Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 62

Thread: Popular Astronomy/Astrophysics Books

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487

    Popular Astronomy/Astrophysics Books

    I'm in desperate need of books to read regarding the title subject. Most of my reading has been in particle physics and cosmology -- the large and the small -- with little of the stuff in between. What are some recommendations at the popular level for this subject?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    What are some recommendations at the popular level for this subject?
    All recommended:


    • Journey to the Great Attractor [1994]-- Alan Dressler
    • 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
    • Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb
    • Worlds Unnumbered, the Search for Extrasolar Planets [1997] -- Donald Goldsmith
    • Wrinkles in Time [1993] -- George Smoot, Keay Davidson
    • The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell
    • 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
    • Cosmic Clouds: Birth, death, and recycling in the galaxy [1997] -- James Kaler
    • Extreme Stars, At the Edge of Creation [2001] -- James Kaler
    • Dark Cosmos, In search of the Universe's missing mass and energy [2006] -- by Dan Hooper
    • The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter [2007] -- Helen Quinn & Yossi Nir
    • Brave New Universe, Illuminating the Darkest Secrets of the Cosmos [2006] -- Paul Halpern and Paul Wesson
    • The Biggest Bangs: The Mystery of Gamma-Ray Bursts, the Most Violent Explosions in the Universe [2002] -- Jonathan Katz
    • Einstein's Telescope; the hunt for dark matter and dark energy in the Universe [2010] -- Evalyn Gates
    • How Old is the Universe [2011] -- David A. Weintraub
    • Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe [2013] -- Jeremiah P. Ostriker and Simon Mitton
    Last edited by Cougar; 2014-Jun-17 at 12:15 PM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    Is that in order of quality?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    What do you think of Robert Kirshner's The Extravagant Universe?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,880
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    What do you think of Robert Kirshner's The Extravagant Universe?
    I recommend it along with most other readers, according to the 4.5/5 Amazon rating. It covers the science very well and adds the personal dimensions of the scientists, including the many toes that were stepped on -- a rare additive to any science book -- in their race to the Hubble constant.

    Is there a particular topic of interest?

    I recently read "From Dust to Life..." by Chambers and Mitton. It is a new book that encompasses a vast array of knowledge on stellar and planetary formation. I often do annotations in books on points of interest for me but gave up with this book and started writing them down. Usually I have a few pages of notes per book, but with this book I had 26.
    Last edited by George; 2014-Jul-03 at 01:44 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    Is that in order of quality?
    Well, they're all high quality. But they're not in order of subjective preference. It's more like a very rough chronological order - older to newer.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    What are your thoughts on James Kasting's How to Find a Habitable Planet?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    What are your thoughts on James Kasting's How to Find a Habitable Planet?
    Looks interesting. I'm not familiar with Kasting, but he appears to be quite the authority on planetary habitability.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    66
    Here's an additional list: A Primer on The Universe.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by SagittariusAStar View Post
    Here's an additional list: A Primer on The Universe.
    It's interesting that Pestka's list of 5 includes Moffat's Reinventing Gravity, which is a modified gravity theory totally against the mainstream. Moffat's a member of the Perimeter Institute up in Canada, which certainly has its share of people working on "alternative" ideas.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    What do you think of J. Richard Gott's Time Travel in Einstein's Universe?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    Here is what I have read:

    carroll, sean from eternity to here
    carroll, sean the particle at the end of the universe
    deutsch, david the fabric of reality
    gott, j. richard time travel in einstein's universe
    greene, brian the elegant universe
    greene, brian the fabric of the cosmos
    greene, brian the hidden reality
    guth, alan the inflationary universe
    hawking, stephen a brief history of time
    hawking, stephen the universe in a nutshell
    kirshner, robert the extravagant universe
    krauss, lawrence a universe from nothing
    krauss, lawrence the physics of star trek
    randall, lisa warped passages
    rees, martin just six numbers
    susskind, leonard the black hole war
    susskind, leonard the cosmic landscape
    thorne, kip black holes and time warps
    tyson, neil degrasse death by black hole
    weinberg, steven dreams of a final theory
    weinberg, steven the first three minutes
    wilczek, frank longing for the harmonies
    wilczek, frank the lightness of being
    The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter
    Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe
    Cosmos
    Pale Blue Dot
    How to Find a Habitable Planet
    Cosmic Cocktail
    The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
    Death From the Skies
    Einstein's Universe
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
    Space Chronicles

    I am currently reading Before the Beginning by Martin Rees. Please make further reading recommendations. In spite of all this reading, I still feel as though I haven't learned anything.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    I'm really enjoying The 4% Universe, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek [2011]. This doesn't get into the actual science too deeply, but presents an excellent history of the search for these dark things. The recounting of the competition between Perlmutter's Supernova Cosmology Project and Turner/Riess's High-z Supernova Search team, how they came to the same surprising conclusion, short charcter bios of all the people involved, when to publish and present, all of this was extraordinarily well researched and presented and, well, it was utterly riveting.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    Here is what I have read:
    Lot of good books there! Another good one is Einstein's Telescope; the hunt for dark matter and dark energy in the Universe [2010] by Evalyn Gates, about the advances and findings using strong and weak lensing. I'd also suggest anything by James Kaler.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    In spite of all this reading, I still feel as though I haven't learned anything.
    Impossible! From Weinberg's 1977 classic The First Three Minutes, you know the observed ratio of hydrogen and helium in the Universe implies a super-hot and dense early universe that was expanding quickly, so there was only a short period where it was hot and dense enough to fuse H into He before all fusion stopped, leaving us with the observed ratio. And so much more from the other excellent books you've listed. Of course, if you ever have any questions, you know where you can get answers.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I have completed Before The Beginning and am now reading The Shadows of Creation by David Schramm. After that I'm looking to get into Pedro Ferreira's The Perfect Theory.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    After that I'm looking to get into Pedro Ferreira's The Perfect Theory.
    That's a good one, subtitled A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity [2014]. Also Ferreira's The State of the Universe, A Primer in Modern Cosmology [2006].
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    What do you think of the Second Creation by Crease and Mann? Would you recommend the Emperor's New Mind?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    What do you think of the Second Creation by Crease and Mann? Would you recommend the Emperor's New Mind?
    I've not read those. On first impression, I would disagree with Penrose's hypothesis "that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness." He also admits that "his ideas on the nature of consciousness are speculative." I'm not a big fan of Penrose. Although he is apparently brilliant, I don't know that he has chosen the right questions.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    What are your thoughts on Subtle is the Lord by Abraham Pais?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I just finished Subtle is the Lord. What do you think of The Hockey Stick and the Climate War?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I finished Hockey Stick and am looking to get into Extreme Cosmos by Bryan Gaensler.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I am reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything as well as Extreme Cosmos.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    Undeniable was undeniably illuminating. I'm now ready for the Science of Interstellar.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    I am reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything as well as Extreme Cosmos.
    I liked Extreme Cosmos: A Guided Tour of the Fastest, Brightest, Hottest, Heaviest,Oldest, and Most Amazing Aspects of Our Universe [2012] -- Bryan Gaensler
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I finished up the Science of Interstellar and What do you care what other people think. I'm now eager to begin QED and Stuff Matters.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I've finished Stuff Matters and am now reading Packing for Mars.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    Please tell me about Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    Please tell me about Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn.
    I've never had such fun reading a science book. Amanda Gefter made me laugh out loud and brought tears to my eyes, often at the same time. Considering her self-defined quest -- ultimate reality -- it's a bit more philosophical than the typical science book, but she seeks that "reality" in contemporary physics and cosmology, which are covered quite well. The book is just so different from the usual fare, it's hard to do justice to a brief description. Here are some blurb reviews.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    I have completed Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn. What can you tell me about Only the Longest Threads?

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    The Wild West
    Posts
    9,439
    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    I have completed Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn....
    No comment? It's true Amanda's not a research scientist - she reports on her interviews with research scientists, and all of her research and reading about what research scientists are up to. Maybe I just liked all of her adventures. And her attitude. I mean, what about her ride with Timothy Ferris in his Porsche? Or when the photographer singled her out to come down to the front for the group shot at that scientific conference?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    487
    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    No comment? It's true Amanda's not a research scientist - she reports on her interviews with research scientists, and all of her research and reading about what research scientists are up to. Maybe I just liked all of her adventures. And her attitude. I mean, what about her ride with Timothy Ferris in his Porsche? Or when the photographer singled her out to come down to the front for the group shot at that scientific conference?
    What can I say? It altered my perception of what reality is. I feel everything is nothing and there is nothing outside the universe. Her book, as well as David Deutsch's The Fabric of Reality really hammer home the weirdness of existence.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •