Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott

This book covers a wide variety of topics around the core notion of astrophysics. Tyson, Strauss, and Gott each take chapters in turn and cover everything from gravity to photons to the infinite universe to why Pluto is no longer counted as a planet. (This last duplicates information already covered in Tyson’s The Pluto Files.)

Unlike many popular books on science, Welcome to the Universe is brave enough to walk readers through the actual equations that helped develop our understanding of the science discussed. This includes descriptions of famous equations such as E=MC² and calculations to determine the mass of the sun.

It’s not all numbers, however. All three writers are excellent teachers and communicators and offer basic concepts and historical perspective on the principles they are writing about. The book also has photos and illustrations to flesh out ideas.

It’s a wide ranging book. Not simple and easy but a great book for anyone interested in the science of the universe and the stars inhabiting it. Some are just fun, such as the true odds of life on other planets and science geek complaints about the aliens in fiction and movies. They even touch on time travel.

A great read for anyone from interested and motivated high school students to adults who wish they knew more about the subject and missed out in college.