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lolife
2004-Feb-06, 09:35 PM
This is a pet peeve: I see so many astronomical books with titles like "Modern Astrometry", "Modern Photometry", "Modern Cosmology", etc.

The word "modern" is a horrible word to put in the title of a book or paper. I can see why it is tempting. The temptation should be resisted for the obvious reason: what it modern at one time is not modern at a later time. For example, there is a book in my lab titled "Modern Astrometry". It was written in 1978. There is nothing modern about it. The field has advanced greatly in the 25 years since it was written.

Some may argue that the title, along with the date of publication, tells us what was "modern" at the time. That is almost logical but not quite. For example, in classical music we are stuck with a "Modern" era that according to many ends with Stravinsky, which is 100 years ago. Are we going to extend that modern era from then until infinity?

I hope people work a little harder coming up with a title that explains the content and context of their book or paper without resorting to using the word "modern".

Sparks
2004-Feb-06, 09:52 PM
So has anyone seen "Postmodern Astronomy" on a book title yet? :D

Normandy6644
2004-Feb-06, 10:38 PM
So has anyone seen "Postmodern Astronomy" on a book title yet? :D

Ha ha. very funny. =D>

Donnie B.
2004-Feb-08, 12:47 AM
In the spirit of helpfulness, let's come up with some alternative titles that lolife might like better.

"Astronomy 2004"
"Astronomy Today"
"Astronomy Tomorrow"
"Astronomy So Far"
"What We Know About the Heavens"
"The Universe, As We Understand It"
"What I Saw Through My Telescope"
"Skip the Book, Wait For the Movie"

......

ToSeek
2004-Feb-08, 02:36 AM
So has anyone seen "Postmodern Astronomy" on a book title yet? :D

It would probably explain that if your culture wants to believe that stars are tiny holes poked in the sky through which you can see heaven, then that's perfectly fine, and it's offensive to say otherwise.

Sparks
2004-Feb-08, 12:14 PM
It would probably explain that if your culture wants to believe that stars are tiny holes poked in the sky through which you can see heaven, then that's perfectly fine, and it's offensive to say otherwise.
I think that's "New Age Astronomy", isn't it? :D

milli360
2004-Feb-09, 04:40 AM
Having been to the near future a few times, I gotta say that my favorite astronomy book has been Fodor's Astronomy.

Diamond
2004-Feb-09, 08:56 AM
How about "That was the state of astronomy at the time it went to the publishers" ? 8)

daver
2004-Feb-09, 07:04 PM
In the spirit of helpfulness, let's come up with some alternative titles that lolife might like better.

"Astronomy 2004"
......

You left out the colon--it should be more like "ASTRONOMY: 1999", ideally in 3d in exagerrated perspective (so the initial A is taller than the final 9).

lolife
2004-Feb-15, 08:13 PM
How about "That was the state of astronomy at the time it went to the publishers" ? 8)

I've been thinking about this some more. The "Modern Whatever" title is a cop out in a lot of ways -- it avoids the nasty business of trying to think of a title that is actually meaningful. For example, you could say "Astrometric Techniques of the Late 1990's" -- that's another way of saying "Modern Astrometry" but it is also a bad title. We don't care about when we care about how or what. A better title (for this ficticious example) would be "Computational Techniques of Astrometry using 2-D Spline Fitting" or "A Review of Astrometric Techniques for the HST". Or how about "Automating Astrometric Solutions with the UCAC2 Catalog".

None of these titles are as tidy as "Modern Astrometry" but on the other hand they won't be wrong in 24 months.

darkhunter
2004-Feb-15, 08:47 PM
One of my books is titled Warfare Today. It has no copyright date or date of publication in it at all...

Tie in to the topic (thought I'd really gone off my rocker there, didn't you?): Going from the pictures of the equipment in the book, it dates from the early fifties if not the late forties. I can work this out because of haveing other history books and knowledge to draw upon, I can work out that the book is out of date. With Modern Astronomy and the like, you don't know how current the book is unless it had the copyright date and date of publication (which a lot of people don't even pay attention to) so you could have people mis-educated about the subject and not even know it....

edit: Part of my book collection consists of old science books and text books--it's fascinating to see how science has evolved over the years to make more sense of the universe around us...