Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - by Neil de Grasse Tyson


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This was a really good condensed read on astrophysics that will probably teach you more on the topic and our universe then you ever learned in school.

Recommendation: 5/5

My Highlights

The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. —NDT

In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.

...the four distinct forces we have come to know and love: with the weak force controlling radioactive decay, the strong force binding the atomic nucleus, the electromagnetic force binding molecules, and gravity binding bulk matter. A trillionth of a second has passed since the beginning.

As the cosmos continued to expand and cool, growing larger than the size of our solar system, the temperature dropped rapidly below a trillion degrees Kelvin. A millionth of a second has passed since the beginning.

Without the billion-and-one to a billion imbalance between matter and antimatter, all mass in the universe would have self-annihilated, leaving a cosmos made of photons and nothing else—the ultimate let-there-be-light scenario. By now, one second of time has passed.

...high-mass stars fortuitously explode, scattering their chemically enriched guts throughout the galaxy. After nine billion years of such enrichment, in an undistinguished part of the universe (the outskirts of the Virgo Supercluster) in an undistinguished galaxy (the Milky Way) in an undistinguished region (the Orion Arm), an undistinguished star (the Sun) was born.

People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the universe.

We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.

This universality of physical laws tells us that if we land on another planet with a thriving alien civilization, they will be running on the same laws that we have discovered and tested here on Earth

...after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion.

Ordinary matter is what we are all made of. It has gravity and interacts with light. Dark matter is a mysterious substance that has gravity but does not interact with light in any known way. Dark energy is a mysterious pressure in the vacuum of space that acts in the opposite direction of gravity, forcing the universe to expand faster than it otherwise would.                                                                                                                                    


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