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Thread: How can I catch up with you guys(and girls)?

  1. #1

    How can I catch up with you guys(and girls)?

    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.

  2. #2
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  4. #4
    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.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mikeumus View Post
    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

  6. #6

    Lightbulb Griffith Observatory

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeumus View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    ... Griffith Observatory in LA (if they've finished remodeling, which I'm not sure they have) ...
    Quote Originally Posted by mikeumus View Post
    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 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 page for map, directions, hours (they are closed on Mondays). Also be aware that the Greek Theater 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. 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).

    The Los Angeles Astronomical Society meets monthly at GO in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, 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 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, in the mountains above L.A. During the summer there is a free walking tour of the observatory grounds on Saturday & Sunday at 1 PM. Of course, California is also home to Palomar & Lick Observatory, so there is no shortage of astronomy & observatories out here.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Just talk and don't be afraid to ask for explanations. I've learned a lot here.

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    Getting Started

    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    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.

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    If it's books you want, pick any of these:

    1. # The Cosmic Blueprint, New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability to Order the Universe [1988] -- Paul Davies
    2. # The Red Limit [1977]-- Timothy Ferris
    3. # Coming of Age in the Milky Way -- Timothy Ferris
    4. # The Mind's Sky, Human Intelligence in a Cosmic Context -- Timothy Ferris
    5. # The Key to the Universe [1977] -- Nigel Calder
    6. # QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter -- Richard Feynman
    7. # Surely Your Joking, Mr. Feynman! -- Richard Feynman
    8. # What Do You Care What Other People Think? -- Richard Feynman
    9. # Cosmic Catastrophes [1989] -- Clark Chapman, David Morrison
    10. # Searching For Certainty, What Scientists Can Know About the Future [1990] -- John L. Casti
    11. # Dreams of a Final Theory [1992] -- Steven Weinberg
    12. # The Cosmic Code [1982] -- Heinz Pagels
    13. # God and the New Physics -- Paul Davies
    14. # The God Particle, If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? [1993] -- Leon Lederman with Dick Teresi
    15. # Genius, The Life and Science of Richard Feynman [1995] -- James Gleick
    16. # At Home in the Universe, The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity [1995] -- Stuart Kauffman
    17. # The Origin of The Universe [1994] -- John D. Barrow
    18. # The Quark and the Jaguar, Adventures in the Simple and the Complex [1995] -- Murray Gell-Mann
    19. # The Last Three Minutes, Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe [1994] -- Paul Davies
    20. # The Nemesis Affair, A Story of the Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science [1986] -- David M. Raup
    21. # Cosmic Coincidences, Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology [1989] --
    22. John Gribbin and Martin Rees
    23. # The Collapse of Chaos, Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World [1994] -- Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart
    24. # The Milky Way, Fifth Edition [1941-1981] -- Bart Bok, Priscilla Bok
    25. # A Hundred Billion Stars [1984] -- Mario Rigutti
    26. # The Lighter Side of Gravity [1982] -- Jayant V. Narlikar
    27. # Chaos in the Cosmos [1996] -- Barry Parker
    28. # A Brief History of Time -- Stephen Hawking
    29. # Black Holes and Baby Universes [1993] -- Stephen Hawking
    30. # Exploring the Galaxies [1976] -- Simon Mitton
    31. # The Three Big Bangs, Comet Crashes, Exploding Stars,
    32. and the Creation of the Universe [1996] -- Dauber and Muller
    33. # Mysteries of the Milky Way [1991] -- Goldsmith and Cohen
    34. # The Edges of Science [1990] -- Richard Morris
    35. # The Privilege of Being a Physicist [1989] -- Victor Weisskopf
    36. # Feynman's Lost Lecture [1996]
    37. # Cosmic Rays, Tracking Particles From Outer Space [1989] -- Michael Friedlander
    38. # Quarks, The Stuff of Matter [1983] -- Harald Fritzsch
    39. # How Nature Works, The Science of Self-Organized Criticality [1996] -- Per Bak
    40. # In The Beginning, After COBE and Before The Big Bang [1993] -- John Gribbin
    41. # The Secret Melody [1995] -- Trinh Xuan Thuan
    42. # Neils Bohr, A Centenary Volume [1985] -- French and Kennedy, eds.
    43. # The Particle Garden, Our Universe as Understood by Particle Physicists [1995] -- Gordon Kane
    44. # The Edge of the Unknown, 101 Things You Don't Know About Science And No One Else Does Either [1996] -- James Trefil
    45. # Einstein's Legacy -- Julian Schwinger
    46. # The Whole Shebang, A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report [1997] -- Timothy Ferris
    47. # Creation, The Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe [1988] -- Barry Parker
    48. # In Quest of Quasars, An Introduction to Stars and Starlike Objects [1969] -- Ben Bova
    49. # The Twin Dimensions, Inventing Time & Space [1986] -- Geza Szamosi
    50. # Blind Watchers of the Sky, The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe [1996] -- Rocky Kolb
    51. # Heisenberg Probably Slept Here, The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Greatest Physicists of the 20th Century [1997] -- Richard P. Brennan
    52. # Beyond the Known Universe, From Dwarf Stars to Quasars [1974] -- I.M. Levitt
    53. # The Dark Side of the Universe [1988] -- James Trefil
    54. # Perfect Symmetry [1985] -- Heinz Pagels
    55. # 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
    56. # The First Three Minutes, A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe [1977] -- Steven Weinberg
    57. # Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers [1949] -- Max Planck
    58. # The Cosmos from Space [1987] -- David H. Clark
    59. # Rain of Iron and Ice, the very real threat of comet and asteroid bombardment [1996] -- John S. Lewis
    60. # Worlds Unnumbered, the Search for Extrasolar Planets [1997] -- Donald Goldsmith
    61. # Why People Believe Weird Things, pseudoscience, superstition, and other confusions of our time [1997] -- Michael Shermer
    62. # The Threat and the Glory [1959-90] -- Peter B. Medawar
    63. # Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid [1979] -- Douglas Hofstadter
    64. # The Inflationary Universe, the quest for a new theory of cosmic origins [1997] -- Alan H. Guth
    65. # Wrinkles in Time [1993] -- George Smoot, Keay Davidson
    66. # The Meaning of It All, Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist [1998] -- Richard P. Feynman
    67. # The Light at the Edge of the Universe [1993] -- Michael D. Lemonick
    68. # Chaos and Harmony [2001] -- Trinh Xuan Thuan
    69. # The Fifth Miracle, The Search for the Origin of Life [1998] -- Paul Davies
    70. # Paradigms Regained, A Further Exploration of the Mysteries of Modern Science [2000] -- John Casti
    71. # The Essence of Chaos [1993] -- Edward N. Lorenz
    72. # Thinking in Complexity, The Complex Dynamics of Matter, Mind, and Mankind - 3rd Ed. [1997] -- Klaus Mainzer
    73. # The Social Meaning of Modern Biology, From Social Darwinism to Sociobiology [1986] -- Howard L. Kaye
    74. # Origins of Life [1985] -- Freeman Dyson
    75. # In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks [1997] -- Gerard 't Hooft
    76. # The Large, the Small and the Human Mind [1997] -- Roger Penrose
    77. # Beyond the Black Hole, Stephen Hawking's Universe [1985] -- John Boslough
    78. # The Thermodynamics of Pizza, Essays on Science and Everyday Life [1991] -- Harold J. Morowitz
    79. # Billions and Billions, Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millenium [1997] -- Carl Sagan
    80. # Beyond the Quantum Paradox [1994] -- Lazar Mayants
    81. # Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies [1997] -- Jared Diamond
    82. # Einstein, A Centenary Volume, [1979] -- A.P. French, ed.
    83. # Science and Beyond [1986] -- Steven Rose and Lisa Appignanesi, eds.
    84. # Science a la Mode, Physical Fashions and Fictions [1989] -- Tony Rothman
    85. # Goodbye, Descartes, The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind [1997] --Keith Devlin
    86. # The Runaway Universe, the Race to Find the Future of the Cosmos [2000] -- Donald Goldsmith
    87. # General Relativity From A to B [1978] -- Robert Geroch
    88. # Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics [1985] -- Nick Herbert
    89. # Science, Computers, and People, From the Tree of Mathematics [1986] -- Stanislaw Ulam; Marc C. Reynolds, Gian-Carlo Rota, Eds.
    90. # A Tour of the Calculus [1995] -- David Berlinski
    91. # A Beautiful Mind, The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash [1998] -- Sylvia Nasar
    92. # Euler, The Master of Us All [1999] -- William Dunham
    93. # Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times [2000] -- Steve Fuller
    94. # The Fabric of the Cosmos; Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality [2004] -- Brian Greene
    95. # The Life of the Cosmos [1997] -- Lee Smolin
    96. # The Universe at Midnight, Observations Illuminating the Cosmos [2001] -- Ken Croswell
    97. # Galaxies and Quasars [1979] -- William J. Kaufman
    98. # Conflict in the Cosmos, Fred Hoyle's Life in Science [2005] -- Simon Mitton
    99. # Big Bang, the origin of the universe [2004] -- by Simon Singh
    100. # How The Universe Got Its Spots, Diary of a finite time in a finite space [2002] -- Janna Levin
    101. # From Quarks to the Cosmos, Tools of Discovery [1995] -- Leon Lederman, David Schramm
    102. # The Big Questions, Probing the promise and limits of science [2002] -- Richard Morris
    103. # Alpha and Omega, The search for the beginning and end of the universe [2004] -- Charles Seife
    104. # Supersymmetry, Unveiling the ultimate laws of nature [2000] -- Gordon Kane
    105. # Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein's Outrageous Legacy [1994] -- Kip Thorne
    106. # The Universe, the 11th Dimension, and Everything, What we know and how we know it [1999] -- Richard Morris
    107. # Faster, The Acceleration of Just about Everything [2000] -- James Gleick
    108. # Before the Beginning, Our Universe and Others [1997] -- Martin Rees
    109. # The Life of the Cosmos [1999] -- Lee Smolin
    110. # The Cosmic Landscape String theory and the illusion of intelligent design [2006] -- Leonard Susskind
    111. # Chasing Hubble's Shadows, The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time [2006] -- Jeff Kanipe
    112. # Cosmic Clouds: Birth, death, and recycling in the galaxy [1997] -- James Kaler
    113. # Many Worlds in One [2006] -- Alex Vilenkin
    114. # Endless Universe, Beyond the Big Bang [2007] -- Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok
    115. # Origins: How the Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe Began [2006] -- by Stephen Eales
    116. # Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos [1995] -- by Robert Osserman
    117. # Extreme Stars, At the Edge of Creation [2001] -- by James Kaler
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    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.

  14. #14
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    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.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    I'm currently working my way through #94 on that list and can heartily recommend it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedfreek View Post
    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...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanamonde View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren
    And it's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.
    Your kidding.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    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.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    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

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    mikeumus, astronomy is such a huge subject - what are you most interested in? What is currently boggling your brain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeumus View Post
    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!

    Guess what? It's FREE.

    Have at it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    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!

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    That is an impressive list. I counted - I've only read nine of those books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    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.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    WIKIPEDIA!

    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.
    Last edited by Gillianren; 2008-Apr-03 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Missing an "o"; thanks, Neverfly.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    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
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    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
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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