Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military

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An exploration of the age-old complicity between skywatchers and warfighters, from the most productive-selling writer of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

In this fascinating foray into the centuries-old relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and author-researcher Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. “The overlap is strong, and the knowledge flows in both directions,” say the authors, because astrophysicists and military planners care about most of the same things: multi-spectral detection, ranging, tracking, imaging, high ground, nuclear fusion, and get right of entry to to space. Tyson and Lang call it a “curiously complicit” alliance. “The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds,” they write. “Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it’s a laboratory for one and a battlefield for the other. The explorer wants to know it; the soldier wants to dominate it. But without the right technology―which is kind of the same technology for both parties―no one can get to it, operate in it, scrutinize it, dominate it, or use it to their advantage and any individual else’s disadvantage.”

Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power so that you can introduce Tyson’s millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.


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