Thursday, July 27, 2017

Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson

As a biological psychologist, I certainly consider myself a scientist. As a teacher, I strive in my classes to make science interesting and attractive to my students while not glossing over the hard work that it entails. I want humanity to have a positive future and believe that science can provide us with the ways to get there. In my own small way, I try to be a proselytizer for science. I want people to love it the way that I do.

In my generation, Carl Sagan was the primary spokesperson for science. I remember being captivated by his Cosmos, and it led me directly into a fascination with astrophysics. I read a lot of other books in the field, including more of Sagan’s own work as well as the work of Stephen Hawking and many others. I don’t profess to understand it all but, if there are ‘big’ questions then astrophysics is the place where they most frequently get asked, and sometimes answered.

I would say that, for the current generation, Neil DeGrasse Tyson has taken up where Sagan left off, and I know he fully credits Sagan for his own involvement in science. I recently finished Tyson’s book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. It’s definitely not a “title” for people in a hurry but the book does exactly what it claims to. I finished it over a weekend and it was very straightforward, with clear explanations of tough concepts. It was well written with quite a few touches of humor. I came away with a good capsule history of our universe. I also learned a few things that I didn’t know, but I’ll let you discover those yourself when you read the book. I highly recommend it.








14 comments:

Blogoratti said...

Wonderful thoughts and review on those books. Thanks for sharing and warm greetings to you!

S. D. Parker said...

I’m right there with you re: Cosmos. I loved that show as a youth and it indirectly nudged me along to my love and study of history. At the time (1980) I wanted more “space stuff” and less about how the scientists back in the day discovered things. Then I realized Sagan was offering a history of science by means of the Cosmos and it opened my eyes. I still have my hardcover book, complete with torn the torn and ragged paper cover. I even went out and found the full soundtrack (even though I already had the LP from 1980).

Just this year— a couple of months ago, actually—they finally made an audiobook of Cosmos. Tyson’s on it as is Druyan and LeVar Burton is the narrator.

Good to know about Tyson’s book. I saw it at a bookstore recently and almost picked it up. Now I definitely will.

Charles Gramlich said...

Blogoratti, thankee for the kind comments.

S. D. Parker, Sagan was able to combine imagination with science in a very clear way and I certainly appreciated it. Thanks for dropping by.

Cloudia said...

I appreciate reading your thoughts [and review] during these times!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, glad to hear it

oscar case said...

I've always been interested in anthropology and astronomy. Astronomy is getting more interesting with the Hubke telescope. I've seen Neil DeGrasse Tyson a couple times on TV explaining things. I'll have to pick up his book.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, it's a good one. By the way, I can no longer seem to comment on your blog posts. The sign up for the newsletter thing pops up and I can't get it to go away so I can actually post a comment. I've already signed up for the updates

Angie said...

Agree about Sagan and DeGrasse Tyson. The original Cosmos was great, and the new one was kind of awesome.

When I was in my teens, my go-to science explainer was Isaac Asimov. I had a bunch of his nonfiction books, mostly his collections of columns. Learned a lot from him.

In my twenties I discovered John Gribbin. He wrote books about science for the general public too, but he was a bit less Science-101 than Asimov, or either Cosmos. if you've already read the easier stuff, you'll probably enjoy Gribbin. My two favorite books of his are In Search of Schrodinger's Cat and In Search of the Double Helix. Not quite the same thing but close is The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors. Sort of a biographical history of science, which I enjoyed very much.

Angie

^.^ said...

Many love Carl Saban to this day, including me ... He died much too early ... Let's keep on trucking though, friend Charles Gramlich ... Love, cat.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, Don't think I've read Gribbin, although I recognize those titles. I also read quite a lot of Dawkins and Lewis thomas on biological/evolutionary types of things.

Cat, yes, I was sorry to see Sagan go.

David Cranmer said...

I'm an admirer of both scientists and buy each and every book Tyson puts out as well as following him on Twitter where he's very entertaining.

Erik Donald France said...

Charles, billions and billions of multiversal huzzahs!

Charles Gramlich said...

David, this is my first by Tyson but I will get more.

Erik, I almost went there myself!

roth phallyka said...

Let's keep on trucking though,


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