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Paperback The Stars of Heaven Book

ISBN: 0195171594

ISBN13: 9780195171594

The Stars of Heaven

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Book Overview

Do a little armchair space travel, rub elbows with alien life forms, and stretch your mind to the furthest corners of our uncharted universe. With this astonishing guidebook, you don't have to be an astronomer to explore the mysteries of stars and their profound meaning for human existence. Clifford A. Pickover tackles a range of topics from stellar evolution to the fundamental reasons why the universe permits life to flourish. He alternates sections...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The Sun, the Stars, and the Universe

In this book, Dr. Pickover takes us on a scientific and historical tour of the development of our understanding of the workings of stars (of which our sun is the nearest example). In the usual Pickover manner, the author does not let us rest with a light-hearted thesis on nuclear physics. He leads us to the conclusion that neither stars nor our universe could be without the fortuitous existence of an excited state of the carbon-12 nucleus. Is this because the excited state of carbon-12 was designed so or has our universe evolved from a cosmology of universes in such a way that the excited state is a necessity? The reader is left to ponder the question. For more speculations about God see Dr. Pickover's next tome, "The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience", also available on this web site.

The star of heaven is you.

The stars of heaven - where would we be without them? Actually nowhere; we as humans would not exist without them. As carbon based lifeforms we owe our very existence to the stars since they are the source of this carbon, and what a close call it is that this carbon is formed at all. Were the number 7.6549 (the resonant energy state of carbon in MeV) just a few percent different, the stars would not produce this carbon, and the rich biochemistry that make us human would not be possible. So, if you ever wondered where you came from, Pickover has the answer in these glorious pages. A journey to the stars would be wonderful, but the journey of the stars to us is even more wonderful. Pickover tells the amazing story of where we came from for those who wonder at that amazing question.Dennis W. Gordon

On The Stars Of Heaven, By Clifford A. Pickover

If there is ever a time more than any other that we need astronomy, it is now. Because astronomy -- from backyard stargazing on up -- reminds us there's much beyond terror looming over our heads. And, now more than ever, we need writers up to the task of convincing us of this. Not just competent writers, mind you; from these you'll get the venerable, well-annotated but otherwise dehydrated boilerplate itemizing the hits and misses of Astronomy 101's usual suspects: ancient Greeks, Moorish scholars, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Lowell (for comic relief) and finally some pro-forma paeans to Einstein, Hubble, Hawking and (with an asterisk) Sagan.Now, while all this is fairly serviceable stuff, it conveys nothing of what we layfolk dearly want from science: our own personal place in it. We want to connect -- to log on to eternity. And that's where Clifford Pickover steps in. His new book, The Stars of Heaven, ostensibly concentrates on stellar astronomy -- the lives and deaths of stars. But anyone who has ever read his previous books will expect -- and receive -- far more. Pickover's expansive field of view reveals the nature and mysteries of stars in their broadest, deepest possible context -- from the edge of the observable universe and beyond to the restless shadows of human consciousness. Astrophysics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, art -- all of these seamlessly enrich Pickover's answer to our seemingly simple "wish upon a star." But don't get me wrong here; The Stars of Heaven is no ponderous block of academic marble. Pickover delivers the goods like a friend, happy you've asked him to stop over for a chat about some of his favorite ideas. He's an avid sci-fi fan, and he delights in actively engaging his readers, so in this book (as in various others of his) he creates for us a space adventure all his own, complete with wacky characters, funny asides and lightspeed plot-twists but all to make his main points memorable -- and meaningful. Sometimes, to crystallize a point, Pickover includes a simple equation or two, but these are painless and few; in fact, they serve as handy landmarks should you wish to backtrack and refresh. But always this is a personal journey for the author -- a chance to reveal why he delights in heavenly mysteries, scientific and otherwise. You'll especially get a sense of this in the "non-fiction" section of each chapter, where he distills and develops themes introduced in the sci-fi segment. And this may be the most valuable element of the whole book: a glimpse into not only the mysteries of science but also the scientist -- why he does what he does, how his discoveries and unanswered questions square with his own aspirations and beliefs -- and why he'd like to share all this with you. Indeed, this is what we need, now more than ever, if we are to live beyond fear of the unknown.

A far-out journey

This book is a great introduction to stars in science, art, and religion. The illustrations help the reader to understand complicated concepts. My favorite parts of the book deal with the anthropic principle. These sections address the question: Was the universe designed? I also liked the sections on the evolution of multiple universes. Even though the book has sections on art (e.g. Van Gogh) and religion (e.g. stars in the Bible), the book could certainly be used as a hard-core stellar astronomy textbook because it covers everything you would want to know about all the variety of stars in outer space (evolution, nucleosythesis, stellar anatomy, spectral classes, black holes, etc.) Science-fiction buffs will enjoy the very strange and very interesting tale about an oddball set of characters who journey to the end of the universe to make investigations. A cool book.
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