Tyson explains this phenomenon by evoking our common knowledge of a campfire. As the fire burns through the logs, the heat of the fire subsides until we are left with red glowing coals. As the coals burn out there is still infrared heat given off by the fires remains. As with the campfire so the universe went through the immense burst of energy and heat in the visible spectrum, slowly shifting the radiation towards the red part of the spectrum, cooling to the infrared and further cooling over billions of years to the microwave radiation that we detect today. How could all the universe evolve from just one point of unimaginable intense energy to the hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions stars spread over billions of light years of space, that we see today? All this is hard for the human mind to even contemplate much less understand. The big bang not only created all the energy and matter that exists in the universe but the very space that it occupies. From the knowledge gleaned from the discoveries of Edwin Hubble in the 1920’s to the discoveries of his namesake, the Hubble space telescope of today, we now know that the universe is composed of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. We now know that the galaxies are receding from each other at an increasing speed. Tyson uses the analogy of an expanding raisin cake baking in the oven to explain the phenomena of an expanding universe. The expanding of the cake represents the expanding space of the universe. From the perspective of our raisin, we appear to be the center from which all the other raisins are receding. Our perspective is not unique because every other raisin also appears to be the center from which every other raisin recedes. There is no center, no reachable edge because beyond the edge of the cake there is no space. If you tried to reach the edge eventually after a very, very long trip you would most likely end up on the raisin you started from. The cake is the space of the universe. Now is everything clearer? Actually, for me, it was. The universe appears to be mostly composed of empty space. Tyson uses a understandable comparison to emphasize the point. Imagine our sun reduced to the size of a period at the end of this sentence. The nearest star to our own is Alpha Centuri, also represented by a dot the size of a period, is 4 miles away, everything in between empty space. Or is it empty? Turns out that what appears empty is not empty at all but contains 95% of the universes matter and energy in the form of what is now known as dark matter and dark energy. The other 5% is what we can see in the night sky. The actual composition and nature of this dark energy and matter is still unknown. What is to be garnered by reading a volume such as this? In the history of our species, we are at a unique place. We no longer need mythologies to tell us who we are and where we came from. We now know. We know we are related to a single celled organism that dwelled in ancient oceans 3 billion years ago and through the process of evolution we became a sentient, conscious creature composed of 100 trillion specialized single cells. We live on a small rocky planet that revolves around one of 100 billion stars in our milky way galaxy. A galaxy, one of 100 billion others, birthed in an unimaginable, gigantic explosion 13 billion years ago. We now know that we live in a rational universe that is governed by precise discoverable laws and energies. We are now in some sense the consciousness of the universe, the universe looking at itself. We are now at a hinge point of human history where the fate of our species on this planet rests in acting rationally in accord with the knowledge we now have, the physical laws of the universe. “The cosmos is infused with a divine but wholly rational intelligence, every time we act rationally, we shake hands with the divine. To act rationally is to act in harmony with the cosmos”. Said by Epictetus, Greek Stoic Philosopher, 100AD. Tyson has given us a great gift in bringing this great repository of knowledge to the general public through his books and TV programs. The last century has brought an unprecedented explosion in our knowledge of ourselves and of the universe we inhabit. Is there still a place of spirituality in this new more material conception of ourselves? In fact, the magnificence of this revealed creation is even more mind boggling than could have been imagined and the mystery still remains, and will always remain with the question WHY? JACK

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack Deighton

    Modern Physics can be a daunting and impenetrable subject to those unfamiliar with it (even to those who study it or for whom it is their life’s work.) Quantum mechanics is especially difficult. Richard Feynman once said that nobody understands it. This book is an attempt by the authors to explain modern Physics concepts to (I assume) the general reader in ten chapters exploring our place in the Universe, how we know what we know, how did the Universe become what it is, its age, what it’s ma Modern Physics can be a daunting and impenetrable subject to those unfamiliar with it (even to those who study it or for whom it is their life’s work.) Quantum mechanics is especially difficult. Richard Feynman once said that nobody understands it. This book is an attempt by the authors to explain modern Physics concepts to (I assume) the general reader in ten chapters exploring our place in the Universe, how we know what we know, how did the Universe become what it is, its age, what it’s made of, the nature of life, whether we are alone in the Universe, how it all began, how it will end, and what does nothing have to do with everything. I would say it succeeds admirably. Footnotes or headnotes are cleverly disguised by setting them off with yellow lines so that they do not appear to be footnotes or headnotes, as are occasional examples of Tyson’s dated and timed historical tweets on various subjects. (My favourite, “Don’t Give up on us yet. Americans are inching towards the metric system.”) Tyson and Trefil adopt an informal style, the feeling is as if they are having a conversation with the reader. As far as I recall there are only two equations rendered as such, that for Hubble’s law and of course Einstein’s most famous. (Another Tyson tweet, “You Matter. Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared. Then you Energy.”) The book is gorgeously illustrated with both historical and modern diagrams/pictures and photographs. One of these is a quite stunning “plan” view of the Milky Way showing its prominent spiral arms and the sun’s place in it. Striking to the British reader is that temperatures are always quoted in Fahrenheit (before the Celsius figure is given in brackets.) This just seems very backward to someone from a country where the former temperature scale - and the imperial weights and measures system - was superseded around sixty years ago. The text is a lucid summing up of present knowledge via a trawl through the past - though possibly overtaken by the confirmation of an unexpectedly large wobble of muons which may mean there are at present four forces working on the universe rather than three. This is how science works though, knowledge continually being tested against experiment, and explanations for the detected phenomena updated as a result. I cannot say whether someone lacking a background in Science would find Cosmic Queries as readable as I did but it would certainly act as a good primer for anyone eager to explore the subjects. My copy was very tightly bound, however, making it necessary to hold the pages firmly to keep them open.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt Mansfield

    To the Ends of the Universe and Back Pondering our place and fate midway between the micro and macro scales of the quantum and astronomical worlds has been a popular topic in recent publishing. During the past few years several well-known science theorists have written extensively about this area and been featured on several television shows: • David Christian (2018 “Origin: A Big History of Everything”) • Sean Carroll (2019 “Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime” • To the Ends of the Universe and Back Pondering our place and fate midway between the micro and macro scales of the quantum and astronomical worlds has been a popular topic in recent publishing. During the past few years several well-known science theorists have written extensively about this area and been featured on several television shows: • David Christian (2018 “Origin: A Big History of Everything”) • Sean Carroll (2019 “Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime” • Brian Greene’s 2020 (“Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter and the Search for Meaning in the Evolving Universe”). These contributions also just happen to coincide with the unrelated political assault on the credibility of science relating to the pandemic response. And they remind us how important science is and how much we have yet to learn. The latest entry is an excellent addition from Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil with their 2021 collaboration, “Cosmic Queries: Star Talk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going” published with the National Geographic. Written and presented in a straightforward style for a broad audience with scientific curiosity, the work is beautifully illustrated with colorful photographs, classic illustrations, renderings and charts that support a trim text. The book is intended to provide a perspective about historical and current findings without intimidation. These ten chapters are presented from a humanist point of view to address familiar questions as well as current topics such as the Dark Matter, Dark Energy mysteries, the antimatter problem, and “The Multiverse” theory: • What is Our Place? • How Do We Know What We Know? • How Did the Universe Get to be This Way? • How Old is the Universe? • What is the Universe Made Of? • What is Life? • Are We Alone in the Universe? • How Did It All Begin? • How Will It All End? • What Does Nothing Have To Do With Everything? Sprinkled throughout are short, pithy observations from the New York Hayden Planetarium’s Tyson with his usual twinkle: “If Pinocchio said, ‘My nose is about to grow?’ I wonder what would actually happen.” With your family or by yourself, this is a treat to appreciate what we have learned and how much we have yet to know without the tinnitus of political distraction.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Trefil tells the reader little tidbits about the world, and universe, we share. Mr. Tyson is an astrophysicist, Director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, and a TV and podcast host. Mr. Trefil is a professor of physics in George Mason University. Much like C For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Trefil tells the reader little tidbits about the world, and universe, we share. Mr. Tyson is an astrophysicist, Director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, and a TV and podcast host. Mr. Trefil is a professor of physics in George Mason University. Much like Cosmos by Ann Druyan, this book is filled with short chapters, filled with knowledge and wisdom. The book is written in a familiar language, the authors don’t assume anything so if this is the first book you pick about this subject, you won’t be intimidated. Additionally, Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Trefil is beautifully designed, filled with equally beautiful photographs, graphics and color with amusing captions. Accordingly, every other page or so, there is a tweet by Mr. Tyson’s own Twitter account over the past 10 years or so. By no means, is this book a comprehensive look at all these subjects. Chiefly there are short summaries of fascinating topics, an introduction which hopefully will create a spark and make you understand our world better, and even delve deeper into the ones you find the most interesting. The authors did an excellent job explaining modern physics concepts in a simple manner. Nevertheless, several times I head to re-read some sections, but that’s because I either forgot or misunderstood what they wrote. However, that was because I was reading too fast, it had nothing to do with the explanations themselves. In particular, the authors give analogies to the concepts they’re explaining to give the reader a sense of scale based on our own life. For example, to explain how big the universe is and how much we know about it, they compared it to filling a glass out of the ocean. By looking at our sample (a glass of ocean water), we know almost nothing, especially about the creatures living in the ocean. Even though the subjects are complex, the book is an easy and understandable read. I highly recommend this book for curious, imaginative kids of all ages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil is a very highly recommended informative, educational, and entertaining book explaining the universe. "Cosmic Queries" is a popular part of the StarTalk series of shows where the questions fans ask on a topic are answered. Some of these questions require too deep or involved an explanation to be answered on the show so the book Cosmic Queries tackles those deeper, more ph Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil is a very highly recommended informative, educational, and entertaining book explaining the universe. "Cosmic Queries" is a popular part of the StarTalk series of shows where the questions fans ask on a topic are answered. Some of these questions require too deep or involved an explanation to be answered on the show so the book Cosmic Queries tackles those deeper, more philosophical questions in a conversational style that is informative, educational, approachable, and infused with some humor. The history of all related topics is included and assists readers unfamiliar with astronomy, astrophysics, and quantum mechanics to gain an understanding of the topics. Naturally the illustrations and photographs are beautiful and abundant. In a well organized manner the chapters include: What Is Our Place in the Universe? How Do We Know What We Know? How Did the Universe Get to Be This Way? How Old Is the Universe? What Is the Universe Made Of? What Is Life? Are We Alone in the Universe? How Did It All Begin? How Will It All End? What Does Nothing Have to Do With Everything? Each chapter then has talking points noted under the title. For example "Chapter 1: What Is Our Place in the Universe?" is followed by: Is the Earth a Planet?; Astronomy with a Stick; The Parallax Solution; How Big is the Solar System; Henrietta Leavitt & The Standard Candle; Galaxies; Billions & Billions; A Final Word. Interspersed throughout the text are copies of tweets Neil deGrasse Tyson sent out which span the gamete from philosophical to informational to humorous. What really shines is the ability of Tyson to present difficult topics in an understandable manner. As someone who once answered the question "what boggles your mind?" with "the vastness of space," I appreciated the use of analogies and metaphors to explain complicated concepts. There are still many questions to be explored and answered and this book will likely encourage young scientist to consider a life devoted to the scientific endeavor of exploring the complexities of the universe. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of National Geographic in exchange for my honest opinion

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Yokoyama

    Neil Degrasse Tyson uses two methods to communicate information in the book. Tyson does an excellent job of making science enjoyable through the text and photographs. The first method Tyson uses to communicate information is through the text. One interesting fact I learned is that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe and that 10 stars are created each year. Another interesting fact I learned from reading the test is that the planets are classified in three different ways. The Earth, th Neil Degrasse Tyson uses two methods to communicate information in the book. Tyson does an excellent job of making science enjoyable through the text and photographs. The first method Tyson uses to communicate information is through the text. One interesting fact I learned is that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe and that 10 stars are created each year. Another interesting fact I learned from reading the test is that the planets are classified in three different ways. The Earth, the planet Mars and Venus are rocky planets. Saturn is a gas planet. Neptune and Uranus are icy planets I did not know that the planets could be grouped as such. I learned that dark matter in the field of astrophysics like dark matter and dark energy that need to be explored. Dark matter is a gravitational force that sucks matter in the universe in. The last piece of information I learned from the text is the water is not only liquid that can be used to detect life on other planets The detection of liquid methane and ammonia are two other signs that life is possible on other planets. Neil Degrasse Tyson uses photographs to communicate information in this book. I like the photograph of an European space probe called Gaia. This probe's function is to photograph all of the stars in the sky. There is a beautiful photograph of the surface of Antarctica. This picture is a reference that meteorites landed on the continent and suggests that Antarctica is an starting point of origin of the earth. There is a beautiful photograph of the sky in Acadia National park in Maine. I like this picture because the natural beauty of Maine is on display here. There is a picture from the movie Star Wars that illustrates the concept of exo sociology. Exo sociology is the practice of human beings interacting with aliens from other worlds. I did know there is a field of study called exosociology. I had fun learning that a scene from a sci fi movie is an actual study. I learned so much about the universe from reading Cosmic Queries.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    “...at least some of the universe is knowable to the human mind. But we must also humbly recognize that as the area of our knowledge grows, so too does the perimeter of our ignorance.” As always, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s latest book brings astrophysics down to a highly relatable, down-to-earth, and easily consumable level. Cosmic Queries is a perfect starter text on all things about our universe, covering topics such as the formation of the universe, dark energy and dark matter, what counts as a plan “...at least some of the universe is knowable to the human mind. But we must also humbly recognize that as the area of our knowledge grows, so too does the perimeter of our ignorance.” As always, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s latest book brings astrophysics down to a highly relatable, down-to-earth, and easily consumable level. Cosmic Queries is a perfect starter text on all things about our universe, covering topics such as the formation of the universe, dark energy and dark matter, what counts as a planet, the various particles and elements everything is made of, and so on. This book is presented in a conversational tone, answering common questions about our universe in an easy to understand, relatable matter with highly creative yet successful analogies to explain more complex concepts. However, this book is not just for those just starting to dip their toes into astrophysics. The tone of voice is so fun (and the visuals included in the physical copy so stunning), that it’s still a perfect time for those who have read more complex books on these topics as well. The audiobook is mainly narrated by Lauren Fortgang, with the asides (probably about 1/4 to 1/3 of the book) narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. At first I found myself wishing deGrasse Tyson narrated the entire book just because he has such a great voice, but Fortgang held her own and narrated her portions in a very engaging way. I look forward to buying a physical copy to page through when I want a quick does of astrophysical knowledge or to admire the accompanying imagery. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Cosmic Queries expands on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk and aims to answer the big questions about the universe.  Tyson has a way of making these very big and difficult concepts easy to understand, bringing the universe down to earth.  Beginning from how we know what we know in space, measurements and some of the scientists who have led to these discoveries we are then led to ask questions of how the universe got to be how it is, what the universe is made out of, what life is, if we are alone, Cosmic Queries expands on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk and aims to answer the big questions about the universe.  Tyson has a way of making these very big and difficult concepts easy to understand, bringing the universe down to earth.  Beginning from how we know what we know in space, measurements and some of the scientists who have led to these discoveries we are then led to ask questions of how the universe got to be how it is, what the universe is made out of, what life is, if we are alone, how this all began and eventually, how it will end.  Whenever I read a book about space I am always amazed about how much I do not know. I revel in being able to learn and understand more about our world and what is beyond.  Cosmic Queries not only gives me a good foundation to begin to understand the questions posed in the book, but reminds me of how much we don't know about what we don't know as well as the fact that "the most interesting questions are the ones we don't yet know to ask."  As I read through each chapter, the knowledge from previous chapters was slowly built upon, helping to expand my thinking and ask further questions. In addition, I learned about some of the pioneers of astronomy and the risks they took in order to get their knowledge out into the world.  Overall, Cosmic Queries is an excellent read for any curious mind. This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lino

    "Aristotle orders a retsina. Newton orders a stiff mead. Over their drinks, they debate which view is right. Newton proposes a simple test: In his theory, neglecting air resistance, all objects dropped to Earth's surface will fall at the same rate. For Aristotle, a bigger object has more "earth element" than a smaller one, and therefore will fall faster, in proportion to how much earth element it contains." To find out which theory is correct I highly recommend that you read this interesting fas "Aristotle orders a retsina. Newton orders a stiff mead. Over their drinks, they debate which view is right. Newton proposes a simple test: In his theory, neglecting air resistance, all objects dropped to Earth's surface will fall at the same rate. For Aristotle, a bigger object has more "earth element" than a smaller one, and therefore will fall faster, in proportion to how much earth element it contains." To find out which theory is correct I highly recommend that you read this interesting fast read by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, entitled "Cosmic Queries StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going." I have never been so at ease reading a science text in my life. The illustrations were so helpful and the format kept me interested throughout the pages. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s engaging style is what really brought me into the book and kept me glued to its pages. Not only was I able to understand what he was saying, but I genuinely believe I could feel his desire for me to comprehend and analyze his work. Like he had a vested interest in making sure that he is making sense to me. The book is a fun read and with the entire book broken up into groups of related questions, it’s the kind of book that you can leisurely enjoy, reading a little bit each day. For me, it was two chapters at a time.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    My first books I have ever had as a child were the Encyclopedia Britannica sets every family had in the 80's. I loved learning about the vast universe, the unknowns and what is beyond the skies or what it's like in other planets and outer space. I was very curious not just about the cosmos but also about things beyond what we can see with our naked eye. When I received an opportunity to become one of the early readers for Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson I was beyond excited. I devoured thi My first books I have ever had as a child were the Encyclopedia Britannica sets every family had in the 80's. I loved learning about the vast universe, the unknowns and what is beyond the skies or what it's like in other planets and outer space. I was very curious not just about the cosmos but also about things beyond what we can see with our naked eye. When I received an opportunity to become one of the early readers for Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson I was beyond excited. I devoured this book and the beautiful pages with its fantastic and stunning photographs within the book. The illustrations really captures what may be a heavy read into a more pleasant learning experience. The hard copy book is hefty and the pages just gorgeous. This is definitely going to be a star in my collection. The information presented are for anyone with interest in the science world, curious about astrophysics and have no experience with the lingos of quantum mechanics. So if you ever want to be in the know about Big Bang, the dark matter, and other fascinating queries you didn't even know you wanted and needed to know, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book for everyone with curiosity no matter the age.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lance Hillsinger

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmic Queries is certainly better than his last book, Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance. Tyson wrote the Cosmic Queries with the assistance of James Trefil and the National Geographic Society. As one would expect from a book with a National Geographic affiliation, Cosmic Queries is lavishly illustrated, at least every other page, and often every page has a picture, illustration, or drawing. Having these many illustrations drives up the cost of a book. The suggested Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmic Queries is certainly better than his last book, Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance. Tyson wrote the Cosmic Queries with the assistance of James Trefil and the National Geographic Society. As one would expect from a book with a National Geographic affiliation, Cosmic Queries is lavishly illustrated, at least every other page, and often every page has a picture, illustration, or drawing. Having these many illustrations drives up the cost of a book. The suggested retail price of Cosmic Quires is a hefty thirty dollars. The main narrative is interrupted by real tweets of Tyson’s. Some readers might find such tweets self-serving, but this reviewer will give Tyson the benefit of the doubt. Depending on one’s level of scientific literacy, the main narrative is either informative or mostly “old news.” If one is not inclined to spend thirty dollars on yourself, Cosmic Quires might make a good gift. It is mostly written a reading level a bright high school student could follow. However, in a few passages, Tyson takes just a few paragraphs to explain complex topics when a few pages would have been better. In summary, Cosmic Queries is good; it is not five-star good. Four stars are all it deserves.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This could easily be subtitled Quantum Physics for Dummies. It tackles the fundamental nature of the universe, from its history since the Big Bang, to its composition on a molecular level. It’s baffling and mind-blowing all at the same time. Some of the concepts went a little over my head, but the plentiful illustrations helped to demonstrate some of the more abstract ideas. The vastness of the universe itself is hard to fathom, as is how scientists study it. From radio telescopes and space prob This could easily be subtitled Quantum Physics for Dummies. It tackles the fundamental nature of the universe, from its history since the Big Bang, to its composition on a molecular level. It’s baffling and mind-blowing all at the same time. Some of the concepts went a little over my head, but the plentiful illustrations helped to demonstrate some of the more abstract ideas. The vastness of the universe itself is hard to fathom, as is how scientists study it. From radio telescopes and space probes to particle accelerators, these tools help us understand where we came from and where we’re headed. As much as we’ve learned over the last century, there is so much more that we don’t know, like the properties of dark matter and dark energy. All of these perplexing ideas are presented with deGrasse Tyson’s straightforwardness, and I was pretty much reading the book with his voiceover in my head. There are even a bunch of his best-of tweets peppered throughout. It’s a cool book that introduced me to some fascinating, if mind-boggling concepts. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Short Review: This is astrophysics for the average joe. You matter. Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared. Then you Energy - Neil deGrasse Tyson Long Review: This book took me back to my undergraduate Astronomy class with my professor who looked like Santa's twin brother and who let it be known under no uncertain terms how much he disagreed with Pluto's demotion. It tackles all the important questions - What is life?, How did it all begin?, How will it end?, Is there alien lif Short Review: This is astrophysics for the average joe. You matter. Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared. Then you Energy - Neil deGrasse Tyson Long Review: This book took me back to my undergraduate Astronomy class with my professor who looked like Santa's twin brother and who let it be known under no uncertain terms how much he disagreed with Pluto's demotion. It tackles all the important questions - What is life?, How did it all begin?, How will it end?, Is there alien life out there?, and How do we know what we know? What an amazing and vast universe we live in. I've found myself gazing up at the moon and stars at night and feeling just a wee bit smaller. It's very humbling. Not to mention, the beautiful book design. The page layout is gorgeous and makes digesting such heavy topics and information a lot easier! Get this one on your must read list!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.0 Stars This was a quick and easy non fiction read. As someone without a science education, I appreciate that the concepts and ideas were explained in simple layman terms. I was actually surprised how much of the information I already knew. I thought the formatting of the book was a bit fragmented. Rather than offering a flowing narrative, this was simply just a question and answer format (like the title implied). I actually found myself wanting more depth from the book so perhaps I'm no longer 3.0 Stars This was a quick and easy non fiction read. As someone without a science education, I appreciate that the concepts and ideas were explained in simple layman terms. I was actually surprised how much of the information I already knew. I thought the formatting of the book was a bit fragmented. Rather than offering a flowing narrative, this was simply just a question and answer format (like the title implied). I actually found myself wanting more depth from the book so perhaps I'm no longer the intended audience. I would recommend this one to layman readers looking to get a very simple foundation in basic science concepts. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I got to listen to the audio version which I recommend because it was partially narrated by the author.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Big subject but very reader-friendly...hence 5 stars. I listened to the audiobook and also skimmed the photos in the print book. Highly recommend either/both format. I liked the historic perspective, highlighting the men and women who have contributed to our understanding of the cosmos. This book also covers what is currently happening as well as predctions for the future. I appreciate the creative explanations for very complex and lofty science so that folks like me can understand. Okay, who am Big subject but very reader-friendly...hence 5 stars. I listened to the audiobook and also skimmed the photos in the print book. Highly recommend either/both format. I liked the historic perspective, highlighting the men and women who have contributed to our understanding of the cosmos. This book also covers what is currently happening as well as predctions for the future. I appreciate the creative explanations for very complex and lofty science so that folks like me can understand. Okay, who am I kidding?! I still don't understand...but I'm trying. Jupiter bouncing around like a billiard ball and our universe expanding like raisins in bread...images and analogies like these are helpful. I want to read books about our universe at least 1-2 times a year because it keeps everything else in perspective.

  21. 5 out of 5

    my bookworm life

    📖 New Review. Thank you @tlctours for having me on the review tour and for sending me this copy. This book is out now and published by @nationalgeographic. This was a really interesting read, having read books by Stephen Hawking that I’ve enjoyed, more recently in the last few years ‘Brief answers to the big questions’ which this felt of similar tone at times, I knew this would be something that would bend my mind and blow it at the same time. Accompanied by some stunning picture and just always 📖 New Review. Thank you @tlctours for having me on the review tour and for sending me this copy. This book is out now and published by @nationalgeographic. This was a really interesting read, having read books by Stephen Hawking that I’ve enjoyed, more recently in the last few years ‘Brief answers to the big questions’ which this felt of similar tone at times, I knew this would be something that would bend my mind and blow it at the same time. Accompanied by some stunning picture and just always delivered in a really readable and engaging way, this made for some interesting and thought provoking reading. I think books like this may seem intimidating sometimes but the information and the aspects they cover are so varied, and so detailed but formatted in such a way that it takes that feeling away of being overwhelmed by information. 4 ⭐️ for me, really enjoyed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Molly McDonough

    Neil Degrasse Tyson does it again with this pop-science book. He wrote this book with a conversational style, almost as if you are listening to his podcast, StarTalk, or you are sitting down with him in his office hours. Cosmic Queries offers a great introduction to the vastness of astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and astronomy. I would recommend this book to anyone with even a slight interest in Physics, as it is extremely accessible to people of any backgrounds. I also cannot leave a Neil Degrasse Tyson does it again with this pop-science book. He wrote this book with a conversational style, almost as if you are listening to his podcast, StarTalk, or you are sitting down with him in his office hours. Cosmic Queries offers a great introduction to the vastness of astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and astronomy. I would recommend this book to anyone with even a slight interest in Physics, as it is extremely accessible to people of any backgrounds. I also cannot leave a review with good faith without mentioning the printing and photography contained in this book. It was published by National Geographic, so I would expect nothing less, but this book is truly stunning, from the images from the Hubble Space Telescope to the scientific diagrams, I could spend hours just looking through the imagery alone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mellen

    This has a lot of information packed in a small book, and all of it felt very accessible to someone without heaps of base knowledge in astrophysics. I switched back and forth between the audiobook and the eBook, and both were well done - the narrator was fantastic and the images in the eBook were interesting and lovely. My one issue with the eBook, was the small boxed in sections of information at the bottoms of some pages - there were multiple pages where those were in between an unfinished par This has a lot of information packed in a small book, and all of it felt very accessible to someone without heaps of base knowledge in astrophysics. I switched back and forth between the audiobook and the eBook, and both were well done - the narrator was fantastic and the images in the eBook were interesting and lovely. My one issue with the eBook, was the small boxed in sections of information at the bottoms of some pages - there were multiple pages where those were in between an unfinished paragraph at the bottom of the page and it's conclusion at the top of the next one. This meant I either needed to pause mid-thought or skim past them and then remember to go back - it would've made more sense to me if they were placed after the paragraph, wherever it happened to end - this was not an issue in the audio, though, since the narrator did this seamlessly.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edgar Guedez

    THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS This book is a good summary of the "state of the art" concerning the actual level of human understanding of the origin and end of the universe. The authors are very good at presenting understandables explanations of very complex subjects, especially, those related to quantum mechanics. Nonetheless, some of the concepts are difficult to grasp and believe. When trying to present an hypothesis for the state of things before the big bang, they introduce the concept THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS This book is a good summary of the "state of the art" concerning the actual level of human understanding of the origin and end of the universe. The authors are very good at presenting understandables explanations of very complex subjects, especially, those related to quantum mechanics. Nonetheless, some of the concepts are difficult to grasp and believe. When trying to present an hypothesis for the state of things before the big bang, they introduce the concepts of "false and true vacuum- very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. The tone of the book is sad, maybe because it tells us how it all probably would end. In on billion years, earth would be no more! Just around the corner.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Gilliland

    One of the most engaging and easy to read Astro/Quantum Physics books I have ever read. It focuses on how the universe was created and how it works. It asks questions and provides answers or as far as we understand to most of them. If I wasn't keeping up with modern Science thanks to Dr Tyson this information would have been mind blowing. I wish this book existed 20 years ago. That said I have 1 complaint. It reads like 3 or 4 chapters were written by Neil. They have his voice and sense of humor. M One of the most engaging and easy to read Astro/Quantum Physics books I have ever read. It focuses on how the universe was created and how it works. It asks questions and provides answers or as far as we understand to most of them. If I wasn't keeping up with modern Science thanks to Dr Tyson this information would have been mind blowing. I wish this book existed 20 years ago. That said I have 1 complaint. It reads like 3 or 4 chapters were written by Neil. They have his voice and sense of humor. Most of the book is likely written by Dr James Trefil. It kind of feels like a bait and switch to help sell the book. But with all the great info I am glad I bought the book even if the authorship is misleading.

  26. 4 out of 5

    CarrieAnn Bowden

    “For the goal of our short life is not to find the answers, but to search for new places to stand so that we can formulate questions not previously imagine. Along that journey... we bid you, always to keep looking up.” As always, NGT makes what seems a complex easy to grasp and enjoyable. You can certainly see his sense of humour and personality come through in this book. If you are a listener of StarTalk radio like myself, this book is a great summary and reference of different topics discussed “For the goal of our short life is not to find the answers, but to search for new places to stand so that we can formulate questions not previously imagine. Along that journey... we bid you, always to keep looking up.” As always, NGT makes what seems a complex easy to grasp and enjoyable. You can certainly see his sense of humour and personality come through in this book. If you are a listener of StarTalk radio like myself, this book is a great summary and reference of different topics discussed in the podcast that you can return to. There is some overlap with Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, how I prefer it to the former. The only cons that I would warn is that it is not for the “advanced” star talk listener as it may seem redundant to his other works.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This book gave answers to questions I wouldn’t even know to ask. I appreciate Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s helpful metaphors when it comes to explaining complex ideas in ways we can understand it. Even so, much of this book was thick with complex ideas and not everything was able to be understood. I think Tyson says it best when he says, “We don’t know what we don’t know,” basically saying that there’s no end to our search for answers in the world of astrophysics. While I liked this book, I thought the This book gave answers to questions I wouldn’t even know to ask. I appreciate Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s helpful metaphors when it comes to explaining complex ideas in ways we can understand it. Even so, much of this book was thick with complex ideas and not everything was able to be understood. I think Tyson says it best when he says, “We don’t know what we don’t know,” basically saying that there’s no end to our search for answers in the world of astrophysics. While I liked this book, I thought the ideas and concepts were often too theoretical and therefore tough to grasp and understand. It’s definitely a book written for those kinds of people who have never-ending curiosity for why things are the way they are.

  28. 5 out of 5

    soreadwithcarol

    "People writing about this successive removal of humanity from the center of creation often throw in Darwin, who taught us that we are not all that different from other living creatures on our planet, and Freud, who taught us that our mental processes aren't as rational and logical as we like to believe. But there is one bright spot in this scientific dismantling of our ego. If there's nothing special about Earth - if we're really just a part of a continuum of nature - then the same laws from our "People writing about this successive removal of humanity from the center of creation often throw in Darwin, who taught us that we are not all that different from other living creatures on our planet, and Freud, who taught us that our mental processes aren't as rational and logical as we like to believe. But there is one bright spot in this scientific dismantling of our ego. If there's nothing special about Earth - if we're really just a part of a continuum of nature - then the same laws from our planet are likely to operate everywhere else, empowering us to explore and decode the entirety of the known universe, across space, & possibly across time itself... What's bad for our ego is good for science." A very enlightening read ❤️ Incredibly complex subjects explained in less than 300 pages. All subjects were filled with thorough explanations accompanied by comparisons of more easily grasped concepts by people like me (who barely passed Chemistry & Physics back in College 😅), with amazing photos and illustrations plus related interesting, thought-provoking, and funny tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hill Krishnan

    Dr. Tyson is as prolific as lucid in his writing about astrophysics. You would learn about: 1. radio waves’ advantages over gamma waves. 2. one out of 3 conditions Pluto didn’t satisfy to be a planet. 3. Telescopes in Hawaii to Atacama desert and the advantages of placing them there. Of course you learn about Hubble too. 4. What’s the universe made off and how it’s expanding at 70 Kms/sec, etc. Dr. Tyson also made me think 🤔 differently: can life in other planets be non carbon based ? Like silica bas Dr. Tyson is as prolific as lucid in his writing about astrophysics. You would learn about: 1. radio waves’ advantages over gamma waves. 2. one out of 3 conditions Pluto didn’t satisfy to be a planet. 3. Telescopes in Hawaii to Atacama desert and the advantages of placing them there. Of course you learn about Hubble too. 4. What’s the universe made off and how it’s expanding at 70 Kms/sec, etc. Dr. Tyson also made me think 🤔 differently: can life in other planets be non carbon based ? Like silica based. Can life non biological? Like electromagnetic based. Can life be non water dependent? Like methane or ammonia. Can life be non surface based?.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bret

    This is exactly what I want from a Tyson book! This is exactly what I want from a Cosmic Queries book! Look, I'm an avid StarTalk fan. I'm also a big science fan, so a lot of this book was nothing new to me. Some of it was, but that's really not the point. It's the presentation! This book is written almost like a conversation. It isn't dry facts listed out about discoveries and the people who found them. Instead it's laid out like a story, filling you in on the facts. Wonderfully written! The aud This is exactly what I want from a Tyson book! This is exactly what I want from a Cosmic Queries book! Look, I'm an avid StarTalk fan. I'm also a big science fan, so a lot of this book was nothing new to me. Some of it was, but that's really not the point. It's the presentation! This book is written almost like a conversation. It isn't dry facts listed out about discoveries and the people who found them. Instead it's laid out like a story, filling you in on the facts. Wonderfully written! The audiobook has Tyson for bits of it, like his tweets pertaining to the chapter subject, the majority is read beautifully by Laura Fortgang. She needs more VO work!

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