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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Possible Buddy Read for Astrophysics for people in a Hurry

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments I noticed that like six or seven people are considering reading it, and Anita and I definitely are... So just in case we get a larger number, thought to put out a discussion thread for this one too. Just posted a little blurb on the etiology of the Buddy Read on the thread for Winter Palace. On this one I only account Anita and I (Amy) so far.....


Theresa | 6328 comments I downloaded the ebook from NYPL. I figure in about a week I will be ready to read it as a counter to all the sappy Christmas romances and light Christmas cozies I have started, LOL!

So count me in!


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments Was hoping to wrangle you, Theresa! I hear he’s such a beautiful writer!


KateNZ | 2214 comments I’m in. Just finishing the Bujold book that I got distracted by


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments Ok, if you are really, really in a hurry, the first chapter can be summarized as:

(view spoiler)


AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments I just checked out the audiobook version from my library and I'm looking forward to it! I think this will be my first PBT buddy read! I'm going to start it after I finish Wishful Drinking in the next couple of days.


message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments Really interesting feature how much interest and participation the buddy reads are generating. I’m so glad. Interesting to imagine what other fun idea for this feature the tags might generate. This book will be fun to share.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments I admit it. I bore easily, and its hard for me to pay attention to non fiction. It requires a different kind of attention. You have to be in a certain mood, and both the topic and the book have to be extremely compelling. I know this author for the beautiful and spiritual quotes I have heard, so I knew I was in for a treat. But it was also hard for me to stay with in detail. My eyes glazed over at certain points. At others though, I was completely engaged. It was less about the science, but more about how we are all connected - and about the implications of the findings. I found I was very interested in how people understood and processed the implications. Reactions, meanings, and how they became storied by others. I liked him. I guess one imagines that an Astrophysicist wouldn't have a sense of humor, or be deeply spiritual or philosophical. I guess one imagines, they would be devoid of a personality - and they would be cosmically incorrect. Its great to have a guy who can capture our attention and explain things so we can understand them and talk about them. I liked the book, I liked him, I liked for sure many of the thoughts left over to ponder, some of the writing in an instant can just capture something in a beautiful, poignant, or humorous way, and I'm really glad I read it. And I am glad to be part of a group on Goodreads that forces me out of genre and comfort zone, because I discover so many worlds and universes, I otherwise wouldn't. I have met new galaxies and expanded my own. A worthy read, and I guess I would say, if you are someone who eschews non-fiction, and is an eyes glaze over personality when too much science and physics enters the picture, there is something here for you too to connect with. Its a good little slim volume, and you leave it understanding more than you did. And you feel something too. There is a lot that stays with you, long after the book closes. I am glad we have some folks who want to talk about it together. I know that will enhance it for me even more. 3.7 stars? Probably deserves more, but consider it a high rating from me.


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7248 comments Anita wrote: "Ok, if you are really, really in a hurry, the first chapter can be summarized as:

In less than two minutes, the universe expanded from a teensy tiny dot smaller than a period to massive. There was..."


LiteraryMania wrote: "I just checked out the audiobook version from my library and I'm looking forward to it! I think this will be my first PBT buddy read! I'm going to start it after I finish [book: Wishful Drinking|49..."

LOL


message 10: by Barbara M (new) - added it

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2191 comments I plan on reading this and have borrowed it from the library. However, I'm still finishing off The Weight of Ink which I nearly finished in time for the November tag . . . but not quite. Then I have The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great for the other group read. So, I'm not sure how I'll fit this in. However, I am pretty good at multi-booking if I'm listening and reading two different books.


message 11: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments Barbara - I'm so glad to be "with" you this season! I hope they are all good! You got to Circe as well! So happy for the partnership and synergy!


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Anita wrote: "Ok, if you are really, really in a hurry, the first chapter can be summarized as:

In less than two minutes, the universe expanded from a teensy tiny dot smaller than a period to massive. There was..."


So awesome. Hahaha.


Sushicat | 804 comments I never considered this could be a candidate for an audiobook, but I heard (or rather saw him) on YouTube and he’s reading himself. That’s bound to be good!


message 14: by KateNZ (last edited Dec 06, 2018 12:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

KateNZ | 2214 comments I’m up to the Dark Matter section and enjoying it a lot now. I found Chapter 1 a bit hard to follow, I must admit (love Anita’s précis - it literally echoed what I said out loud!) but it’s getting easier now. The book gets a bit more conversational as it goes on which is beneficial for science dimwits like me!

When we were in New York in June, I went to the Dark Matter exhibition (a planetarium style video show) which was wonderfully narrated by Neil deGT. That’s where I bought my copy of the book. I could listen to him for ever. The details go in one ear and straight back out the other but the process is very pleasurable. I honestly think the only thing I retained from the exhibition is that there’s a lot of something called dark matter, which explains some gravitational effects that would otherwise be weird but we don’t know what the stuff is. The End. But the pictures were pretty. And now I can maybe find out more using the book 😁


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments Jason wrote: "Anita wrote: "Ok, if you are really, really in a hurry, the first chapter can be summarized as:

In less than two minutes, the universe expanded from a teensy tiny dot smaller than a period to mass..."


Hey Jason! Good to see you, and thanks ;). I am not sure NDT really grasps the words "in a hurry" . . .


message 16: by Anita (last edited Dec 06, 2018 02:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments So I am just starting chapter 6, and I have to just remark that I must be a person who needs more details. This is the third book I've read that related to this topic. And I guess I understand the very big picture in the way Kate describes it. But a whole lot of it still seems pretty vague . . .I want to better understand HOW we know these things. Using some kind of analogy I can grasp. But I presume that without the math it's basically impossible to explain.

I feel like the best book I read on a related topic was Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed, and when I read the review I wrote ages ago for that book, I feel like I might end up writing a similar one here.

It's like:

We create math to explain the physical behaviors we observe 99% of the time.

1% of the time the behavior doesn't hold true.

We try to figure out new math that addresses the 1%.

We can't.


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments So, can anyone explain the following term for me? It keeps coming up, and I don't understand it at all:

"the fabric of space/time"

Also, I don't understand the concept of space curving . . .


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments You are asking for a tall order. This is einsteins theory of general realitivity that invents the idea of space time and that it curves. Among many things, it points to the idea that gravity as a force does not exist but is a product of a curveture of space time.

This story is always funny to me

In 1919, Ludwig Silberstei (the author of one of the early books on relativity), came up to him and said,' Professor Eddington, you must be one of three persons in the world who understands general relativity'. On Eddington demuring to this statement, Silberstein responded, 'Don't be modest Eddington'. And Eddington's reply was, 'On the contrary, I am trying to think who the third is.

So our minds cant 100% grasp 4 dimensions, but but instead of thinkong of space as flat, think of it as 3 dimensional that you can move around in. Lets say jello. It has height, width, breath, and you can be inside of it but its made of something like trampoline material. Put a bowling ball in the middle and it creates a curve and smalled objets fall towards it. The key is to add time for the 4th dimebsion. To do this, watch the video below. The answer is at the end but you need to watch the whole video.

https://youtu.be/Xc4xYacTu-E

I hope this helps.


message 19: by annapi (new)

annapi | 4916 comments I might join this buddy read if I can get a hold of the book - all the copies in my library seem to be on hold.


message 20: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments Don’t we all just love Jason? Welcome back, friend.


message 21: by Anita (last edited Dec 06, 2018 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments Jason wrote: "You are asking for a tall order. This is einsteins theory of general realitivity that invents the idea of space time and that it curves. Among many things, it points to the idea that gravity as a f..."

I loved the story, and it definitely made me feel better. The bowling ball analogy does help me, but just sticking with the three dimensions for the moment, is the bowling ball an analogy for the gravitational force? Or mass? Or something else?

Will definitely make time for the you tube video.

I never thought of space as flat, but more like an ocean of emptyness . . .so three dimensional yet, but I don't understand how it can curve. What is in the displaces space that the curve creates? In your analogy, there's a bowling ball in the space that was formally occupied by jello. And the jello curves around the bowling ball. Other than planets, is our space curving around?


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7716 comments Anita, you are really asking for astrophysics for people who aren't in a hurry! lol.

If you are interested in reading more about it, I highly recommend the author Brian Greene.

I have read The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory and The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, but I have not yet read The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

I read these books when we were still on Shelfari, so I lost my reviews, but it is probably about time for me to read them again! I like to get them in paper copy and bust out a perfectly sharpened #2 pencil to take notes because I really have to THINK about what Greene is saying.

Which makes sense, because astrophysics really isn't a topic for lay people in a hurry....


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments Nicole R wrote: "Anita, you are really asking for astrophysics for people who aren't in a hurry! lol.

If you are interested in reading more about it, I highly recommend the author Brian Greene.

I ha..."


Ha ha, I definitely think you are right! I like the idea of hurrying, but I am a person who needs a conceptual grasp. If I am reading something explanatory and that ends up with me having twenty new questions, I'm not sure that's really giving me a fundamental understanding. It's just letting me chat at cocktail parties . . .as if I know something. Which I don't.


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Anita, anything with mass creates a curve. We create a curve but its negated by the mass earth. This curve causes us to seem to "fall" towards earth while going in a straight line through time. (Video covers this) So what we know as gravity is the result of the curveture of time. This is also why things further away from the curveture age slower than things closer to objects of large mass. You age slower the further away from the center of earth. (Sequels to Enders Game) (In the move Interstellar, they are on a planet where minutes on that planet is years on earth)

There is the belief that our universe is curved also. Think round jello, you are inside the jello but you cant penetrate to the outisde. If you keep going stright through space and do not encouter a larger mass, you will eventually come back to where you begin.


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments So helpful, Jason! Maybe you should have written the book lol . . .


KateNZ | 2214 comments I love the occasional footnotes. I’m on chapter 10 - the text refers to Neptune as the outermost planet. It’s accompanied by a footnote saying ‘No, it’s not Pluto. Get over it.’


message 27: by Sushicat (last edited Dec 08, 2018 01:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sushicat | 804 comments KateNZ wrote: "I love the occasional footnotes. I’m on chapter 10 - the text refers to Neptune as the outermost planet. It’s accompanied by a footnote saying ‘No, it’s not Pluto. Get over it.’"

Oh no, I’m listening to him and loving it. But no footnotes as far as I can tell.


Theresa | 6328 comments Finally started this today on my commute into work. I was surprised at just how much I managed to read - 2.5 essays. Not sure I'd say I am enjoying it though. Yet.

I feel as if somehow I know much of what he's telling, but not sure how except from going to planetarium shows, reading all kinds of fiction and news articles. Maybe Carl Sagan and PBS has something to do with it.

But I do enjoy when he tosses in the day to day analogy or thought -- so far my favorite is the hot chocolate and whipped cream. Will never look at that combo the same again.

My plan is to keep reading on my commutes to/from work, at least. Probably will finish it early next week. Stay tuned.


message 29: by Theresa (last edited Dec 13, 2018 04:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Theresa | 6328 comments Oh and this is the only time I've ever started reading a book and wondered if it might be better on audiobook (I'm not a fan of audiobooks unless I've read the book already, and even then not really). I think I'll see if I can download the audiobook form NYPL without a wait...

Edited: Just checked. there are 319 holds for audiobook! Seriously, 319?! I'll just read the ebook which I still have about a week before it has to be returned.


Anita Pomerantz | 6277 comments Theresa wrote: "Oh and this is the only time I've ever started reading a book and wondered if it might be better on audiobook (I'm not a fan of audiobooks unless I've read the book already, and even then not reall..."

I don't even like audiobooks, but something about this one did make me feel like it would be a winner in audio.

Just to reassure you (not that you need it), I felt that the subsequent chapters got better. For me, the first few were the weakest ones; the ones where it seemed like some more background knowledge was necessary to truly grasp them.


Theresa | 6328 comments I'm halfway now -- in the middle of Chapter 6 Dark Energy, page 100. Not finding it improving much -- have pretty much the same reactions. I'm not really sure how much I'm really taking in either. I read complicated stuff every day -- I'm a lawyer and I get some really exciting [not!] stuff like insurance policies and over-written leases and corporate documents to parse, and I'm grasping that much better than what I'm reading about the cosmos and astrophysics.

I'm thinking about just what it is that's eluding me...perhaps when I've finished I can put it into words for a discussion.

It is incredibly easy and fast to read. I'm only reading it on my commute to and from work, and in less than 2 days, I've read half the book. I'm also enjoying his style a lot.

One of the reasons I think I sense the audiobook might suit me for this is that while reading, I keep hearing in my head and seeing in my mind's eye various planetarium shows I've seen that cover some of the same material. And ones at Epcot, LOL.

Anyway, about to head home so will get another 25 or 30 pages read tonight before putting it aside until Monday. Or maybe I will have made so much progress I will push to finish on Sunday. We'll see.


Theresa | 6328 comments I will finish either tonight or during tomorrow morning's commute as I am somewhere in the midst of the penultimate essay. I'd finish tonight but I'm going to dinner then theater after work, so may just collapse when I finally get home without reading any further.

I have mixed feelings about this -- looking forward to discussing a bit.


message 33: by Theresa (last edited Dec 20, 2018 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Theresa | 6328 comments I finished tonight!

I was not wowed. I did not dislike it. It read quickly and easily and was a terrific commute read. Yet I have no burning desire to read more about the cosmos. I am not rushing down the street to the NYC Planetarium to watch the latest film and check the latest exhibits. And I absolutely have not been bitten by a desire to read any Sci-fi using astrophysics and the cosmos in its storytelling.

My eyes also glazed over from time to time, or I would just zone out, or struggle to grasp something. That sort of surprised me because I studied a lot of math and science in my youth, as it came very easily to me. It also bored me and that clearly has not changed.

Thus, it gets a mediocre rating from me. I do think it might have had a different impact as an audiobook, but as NYPL hold #319, I was not going to wait. As I read, I could hear it in my head, even visualize it. Perhaps I will hear Tyson present some time. Oh and I did really enjoy the chapter about the Periodic Table chemicals that owe their existance to astrophysics. That's just super cool.


Theresa | 6328 comments And just in time for Geek Read month and this buddy read in particular, the Christmas Comet!
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/17/677342...


Theresa | 6328 comments Amy! You clearly have super powers when it comes to books! I would never have read Astrophysics for People in a Hurry if you had not inveigled me into joining the buddy read. And it has already paid off in social conversations!

I can't believe how many times some subject has come up lately that pulls in the knowledge gleaned from reading this book! Everything from the turquoise sky over NYC when something happened at the Astoria, Queens Con Ed site (electrical arc caused by aluminum burning hotter than the sun and the equipment that contains it failing) to asteroids hitting Uranus.

I may need to bump up my rating!


message 36: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments My real superpower is connecting amazing women together. But I’m thrilled you have loved everything I have picked so far. I’m so glad you joined our group. You are such an asset, as are all of our newer members.


message 37: by Theresa (last edited Dec 29, 2018 12:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Theresa | 6328 comments And, just to toot Amy's horn a bit more, over on Facebook, a tiny, fairly new independent bookstore located in Kew Gardens, Queens, NYC, just posted its 2018 list of shop bestsellers. One guess what book was included....here is the proof:

https://www.facebook.com/940633389337...

Definitely a book choosing superpower


message 38: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8292 comments OK I admit it. Choosing books for people actually is a super power I probably possess. Ask Rachel Levy what she thinks. I probably picked 60 to 75% of her books in 2018, and I haven’t had a bad hit yet.


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