Science nerds know Neil deGrasse Tyson for his passionate pursuit of all things outer space and of objective knowledge grounded in well-born facts.
For those of you less familiar, Dr. deGrasse Tyson is a Harvard-educated physicist who headed presidential commissions charged with charting a new American course for space exploration. He’s written numerous books and been on television shows featured around the world. And, he’s funny, too. He created StarTalk, a comedy-based podcast for people who don’t really dig science.
Over the years, deGrasse Tyson has recommended books that all children and adults should should read. We’ve compiled a list of those books for you.
|On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
In 2013, deGrasse Tyson told the New York Times that he’ll probably never write a children’s science book because he does not think he could ever top Frasier’s science writing.
|There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System by Tish Rabe
It might be Dr. Seuss, but the publishers sure were on the ball updating the book back when Pluto got demoted from its planet status.
|Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
It’s an all-time favorite novel for deGrasse Tyson – especially the misguided scientists who spent too much time looking for answers to all the wrong questions about life.
|Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Pinocchio was a read-aloud book in the deGrasse Tyson house for its strong message on what bad behavior looks like and why making better choices is important. Spoiler alert: Jiminy Cricket doesn’t last long in the original story.
|Mathematics and the Imagination by Edward Kasner and James Newman
Filled full of stories and puzzles, this oldie but goodie takes topics from pi to logarithms and boils them down to an understandable level that even young teens can grasp. As deGrasse Tyson said, this was one of the books that helped him understand “the general power of mathematics to decode the universe”.
|One, Two, Three . . . Infinity by George Gamow
Considered to be one of the most influential books he’s ever read, One, Two, Three is an easy-to-read, albeit a bit meandering, conversation-style book about math, science, its origins, and all kinds of curious questions physicists were grappling with 50 years ago.
In a well known Reddit Ask Me Anything session, deGrasse Tyson shared another list of books – this one for every single intelligent person on the planet. In sharing this list, he said, “If you read all of the works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”