Science book reviews & recommendations

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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In this historic month I

In this historic month I think it's worth pointing you all to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. This is a terrific resource and in particular you may be interested in this footage.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Dan G.
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Along those lines, I am now

Message 92217 in response to message 92216

Along those lines, I am now reading "Magnificent Desolation" by Buzz Aldrin. I attended a signing event here in Los Angeles and it was a thrill to meet Dr. Aldrin. You can see me and Dr. Aldrin in a picture on my blog, check it out:

http://sciencelifestyle.blogspot.com/2009/08/meeting-man-on-moon.html

Cheers!

Dan G.
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I must have every book on GW.

Message 92218 in response to message 92205

I must have every book on GW. The first one I read is "Einstein's Unfinished Symphony" by Marcia Bartusiak. It is a very introductory book, a good choice for beginners.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is "General Relativity and Gravitational Waves" by none other than Joseph Weber, KING of the bar detectors. This is a very theoretical and mathematical book.

Cheers!

tullio
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I still believe that "The

I still believe that "The riddle of gravitation" by Peter G.Bergmann, who was a coworker of Einstein at Princeton, is the best introduction to general relativity for a non scientist reader. While at Mondadori Publishing House I edited its Italian version and then published an article by the same author on researches in GR. The cover illustration was kindly provided by prof.Joseph Weber and showed one of his resonant bar detectors. The year was 1970.
Tullio

Mike Hewson
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RE: Along those lines, I am

Message 92220 in response to message 92217

Quote:

Along those lines, I am now reading "Magnificent Desolation" by Buzz Aldrin. I attended a signing event here in Los Angeles and it was a thrill to meet Dr. Aldrin. You can see me and Dr. Aldrin in a picture on my blog, check it out:

http://sciencelifestyle.blogspot.com/2009/08/meeting-man-on-moon.html

Cheers!


That would have been awesome! And your Dad made some pieces of the very Saturn V he rode too, and Buzz was appreciative - that they were made well, no doubt ... :-)

Cool. Which bits did your Dad design?

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
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Ok, not a book, but a 30

Ok, not a book, but a 30 minutes podcast on pulsars can be found here : http://www.universetoday.com/2009/11/06/podcast-pulsars/

Bikeman

Rod
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This is an example of physics

This is an example of physics books that seem to attract my attention these days :-)

How to Teach Physics to your Dog

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

tullio
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"Cycles of time: an

"Cycles of time: an extraordinary new view of the universe", by Roger Penrose.
I could only read a few lines of the "Nature" book review, but having known Roger Penrose by his books "The emperor's new mind" and "Shadows of the mind", I shall be forgiven if I recommend it.
Tullio

MAGIC Quantum Mechanic
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I made a trip to the city

I made a trip to the city today and stopped at the Barnes&Noble book store to pick up a couple Hebrew calendars.

I decided to check the physics section and they didn't have the Roger Penrose book but I had to get "How to Teach Physics to your Dog" by Chad Orzel

And one from 2008 by Michio Kaku called "Physics of the Impossible" http://mkaku.org/

Now if I can just find time to sit and read for a few hours.

 

Mike Hewson
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Newton and the Counterfeiter

Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson
Faber & Faber 2009
ISBN 978-0-571-22993-2
softback, 318 pages
$AUD 24.99 @ Dymocks

A delightful read indeed, including a feast of detail about the non-physics side of Sir I. Newton! I give four stars without hesitation, only deducting one because it's not actually a scientific textbook! :-) :-)

The story centers largely on Newton's later life role as Warden, later Master, of the English Royal Mint, with particular focus on a Mr William Chaloner - a long time thief, scammer, general rogue and counterfeiter. Encompasses a terrific contextual outline of Newton's early life and the socio-political aspects of the age, mostly in the time of King William ( of Orange ) but also earlier to Charles the First and Second, rudely interrupted by the Protectorate of Cromwell. The Bank of England was also born in these times, primarily as a way of raising cash in a hurry for wars on the continent. Many financial gadgets that we readily recognise today were kicked off too, like 'bank notes' which were originally a type of cash cheque, also debt exceeding equity/asset ie. gearing, interest bearing bonds, government sponsored lotteries, and a related/limited form of public share issue. So if you add these to good old fashion metal coins then one has scope for lots of shenanigans. Which is why Sir Isaac was invited in : as the whole bloody economy, currency included, was in an awful mess. He was as about apolitical as one could be in such a time, so he was pretty well trusted by one and all of the power factions. He actually spent a year as a member of parliament, his only ever recorded statement during it's sittings was to ask someone to close a window! :-)

As warden of the mint the main aspect of his job was currency security ie. stop people forging it, hording it, exporting it, stealing it, or debasing it. In this position he had what we would now view as frightening powers, even exceeding the 'coroners' of the day. Alot of 'summary discretion' one might politely say, like putting you in or out of gaol at will, entering any property whenever or for whatever, summon as many soldiers as he pleased for some task, arrest/detain/delay without charge or explanation, interrogate or torture even. ( Not that he didn't have to be careful about who in power he might annoy ). He seems to have been exceptional at this in that he stood out from those before and after him as being really quite fair, relatively. He kept meticulous records, upon which this account is largely based.

Now I won't be a spoiler, with either detailed storyline or the ending, except to say that dear Isaac had a rather steep learning curve at the start. But once an intellect like his got into the swing of the job, and that he never seemed to need much sleep then, well ...... :-) :-)

[ Oh, he also oversaw the replacement of all the coins in the realm in half the expected time, and at half the expected cost. There's a spot or three of physics in that. ]

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) For me, this year's pre-Xmas choice of science books are literally of lighter mass than last time, but intellectually weighty. One is on projective geometry and metrics - I was attracted by the promise of basic conceptual discussions of distance, motion, area and perpendicularity. The second is by Pauli, a reproduction of a selection of lectures from a series he gave in the 1950's - the volume I've chosen is on wave mechanics. Also I reckon I may re-read one I've had for some time, an introduction to the wave mechanics side of QM by a chap called Morten Scharff.

( edit ) Coroners or 'agents of The Crown', would turn up with a squad of armed guys to discuss taxation with you. Or any topic that interested them actually. They weren't CPA's back then ...

( edit ) 'gearing' means that you hope that everyone doesn't turn up at once to ask for their money back. Sound familiar?

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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