Review of The Astronomy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by Jacqueline Mitton, David W. Hughes, Robert Dinwiddie, Penny Johnson & Tom Jackson

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 138, 1267, 339–340 (December 2018)


This is a book review of The Astronomy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by Jacqueline Mitton, David W. Hughes, Robert Dinwiddie, Penny Johnson & Tom Jackson. This popular book (no equations) gives an overview of astronomy via 100 short chapters (ranging from one to eight pages. It is arranged both chronologically and by subject: each of the seven parts covers a particular span of years and describes the main topics during that time (e.g. "From Myth to Science 600 BCE--1550 CE", "The Rise of Astrophysics 1850--1915"). Each chapter contains, in addition to the main text, information on the "key astronomer(s)" (occasionally, "key organization" or "key development") with a timeline divided into "before" and "after" (i.e. influences and those influenced) and references to related chapters. In addition, most contain some combination of a pithy quote, a flow chart illustrating the logic behind the basic idea, a photograph or other figure, or a biography of (one of) the key astronomer(s) (with a listing of "key works"). As such, the book is more like a lecture presentation than a textbook. There is a general introduction before the first part, and the main text is followed by a "directory" (list of astronomers who didn't make the cut, including Eratosthenes, Huygens, Kapteyn, and Jeans), a glossary, and an index.


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last modified on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 03:09:20 PM by helbig@ascameltro.multivax.de (remove animal to reply)