Another from Neil deGrasse Tyson

Like having a conversation with an old friend who I hope to meet someday.

Makliya Mamat  /  May 19, 2024

I’ve been a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson for years. “Step Into The Astrophysics” was the first book of his that I read, and it opened my eyes to the vast wonders of the universe. 

Reading “Starry Messenger” is like having a conversation with an old friend who knows a lot about the cosmos but never makes you feel out of your depth. 

One of the most fascinating parts of the book is how it tracks our evolving comprehension of the cosmos. From the early stargazers who saw patterns and gods in the night sky to modern-day scientists who send probes to the edges of our solar system, our quest to understand the universe has been relentless and deeply human.

Imagine the ancient civilizations, their entire lives dictated by the heavens rather than the modern science we have. It’s humbling to think that their understanding laid the groundwork for everything we know today.

Fast forward to the Renaissance, and you find Galileo peering through his telescope, challenging the status quo with his discoveries. The shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric model was more than a scientific breakthrough; it was a profound change in how we viewed ourselves and our pale blue dot, as Carl Sagan would say.

Beijing Planetarium, August 2022

Newton, with his laws of motion and gravity, gave us the tools to predict the movements of planets and moons. His work built a bridge from the observational to the theoretical, showing that the same laws governing a falling apple applied to the orbits of celestial bodies.

Then came Einstein. Space and time were no longer absolute; they were dynamic. His equations hinted at deeper, more complex layers of reality. It’s mind-blowing to think about how much our understanding has shifted in just a few centuries.

Today, we’re exploring the cosmos with technology our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. Telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope allow us to peer into the distant past, seeing galaxies as they were billions of years ago. We’re not just looking at light; we’re looking at history.

It’s been a journey that has no end, only new beginnings. I’ve been struck again and again by the interconnectedness of all these discoveries.

I hope someday I can meet Tyson in person, and sit down just to talk about the universe and science. “Starry Messenger” is a book that doesn’t just inform but inspires. It makes you want to look up at the night sky and dream about the possibilities.

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