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181. Planetary Science: The Science
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182. The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth:
$30.76 $20.00 list($39.95)
183. The Extravagant Universe : Exploding
$53.00 $11.98
184. Discovering the Solar System
185. Physiologia: Natural Philosophy
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186. The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia:
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187. How the Universe Got Its Spots
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188. The Mystery of the Moon Illusion:
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189. Blind Watchers of the Sky: The
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190. The Sun : A Biography
191. The Labyrinth of Time: Introducing
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192. Lowell and Mars
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193. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos :
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194. Discovery of Cosmic Fractals
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195. The Hundred Greatest Stars
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196. A Year of the Stars: A Month-By-Month
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197. Yale Cosmology Workshop
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198. Various Thoughts on the Occasion
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199. Geometry and Physics of Branes
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200. The Unexpected Universe

181. Planetary Science: The Science of Planets Around Stars
by George H. A. Cole, Michael M. Woolfson
list price: $55.00
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Asin: 075030815X
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing
Sales Rank: 737740
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182. The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth: A New Diagram of Man in the Universe
by Douglas Edison Harding
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0813006406
Catlog: Book (1979-05-01)
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Sales Rank: 575230
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With an introduction by C.S. Lewis, "The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth" provides a close look at the nature of man, and man's relationship with the entire created order and with the Creator. (Philosophy) ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A magnficent book, for grown ups.
Fear not. Dive in. This is the sort of book one keeps around for decades.

Books sometimes are like children's clothes - they have to be grown into. This is one of them.

Look for yourself. Avoid others' conclusions. Look for yourself. Like a grown up.

You'll find nothing. And everything.

5-0 out of 5 stars A severely cut and difficult-to-read philosophic Masterpiece
THE HIERARCHY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH : A New Diagram of Man in the Universe. By D. E. Harding. With an Introduction by C. S. Lewis. 268 pp. Gainesville : University Presses of Florida, 1979 (originally published by Faber and Faber, London, 1952).

The present book has been reprinted a number of times, and I suppose all Douglas Harding fans have at some point acquired a copy of it. After all, Harding Sensei's fantastically important discovery of the spiritual technique of "reversing the arrow of attention" places him squarely in the forefront of the world's spiritual masters, and if a figure such as Bankei can be considered one of Japan's three greatest Zen Masters (the other two being Dogen and Hakuin), I see nothing wrong in considering Douglas Harding as, in a sense, Britain's greatest 'Zen' Master.

Given this, everything Harding Sensei writes ought to be worth reading. Unfortunately, although this was certainly the case with the ORIGINAL manuscript of 'Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth,' the present 'popular' edition of it was so severly cut by Harding himself for publication as to leave it, though still a philosophic masterpiece, impenetrably obscure, and, so far as I am aware, very few readers actually succeed in making their way through the book.

With pretty well all of the great mass of examples and illustrations found in the original extensively annotated 650 folio-sized pages of the manuscript having been cut, the shortened version becomes just too difficult for most folks to follow. Readers who are as brainy as C. S. Lewis should have no trouble, but unfortunately most of us aren't.

Those who would like to read what Harding actually wrote, the original and uncut version of 'Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth,' will have to find the sumptuous facsimile of Harding's typewritten manuscript. At the urging of his colleagues and friends, this was published in a limited edition of 300 numbered copies by The Shollond Trust, London, in 1998. It can be found by searching the web, and a few copies may still be available. Those who have read it have greatly enjoyed it, and have found it to be far more intelligible than the shortened version.

Newcomers to Harding would be far better off starting with his other books, particularly his classic 'On Having No Head : Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious' - that is if they are lucky enough to be able to find a copy. It's a short book which gives the quintessence of Harding's approach in just 81 pages, and it provides an excellent foundation for approaching the Master's later books. In fact, it may turn out to be the only Harding book you will ever need. ... Read more

183. The Extravagant Universe : Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos (Princeton Science Library)
by Robert P. Kirshner
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Asin: 0691058628
Catlog: Book (2002-09-11)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 59256
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the world's leading astronomers, Robert Kirshner, takes readers inside a lively research team on the quest that led them to an extraordinary cosmological discovery: the expansion of the universe is accelerating under the influence of a dark energy that makes space itself expand. In addition to sharing the story of this exciting discovery, Kirshner also brings the science up-to-date in a new epilogue. He explains how the idea of an accelerating universe--once a daring interpretation of sketchy data--is now the standard assumption in cosmology today.

This measurement of dark energy--a quality of space itself that causes cosmic acceleration--points to a gaping hole in our understanding of fundamental physics. In 1917, Einstein proposed the "cosmological constant" to explain a static universe. When observations proved that the universe was expanding, he cast this early form of dark energy aside. But recent observations described first-hand in this book show that the cosmological constant--or something just like it--dominates the universe's mass and energy budget and determines its fate and shape.

Warned by Einstein's blunder, and contradicted by the initial results of a competing research team, Kirshner and his colleagues were reluctant to accept their own result. But, convinced by evidence built on their hard-earned understanding of exploding stars, they announced their conclusion that the universe is accelerating in February 1998. Other lines of inquiry and parallel supernova research now support a new synthesis of a cosmos dominated by dark energy but also containing several forms of dark matter. We live in an extravagant universe with a surprising number of essential ingredients: the real universe we measure is not the simplest one we could imagine.

This book invites any reader to share in the excitement of a remarkable adventure of discovery.

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Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars An absorbing story of a recent monumental discovery
In early 1998, scientist Robert Kirshner and his team published the astonishing claim that the universe's expansion was accelerating due to the power of dark energy. Subsequent research has not been able to disprove the results obtained by Kirshner's "high-z supernova search team." This book is Kirshner's discussion of that finding and its importance to cosmology.

The first half of the book is essentially a crash course in the basics of cosmology, with many anecdotes and background from earlier research since Einstein or even before. Kirshner's witty style keeps this section entertaining even for those familiar with the information. He compares several distance indicators, such as Cepheid variables, redshifts, and supernovae. We learn how supernovae can be used to measure distances to remote galaxies due to their incredible brightness. We also become familiar with the pitfalls of using supernovae as standard candles, because there are a few different types.

Then the author gets into the real purpose of his book: to describe his research team's methods, results, and road to success with the press. The subtitle of the book is somewhat misleading; it should have been something like "The Story of the High-Z Supernova Search Team". Though the information wasn't presented in quite the way I was expecting, Kirshner gets the job done. He patiently educates the layman reader in many aspects of astronomy and cosmology. Towards the end it becomes a race between two supernova search teams using different methods. Though I found this yarn interesting, I would have preferred a general discourse to the narrative presented here.

Overall, this book is probably one of the most well-written and absorbing reads on this specific subject. Science and astronomy buffs should enjoy it greatly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating...
Robert Kirshner's book, 'The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy and the Accelerating Cosmos', is another in a series of interesting texts on cosmology written essentially for those who are science-illiterate, or at least only somewhat informed, and who wish to know some of the key insights and discoveries of our time regarding astronomy. Particularly at the end of this text, where Kirshner explains the importance of this kind of scientific research (why would the government or private agencies want to spend money on research that has little if anything to do with addressing the desires of humanity, encapsulated by Kirshner, as wanting to 'rich, safe and immortal'?) for the average person - it is not just for intellectual fancy or whim, but the long-term implications of understanding the universe can affect our lives in ways we can't even contemplate today.

Kirshner's narrative looks at many of the key discoveries, controversies, and personalities of the field of astrophysics, theoretical physics and cosmology in the twentieth century. Kirshner lays the groundwork not with Einstein (as so many texts do) but rather goes behind Einstein to the earlier work of Gauss and Riemann, with mathematics that, at the time, would not have been considered useful in the ways Einstein's general relativity made it. Kirshner looks at observation (Hubble Telescope, observations of background radiation through various methods, etc.) as well as theoretical conjectures to show the strand of thinking from the early universal constructs to present day theories.

Kirshner traces the history of recent astronomy and cosmology through researchers in history such as Einstein and Hubble as well as persons he knows personally and professionally at work in the field today. Particularly in the last half-to-third of the book, where Kirshner brings in this personal level of acquaintance with the people involved, the science comes alive in a very human way. Kirshner is good at showing the limitations, as well - sometimes you just get lucky, or your gifts complement others. With regard to Hubble and Hale, for example, Kirshner recounts the evidence that they did not really understand Einstein's general relativity or the mathematics of his cosmological thinking; nonetheless, they continued their observational researches, and when Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, Kirshner states that you don't have to know all of the mathematical and technical details involved in science, but rather 'you just have to face in the right direction and go forward' with those things that you can do!

Some of the key concepts Kirshner develops include the life-cycle of stars, the overall shape and structure of the universe, the idea of dark matter/dark energy that has gone unknown for so long, and the ideas of reaching back to the origins of the universe and drawing conclusions for the acceleration of the universal expansion. Kirshner does not develop the areas of planetary science or solar-system type ideas in this text except very peripherally - this is a book for grand topics on a cosmic scale indeed.

The book is very readable and accessible to any with an advanced high-school or undergraduate beginning ability in science. How could it not be, given an author whose mis-spent youth watching 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' cartoons is confessed in the endnotes? There are technical terms, and (gasp!) even a few equations thrown in here and there, but understanding the narrative is not dependent upon being able to process the equations. There are colour plates in the centre, with other black-and-white photographs and images throughout. In keeping with the non-technical nature of the text, endnotes are kept to a minimum, and recommended readings are few.

An interesting text, and a very good subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice story - science lacking
Dr. Kirshiner spins a good yarn. The focus of the book is mostly on the story and history of the accelerating universe theory, presented in a very readable style. I would only fault the book in that after reading it, while I'm now comfortable with the idea of the accelerating universe, I would have liked to see more of the science and math involved. It's a great overview, though; recommended!

4-0 out of 5 stars A good description of a challenging discovery
"Extravagant Universe" is one of the best books on the market if you're looking to fathom the recent discoveries regarding the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion. Kirshner is not just an outside observer but a direct participant in the science, so you get a perspective from someone "who was there." Kirshner explains robustly how a special class of star became recruited as a sort of measuring stick for studying apparent and actual brightnesses of distant supernovae, whose unexpected dimness provides strong evidence for an accelerating spacetime expansion. Moreover, Kirshner delves into the still impenetrable mystery of the so-called dark energy that seems to be driving the expansionary push. Perhaps the book's best asset is its relative modesty. While Kirshner does suggest some possible implications of the recent findings, he's careful not to go too far, noting the unanswered questions and the ease-- even probability-- that new data and interpretations may overthrow the current consensus altogether rather quickly. Such a perspective is often missing in much of the lay science literature and is a major failing of many books on the market. That Kirshner, who himself is on the leading edge of these discoveries, holds back in comparison, is a testament to his discipline as a scientist.

3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better!
This book focus more on the writer's biography than anything else. Little scientifical explanations are given considering the bulk of the book. Very narrow and somewhat shallow. Overall: Mediocre. ... Read more

184. Discovering the Solar System
by Barrie W.Jones
list price: $53.00
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Asin: 0471986488
Catlog: Book (1999-03-09)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 1241073
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Book Description

Discovering the Solar System Barrie W. Jones The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK Discovering the Solar System is a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the Solar System and of the ways in which the various bodies have been investigated and modelled. The approach is thematic, with sequences of chapters on the interiors of planetary bodies, on their surfaces, and on their atmospheres. Within each sequence there is a chapter on general principles and processes followed by one or two chapters on specific bodies. There is also an introductory chapter, a chapter on the origin of the Solar System, and a chapter on asteroids, comets and meteorites. Liberally illustrated with diagrams, black and white photographs and colour plates, Discovering the Solar System also features:
* tables of essential data
* question and answers within the text
* end of section review questions with answers and comments
Discovering the Solar System is essential reading for all undergraduate students for whom astronomy or planetary science are components of their degrees, and for those at a more advanced level approaching the subject for the first time. It will also be of great interest to non-specialists with a keen interest in astronomy. A small amount of scientific knowledge is assumed plus familiarity with basic algebra and graphs. There is no calculus. Praise for this book includes: ".certainly qualifies as an authoritative text. The author clearly has an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject." Meteorics and Planetary Science ".liberally doused with relevant graphs, tables, and black and white figures of good quality." EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union ".one of the best books on the Solar System I have seen. The general accuracy and quality of the content is excellent." Journal of the British Astronomical Association
... Read more

185. Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought
by Dennis Des Chene
list price: $26.00
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Asin: 0801486874
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Sales Rank: 390870
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186. The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia: An Alphabetical Reference to All Life in the Universe
list price: $21.95
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Asin: 081293248X
Catlog: Book (2000-05-30)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 675594
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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If there's anyone not interested in the possibility of life on other planets, they must keep to themselves. Along with "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" "Am I alone?" ranks as one of the classic Big Questions asked by all curious minds. Now comes the first detailed reference book covering the search for an answer: The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia by astrobiologist David Darling. More than 2,000 entries define and explain conceptual, fictional, theoretical, and technical thinking about exobiology, copiously referenced and cross-indexed for easy searching and browsing. Start with SETI (why not?) and after poring over the eight-page entry, you'll find yourself trying to decide whether to check out SERENDIP, Iosef Shklovskii, or the Arecibo radio telescope next.

Darling's choice of entries is telling--far from just a dry assortment of biographies and dates, you'll find 2001: A Space Odyssey, the ancient Greek philosopher Xenophanes, and hydrothermal vents explored as they relate to the Big Question. Though the book has all the facts you'd need for a hundred term papers, it also acknowledges the strong cross-currents running between scientific and pop cultures, which makes for entertaining and sometimes surprising reading. (Who knew that so many serious astrophysicists wrote science fiction?) The truth may or may not be out there, but The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia will keep us current on the search. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fine work of reference that's a pleasure to read
David Darling, prolific author of a wide range of popular works on astronomy and allied subjects, has favored us with this encyclopedic take on things beyond our planet. I say "favored us" because Darling is a writer who writes with the kind of clarity that we all wish we could achieve, and is therefore a pleasure to read.

By the way, my favorite David Darling book is Zen Physics: The Science of Death, the Logic of Reincarnation (1996), which is a very readable and profound look at human consciousness, a book I cannot recommend highly enough. (See my review!)

Included here are objects and energies in space, instruments and machines for exploring space, mythological references to the heavens, historical cosmic events, catastrophes from space, ideas about space, space programs (some still only on the drawing boards), space scientists and scientists tangentially involved in some aspect of the extraterrestrial, scientists who have mentioned something otherworldly, historical figures that have mentioned something otherworldly, science fiction writers, movie and book titles about space, aspects of other sciences that could be applied to things extraterrestrial, etc., etc.

But this is not a dry reference book. On the contrary it is exciting to read and fun to flip through. Opening it at random to page 164 I find "Galileo (spacecraft)" which I learn is the "first spacecraft to conduct long-term observations of Jupiter" with Jupiter in bold face so that I know I can cross-reference it if I like. There is a little table in the entry giving the launch date, the date of arrival at Jupiter and other information about the spacecraft. Darling also uses bold-faced arrows in the text to point to related entries. Here an arrow points to "Jupiter, moons of," which has further information about the Galileo spacecraft.

The next entry is "Galton, Francis (1822-1911)" making me wonder what the old social Darwinian had to do with the extraterrestrial. Turns out he proposed in a letter to the editor of the London Times in 1892 that sunlight be reflected toward Mars to catch the attention of any possible Martians.

Next are "gamma rays" and the "gamma-ray burster" (two full-page columns worth) carrying me to the next page where there is "Ganymede," the Galilean satellite that is the largest moon in the solar system.

There are long entries on topics that Darling considers "of central importance or popular interest" such as Frank Drake's famous equation (Darling evaluates each variable) and SETI which includes a list of programs from 1960 to 1999 with information about the investigator, the location, frequency used, etc.

One senses that one of Darling's main tasks in compiling and writing this book was to decide what to include and what to leave out. How pertinent does something have to be to be included? I wasn't surprised to see paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould with an entry since his idea of punctuated equilibrium (also included) depends in part on catastrophic environmental changes, some brought about by extraterrestrial events. Nor were the entries on the elements from the periodic table surprising. (There's a very nice entry on the biological abundance of elements both here and in space.) But I was surprised to find many entries on biology and microbiology, including entries on DNA and RNA. And yet, one can see how they are relevant in thinking about extraterrestrial life.

As a side note, remember Whitley Strieber who wrote the book Communion: A True Story (1987), purporting to be an actual experience with aliens?--a book, by the way, for which he reportedly got a million dollar advance. Well, according to the entry by his name here, he confessed in 1993 that he made it all up!

There's a chronology at the back of the book identifying events under the categories, "The Search for Life in Space," "Science Fiction," and "World/Scientific Events" beginning in 580 BCE. There are also several pages devoted to Web Sites with URLs. Darling has footnoted his text with 634 references giving book titles and journals for further reading.

One final thought: In the future there will be an encyclopedia devoted to every subject and to every creature and to every person under heaven. And those encyclopedias will be on the Web (as will future editions of this book, I predict). And it will be part of our life experience to update our encyclopedia, as Darling will surely have to do with this book in a few years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference work
Thorough, clear, and occasionally whimsical, this book is an invaluable reference to keep by your side as you read about the search for extraterrestrial life and, indeed, as you read about most space topics.

Information is presented in hundreds (even thousands?) of well-written entries explaining and describing topics as diverse as the role of extraterrestrials in science fiction to Cepheid Variable stars, from laundry lists of nearby star systems to biographies of prominent scientists. The length and breadth of the information presented is truly impressive.

All information is throughly cross-referenced, with more detailed references indicated by a dark arrow.

Entries are written with an interest in the search for extraterrestrial life, but the book is a fine general reference work for amateurs interested in all space sciences.

The only complaint I have is that I wish there were more detailed illustrations for some concepts; if half stars were available, I might rate this book 4-and-a-half for this, but it deserves better than a four, in my opinion.

All in all, an extremely valuable reference, as well as a fascinating read in and of itself if you are interested in space science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!!! Finally, a Reference Guide for ALL of Us!!!!
This encyclopedia covers much more than its title suggests. You'll find subjects involving everything from religion to history to science --- and it's all related somehow to the possibility of life on other planets. This is a comprehensive work, yet I find it somewhat entertaining, too. The latest facts available regarding SETI, Area 51, the Roswell Crash of 1947, the Hubble Telescope, and too many other subjects to mention here are all presented in condensed, yet concise form in this book. The author also covers science fiction topics and theories as well as science. And it's perfect for the beginner or the trained professional. Charts, photos, illustrations, and cross references make it even more reader friendly. ... Read more

187. How the Universe Got Its Spots : Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 1400032725
Catlog: Book (2003-08-12)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 194011
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Is the universe infinite or just really big? With this question, the gifted young cosmologist Janna Levin not only announces the central theme of her intriguing and controversial new book but establishes herself as one of the most direct and unorthodox voices in contemporary science.For even as she sets out to determine how big “really big” may be, Levin gives us an intimate look at the day-to-day life of a globe-trotting physicist, complete with jet lag and romantic disturbances.

Nimbly synthesizing geometry, topology, chaos and string theories, Levin shows how the pattern of hot and cold spots left over from the big bang may one day reveal the size and shape of the cosmos.She does so with such originality, lucidity—and even poetry—that How the Universe Got Its Spots becomes a thrilling and deeply personal communication between a scientist and the lay reader.
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lucid and funny
This book is engrossing on two levels: it presents science in a manner that is intellectually invigorating but it also compels as personal narrative. The author, a young and highly successful astrophysicist, gives a sharp and accessible account of current theories of the evolution, substance and topology of the universe and, using vivid imagery, presents an intriguing case for regarding it as finite. This crystal-clear instruction is interspersed with a diary which demonstrates how even the most scholarly pursuits are conducted against a backdrop of domestic relations and material considerations. If this sounds risky, it isn't. The author is eloquent, observant and witty.

I write as an arts specialist with a professional commitment to bringing science to artists and the wider public and am an avid, often critical, reader of 'popular' science books. I find the science writing extremely lucid and the thread of personal preoccupation ingenious on a number of levels - giving the reader's brain a rest just when it was beginning to protest and forming a tersely-told story all on its own, inversely heightened by the science. Since when has a physics book been funny? Janna Levin is a scientist from a refreshingly unpretentious new generation and writes for her contemporaries but also for anyone in the wider public with intelligence and a natural curiosity for matter - and matters - great and small.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Glowing Example of Parabasis. Seinfeld Eat Your Heart Out
Dr.Janna Levin, a physicist/mathematician/topologist, steps out of the halls of academe and her personal life, and takes center stage at The Riddle of the Universe Theater and shows herself to be a brilliant performer. She is a connecting link between the musings of Oswald Spengler, P. D. Ouspensky & Alfred Korzybski on one side and Sir James Jeans, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington & George Gamow on the other. It's a pity that James R. Newman (THE WORLD OF MATHEMATICS)is not around to comment on her performance. Like David Lynch's movie, she admits that "The world (universe) is strange on top and wild at heart," but unlike an Edward Gorey character does not despair or lose her subtle sense of humor. Humor is an avis raris in cosmology, but here it shines like a dewdrop in a cesspool. Practicing eggheads will immediately realize that this book should be on the bookshelf next to Carroll's THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK along with the commentary upon it completed by F. C. S. Schiller in 1901.
Her professional modesty is refreshing. She does not stand in the "Chariot of the Intellect" and shout, BEHOLD THE DUST I'M RAISING! The unstated conclusion of her performance can be summarized as: To assert or deny one "shape" for the universe
is a mark of prejudice. The rational person will regard the question as open; but don't despair, a solution just might be on the horizon.

5-0 out of 5 stars All of a sudden I realized how big our universe might be
The author is an astrophysicist and has all the right credentials in the scientific world to perpetrate her theories on the nature of the universe. However, she has targeted this book to a broader audience. Had I not seen her promote her book in a local bookstore I might not have had my interest piqued. Also, my book discussion book selected this as its monthly choice and I was determined to read it even though, at first glance, some of the scientific diagrams seemed impossible to me as I have no background whatsoever in this area.

Wisely, though, the book is constructed as a diary of her personal life as well as explanations of her work in a letter format. She actually wrote these letters to her mother, and therefore I thought her descriptions would be simple. They weren't. However, by pushing myself to read every word, even though much of the theory was difficult, I made a discovery. All of a sudden I was introduced to concepts that I had never heard of before, no less understand. Although I'll never remember the details, I learned about Einstein and the theory of relativity, how the topology of the earth makes it a lot more complex than a perfect sphere and what the concept of "infinite" really means. And, most important, I realized just how big our universe must be and how we humans are just a tiny part of it.

As this is probably the only book I will ever read about the world of physics, I must thank the author for taking me on a journey to new and unexpected places in the small universe that is my own personal mind. The book is not an easy read, but for anyone willing to explore new frontiers, I definitely recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars thought provoking, different
Levin attempts to describe in lay terms a foundation for cosmology, including the big bang, finite-vs-infinite size of the universe, and geometrical shape of the universe. It is a formidible challenge given the nonmathematical approach. She writes her book as a compilation of letters to her mother, with supplemented diagrams that are nonmathematical. Her argument for a finite universe is persuasive. She also writes about her life as a physicist/mathematician/artist including her relationship with a boyfriend musician. They break up in the book, with him resurfacing as an "appendix" in the end.

I met author Levin in a book signing event in Milwaukee and she updates us...she is married with a newborn.

The book is well written, lucid with many personal touches. A female physicist is a rarity and subsequently, this book, with its emotional touches and relationship referrals, is distinct and unique. But this aspect is refreshing and not distracting to the reader. I recommend Levin's book as a refreshing "4" stars and my only criticism, mildly, is the short address of string theory and future predictions on astronomy research.

5-0 out of 5 stars sparked my intrest in cosmology
I had never studied this subject until I bought this book on a whim. This book opened up the universe for me. She makes difficuilt concepts a little easyer to understand, while grounding you a bit with her own personal experiances, and posing questions I had never had the fortune to ask, or even know could be asked. ... Read more

188. The Mystery of the Moon Illusion: Exploring Size Perception
by Helen Elizabeth Ross, Cornelis Plug
list price: $54.50
our price: $57.69
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Asin: 019850862X
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 794639
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Book Description

For thousands of years, one scientific puzzle has fascinated and perplexed the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and psychologists -- why do the moon and sun appear so much larger on the horizon than when high up in the sky? Exploring the theories from antiquity to now, the 'Mystery of the Moon Illusion' is the definitive book on a mystery that has fascinated and tested the greatest minds throughout the ages. ... Read more

189. Blind Watchers of the Sky: The People and Ideas That Shaped Our View of the Universe (Helix Books)
by Rocky Kolb
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 020115496X
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Sales Rank: 164045
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this immensely readable book, noted cosmologist Rocky Kolb reveals the very human struggles of astronomy superstars seeking cosmic truths while lost in the clouds of confusion.Punctured by the author's razor sharp wit, this book provides anyone curious about science with a behind the scenes peek into the discovery process-it's not exactly the scientific method you learned in school. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Looking at the Sky
If you have ever wonder how new stars were found, and how scientist came up with the alignment of the planets. Then read Blind Watchers of the Sky:The People that Shaped our Views of The Universe. Discover how the scientist came up with their theories, and the basic history of cosmology. The book flows very well and is interesting. Learn more about the thought of the scientist that have spent most of their lives studying the sky.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's simple and entertaining
Unlike the other reviewers here, I *had* to read this book. Why is that? Because I took Natural Sciences 101 at the University of Chicago, and it happened to be taught by the very same Rocky Kolb. I must say, I was a little leery about reading a book written by the prof, I mean, how self serving is that? But let me tell you, this book captivated me more than any other that quarter. It's clear and concise, but most importantly, its humor keeps you wanting to read more. He writes just like he teaches. That's his voice speaking from the pages, and he's speaking something he knows a lot about. If you want to get the basics of the history of cosmology and get in on the ground floor of a few of the more complicated cosmologiacl principals, all in an entertaining read, this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Book
I don't remember the last time I read a book that was as packed with fascinating facts about astronomy as this one. Better still, Mr. Kolb's dry wit makes the book a very quick read.

If you're interested in the history of astronomy and want a book that takes you past the basics, read this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blind Watchers of the Sky
After reading Blind Watchers of the Sky all I have to is, "wow!" I never thought I would learn more about (or care about, for that matter) astronomy. The basis of my celestial knowledge before reading this book was elementary to say the least. My comprehension of astronomy now is not that of a rocket scientist or anything but it is a secure foundation on which further studying will be easier understood because of the basic concept learned from this book. These concepts are not exactly abecedarian, they are not easy to grasp in a classroom or textbook. For some reason Kolb's intricate stories explain these concepts in a flowing manner that doesn't stress the mind. All of a sudden you are reading and you pause to say aloud to yourself, "Oh, I get it." I would recommend this book to anyone. You need no past knowledge to enjoy the book or any great passion to learn about astronomy because it is entertaining aside from the fun facts you learn. I am not an astronomy scholar so I am unaware what there take on this book would be. But this is also an excellent source for high school astronomy students having a difficult time grasping our celestial ideas. -JoAnna Newburn

5-0 out of 5 stars O coecos coeli spectatores
When I first picked up this book at my local library, little did I know it would become my obsession and my friend for the next week or so. The more I read, the more enchanted I became with its well-wrought out stories, its amusing, sometimes touching, anecdotical commentaries; and, the sheer joy it evinces throughout on relating this particular epic of the scientific quest for knowledge and discovery.

I specially enjoyed the insights into the tribulations and serendipitous breakthroughs every great astronomer, every great blind watcher of the sky included in Kolb's book, had to confront and interpret for our greater understanding of the universe. Unlike other books that dismiss mathematical details altogether for fear of alienating prospective readers, Kolb does the next best thing: it includes it all at the end!

After I read the library's copy through and through, I went out and bought my own copy--which I am annotating this time. It is a book I am sure I will be referring to in the years to come. I look forward to reading Rocky Kolb's next book. (I hope he is writing one!) We can all benefit from this type of clear and inspirational scientific popularization. ... Read more

190. The Sun : A Biography
by DavidWhitehouse
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0470092963
Catlog: Book (2005-01-21)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 457328
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Imagine writing the biography of a subject you can't look at without going blind. Astronomer and BBC science editor David Whitehouse has done just that in The Sun. Taking an unusual tack, he writes about the Sun as if it were a fascinating neighbor to be observed with the utmost care. After all, there is no celestial body more important to us than the Sun; all life on Earth depends upon its energy, and humans have been waking up with the dawn and sleeping with the dusk for millennia.Whitehouse provides an entertaining and comprehensive survey of ancient peoples' solar rituals and beliefs, leading finally to the birth of science and the painful (at least for the Church) acknowledgment that the Sun, and not the Earth, is the center of our solar system. The second half of the book is devoted to modern solar research, from the patterns and schedules of sunspots to the interior anatomy of our local star. Finally, Whitehouse imagines what it will be like 7.5 billion years from now, when the Sun dies, baking Earth into a lifeless husk in the process. The Sun is a delightfully readable account of the solar engine, a biography of the strange hot character that rules life itself. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Just About Everything Concerning the Sun
This book contains much information about the sun. It covers both the physical aspects, e.g., its formation, evolution, structure, life expectancy, how it works, physical effects on earth, etc., as well as the human aspects, e.g., effects on human history, superstitions, scientists who studied it, evolution of scientific theories, effects on human health, etc. The book is well written in an engaging style. If there is a shortcoming to this book, it is simply the fact that there is some amount of repetition of facts, often on the same page. This may indicate that the book was perhaps rushed through publication without an adequate editorial review. Nevertheless, this is very minor compared to the vast amount of information that it contains and the pleasure that it is to read. ... Read more

191. The Labyrinth of Time: Introducing the Universe
by Michael Lockwood
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Asin: 0199249954
Catlog: Book (2005-07-30)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 313897
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192. Lowell and Mars
by William Graves Hoyt
list price: $26.95
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Asin: 0816505144
Catlog: Book (1996-07-01)
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Sales Rank: 363719
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life on Mars?
Loved the biography well written and thorough. Lowell was a terribly misunderstood genius. Also, the new book in reprint Mars: As the Abode of Life Lowell's proof of life on Mars is worth a try.

5-0 out of 5 stars A well written biography of Percival Lowell.
If you can't imagine a book on astronomy being a "page turner" then I invite you to pick up a copy of this book. Because of Lowell's belief in Martian life and canals, and his spirited defense of these beliefs, he is often portrayed as a "kook" and "crack pot." Lowell is neither of these things - and he was not the only astronomer of his time to share his belief. One of Percival Lowell's greatest gifts to astronomy is alive and well today; it is the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona - one of the finest astronomical observatories in the world. Whatever you may have heard or read about Lowell, in this book you will meet a fascinating man that, I think, you would have liked to have known. ... Read more

193. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos : The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe
by Dennis Overbye
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 0316648965
Catlog: Book (1999-11-02)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 226332
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"In southern California, nearly a half-century ago, a small band of researchers-equipped with a new 200-inch telescope and a faith born of scientific optimism-embarked on the greatest intellectual adventure in the history of humankind: the search for the origin and fate of the universe. Their quest would eventually engulf all of physics and astronomy, leading not only to the discovery of quasars, black holes, and shadow matter but also to fame, controversy, and Nobel Prizes. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos tells the story of the men and women who have taken eternity on their shoulders and stormed nature in search of answers to the deepest questions we know to ask." ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Could be called - The Mystery of Cosmology - Tops!!!
Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos is the greatest book every written about the search for ultimate answers about the universe. But the science is secondary to the gallery of scientists who are revealed in all their pettiness, persistence and ultimately greatness. The story of Allan Sandage - from boyhood dreamer to discoverer of mysteries - could be a book in itself. This is a book of almost poetic prose - a real page-turner that I couldn't set down. Get it today

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous. Reads like a novel.
If you have an interest in cosmology and the fascinating stories of the men and women who have sought to solve the mysteries our universe and what may lie before and beyond, this book will be a memorable read. The author brings sophisticated astrophysics into laymen's terms, while he paints a colorful and historical mural of the personalities, struggles, and triumphs of this fascinating community of scientists. It reads like a novel but educates like a textbook

5-0 out of 5 stars What a swell book!
Okay, I KNOW I'm a little biased, being an astronogrl and all, but this book is an AMAZING read! It reads like a novel, and yet contains so many interesting astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology concepts, that it will blow you away. Covers everything from the big bang to inflation to black holes to string theory to dark matter... Dennis Overbye (the author) has hob-nobbed with so many big names and been able to glean personal interviews that you begin to feel like you know these people and their astronomy struggles. And don't worry; This book contains no equations. This book makes me excited to do astronomy and it is the best book I have read this year and will always remain one of my favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Mystery of the Universe
Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos is the greatest book every written about the search for ultimate answers about the universe. But the science is secondary to the gallery of scientists who are revealed in all their pettiness, persistence and ultimately greatness. The story of Allan Sandage - from boyhood dreamer to discoverer of mysteries - could be a book in itself. This is a book of almost poetic prose - a real page-turner that I couldn't set down. Get it today

3-0 out of 5 stars Scientific novel.
A story about the human beings behind the scientific discoveries: their dirty tricks, resentments, subversive attacks; in one word, their not so scientific behaviour in their competitive struggle to solve cosmological problems, e.g. the Hubble constant.
The central figure of the book is Allan Sandage, chief astronomer at the Mount Wilson telescope: his evolution from star watcher to computer freak.
This book is not an introduction to modern physics. Readers should have a fairly good knowledge of modern cosmology and quantum physics. Although the discussions about the Hubble constant, dark matter and the Guth inflation are impressively treated.
If you like novels about scientists and scientific debates, this is a good one. If you prefer popular science, there are other authors to recommend, like Paul Davies, Brian Greene, John Gribbin or Heisenberg himself. I prefer the second ones. ... Read more

194. Discovery of Cosmic Fractals
by Yurij Baryshev, Pekka Teerikorpi
list price: $38.00
our price: $32.30
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Asin: 9810248725
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 241483
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the first book to present the fascinating new results on the largest fractal structures in the universe. It guides the reader, in a simple way, to the frontiers of astronomy, explaining how fractals appear in cosmic physics, from our solar system to the megafractals in deep space. It also offers a personal view of the history of the idea of self-similarity and of cosmological principles, from Plato's ideal architecture of the heavens to Mandelbrot's fractals in the modern physical cosmos. In addition, this invaluable book presents the great fractal debate in astronomy (after Luciano Pietronero's first fractal analysis of the galaxy universe), which illustrates how new concepts and deeper observations reveal unexpected aspects of Nature. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT DISCOVERIES
The book Discovery of Cosmic Fractals by Yurij Baryshev and Pekka Teerikorpi describes the yet unexplored fractal structure of the universe, which is hard to handle in the big bang theory. The idea of self-similarity is much deeper than it looks, suggesting a universe made of self-defined and hence fractal (self-similar) 3D spiral interactions as it is argued in the book THEORY OF INTERACTION The Simplest Explanation of Everything by Eugene Savov. The comic fractals can be viewed as just another convincing confirmation of the emerging theory of interaction. These two books and also James Gleick's CHAOS Making a New Science are harbingers of a qualitatively new, singularity free and complete understanding of the universe. That is why I highly recommend these essential books to everybody interested in the puzzles of nature. ... Read more

195. The Hundred Greatest Stars
by James B. Kaler
list price: $32.50
our price: $21.45
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Asin: 0387954368
Catlog: Book (2002-06-19)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Telos
Sales Rank: 133035
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There are as many different kinds of stars as there are stars themselves. Each an individual, every one unique. In this arresting and lavishly illustrated volume, noted astronomy writer and teacher Jim Kaler choose 100 stars to illustrate the mind-boggling variety of the stars' shapes and sizes, their immense ages, and the vast range of configurations in which they exist.||From AG Draconis to Z Andromedae, this alphabetically arranged volume first lists each star's resident constellation, its class, its apparent brightness as viewed from Earth, its distance from our Sun, and its visual luminosity. Then the real story begins. In choosing his "top 100," Kaler has aimed not just at providing a representative sample of the Universe's extraordinarily diverse population, but at capturing their complexity, their dynamism, and the amazing view they provide into the extraordinary physical forces at play in the Universe.||James B. Kaler is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has held both Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, and has been awarded medals for his work from the University of Liege (Belgium) and the University of Mexico. He is the author of six books and dozens of articles on astronomy, including The Little Book of Stars (Copernicus Books, 2000) and lectures frequently.Enter The Hundred Greatest Stars by James Kaler...Following a very clear general introduction to stellar astronomy, Kaler embarks on an informative tour through his hundred favourite stars, each given a page of text with an appropriate illustration on the facing page...The really clever aspect of the book is that as well as describing the hundred stars, often bringing out aspects which are unfamiliar, Kaler succeeds in giving an excellent broad survey of recent developments in stellar astronomy. As is to be expected, the text is immensely authoritative...The illustrations are beautiful..."|-New Scientist ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hundred Greatest Stars by Kaler
This book has spectacular views of major stars/ clusters.
The 3 brightest stars of the Southern Hemisphere are depicted.
These stars are Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri.
Important scientific rule structures are explained. i.e.
The apparent magnitude of a star is a function of distance.
In addition, Absolute Magnitude and Color are proportional to
temperature. Important statistics are provided for stars: i.e.

Blue-White Stars have 32-50 illumination with Ionized Helium.

Infrared stars are 1000 degrees with prominent methane bands.

Stars with > 10 solar masses--are exploding stars

Ag Dra has powerful eruptions. Celestial Harp is approximately
880 Light Years with a 2600 times the sun luminosity.

This work is a virtual treasure-chest of scientific facts and
data about stars. It is perfect for a school science project.
The book is written for a large constituency of readers. i.e.
Astronomers, scientists, general audiences, teachers,
museum administrators and many others.

5-0 out of 5 stars His Best Yet!
I was not a big fan of Kaler's until this book. I had read his "Extreme Stars" -- very difficult to follow with his writing style, but still a good book. I begged the library to order this one, which they did. Very impressive -- I was enthralled. He discusses each star with true passion and on a level the ordinary amateur astronomer can understand. If someone can get me excited looking at a boring 5th magnitude 51 Pegasii, then he's done a good job :) --- he has. Excellent illustrations to boot! Buy this book - you won't be disappointed.

Update: January 2004 - after 3 times checking it out from the library -- decided it was too good of a reference book to pass up and ordered from at discounted price! A true gem - I will observe outside, then use this to enrich my knowledge of some of the stars I've looked at afterwards. All the "biggies" are here - Arcturus, Sirius, Capella, Vega, Betelguese, and some other obscure ones -- but all so well chosen that it's hard to argue with his 100 picks! I wish he'd write another on his next top 100. I am also half through his "Little Book of Stars" and recommend that too! Will write a review on that when I am finished. Bottomline: Buy this book - you won't be disappointed if you are an astronomy buff.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and colorful
No Katharine Hepburn or Al Pacino here. Instead we have Betelgeuse and Cygnus X-1, Deneb and MXB 1730-335 and 96 other illuminators of the night sky as selected by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor of Astronomy James B. Kaler. They are called "the greatest" mostly because they are significant in one way or another and partly because they are Kaler's favorites.

Of course included are Alpha Centauri, our closest interstellar neighbors, and Barnard's Star, the fastest moving star across our line of sight, and Polaris, the North Star, friend to navigators. The sun is included for comparison and reference.

Kaler begins the book with what he calls an "Introduction and Allegro" in which he explains what stars are and how they are classified and how they evolve. Then come mini essays on the each of the chosen stars, what's interesting and important about them, their history and vital statistics beginning with number zero, the sun. He identifies the "Residence" of each star according to astronomical constellation, alternative name, its class such as F2 giant (Beta Cassiopeiae), its visual magnitude, its distance from us, its absolute visual magnitude, and its "Significance" (e.g., ESO 439-26 is "The faintest known white dwarf.") Because of the range of different types of stars that Kaler has chosen (with wildly differing system configurations), double and triple stars, stars with known planets, pulsars, neutron stars, black holes, etc., reading through the various essays amounts to a modest astronomical education in itself.

There are color plates pertaining to each star, sometimes of the star and sometimes of the area of the sky in which the star can be found, and sometimes pertaining to something significant about the star such as a colorful drawing of the inflowing gas from the giant surrounding the black hole at Cygnus X-1.

There's a modest glossary and three appendices, one listing the stars by their various names for easy recognition, the second by their evolutionary status (Main Sequence stars, Neutron stars, etc.), and the third by position (by Declination and Right Association).

This works well as an introduction to stars and their nature and as a source of reference for the amateur star-gazer. It is an attractive book that would make a fine gift especially for a young person just becoming interested in astronomy. It is technical in spots, but overall it is readily accessible to the general reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative, superbly illustrated, astronomical reference
Accessibly written by James B. Kaler (Professor of Astronomy, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign), The Hundred Greatest Stars is an incredible, informative, superbly illustrated, astronomical reference describing one hundred different stars ranging from Acrux to ZZ Ceti. Each individual star has a full color photograph and an accompanying page of scientific description with close attention to detail. The Hundred Greatest Stars is a strongly recommended, beautifully illustrated study for astronomy buffs. ... Read more

196. A Year of the Stars: A Month-By-Month Journey of Skywatching
by Fred Schaaf
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
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Asin: 1591020921
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Sales Rank: 454858
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Book Description

One look at a starry night sky is often enough to arouse an individual's curiosity and generate a desire to discover the wonders of the heavens.But how do you learn the identities of all those stars and constellations and when they appear?What is a planetary nebula or a globular star cluster--where do you find them and how do you tell them apart?Acclaimed popular science writer Fred Schaaf has created this eloquent guide that both beginners and veteran skywatchers will find rewarding.

According to Schaaf, the secret to learning astronomy is to begin with one night and one part of the sky or one constellation and then let the passing nights add to your framework of knowledge and sights.To that end, after a introductory primer covering the basics of astronomy, the rest of the book uses a month-by-month organization, highlighting the constellations, stars, meteor showers, and other special phenomena visible each month, with many fascinating insights into the science, history, and lore of various celestial objects.Schaaf's many years of writing for "Sky & Telescope", the "Old Farmer's Almanac", "Mother Earth News", and other publications make him the world's leading expert in the monthly format of astronomy sights and the perfect guide through the year of the stars.

Complete with beautiful maps, drawings, photos, a very useful glossary, and Schaaf as a guide, this is the perfect book for the amateur astronomer or anyone curious about our place in the universe. ... Read more

197. Yale Cosmology Workshop
list price: $62.00
our price: $39.06
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Asin: 9810248482
Catlog: Book (2002-06-15)
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 897398
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Book Description

This book constitutes the proceedings of a very topical workshop aimed at understanding the shapes of the baryonic and dark matter components of galaxies. Several groups presented their recent results from observations and numerical N-body simulations. ... Read more

198. Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet
by Pierre Bayle, Robert C. Bartlett
list price: $28.50
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Asin: 079144547X
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 1731251
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Book Description

The appearance of this comet caused so many panicked inquiries to be made of Pierre Bayle, one of the Enlightenment's greatest thinkers, that he decided to formally respond to them, hence the present work, which first appeared in 1682. The book's principle task was to undermine the influence of "superstition" in political life, and it was here that Bayle made the notorious suggestion, unique in the history of political thought until then, that a decent society of atheists is possible in principle. There is no other English translation of this book in print--the only other version was printed in 1708. This translation is based on a recently revised critical edition of the complete French text and includes a substantial interpretive essay that both elucidates the arguments of the work and indicates the importance of Bayle in the history of the modern Enlightenment. ... Read more

199. Geometry and Physics of Branes
by U. Bruzzo
list price: $120.00
our price: $120.00
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Asin: 075030863X
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing
Sales Rank: 959088
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200. The Unexpected Universe
by Loren C. Eiseley
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
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Asin: 0156928507
Catlog: Book (1972-10-01)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 79713
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Compassion--Our Last Great Hope
The title of this review is from Leo Bustad, DVM, PhD. Please read the essay "The Star Thrower" for a wonderfully poetic discussion of what sets us apart from "animals" and what connects us. For anyone who has ever thought about how we should act in relation to other species, this essay will provide an intriguing viewpoint. For anyone who is a caregiver to animals, this essay is required reading. Throw away the rest of the book if you want, but you MUST read this essay!

5-0 out of 5 stars Somber essays from an outstanding writer
Loren Eiseley's dark, brooding prose is unique in the annals of nature writing. "The Unexpected Universe" features some of what are considered Eiseley's best essays. Heavily autobiographical and deeply personal, these essays are not cheerful ramblings on the joy of communing with nature. They are bleak, lonely musings on the human condition. Sometimes, Eisely's scholarly style gets the best of him - his penchant for expounding upon the works of obscure authors taints some of his work with a pompous air. But his best moments more than make up for his bad ones. Eiseley's universe can be profound, ethereal, and dreamlike. Life, Eisely shows, is a journey of discovery filled with moments of awe, fear and sorrow, and occasionally, even with moments of joy. His writings rekindle our sense of wonder for a universe whose intricacies and secrets extend far beyond the boundaries of human understanding.

1-0 out of 5 stars Title is in appropriate
There are some observations worthy of consideration and perhaps even remembering hence 1 star. It can be said that Loren Eiseley writes very well indeed, mostly about himself. This book goes far beyond being a "highly personal" book and comes very close to be an autobiography. If Mr. Eiseley intended to convince the reader that he had read a lot of books he succeeded. Whether or not he asimilated the information or just quotes from them is not so clear. He was not the first or only person to be intrigued by the so called alphabet shell but he is the only one, so far as I can determine, to assume it contained an important message from the universe. This man who sees messages of great import from the universe in a sea shell undertakes to explain both Darwin and Thoreau for the dolts of the world incapable of understanding what they read. I can see no other reason for him to explain so carefully what they meant by what they wrote. We are mighty beholden to him. Someone once said " Naturalists and Biologists are strange fellow or they would not be Naturalists and Bioligists". Even with that as a given it is hard to reconcile the personal observations of the Author with the Title of the book. He may have found them enthralling because they were his and feels everyone will be simply thrilled and dutifully impressed. All careful observers as they journey through life have seen as much or more but in the main they do not try to foist there observations or personal feelings on the public. A more appropriate title, I suspect, would have been, "I, Loren Eiseley". One thing can be said with certainty. He is really full of himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars You cannot miss with Loren Eiseley
I think every book this man ever wrote is a masterpiece. His style is thoughtful, haunting, and beautiful. They are all good. Theodosius Dobzhansky described him as "...a Proust miraculously turned into an evolutionary anthropologist..." and Ray Bradbury wrote glowing reviews of many of his books including this one.

Here he writes from a naturalist's perspective on the unexpected and symbloic aspects of the universe. Read about seeds, heiroglyphs on shells, the Ice Age, lost tombs, city dumps and primative Man. The underlying theme is the desolation and renewal of our planet's history and experience. ... Read more

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