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Astronomy, astrophysics?

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So, I have been looking for a decent non-fiction book about astronomy and astrophysics. I have a background in exact sciences, so am looking for something that's not quite popular science. I have read some of Stephen Hawking's work, so that's not what I am looking for. It's good, but I want something else. Plus, here's the thing. Something that won't cost me a fortune. Unfortunately these books are usually at least 60 to 70 euros.. I found a great one the other day, costing 160. I just don't have that money. So wonder if you guys have any idea what's good to read on this subject.

I particularly like topics like stellar evolution, black holes, dark matter, galaxies etc. Astrophysics doesn't have to be the most difficult level here, because then there's a possibility I won't get it, sucking at math and physics like I do.

 

Actually, if it's very scientific, as in could be taught at university, is good too, then I'll probably be able to get it at my uni's library so it won't cost me anything.

 

Suggestions? I know not many of you here are interested in exact sciences, at least I got that idea, but maybe, just maybe you know something.:)

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Pardon me if I'm stating the obvious, but you never know - Einstain's original Relativity is meant to be mind-bending conceptually yet accessible, as the genius himself 'sucked at maths' so there's hardly any equations in it. Other than that, I'd be interested to see what other recommendations you get, I have no background whatsoever in the exact sciences (unless repeated viewings of I.Q. count) but they do fascinate me so.

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Haha you never know indeed, I didn't really think about reading the "classics" so to say, in this field. I love reading those works, and I want to read Darwin's the Origin of Species, so why not some of Einstein's work. If I can get my hands on it, but might have to check what they have about that in the Library of Science at my university. :)

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A lot of scientific papers are available online - and Einstein's General Theory is only a couple of pages long, so it isn't exactly going to take a long time to slog through it. Look through some of the science websites for online material and you'll find a lot of the stuff that doesn't get published per se (not in hard copy anyways). Most of the papers are really dense and require deciphering once you get up to the 1970's, but a lot of the formative work (the basics) are really accessible to the average reader.

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Well scientific papers I can get, no problem, I just have to log into my university's site, and it has subscriptions to pretty much all scientific magazines. So where you usually can't access them, I could, and have. However, am looking for more something in book form, something a little more coherent than reading several scientific papers.. :) I am lazy, I know. :D

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Pop-astronomy books don't seem to have taken off in the way that the general science books have. There are a few books on black holes, theoretical space travel, and there are so many "The Physics Of..." books (ripping television show physics to pieces) that it is hard to differentiate them after a while. Your best bet for a book to your liking is probably one of titles which were released in the wake of the Stephen Hawking's simplified texts. And there's an old book which dispels myths about how black holes are the devourers of quasi-scientific myth which is kinda cool - the name doesn't come to hand, but I'll hunt through the stacks to find it.

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This might not be quite what you are looking for but 'The arrow of time' Peter coveney & roger Highfield covers Relativity and Thermodynamics. It is relatively old (1990) but is a serious book, not popular science, at the same time is accesible :)

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The Exploding Universe by Nigel Henbest is a great read but perhaps a bit old now.

The Natural History of the Universe by Colin A Ronan is also pretty good. I don't know if they are still in print or not, or if they are in your price range - the are chunky hardbacks with glossy color photos.

For pop science on Black Holes there's the ever readable Paul Davis's The Edge of Inifinity.

I had some others in mind which I used in my uni days (borrowed from the uni library) but I can't remember the titles now. I'll see if I can dig out my old essay and get the references.

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I tend to read popular science books if I read any. Partly because I wouldn't understand it if it was too in depth but also I don't know that there is much of a middle ground. It's either popular science or it's hardcore stuff where you need a degree to get through it.

At the moment I'm reading Why Does E=mc2 by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.

I know it's not what you want but I can only recommend popular science so

Death by Blackhole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Bad Astronomy by Philip Plait (which I especially like since it tears apart the conspiracy theorists' claims that we haven't landed on the Moon)

Death From the Skies by Philip Plait about all the impressive ways the Universe could kill us.

 

Also Michio Kaku writes good stuff and there are classics from Carl Sagan like Pale Blue Dot, Cosmos and The Demon Haunted World.

 

I would love this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feynman-Lectures-Physics-Definitive-Extended/dp/0805390456/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268500481&sr=1-2

but it's not really about Astronomy and I would understand almost none of it. Oh, and it's very expensive.

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Feynman is of the Einstein-ish persuasion that physics is best tackled with concepts as opposed to lots and lots of formulaic gibberish Steve; I reckon you'd get it :).

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Feynman is of the Einstein-ish persuasion that physics is best tackled with concepts as opposed to lots and lots of formulaic gibberish Steve; I reckon you'd get it :D.

 

Thank you for your misplaced confidence in me :). But yeah you're right. I have some books by him and he always makes it easy to understand what he's on about.

The lectures are more complicated but I think there's supposed to be a lot the layman can understand too. Some of the videos of Feynman on youtube are great. Especially when he's talking about appreciating beauty.

I have QED by him so if I can understand that maybe one day I'll treat myself to his lectures.

But he's not about Astronomy so sorry for taking it off topic.

Brian Greene's stuff is supposed to be good. I have The Fabric of the Cosmos by him but couldn't get through it when I tried to read it years ago. Will try again one day soon hopefully.

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I had some others in mind which I used in my uni days (borrowed from the uni library) but I can't remember the titles now. I'll see if I can dig out my old essay and get the references.

 

I'm pretty sure this was one of them: Black Holes and Warped Spacetime - William J. Kaufmann. Again it's pretty old but if it's the one I'm thinking of it was a uni level textbook but fascinating and readable.

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Black Holes: The End Of The Universe by John Taylor - some highly dubious thought processes in his extrapolation of the available data, but the book's numerous tangents are well worth reading.

The Fire Came By by John Baxter and Thomas Atkins - Tunguska explained. Or, at the very least, a bunch of ideas about what could have happened are thrown around.

 

I don't know if either are still in print though.

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