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Jovianboy
2002-Oct-08, 06:42 AM
Recently bought the book; great stuff, /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif except...

A few years ago I read a fascinating book by the astrophysicist Dr John Gribbin called "The Birth of Time: How astronomers measured the age of the universe". I remember being very impressed with Gribbin's writing style, thinking he had found the perfect balance when dealing with his readership. He doesn't treat you like a complete layman with no knowledge of astronomy, and yet he avoids overly complex math and physics which would certainly alienate many people. I also thought that I might one day like to read some of his other works - especially his "A Life In Science" series (though I still haven't gotten around to it).

So imagine my shock and horror when, while reading the chapter in the THE BOOK which deals with the so-called planetary alignment disaster of 2000, I discover that one of the key proponents of this nonsense has been none other than - John Gribbin! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif ("The Jupiter Effect").

I haven't been able to get sufficient information through searching on the net, so somebody, please tell me that somehow there are TWO popular astronomy writers called John Gribbin.

I know that this is a long shot, and perhaps I might just have to deal with the fact that even a respectable astrophysicist can have severe fits of irrational thought. But who would publish such fits as a scientific text? (not just once, but TWICE? - "Beyond the Jupiter Effect")

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif Confused,

JB

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Oct-08, 09:51 AM
On 2002-10-08 02:42, Jovianboy wrote:
So imagine my shock and horror when, while reading the chapter in the THE BOOK which deals with the so-called planetary alignment disaster of 2000, I discover that one of the key proponents of this nonsense has been none other than - John Gribbin! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif ("The Jupiter Effect").
Same guy. Here's his homepage (http://www.biols.susx.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/), lots of great stuff--but it's in "hibernation". Long ago, he'd even answer emails.

If you read The Jupiter Effect, you'd realize that it's very similar to his other books. For instance, in Schrodinger's Kitten, he actually sifts through the evidence and research and speculation and declares what he believes is the real theory of the universe. He may be right.

But like everything else, you have to read with skepticism.

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Oct-08, 04:46 PM
Yup, it's the same guy. He is actually a very good writer. He is also on the board of the Skeptic's Society! Maybe someday I'll get the nerve to ask him about the Jupiter Effect.

Silas
2002-Oct-08, 08:59 PM
On 2002-10-08 12:46, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
Yup, it's the same guy. He is actually a very good writer. He is also on the board of the Skeptic's Society! Maybe someday I'll get the nerve to ask him about the Jupiter Effect.


The way I recall it, he had a notion about the Jupiter Effect, and mentioned it to someone, and the next thing he knows, his editor is demanding a book on the subject. He writes one, but it isn't sensational enough, so the editor has it re-written by another bloke, adding all sorts of sturm and drang. Gribbin ended up renouncing "his" own book, and certainly had backed off on the "effect" long before the date involved.

(I haven't met Gribbin, but I know his literary agent!)

And, yes, definitely: his serious science-fact writing is quite good. He's able to explain difficult concepts clearly enough for most anyone to grasp.

Silas

Jovianboy
2002-Oct-09, 02:38 AM
Thanks all (I think).

I guess I'll now be reading anything written by John Gribbin with a little more caution. Although what Silas says gives Gribbin back some credibility.

Cheers,

JB