PDA

View Full Version : How can I catch up with you guys(and girls)?



mikeumus
2008-Mar-25, 11:51 PM
Any books, places to go, things to do? I'd like to gain an edge and be able to converse freely in this forum and outside of it as well.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Casus_belli
2008-Mar-26, 12:11 AM
Stellarium is a very nice easy to use and most importantly free virtual planetarium

stellarium.org

I suppose it all depends on what you want to do. If you are just starting in astronomy then best bet is to get a pair of binoculars 7 X 50 or 10 X 50 are ideal.

Ideal starter book is "Turn left at Orion"

Join a local astronomy club. Most astronomers are only too happy to let other people have a look.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-26, 12:15 AM
Welcome! Read the rules and stay awhile.

The first thing you must know is that not everyone here is particularly versed in astronomy. I won't say I know the least of anyone around here, but I most assuredly don't know much. There are a lot of us like that. You don't have to be an expert to get along quite well here; the amateur with interesting questions is valued as well, provided it's an amateur with a wish to learn.

Second, to know where you can go depends a great deal on where you are! I can name you off a few good observatories and museums, but it won't help a lick to tell you to visit, say, the Griffith Observatory in LA (if they've finished remodeling, which I'm not sure they have) if you live in, say, Kentucky. Or Australia.

Third, while I'm hardly the best person to advise you on books, I will hazard to suggest two. One, of course, is Bad Astronomy, by our own beloved administrator, Phil Plait. The other is Don't Know Much About the Universe, by Kenneth C. Davis. I don't know how amateur you are, of course, but if you're as much a beginner as I, it's a good place to start.

mikeumus
2008-Mar-26, 12:20 AM
Thanks, I live in Princeton, NJ and am going to Cali this summer, so I just might be able to make it to the Griffith Observatory. Thanks for the advice.

:)

laurele
2008-Mar-26, 04:56 AM
Thanks, I live in Princeton, NJ and am going to Cali this summer, so I just might be able to make it to the Griffith Observatory. Thanks for the advice.

:)

I'm nearby in central New Jersey and belong to a terrific astronomy club, Amateur Astronomers, Inc. (AAI) in Cranford, NJ (Union County). The club has its own observatory, including a library of astronomy books, at Union County College and weekly Friday night talks. Everybody is very friendly and welcoming. Non-members are welcome to attend the talks although you might be recruited to join. More information on AAI can be found at http://www.asterism.org

Tim Thompson
2008-Mar-26, 05:55 AM
Any books, places to go, things to do? I'd like to gain an edge and be able to converse freely in this forum and outside of it as well.
It depends on (a) where are you now and (b) where do you want to go, astronomically speaking? Are you already an amateur astronomer? Do you have a telescope, binoculars, or anything like that? High School student? College student? Out of school? Old? Young? In between? Are you more interested in the observing side, or the technical side? I know a lot of astronomers who are really more interested in making telescopes than looking through them. Are you more interested in planets, stars, galaxies, cosmology? Everything? Certainly the Bad Astronomers book is a god place to start.


... Griffith Observatory in LA (if they've finished remodeling, which I'm not sure they have) ...

Thanks, I live in Princeton, NJ and am going to Cali this summer, so I just might be able to make it to the Griffith Observatory. ...
Griffith Observatory (http://www.griffithobs.org/) finished its renovations over a year ago. For the first year access was limited by shuttle bus, but that has been stopped. You can drive up to the observatory, but don't expect to park in close, it's a popular place with a small parking lot. Check their visiting the observatory (http://www.griffithobservatory.org/vshuttle.html) page for map, directions, hours (they are closed on Mondays). Also be aware that the Greek Theater (http://www.greektheatrela.com/) will be busy during the summer, and the crowds can really tie up traffic, especially along the front way to the observatory on Vermont, so you might want to take the back way up along Fern Dell & Western Canyon Rd. (see the map on the visiting page). Lots of nice exhibits, and a very nice 12-inch Zeiss refractor (http://www.griffithobservatory.org/btelescopes.html#zeiss). If you time your trip for a 1st quarter moon, you can even be there for the monthly public star party (see the star party schedule (http://www.griffithobservatory.org/pstarparties.html)).

The Los Angeles Astronomical Society (http://www.laas.org/) meets monthly at GO in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater (http://www.griffithobservatory.org/bnimoy.html), on the 2nd Monday of the month. The observatory and meeting are not open to the public, unfortunately, but we do let a few guests in so visit the meeting if you are around on a 2nd monday. Or drop by the Garvey Ranch Observatory (http://www.laas.org/Resources.htm) any Wednesday evening if you are in LA on a Wednesday.

I can also recommend a visit to the most famous observatory in the world, Mt. Wilson Observatory (http://www.mtwilson.edu/), in the mountains above L.A. During the summer there is a free walking tour (http://www.mtwilson.edu/pub/index.php) of the observatory grounds on Saturday & Sunday at 1 PM. Of course, California is also home to Palomar (http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/) & Lick Observatory (http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/), so there is no shortage of astronomy & observatories out here.

JimJast
2008-Mar-26, 08:10 AM
Wikipedia is my favorite since if you don't know something it is usually only one click away and you can learn about this too and then come back to the main subject.

You have to be aware though that not everything it is written there is true (e.g. "gravitation" isn't since guys there prefer the Newtonian gravitaton and it is really Einsteinian) but over 99% is the best knowledge available. And you may start anywhere in Wikipedia, e.g. here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_star

And when in doubt you may always ask an expert in BAUT Forum.

aurora
2008-Mar-28, 06:43 PM
You could sign up for a 100 level astronomy course at your local community college.

Also see if your local astro club ever has guest speakers, or star parties.

KaiYeves
2008-Mar-28, 09:14 PM
Just talk and don't be afraid to ask for explanations. I've learned a lot here.

Mr Q
2008-Mar-28, 11:29 PM
Hi Mikeumus and welcome to the forum! I agree with the other replies, just ask questions. Whether simple or complex, it does not matter. A nice web site to go to for beginner basics is "SkyTonight.com" Lots of usefull info that's easy to read/understand. For monthly sky maps, go to "skymaps.com" and print out the month's map. Each has binocular and small scope objects located on the map for easy observing. Hope the info helps for starters, Mr Q:)

mugaliens
2008-Mar-29, 03:33 PM
Just talk and don't be afraid to ask for explanations. I've learned a lot here.

I've walked into my fair share of astronomy sights (mainly vis scopes) and as soon as the GIC (guy in charge) was aware of my interest, I was given the grand tour, including observing the heavens.

I've done this eight times, and have never been turned down once.

On two occasions I asked to pull a full shift. The prof said "sure, why not?" found me a cot (seems to be a sign of nighttime astronomy, not that I used it... ...ok, for a couple of hours - we humans do sleep!)

On both occasions they taught me their observation cycles, which were far different than what I thought they would be. I thought they would be looking at stars. No. They would be looking at everything but stars. Satellites, the Moon, Jupiter's moons...

The stars? Heaven's, no! Ironic, isn't it.

Still, it was a lot of fun for an amerature astronomer.

Cougar
2008-Mar-30, 12:37 AM
If it's books you want, pick any of these:


# The Cosmic Blueprint, New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability to Order the Universe [1988] -- Paul Davies

# The Red Limit [1977]-- Timothy Ferris

# Coming of Age in the Milky Way -- Timothy Ferris

# The Mind's Sky, Human Intelligence in a Cosmic Context -- Timothy Ferris

# The Key to the Universe [1977] -- Nigel Calder

# QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter -- Richard Feynman

# Surely Your Joking, Mr. Feynman! -- Richard Feynman

# What Do You Care What Other People Think? -- Richard Feynman

# Cosmic Catastrophes [1989] -- Clark Chapman, David Morrison

# Searching For Certainty, What Scientists Can Know About the Future [1990] -- John L. Casti

# Dreams of a Final Theory [1992] -- Steven Weinberg

# The Cosmic Code [1982] -- Heinz Pagels

# God and the New Physics -- Paul Davies

# The God Particle, If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? [1993] -- Leon Lederman with Dick Teresi

# Genius, The Life and Science of Richard Feynman [1995] -- James Gleick

# At Home in the Universe, The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity [1995] -- Stuart Kauffman

# The Origin of The Universe [1994] -- John D. Barrow

# The Quark and the Jaguar, Adventures in the Simple and the Complex [1995] -- Murray Gell-Mann

# The Last Three Minutes, Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe [1994] -- Paul Davies

# The Nemesis Affair, A Story of the Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science [1986] -- David M. Raup

# Cosmic Coincidences, Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology [1989] --
John Gribbin and Martin Rees

# The Collapse of Chaos, Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World [1994] -- Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart

# The Milky Way, Fifth Edition [1941-1981] -- Bart Bok, Priscilla Bok

# A Hundred Billion Stars [1984] -- Mario Rigutti

# The Lighter Side of Gravity [1982] -- Jayant V. Narlikar

# Chaos in the Cosmos [1996] -- Barry Parker

# A Brief History of Time -- Stephen Hawking

# Black Holes and Baby Universes [1993] -- Stephen Hawking

# Exploring the Galaxies [1976] -- Simon Mitton

# The Three Big Bangs, Comet Crashes, Exploding Stars,
and the Creation of the Universe [1996] -- Dauber and Muller

# Mysteries of the Milky Way [1991] -- Goldsmith and Cohen

# The Edges of Science [1990] -- Richard Morris

# The Privilege of Being a Physicist [1989] -- Victor Weisskopf

# Feynman's Lost Lecture [1996]

# Cosmic Rays, Tracking Particles From Outer Space [1989] -- Michael Friedlander

# Quarks, The Stuff of Matter [1983] -- Harald Fritzsch

# How Nature Works, The Science of Self-Organized Criticality [1996] -- Per Bak

# In The Beginning, After COBE and Before The Big Bang [1993] -- John Gribbin

# The Secret Melody [1995] -- Trinh Xuan Thuan

# Neils Bohr, A Centenary Volume [1985] -- French and Kennedy, eds.

# The Particle Garden, Our Universe as Understood by Particle Physicists [1995] -- Gordon Kane

# The Edge of the Unknown, 101 Things You Don't Know About Science And No One Else Does Either [1996] -- James Trefil

# Einstein's Legacy -- Julian Schwinger

# The Whole Shebang, A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report [1997] -- Timothy Ferris

# Creation, The Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe [1988] -- Barry Parker

# In Quest of Quasars, An Introduction to Stars and Starlike Objects [1969] -- Ben Bova

# The Twin Dimensions, Inventing Time & Space [1986] -- Geza Szamosi

# Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb

# Heisenberg Probably Slept Here, The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Greatest Physicists of the 20th Century [1997] -- Richard P. Brennan

# Beyond the Known Universe, From Dwarf Stars to Quasars [1974] -- I.M. Levitt

# The Dark Side of the Universe [1988] -- James Trefil

# Perfect Symmetry [1985] -- Heinz Pagels

# The Very First Light, The True Inside Story of the Scientific Journey Back to the Dawn of the Universe [1996] -- John C. Mather and John Boslough

# The First Three Minutes, A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe [1977] -- Steven Weinberg

# Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers [1949] -- Max Planck

# The Cosmos from Space [1987] -- David H. Clark

# Rain of Iron and Ice, the very real threat of comet and asteroid bombardment [1996] -- John S. Lewis

# Worlds Unnumbered, the Search for Extrasolar Planets [1997] -- Donald Goldsmith

# Why People Believe Weird Things, pseudoscience, superstition, and other confusions of our time [1997] -- Michael Shermer

# The Threat and the Glory [1959-90] -- Peter B. Medawar

# Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid [1979] -- Douglas Hofstadter

# The Inflationary Universe, the quest for a new theory of cosmic origins [1997] -- Alan H. Guth

# Wrinkles in Time [1993] -- George Smoot, Keay Davidson

# The Meaning of It All, Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist [1998] -- Richard P. Feynman

# The Light at the Edge of the Universe [1993] -- Michael D. Lemonick

# Chaos and Harmony [2001] -- Trinh Xuan Thuan

# The Fifth Miracle, The Search for the Origin of Life [1998] -- Paul Davies

# Paradigms Regained, A Further Exploration of the Mysteries of Modern Science [2000] -- John Casti

# The Essence of Chaos [1993] -- Edward N. Lorenz

# Thinking in Complexity, The Complex Dynamics of Matter, Mind, and Mankind - 3rd Ed. [1997] -- Klaus Mainzer

# The Social Meaning of Modern Biology, From Social Darwinism to Sociobiology [1986] -- Howard L. Kaye

# Origins of Life [1985] -- Freeman Dyson

# In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks [1997] -- Gerard 't Hooft

# The Large, the Small and the Human Mind [1997] -- Roger Penrose

# Beyond the Black Hole, Stephen Hawking's Universe [1985] -- John Boslough

# The Thermodynamics of Pizza, Essays on Science and Everyday Life [1991] -- Harold J. Morowitz

# Billions and Billions, Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millenium [1997] -- Carl Sagan

# Beyond the Quantum Paradox [1994] -- Lazar Mayants

# Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond

# Einstein, A Centenary Volume, [1979] -- A.P. French, ed.

# Science and Beyond [1986] -- Steven Rose and Lisa Appignanesi, eds.

# Science a la Mode, Physical Fashions and Fictions [1989] -- Tony Rothman

# Goodbye, Descartes, The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind [1997] --Keith Devlin

# The Runaway Universe, the Race to Find the Future of the Cosmos [2000] -- Donald Goldsmith

# General Relativity From A to B [1978] -- Robert Geroch

# Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics [1985] -- Nick Herbert

# Science, Computers, and People, From the Tree of Mathematics [1986] -- Stanislaw Ulam; Marc C. Reynolds, Gian-Carlo Rota, Eds.

# A Tour of the Calculus [1995] -- David Berlinski

# A Beautiful Mind, The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash [1998] -- Sylvia Nasar

# Euler, The Master of Us All [1999] -- William Dunham

# Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times [2000] -- Steve Fuller

# The Fabric of the Cosmos; Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality [2004] -- Brian Greene

# The Life of the Cosmos [1997] -- Lee Smolin

# The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell

# Galaxies and Quasars [1979] -- William J. Kaufman

# Conflict in the Cosmos, Fred Hoyle's Life in Science [2005] -- Simon Mitton

# Big Bang, the origin of the universe [2004] -- by Simon Singh

# How The Universe Got Its Spots, Diary of a finite time in a finite space [2002] -- Janna Levin

# From Quarks to the Cosmos, Tools of Discovery [1995] -- Leon Lederman, David Schramm

# The Big Questions, Probing the promise and limits of science [2002] -- Richard Morris

# Alpha and Omega, The search for the beginning and end of the universe [2004] -- Charles Seife

# Supersymmetry, Unveiling the ultimate laws of nature [2000] -- Gordon Kane

# Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein's Outrageous Legacy [1994] -- Kip Thorne

# The Universe, the 11th Dimension, and Everything, What we know and how we know it [1999] -- Richard Morris

# Faster, The Acceleration of Just about Everything [2000] -- James Gleick

# Before the Beginning, Our Universe and Others [1997] -- Martin Rees

# The Life of the Cosmos [1999] -- Lee Smolin

# The Cosmic Landscape String theory and the illusion of intelligent design [2006] -- Leonard Susskind

# Chasing Hubble's Shadows, The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time [2006] -- Jeff Kanipe

# Cosmic Clouds: Birth, death, and recycling in the galaxy [1997] -- James Kaler

# Many Worlds in One [2006] -- Alex Vilenkin

# Endless Universe, Beyond the Big Bang [2007] -- Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok

# Origins: How the Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe Began [2006] -- by Stephen Eales

# Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos [1995] -- by Robert Osserman

# Extreme Stars, At the Edge of Creation [2001] -- by James Kaler

Vanamonde
2008-Mar-30, 08:58 AM
Whoa, Cougar! Going gangbusters here! And I think that number six (on QED) should be read after a little more background is aquired!

It might have been John Varley who say, "I have not read Asmiov's explanation of that, so I really don't understand it yet". Asmiov had a wonder great gift to explain science and I would recommend much of his non-fiction, although a lot of it may be dated now <sigh>. And Scientific American magazine.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-30, 05:57 PM
Yeah, some of those are a little out of my league. And it's hard to narrow down a first few choices from a list of over 100. And it's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.

speedfreek
2008-Mar-30, 06:19 PM
I'm currently working my way through #94 on that list and can heartily recommend it!

Steve Limpus
2008-Mar-30, 06:52 PM
I'm currently working my way through #94 on that list and can heartily recommend it!

I have it on almost permanent loan - the librarian must be close to coming to my house to get it back!

I've started three or four books since, tossed them and gone back to this one. Not every one likes string theorists but Brian Greene rocks. (He also hangs out with deGrasse-Tyson, so can't be all bad...) :)

Cougar
2008-Mar-30, 10:45 PM
I think that number six (on QED) should be read after a little more background is aquired!

No, actually, Feynman's QED is written for a general audience, and it is quite accessible to the non-physicist. According to Feynman, to learn QED you have two choices: you can go through seven years of physics education or read this book.


And it's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.
Your kidding. :o :shhh:

grant hutchison
2008-Mar-30, 10:57 PM
And it's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.I had to go and check my copy, but (of course :)) you're right: the period on the "Mr" is there. it seems to be a US/UK thing. Over here we don't generally put periods after contractions.

Grant Hutchison

Gillianren
2008-Mar-30, 11:05 PM
I had to go and check my copy, but (of course :)) you're right: the period on the "Mr" is there. it seems to be a US/UK thing. Over here we don't generally put periods after contractions.

If it were used as a proper contraction, it would be written "M'r," of course. It is considered an abbreviation, I believe.

grant hutchison
2008-Mar-30, 11:21 PM
If it were used as a proper contraction, it would be written "M'r," of course. It is considered an abbreviation, I believe.On this side of the Atlantic, many style books (Times, Fowler's, Hart's) make a distinction between an abbreviation, in which the final letters of the word are omitted, and a contraction, in which the final letter of the word is retained. The former takes a period, and the latter does not.
So we abbreviate Professor as "Prof." but we contract Mister as "Mr".

Grant Hutchison

Vanamonde
2008-Mar-31, 05:29 AM
mikeumus, astronomy is such a huge subject - what are you most interested in? What is currently boggling your brain?

mugaliens
2008-Mar-31, 11:29 AM
Any books, places to go, things to do? I'd like to gain an edge and be able to converse freely in this forum and outside of it as well.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

WIKIPEDIA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe)!

Guess what? It's FREE.

Have at it.

mugaliens
2008-Mar-31, 11:35 AM
If it's books you want, pick any of these...

Where in the world did you come up with that list, Cougar? Wow. Impressive! Are they all on your shelf, or were most downloaded off of some website?

No disrespect! I'm just admiring the list!

That's quite a list! I wish I had 10% of those titles on my shelf. Perhaps I ought to start building a better shelf!

geonuc
2008-Mar-31, 02:26 PM
That is an impressive list. I counted - I've only read nine of those books.

Cougar
2008-Mar-31, 03:05 PM
Where in the world did you come up with that list, Cougar? Wow. Impressive! Are they all on your shelf, or were most downloaded off of some website?
Some years ago, as I was cranking through a crossword puzzle, I thought, "What the heck good is this? I might as well spend my time learning something." So by chance I picked up James Gleick's Chaos (I didn't list that one since it's not astro-related). Anyway, I was hooked. So I found Complexity, Life at the Edge of Chaos [1992] -- Roger Lewin; Complexification -- John Casti; The Science of Fractal Images -- Peitgen, Saupe, eds.; and maybe a couple others about complex systems, but books about that field ran out pretty quickly. I stopped by the Cal Tech bookstore and picked up Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe, which is ground-breaking complex adaptive systems theory but actually more biology-related. Then I wondered what had been found out lately in astronomy and cosmology. Well, ha, quite a bit. And what's going on with this quantum physics? There is no shortage of books about that. The rest is history.

Very few of those books are on my shelf. Most were from the library. Nowadays, I scan the library shelves not looking so much at the authors or titles but at how new the book looks.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-31, 05:45 PM
WIKIPEDIA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe)!

Guess what? It's FREE.

Have at it.

But most of the subjects discussed here are far too complex for a Wikipedia article to cover well enough for the answer to be really right. Further, while just about everyone here has thus far agreed that Wikipedia is a good starting place, it should never be the source of all the research you're planning to do in order to really understand a subject. Library books are free, too, you know.

closetgeek
2008-Apr-03, 03:17 PM
14,28, and 79, from experience, are definitely newb friendly reading. Well The God Particle, I tried to remain rather close to internet access, when reading, so on occassion, I could get a clearer understanding of little things here or there. I suggest taking notes on that one too, if you are anywhere near as newbish as I. Welcome and enjoy yourself. I also might add, a book my sister got me as a joke The Idiots Guide to Theories of the Universe.

Neverfly
2008-Apr-03, 03:23 PM
But most of the subjects discussed here are far to complex for a Wikipedia article to cover well enough for the answer to be really right. Further, while just about everyone here has thus far agreed that Wikipedia is a good starting place, it should never be the source of all the research you're planning to do in order to really understand a subject. Library books are free, too, you know.

You mean "too complex" right?

Cougar
2008-Apr-03, 03:48 PM
14,28, and 79, from experience, are definitely newb friendly reading....
Yes, Lederman's The God Particle is one of the best. Of course, he is a physicist and experimentalist (Nobel prize winner, Director of Fermilab, etc.) and has a lot of fun with the experimentalist-theorist rivalry. Very funny, entertaining read, plus he follows through on the book's stated intent....



"We will chronicle the construction of the standard model, which contains all the elementary particles needed to make all the matter in the universe, past or present, plus the forces that act upon these particles."

I do not heartily recommend Hawking. He's a remarkable scientist, but not really that great a writer. I do heartily recommend....



Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb

The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell

Alpha and Omega, The search for the beginning and end of the universe [2004] -- Charles Seife

Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein's Outrageous Legacy [1994] -- Kip Thorne

Chasing Hubble's Shadows, The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time [2006] -- Jeff Kanipe

Well, so many more. And apart from astronomy/cosmology, if you have not yet read the following book, I think it is so good and so illuminating upon matters considerably closer to more proximate concerns, it really must be read before all others....



Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond

Cougar
2008-Apr-03, 03:49 PM
14,28, and 79, from experience, are definitely newb friendly reading....
Yes, Lederman's The God Particle is one of the best. Of course, he is a physicist and experimentalist (Nobel prize winner, Director of Fermilab, etc.) and has a lot of fun with the experimentalist-theorist rivalry. Very funny, entertaining read, plus he follows through on the book's stated intent....



"We will chronicle the construction of the standard model, which contains all the elementary particles needed to make all the matter in the universe, past or present, plus the forces that act upon these particles."

I do not heartily recommend Hawking. He's a remarkable scientist, but not really that great a writer. I do heartily recommend....



Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb

The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell

Alpha and Omega, The search for the beginning and end of the universe [2004] -- Charles Seife

Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein's Outrageous Legacy [1994] -- Kip Thorne

Chasing Hubble's Shadows, The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time [2006] -- Jeff Kanipe

Well, so many more. And apart from astronomy/cosmology, if you have not yet read the following book, I think it is so good and so illuminating upon matters considerably closer to more proximate concerns, it really must be read before all others....



Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond

Cougar
2008-Apr-03, 03:50 PM
14,28, and 79, from experience, are definitely newb friendly reading....
Yes, Lederman's The God Particle is one of the best. Of course, he is a physicist and experimentalist (Nobel prize winner, Director of Fermilab, etc.) and has a lot of fun with the experimentalist-theorist rivalry. Very funny, entertaining read, plus he follows through on the book's stated intent....



"We will chronicle the construction of the standard model, which contains all the elementary particles needed to make all the matter in the universe, past or present, plus the forces that act upon these particles."

I do not heartily recommend Hawking. He's a remarkable scientist, but not really that great a writer. I do heartily recommend....



Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb

The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell

Alpha and Omega, The search for the beginning and end of the universe [2004] -- Charles Seife

Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein's Outrageous Legacy [1994] -- Kip Thorne

Chasing Hubble's Shadows, The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time [2006] -- Jeff Kanipe

Well, so many more. And apart from astronomy/cosmology, if you have not yet read the following book, I think it is so good and so illuminating upon matters considerably closer to more proximate concerns, it really must be read before all others....



Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond

Gillianren
2008-Apr-03, 04:02 PM
You mean "too complex" right?

I do. Thank you; I'll go back and fix it.

John Mendenhall
2008-Apr-03, 04:32 PM
than the books, are any of the good astronomy magazines. Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, etc., there are many. Science News and New Scientist also have many astronomy articles. And of course UT itself. A word of caution; all the popular publications, including regretably S&T, can be sensationalistic when they shouldn't be, just to increase circulation. However, with the demise of the Weekly World News, we can no longer keep track of the alien's relations with the U.S. government, but that's probably an improvement.

cjl
2008-Apr-03, 05:31 PM
Well, so many more. And apart from astronomy/cosmology, if you have not yet read the following book, I think it is so good and so illuminating upon matters considerably closer to more proximate concerns, it really must be read before all others....


Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond

That is definitely a wonderful book - really goes into depth on the development of technology in society, and the reasons for the success or failure of civilization in various regions. If you enjoy that one, Diamond's Collapse is a pretty good one too - I'm reading it right now. Rather than focusing on the rise of technology, it looks at failed societies and the reasons for their failure (Anasazi, Maya, Easter Island, etc). Very interesting read.

jlhredshift
2008-Apr-03, 05:47 PM
Well, Cougar I have 28 that are on your list and two that are on my wish list. I would like to point out to Mikeumus that everyone's list will be different, choose what interests you, it will make it fun.

I am reminded of a story told by Joseph Campbell when he was giving the first day of a course's introduction and was explaining the handouts. When he came to the, rather extensive, suggested reading list a lady raised her hand and proclaimed "I work full time, which is why I am taking this night course, and there is no way I can read all these." Campbell responded, "My dear, this is not a list just for this course, it is a list for the rest of your life."

Ahh...so many books, so little time!

Cougar
2008-Apr-03, 09:28 PM
Thanks, CJ and JLH. Alas, if I could only remember 1% of the detailed content of those books.... :sad:

jlhredshift
2008-Apr-03, 09:57 PM
Thanks, CJ and JLH. Alas, if I could only remember 1% of the detailed content of those books.... :sad:

A lot of times I feel satisfied if I can remember which book whatever was in so that I can find it and reread the salient material. I remember one time I was trying to find a particular quote and spent an inordinate amount of time going through the book I thought it was in. The next day I was about to put the book back on the shelf and give up, assuming my memory was faulty and that I had the wrong book, when I flipped it open and there was the quote in the introduction, written by a different author. Grrrr...!!

Cougar
2008-Apr-04, 01:14 AM
I remember one time I was trying to find a particular quote....
When I used to have time, I would transcribe four, five, or six of my favorite quotes out of a book. So when Leon Lederman had a great realization and needed some equipment to test his idea....


"By 8 P.M. we were disassembling the apparatus of one very confused and upset graduate student. Marcel saw his Ph.D. thesis experiment being taken apart!"

jlhredshift
2008-Apr-04, 01:40 AM
When I used to have time, I would transcribe four, five, or six of my favorite quotes out of a book. So when Leon Lederman had a great realization and needed some equipment to test his idea....


"By 8 P.M. we were disassembling the apparatus of one very confused and upset graduate student. Marcel saw his Ph.D. thesis experiment being taken apart!"

Well, there you go, proof that mass production allows interchangeable parts from the "Standard Model". The tolerance is probably within 1/137th.

hockeyref88
2008-Apr-13, 11:14 PM
Ok............. Never posted before so now is as good a time as any. I've had UT as my home page forever although I just checked out the forum recently. I always felt like I was a amateur astronomer as I have a 8" goto telescope, 2 pair binoculars. Probably 40 or so of the books mentioned earlier. Subscriptions to Astronomy, S&T, and Astronomy Now and the Night sky software for my laptop. However.....................I am only a high school grad with no knowledge of physics or chemistry. Its easy to be the smartist guy around my friends but when I'm on here I feel like a first grader................ I am totally fascinated with every thing I'm reading on here though.:clap:

Cheers
Rick

George
2008-Apr-13, 11:29 PM
Welcome, hockeyref88. Glad you jumped onboard. If you have read half of those 40 books from Cougar's list, you are ahead of most of us. As for the others you don't have, would you like Cougar to give you a report on each? ;)

hockeyref88
2008-Apr-13, 11:45 PM
Thanks for the welcome. that is some list.

RalofTyr
2008-Apr-15, 12:34 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XWD6DR4ML._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg