Launch Scientific Thought with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Tefil’s ‘Cosmic Queries’ [REVIEW]

Orion Nebula in the Galaxy
Orion Nebula in the Galaxy (Photo courtesy Canva)

As a boy, I fell in love with the stars. My grandfather had given me a book about astronomy, and I had fun gazing up at the heavens trying to locate the different constellations depicted within its pages. But the more I looked upward, the more questions I had. Just how vast is the Milky Way? Is there life on other planets? And what would it be like to visit places like Jupiter or Saturn?

Obviously, I’m not the only one with these questions, or else astrophysicists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and academics like James Trefil would probably be out of a job. Fortunately for us, they have now joined forces to write Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. In this fascinating volume from National Geographic, they address many of our burning questions about space and the universe around us.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Trefil's COSMIC QUERIES
National Geographic

As we have come to expect from Nat Geo, this book is chock full of wonderful facts to expand our comprehension about the universe. Broken down into 10 chapters, the authors shed light on everything from our place in the universe, how old it is, and our place in it, to what life is and where the future will take us. The book is also loaded with fabulous illustrations, including maps, vivid photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, to artist’s renderings of historical figures like Galileo, DNA strands, and how matter and antimatter mirror one another.

Fans of StarTalk are familiar with Tyson’s humor and easy, engaging delivery, which have helped make the show a hit. He also has a knack for breaking down science into digestible bites of information that the general population can consume and digest. It should come as no surprise, then, that Cosmic Queries is written in a similar tone. The authors make sure that everyone from a middle schooler to an adult can read this book without feeling overwhelmed. Sure, it is a lot of ground to cover seeing as they delve deeply into the sciences, but it remains entertaining as well as educational. Also, it serves as a good reference guide to keep on the shelf should you want to refer back to it for homework projects or just to keep your own gray cells active.

Is this book comprehensive or on the collegiate level for the future scientist? Probably not. But Cosmic Queries is a phenomenal launch pad to inspire scientific thought and spawn countless conversations with your friends and family as we deliberate where the human race and the planet is headed and whether or not we can expect to survive the changes yet to come.

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About the authors banner

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

He is the author of more than a dozen books, many of them international bestsellers, and numerous articles, both scholarly and for the general public.

He is the host of the popular podcast StarTalk and of two seasons of Cosmos, televised by Fox and National Geographic.

He has received 21 honorary doctorates as well as NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.

He and his wife live in New York City.

For more information about Neil, visit or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
(Photo by, Inc.)

James Trefil, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University, is internationally recognized as an expert in making complex scientific ideas comprehensible.

He is the author of numerous books and magazine articles on science for the general public, including National Geographic’s Space Atlas and The Story of Innovation.

He and his wife live in Fairfax, Virginia.

For more information about James, visit

By Neil DeGrasse Tyson with James Trefil
312 pp. National Geographic. $30.

James Trefil in his office in 2001.
James Trefil in his office in 2001.
(Photo by Creative Services, George Mason University)
TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Purchase Cosmic Queries direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

Cosmic Queries is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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