Astronomy & Natural History Connections: From Darwin To Einstein
I have a casual interest in science but haven’t had the inclination to actually sit down and properly study it in a classroom. (I also haven’t had the time, with all my other casual and more pressing interests.) I was therefore pleased to find a book about astronomy and natural history. The former is a subject I’m mostly interested in from growing up on science fiction; the latter comes from my fascination with the world around me.
The book was even better than I had hoped. Barry Boyce opens the book with what is best described as a virtual tour of a research facility at Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. It drags in places, but peppered throughout are tidbits about astronomy that kept me interested all the way through. From there, we’re essentially taken on The Complete History of Science (Abridged). Boyce takes us from the prehistory of early humans creating lunar calendars through many early civilizations, including the Chinese, Anasazi, and Greeks. The history lesson takes us to Newton, and then Boyce takes a slight detour to get into the science. He gives primers on natural history and astronomy, going more in-depth as the chapters progress. He finishes the book by talking about the present and future of both, even combining the two by briefly discussing alien life.
Boyce’s teaching style reminds me of some of my college professors: informative and informal. This isn’t a dry textbook or even a mildly engaging pop-science book. Reading this is like reading the transcript of a lecture. Boyce writes as though he’s addressing a group of students, some of whom may already know parts of the material while others are approaching it for the first time. My only complaint is that at times it gets a little too informal. At one point, while discussing Lamarck, he had a little rant that I thought drew away from the interesting topic.
On the whole, however, this is a delightful book, one I would recommend to anyone with an interest in learning more about the universe. It’s as good for those who already have some background knowledge as it is for beginners, and I’ll have to revisit it sometime to brush up on the astronomy chapters and get a little more familiar with that information. Published just this year, it’s full of the latest information, so I’d suggest picking up a copy soon. At the rate scientific discoveries are progressing, it won’t be long before some of the sections wind up being out of date.
This page was created by an SFBR staff member.
|Page Count||300 pages|
|Publisher||The Baryon Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science & Nature|