Monday, February 16, 2009

Death by Black Hole

Neil De Grasse Tyson has come out with a great collection of essays on astrophyisical subjects. Tyson is a very entertaining scientist who creates concrete pictures of astronomical ideas, depicting abstract issues as they bear on the senses. He also has a great sense of humor and knows how to extend our sense of reality through science. The best thing he does is show how the scientific mind works. In his most famous essay, " Death by Black Hole" placed in this compilation, Tyson tries to describe what it would be like to be drawn into a black hole from a personal and scientific point of view. He goes into detail about how your body would be stretched when entering the black hole (spagettification) and in so doing describes the physical processes that would distort the body. Tyson makes these difficult concepts of physics understandable. In another essay, Tyson discusses the ends of the world, plural, showing how the universe will slowly disperse and cool. He also considers the role of chaos in the functioning of the solar system despite the phyical laws it follows and he considers the role of antimatter in maintaining the balance of the universe. He is a very lively and interesting writer who can make science an attractive subject for almost anyone. This is a good read.

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