View Full Version : Book Review: The Sky at Einstein's Feet

2006-May-02, 06:28 PM
SUMMARY: Thought experiments highlight people's power to perceive that which is not directly in front of their eyes. Light, that capricious, expansive particle-wave, stretches our perception to the roots of time. Yet astronomers can use the nuances of wily, scattering light to whittle an image of the universe, as shown in William Keel's book The Sky at Einstein's Feet. In it he shows that though the carving isn't complete, we are beginning to perceive a substantive structure of stars in the sky.

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2006-May-03, 02:28 PM
I have really enjoyed this book. It incapsulates many of the latests discoveries and gets the reader up-to-date; a reader who would otherwise have to spend hours pouring through abstracts to put together this solid of a picture of the cosmos.

There are interesting historical notes, and the author's personal involvement in some projects is an added bonus. Keel is very good about including the contributions of graduate students and others not always credited with the discovery process, and he does this without belaboring credit and ethic issues.

It is a little hard to determine who the audience is - most of the book is aimed at the general scientifically literate public, but it occassionally becomes a little technical. Anyone with a freshman understanding of astronomy should feel quite at home.

There are few typos, and fewer inaccuracies. It is a quick read, and my only disappointment is that it left me hungry for more.

Oh, and near the conclusion, there is a quote from a vocal Einstein critic, who ah, needs to go to work on a rebuttal.

It will not be easy.

2006-May-03, 05:06 PM
A grand book illuminating our understanding of the cosmos, and the amazing techniques used in an array of astronomical observations. Over 100 topics are addressed in a concise and clear style that managed to hold my attention and not leave me hanging, even for the more difficult subjects. Many images are incorporated to help in his subject presentation, and some are used to help build on the wonderful historical perspective inherent in astronomy.

Keel also adds warmth to his book by often giving short and personal stories of some specific men and women dedicated to astronomy and physics, as well as, on occasion, share some of his own personal and interesting experiences. As an amateur, I was not overwhelmed with any complicated presentations thanks to his careful explanations of even the tough, thought provoking topics. I definitely recommend this book to any who are hungry to go a little deeper in getting to know how astronomers have been able to ascertain so many new truths about our universe that once stood before Einstein, and now stands before you and me .

I too am left hungry for more. Perhaps heliochromology will be included in his next book to add even more color. :)

2006-May-04, 03:08 PM
But don't just take their words for it - go get a copy and see for yourself!:lol:

(I would recommend this even if the 17-year-old's truck hadn't had a water pump go out, taking the engine with it, and if insurance had fully covered the damage from a burst water pipe in the kitchen...)

I'm blushing from some of Jerry Jensen's phrases, which I take as high praise indeed... :o