Review: The Milky Way
by Jeff Foust
|So what does the galaxy sound like? A little bit of a jerk, to be honest. “I am the greatest galaxy who has ever lived.”|
That is the framing that McTier uses to explore topics such as the Big Bang, the formation of the Milky Way in the early history of the universe, and the birth and death of stars, among other topics. The book dives into details about these topics at times, leaving behind the voice of the galaxy, but it’s not long before that voice, and attitude, returns.
There are limits to this approach. A seemingly omniscient galaxy would know what makes up the halo of dark matter surrounding it, a long-standing mystery for terrestrial astronomers. Alas, the galaxy isn’t talking: “Your astronomers don’t know what it is—and I won’t let that tidbit of information slip.” Evidently this is a not a tell-all memoir.
For some readers, the tone of the book will become grating: who wants to be lectured to by someone with a superior, know-it-all attitude, whether it’s a person or a galaxy? On the other hand, if you find that entertaining, the book is a good introduction into the past, present, and future of our galaxy and our universe. There is no single ideal approach for communicating astrophysics, or other science topics, to all readers, and alternative approaches like this may attract those turned off by a more conventional approach.
Note: we are using a new commenting system, which may require you to create a new account.