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Neil deGrasse Tyson & # 39; s "Accessory to War": where "space scientists and space warriors" collide

Neil deGrasse Tyson & # 39; s "Accessory to War": where "space scientists and space warriors" collide

In pop culture there are two general stereotypes that the public has about scientists. There is the mad scientist of the comic strip and Hollywood fame, the cackling monster whose desire to overcome reality and life itself often drives him to discoveries that cause widespread destruction, including his own. Then there is the more positive image of the tweedy-nerd, whose enthusiasm for knowledge and discovery is sometimes disheartening, but often just contagious.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist who has become famous as a scientist and host of the reboot of Carl Sagans TV series & Cosmos, is perhaps the most famous living example of the second public image of a scientist. His nerdy exuberance is more than deserved by his breadth and depth of knowledge, not just about astrophysics, but about the history and culture of science. In his hands, science seems fun, cheerful and not at all threatening.

"The universe is both the ultimate limit and the highest of high grounds," Tyson and Lang write. "Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it is a laboratory for one and a battlefield for another."

The book describes the history of this entanglement between star-driven scientific research and the more direct on-the-spot continuation of warfare. As the authors explain, soldiers have been relying on astronomers since the beginning of history, depending on star maps to make maps that generals and especially sea captains use during combat. Since then, the world of astronomy and the world of war have spoken to each other and the people in each have worked closely together, relying on their shared need for everything from telescopes to GPS satellite technology to rockets.

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