Review of Welcome to the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott

Posted by in netgalley copy

Ugggggg .... I have been trying to write this review for four days. Maybe it takes me a percentage of the time I took to read the book to formulate a review? It did take me over a week to read Welcome to the Universe, with Neil deGrasse Tyson's name in bigger font than the other two co-authors. At first that made me sad for the other two authors, but then I got miffed over J. Richard Gott's chapters, where there's a lot of I did this!, which probably shouldn't annoy me as much as it did, since he did figure this stuff out, but it seemed kind of braggy to me and I just want to learn abstractly about science, not be amazed that the author I'm reading now did this stuff.

So I got annoyed.

Cool idea I did get from Welcome to the Universe: think of everything as bread. Slice horizontally (like here in North America) for one slice of space-time, but slice on an angle (like a baguette) for a relative slice of space-time. The bread is still the same, but how one views what's happening in/on the bread changes. I'm glad I got to that before I got fed up with physics.

Ooh -- and something else -- I found out what word I wanted for a review of another physics book ages ago: falsifiable. I couldn't remember that word, but much of what was written in The Universe is a Machine wasn't falsifiable, so, from a science perspective, those ideas were kind of a non-starter. But that has nothing really to do with the book I'm supposed to be reviewing ...

I'm in a weird place with physics books. I probably have enough math background that if I really wanted to, I could read textbooks rather than pop-science books (albeit much more slowly, and with a pad and pencil in hand for figuring things out), but I don't want to read a physics textbook. But then I read pop-science books and get frustrated that details I want to understand (like math stuff) is missing. But I don't want to read a physics textbook. But I want to know more about what's behind the science, which is generally math that I could probably understand given enough time and pencil lead. But I don't want to write physics notes in bed. But I want to know more!

Is the moral that I should stop reading about cosmology and relativity? I mean, both of those things are going to go scootering on along in life without me understanding them or not.

Science is hard.

Welcome to the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott went on sale September 1, 2016.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.