How many of us can trace an interest in space back to Neil deGrasse Tyson? Known as the Carl Sagan of our generation, his version of Cosmos captured our imagination with the wonders of stars, planets, and galaxies. In honour of the holiday season, the science communicator has shared his holiday gift guide for every type of space nerd. This list features some of his best work, sure to win a permanent place in the hearts and shelves of your loved ones.
For the precocious child
We all have that little cousin who is always filled with questions and quips. It’s so easy to be curious about space; nurture that interest in them with one of NDT’s books for young readers. Consider “Astrophysics For Young People In A Hurry” for anyone aged seven to 12, or the Young Readers Edition of the popular StarTalk book.
For the history nerd
You wouldn’t expect to draw parallels between outer space and the military, but that’s precisely what you’ll find in the 500-page “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military.” This book is perfect for those who consider “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” child’s play.
Now, if they’re the kind of history buff whose eyes light up at the mention of conspiracies and scandals, they may enjoy “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favourite Planet.” It is a “first-hand account of its demotion,” towards which Neil deGrasse Tyson famously lent a hand.
For the visual learner
Here’s to the friend who never reads but watches everything voraciously. Gift them Neil deGrasse Tyson’s insightful guidance for Christmas. We’re talking about the six-part video for The Great Courses series: “The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries,” that runs the gamut from the behaviour of quarks to the birth of entire galaxies. It’s available via The Great Courses, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
For the curious cat
“Letters from an Astrophysicist” compiles NDT’s advice and correspondence with people from all walks of life over the years. Here, he answers questions ranging from aliens, to God, to the meaning of life, to raising children. It allows any reader to see the world through the eyes of an astrophysicist — which can be pretty cool.
For the self-professed expert
What do you get the space nerd who’s seen all the videos and read all the books? The key to unlock the next level, of course. In “Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour“, Neil deGrasse Tyson collaborates with Michael A. Strauss and J. Richard Gott to present a “personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists.” This book is based on an introductory course they taught in Princeton, so you can expect it to dive deeper than your average read.
For the StarTalk fan
NDT’s StarTalk radio show explores science through the lens of pop culture and comedy. As the host himself put it, it’s a show about “Everything under the sun; Or rather under the universe!” for an audience of “All the people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science.” If you know a family or friend obsessed with this show, shop some StarTalk merch here. Options include a nebula phone case and face mask emblazoned with the quote “Science is true whether or not you believe in it.”
Alternatively, the first StarTalk book is an extremely giftable classic because, as NDT says, “National Geographic published it.”
For the Neil deGrasse Tyson die-hard
“Let’s Make America Smart Again” and “I love the smell of the universe in the morning” are just a couple of Neil deGrasse Tyson gems that deserve to be immortalised. Since the die-hard fan would already have all his books, maybe get them a t-shirt with one of his famous quotes. Bonus: Portions of proceeds from t-shirt sales go to not-for-profit organisations that foster science literacy. We promise they’ll love that.