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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly Joys!, 19 May 2004
This review is from: The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist (Hardcover)
Dr. Tyson has written a wonderful memoir that will inspire anyone who reads it to become more interested in astrophysics, how to be a better parent, ways to improve as a mentor, and to seek out an inspirational profession.
The ultimate charm of this book is that Dr. Tyson is a warm, witty, self-effacing, and passionate human being. I seldom get the feeling from reading a book that I would enjoy having the author as a friend, but Dr. Tyson affected me that way.
For young people thinking about a career in science, Dr. Tyson is an excellent role model of how focusing on the joy you feel from the subject matter can evolve into additional joy from the intellectual content. In his description at the end of the book of how the putative Big Bang may have happened, I was enthralled. It was almost like reading poetry. Now, I have read many descriptions of the same subject, and have never been moved by them before.
Dr. Tyson also makes an eloquent case for creating planetary defense capabilities to divert or destroy asteroids or comets that could create catastrophic collisons with the Earth. I came away convinced that this was a worthwhile activity. You may, too.
Dr. Tyson had wonderful parents and mentors. I enjoyed reading about them as much as I did about the main subjects of the book. Anyone will pick up tips for being better at both roles from this book.
He also has a great sense of humor, telling many funny stories in a wonderfully straight way. In the process, he gently tweaks the racism that means that black astrophysicists have many confrontations with the police that white ones don't have, errors in popular movies (Jodie Foster will blush after she reads what he has to say about her), and our earthbound perspective that keeps us from appreciating the heavenly beauty above.
Dr. Tyson often appears with Peter Jennings on television. Watch for him, and notice his ties. He likes to wear ones with astrophysical references. He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, so you will often see or hear him quoted on the latest space-related issues.
I should admit a bias to you. When the college I attended holds an annual alumni gathering in December each year in Boston, I always go to the astrophysics lectures. The photographs are gorgeous, and the ideas are very exciting. If you have a chance to do the same, you should do so.
After you read this book, ponder his section on science and religion and reconsider how the two areas relate to one another. I found his ideas interesting. Then consider how the two areas could relate to each other better. That's a question hardly anyone asks.
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