Starry Messenger*, a new book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, is coming out on September 20th, and you can pre-order it here.
Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.
In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment—a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science.
After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life’s priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society, or civilization remains untouched.
With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.
Years ago I was visiting a relative of a friend in a house near a major east coast University, and a friend of the relative of the friend was visiting. He was a professor emeritus who had just gotten a renewal of a grant. The grant was from the US Military and it was to further develop a machine he had been working on for decades. The machine, if it ever worked, would be part of a Death Ray (and yes, that’s a thing.)
“The point of my work,” he told me. He was drunk, old, and forgot that this was all a secret. “The point of it is this. It lets us see things we could never see before. Very small things. This will help us cure cancer.”
“But what about the Death Ray,” my friend asked him.
“Oh that. The Death Ray can never work, and my machine can’t help that project along at all. But I had to get the funding somehow. This is very expensive research.”
“But won’t you get in trouble?” my friend asked him.
“I’m sure I would if I was younger. I’ll be dead before those morons catch on.”
And I’m pretty sure that is exactly what ended up happening. He died about 25 years ago. The Death Ray never really took off. Yet, we can see very very small things using machines. The part I don’t know is whether or not his machine ever worked out, but I’d wager it did.
In this fascinating foray into the centuries-old relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and writer-researcher Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. “The overlap is strong, and the knowledge flows in both directions,” say the authors, because astrophysicists and military planners care about many of the same things: multi-spectral detection, ranging, tracking, imaging, high ground, nuclear fusion, and access to space. Tyson and Lang call it a “curiously complicit” alliance. “The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds,” they write. “Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it’s a laboratory for one and a battlefield for the other. The explorer wants to understand it; the soldier wants to dominate it. But without the right technology?which is more or less the same technology for both parties?nobody can get to it, operate in it, scrutinize it, dominate it, or use it to their advantage and someone else’s disadvantage.”
Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power that will introduce Tyson’s millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.
The book is based on hundreds of interviews and considerable time spent in the White House by the author. I’m not sure if this guy is exactly my favorite author, but anybody who can get Trump to explode is worth checking out.
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
Give a listen to my interview with NdGT, from a few years back. Which, by the way, was a great interview, because I did two things to prepare. First, I checked out several other interviews done of him, and vowed to not ask any of those questions. Second, I read all his books and looked into his professional and academic background, and mostly asked him questions about his area of research. Do you know what his specific research area is? Most people don’t. Find out.
His new book is actually more about his research are than many of his other books are.