Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey has enjoyed high ratings since its March premiere and much of that credit goes to its charismatic presenter, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson, a renowned astrophysicist and director of the Harden Planetarium in New York, has been a major player in the astronomy and physics fields for years. He has written books that are described as witty and insightful, and concepts are explained in layman’s terms, no advanced knowledge of science required! If you’re one of the many people who are watching Cosmos and want to know more about our universe, check out some of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s books at the Davenport Public Library:
Space Chronicles: An exciting book about space travel and the potential benefits of space exploration. Tyson discusses NASA’s space program and the countries competing in the continuing “space race” to pioneer the future of space travel. As always, Tyson advocates for science literacy in the classroom and makes sure to thoroughly explain his subjects.
Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries: more than 20of Tyson’s essays fromhis”Universe” column in Natural History magazine, each exploring a different cosmic topic. These topics are what he considers “the Best of the Universe” and range from the colors of the universe to why Hollywood can’t seem to get their space movies accurate (see his Twitter critique of the movie Gravity here).
The Pluto Files: As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson made the decision not to include Pluto on the planet exhibits, and when the planetarium opened to the public in 2000 the missing planet caused an uproar. The decision sparked outrage among schoolchildren (many of whom sent written hate mail to Tyson) and started an international debate among the International Astronomical Union who, after years of deliberating, voted to officially demote Pluto in August of 2006. In this book Tyson describes the history of the planet from its discovery to its demotion.
Origins: This book details the origins of the universe from the first 3 seconds after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, planets and stars. He explains the current theory on the beginning of life and describes the search for life in other solar systems. Though this book delves deeper in to the physics of the universe, Tyson, as usual, does a great job of explaining these concepts to non-scientists.