Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2017

What a wonderful little book!  As the title clearly states, this book is intended for the non-astrophysicist who is looking for a quick overview of the science and state of the science of cosmology, and it succeeds admirably.  Still not easy and still filled with unfamiliar terms (hapdons, pulsars, radio waves, dark matter and dark energy) and complex concepts, it, nonetheless, delivers on its promise.  I managed to read it in two sittings (or rather lyings, since I was in bed in Vermont on a dark, cold, and quiet late night and next morning) that probably totaled 3-4 hours.  The reader should seek the big picture and not worry about the details.  There’s time to circle back for the specific question or idea.  The quick read fills one with admiration for both the author and the Author (should there be one!).  The cosmos is truly amazing and incredibly interesting.  There are enough statistics to satisfy the number nerds:  every second of every day, 4.5 billion tons of hydrogen are turned into energy as they slam together to make helium within the 15 million degree core of the sun.  Just try getting your head around that one!  Tyson presents the material starting with the Big Bang and the nano-seconds that followed it resulting in all the matter and energy in the universe colliding and expanding, cooling and consolidating into the 100 billion galaxies each containing more than 100 billion stars.  All of the information, data, names of pioneers and scientists and their observations and experiments come together in the final chapter in what Tyson calls the ‘cosmic perspective’.  His hope is that if we keep our eyes and minds on the teeny-tiny place that humans occupy in this universe, we might stop killing and exploiting each other so that we might still be here whenever the advanced aliens who are no doubt watching us, choose to communicate.  An extra-ordinary effort by this intelligent and funny author.