15 Quotes from Astrophysics for People in a Hurry book by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry has been described as book that will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Quotes

While most branches of science have ascended in this era, the field of astrophysics persistently rises to the top. I think I know why. At one time or another every one of us has looked up at the night sky and wondered: What does it all mean? How does it all work? And, what is my place in the universe? - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Preface

Earth formed in a kind of Goldilocks zone around the Sun, where oceans remain largely in liquid form. Had Earth been much closer to the Sun, the oceans would have evaporated. Had Earth been much farther away, the oceans would have frozen. In either case, life as we know it would not have evolved. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 1

Ignorance is the natural state of mind for a research scientist. 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. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 1

We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out - and we have only just begun. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 1

The power and beauty of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. In other words, after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 2

Each new observation, each morsel of data, wields a two-edged sword: it enables cosmology to thrive on the kind of foundation that so much of the rest of science enjoys, but it also constrains theories that people thought up when there wasn’t enough data to say whether they were right or wrong. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 3

Yes, intergalactic space is, and will forever be, where the action is. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 4

Gravity, the most familiar of nature's forces, offers us simultaneously the best and the least understood phenomena in nature. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 5

If all mass has gravity, does all gravity have mass? We don't know. Maybe there's nothing wrong with the matter, and it's the gravity we don't understand. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 5

The matter we have come to love in the universe - the stuff of stars, planets, and life - is only a light frosting on the cosmic cake, modest buoys afloat in a vast cosmic ocean of something that looks like nothing. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 5

Science is not just about seeing, it's about measuring, preferably with something that's not your own eyes, which are inextricably conjoined with the baggage of your brain. That baggage is more often than not a satchel of preconceived ideas, post-conceived notions, and outright bias. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 5

As the organizing principle for the chemical behavior of all known and yet-to-be-discovered elements in the universe, the table instead ought to be a cultural icon, a testimony to the enterprise of science as an international human adventure conducted in laboratories, particle accelerators, and on the frontier of the cosmos itself. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 7

For reasons I have yet to understand, many people don't like chemicals, which might explain the perennial movement to rid foods of them. […] Personally, I am quite comfortable with chemicals, anywhere in the universe. My favorite stars, as well as my best friends, are all made of them. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 7

Whether you prefer to sprint, swim, walk, or crawl from one place to another on Earth, you can enjoy close-up views of our planet's unlimited supply of things to notice. You might see a vein of pink limestone on the wall of a canyon, a ladybug eating an aphid on the stem of a rose, a clamshell poking out from the sand. All you have to do is look. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 11

Our search for life in the universe drives the search for exoplanets, some of which resemble Earth - not in detail, of course, but in overall properties. Latest estimates, extrapolating from the current catalogs, suggests as many as forty billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone. Those are the planets our descendants might want to visit someday, by choice, if not by necessity. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 11

During our brief stay on planet Earth, we owe ourselves and our descendants the opportunity to explore - in part because it's fun to do. But there's a far nobler reason. The day our knowledge of the cosmos ceases to expand, we risk regressing to the childish view that the universe figuratively and literally revolves around us. In that bleak world, arms-bearing, resource-hungry people and nations would be prone to act on their "low contracted prejudices." And that would be the last gasp of human enlightenment - until the rise of a visionary new culture that could once again embrace, rather than fear, the cosmic perspective. - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 12

Cited Quotes

The world has persisted many a long year, having once been set going in the appropriate motions. From these everything else follows. - Lucretius, as quoted in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 1

Matter tells space how to curve; space tells matter how to move. - John Archibald Wheeler, as quoted in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 6

Of all the sciences cultivated by mankind, Astronomy is acknowledged to be, and undoubtedly is, the most sublime, the most interesting, and the most useful. For, by knowledge derived from this science, not only the bulk of the Earth is discovered [...]; but our very faculties are enlarged with the grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our minds exalted above [their] low contracted prejudices. - James Ferguson, as quoted in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Chapter 12

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