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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today's leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all - from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel.

Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding, and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works.

Breathtaking in scope, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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So many things to learn

I have read scores of books on the physics of the universe ranging from the very large to the minuscule and yet have found something new and enlightening in every chapter of this book. The educational quality of the book is exceptionally high on account of the limitation of prior knowledge on the part of the reader, the authors assume. The methodology of building up to the grand conclusions from simple prior knowledge through the use of analogy and thought experiments proves very effective in conceptualization and visualization of the ideas shared. There are still several places where the reader may feel a little list and wanting a second reading but in the whole, they are sure to walk away with an appreciation for the enormity of the universe and how much we humans have learnt about it in spite of our limited means, in the short time that we have been studying it.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

The comments about advanced formulas almost scared me away but it wasn't as bad as the reviews made it out to be. Most of the formulas are told so as to illustrate a relationship and are fully explained. Overall this is an excellent book for anyone with a basic physics background and a love for all things space!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Terrible listen

Far too much dependency on advanced formulas and equations to make a good audio book for normal listeners, even a listener like me who is very interested in the subject matter.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Makes you wonder!

Good book. Took me back to astronomy 101 in my undergrad days many many years ago. While the explanations made sense the second time around, the equations did prove difficult to follow in audible form. The later chapters we're good exercises in theoretical thinking. You did have to pay attention or you would've gotten lost. Better to have this book in print form so you can look at the tables and figures for the visual learners out there.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Wow more than i can take in!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This was a great listen but way over my head. I learned so much and now want to learn more!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Need to review charts and formulas

This is best with downloaded material. This is not an audio book to listen to while walking or exercising. Great authors but you need to be able to handle equations also.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Not for the layman.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who are actually interested in pursuing a career in astrophysics or well educated individuals.

What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

Too dry and mathematical. Not for the layman

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Butler Murray?

Seriously!?!? NEIL Degrasse Tyson!!!!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

bordom

Any additional comments?

If you're a layman don't get this! I listened and continue to listen to Neil's Astrophysics for people in a hurry and it is AMAZING for people who love science but aren't mathematical geniuses... You need to have a math degree to enjoy this... I felt way out of my league. Only bought it after listening to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Waste of a free book!!!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Math, read out loud

Man... I wanted to love this book. I love NdT and was looking forward to the book, but... then they started to read the equations and, well... there were a lot of equations. Got through a couple hours of it, but, the assault of verbal math just doesn't translate well for an audio book.

Would have benefited from Tyson's own voice too, probably.

Bummer.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

too many diagrams and formulas

The narrator fights a brilliant fight and almost manages to make the math formulas make sense, but in the end I struggle being told numbers (raised German number pronouncements works in stupid new ways which means neither German nor English carries meaning) so trying to visualise a formula fails dismally.

The other thing, diagrams, also fails. Sure they are available for download but I listen while driving in my car... I'd love to look at something cross-eyed to make it pop into three dimensions, but that car beside me makes me not want to pick up my phone to take a look even more.

So far great book, but after ~2.5 hours I had to give up because it does not work for me. Strongly recommended to people who can look at the diagrams though, although other books are covering the same 'story'...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J.B.
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
  • 02-17-17

All About What We Know About the Universe - ALL

Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour, by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, J. Richard Gott, and read by Michael Butler Murray. A survey of all we know about astronomical and quantum science. What we know of the universe from the expanses of the heavens to the smallest elemental particles of energy and mass. Everything! I love studying the universe, both large and small. Did I love this journey? Jump to the last paragraph of this review.

This is a study for the layman. But the layman it was created for were undergraduates at Princeton preparing to either study cosmic astronomy or be associated with astrophysics business. You will need sufficient basic knowledge of mathematics, and the advances of cosmic science, to read and understand fully this work and enjoy its merit. You had better know of and know how to use electromagnetic formulas previously devised by Newton, Maxwell, Hubble, and Einstein., because the authors instruct the history of the cosmos using those formularies.

The story starts with a history of scientific milestones from Greek and Roman times to the Victorian Age. If you didn’t have respect for Sir Isaac Newton, this tomb will cure that malfeasance on your part. There is competition between the professors as to whether Newton or Einstein was the greatest scientific genius.

The authors start the course by telling us that 30% of the population (presumably that is the American population since the professors teach at Princeton) do not know the earth spins or ellipses around the Sun. So I evaluate this book as a political theory text not just a scientific course because with that explanation the professors have explained the presidential results of 2016.

Yes, I know I may have bagged the book's success by explaining how very difficult it is to follow the mathematical techniques to explain the cosmos as used in the book. But let me explain clearly. Even with that encumbrance, this was a good listen. The was a full explanation of where the science of outer space stands today. A good listen but better promoted as a primer for astronomy students entering college, not a pleasure read.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • polestar
  • 03-07-17

Graphic!

Great audio book with a hidden secret - the graphics!
the accompanying PDF is 100 pages of graphics and photos that really enhance the text.
So open the PDF on your laptop start the audio and get the full picture of the cosmos.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • colin walker
  • 04-22-17

Fascinating!

The 1st half makes you think you're smarter than you are, the 2nd dismantles that idea. Later on in the book you do need the illustrations

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Labrador with class
  • 06-02-17

Made me buy a telescope

Would you listen to Welcome to the Universe again? Why?

Yes, and I have listened to it twice already, to make sure I don't miss things...

What was one of the most memorable moments of Welcome to the Universe?

Magnetars!!

Which character – as performed by Michael Butler Murray – was your favourite?

All and any of it, it has made astronomy and astrophysics exciting.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Come fly with me, to the end of the world

Any additional comments?

Well written, exciting, well laid out. Please read it people and get excited!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Bennett Faurie
  • 06-01-17

Wow

Wow, nicely detailed and easy to understand. The writer takes time to explain quite complex concepts and processes in a simple and easily understandable manner.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Honest Dude
  • 07-21-17

I don't think audio format suits this book.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is a fantastic book and is very detailed in explanation of key concepts, which you would expect given the credentials of the 3 authors. The book goes through very detailed formulae and has lots of supporting diagrams and tables which is great.

However, I just don't think this audio book does any justice to the actual content. Unless you happen to have footing in the subject matter you will simply struggle. Especially in areas of the book where formula are discussed. OK, there is an accompanying pdf file with the audio book but none of the formulae are listed and it is just impossible to make sense of what is being described without the formula in-front of you.

The pdf could be improved by listing all the formula and referencing them in the audio. I also found not all diagrams were in the pdf so while it 'support' the listening experience it still lacks.

So in summary I would definitely recommend the actual print book or kindle version but would definitely not recommend the audio book version.

Was Welcome to the Universe worth the listening time?

No, too difficult to follow when technical formula are discussed. You'd need a solid background in the subject matter to understand them. Else it's just a bunch of Greek letters being read out making no sense.

Any additional comments?

Only buy this audio book as a revision aid if you have read the book OR if you have a strong foundation in the content of the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • surfingsimon
  • 02-05-18

Maybe too comptes for an audio book

lots of figures, formulas, and diagrams etc that would have worked better in paper form.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Morris
  • 08-31-18

Not For The Masses

I've tried a couple of books like this from Audible in the past without much in the way of success as far as comprehension of the material was concerned. I guess I am one of those very average people who has a deep interest in the workings of our universe but just is unable to grasp the full picture due to the way such books are written.

However, this title was in a two for one sale and so after listening to the sample, I decided to have another go at one of these types of books. The opening chapter or two started well for me when easy to understand analogies such as how many McDOnalds hamburgers would it take to go around the Earth and to the Moon etc. That's easy to grasp as it uses very ordinary examples of things to demonstrate the notion of larger numbers. All good so far and the book was on course to deliver its contents in a way the majority of people could digest and understand. Alas, from there on and throughout the book the method of explaining concepts and especially the excessive amount of complex mathematical equations cited just went way above my head. To be fair, the start of the book does say that the material within was originally designed for a Princeton University series of lectures and so perhaps I was given fair warning. However, despite this, I was hoping that the source material might have been "dumbed down" for the masses. I guess I was hoping this book would be edited in a way that delivers the basic concepts without the maths and in a way most people could understand - rather like many of those immersive Discovery channel documentaries.

For those of you out there in the middle of a quantum physics degree or similar then knock yourself out. This book will explain so many amazing discoveries and concepts concisely using the universal language of mathematics. For those "ordinary" folk such as me then not so much. I doggedly went through each chapter hoping against hope that there would be one free of all the algebra but things only seem to get more complex.

The other aspect to this audio book that is not so helpful is that it relies on a highly visual supplement in the form of a downloadable PDF file you will see next to the book in your library should you purchase it. As I am blind, this PDF is useless and so a major element to this book is rendered moot unfortunately. However, even if I was able to read some of the described diagrams and graphs, I think I'd still be none the wiser. Especially difficult to visualize and even conceptualize was the World line 4 dimensional models used to demonstrate effects of time and space with relation to objects. I think my head began to ache trying desperately to fully grasp the idea.

I'd have to say that if you're like me that you'll be able to comprehend a very high level general notion of many of the ideas described but lack the low level deep appreciation of them. This is OK if you're willing to plough through the entire book skimming a small percent of comprehension off the top of the massively complex topics discussed. I really wish I could fully appreciate everything in this book but I am not a PhD student so have failed miserably. Still, despite the small amount of new knowledge gained, I still found the book of interest to me. I was able to expand my understanding - such as I am able - to a small degree so it's not all bad.

The narrator did a fantastic job of reading this incredibly complex tome and he must get huge credit for being able to tackle this intensely difficult subject matter with aplomb.

The one thing that did amuse me about this book was given how unbelievably complex the subjects were discussed by the three co-authors, they cited an example several times of a 6-inch hard drive. The problem is that there is no 6-inch hard drive to the best of my knowledge. Instead the 3.5 inch drive is perhaps the most common. In all that complexity of the subjects being discussed, a simple error like that was indicative of just how detached from the everyday world they can be sometimes.

So, in summary, this is not a book for everyone. It is massively complex and relies heavily on mathematical formulas. In addition, it isn't suited to a purely audio experience given the reliance on supplementary visual material. It's a well written book no doubt and imparts a huge amount of knowledge but not in a way most can appreciate.

Sadly, this book falls into the same trap as some others I've tried to read here on Audible in that the authors are so close to their study matter that they seem incapable of simplifying it sufficiently for a mass audience. Either that or I am plain stupid which is also a strong possibility.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Victor Gil López
  • 09-26-17

Too much for me

I lack the education for enjoying this book fully. It goes through a lot of equations that are far too much for my current understanding. Other bits of the book are really enjoyable. I totally recommend it if you are mathematically proficient or willing to be challenged. The pdf companion is like a book in itself and essential for this title.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • 05-09-17

A great listen, but....

You will require a PhD in iT just to find the accompanying picture files in your library.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • W-C W
  • 02-17-17

EASY TO UNDERSTAND

Would you consider the audio edition of Welcome to the Universe to be better than the print version?

YES

What did you like best about this story?

Easy to understand, explains the whole universe in detail, starting from the basics so that an Amateur can become an Expert at the end of this audiobook. Starting from the size of a single atom, to explaining Newton's Laws and how they relate to the world we live in today.

What does Michael Butler Murray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Everything.

Any additional comments?

no

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-20-18

Truly the greatest story ever told

Mind blowing in scale and depth, but told in a way that anyone with even a basic grasp of science of science can get into. Amazing.

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  • Ryan
  • 05-09-17

great book, quite involved!

the narrator is very dry but you get used to it, probably not a starting point for cosmology, lots of derivations