Book review: Welcome to the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, October 7, 2016

The cover of Welcome to the Universe by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott.

This is an important book. Part fascinating story, part reference book, and part astrophysical textbook, the work presents an information-rich summary of the current state of human knowledge of the cosmos.

Titled Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (470 pp., hardcover, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2016, $40; ISBN 978–0–691–15724–5), the work is a collaboration between the star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and two important colleagues, Michael Strauss and J. Richard Gott.

The first thing that strikes you about this hefty volume is that it’s laid out something like a textbook, linearly, from an overview of the cosmic distance scale, explanations of stars and planets, on through a major section on galaxies, and a concluding portion on Einstein and his theories. The first section is mostly the work of Tyson, the work on galaxies by Strauss, and the cosmological coverage by Gott.

This is not a book for everyone. Certain sections and pages do not shy away from the sticky complexities of astrophysics, containing sophisticated ideas. But the descriptions of even the most complex notions are straightforwardly and convincingly told. This is really first rate science writing. The coverage of the book will give every reader who sticks with it a superb overview of our knowledge of the universe and how it works.

If you’re an astronomy enthusiast, you know Neil Tyson’s work and you might well know about the cosmological expertise of Richard Gott. Reading this book, which packages many entertaining treatments of concepts in astronomy and astrophysics, will make you a whole lot smarter about how the universe works. It is highly recommended.

Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: @deicherstar

And please check out David J. Eicher’s Author Page on Facebook here:

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.
Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter. View our Privacy Policy.

Find us on Facebook