Our Universe: An Armchair Guide

Michael Rowan-Robinson, Author W.H. Freeman & Company $29.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-7167-2156-7
Taking as starting points 20 astronomical subjects, e.g., Halley's comet, Crab Nebula, 3C273 (a quasar), the Magellanic Clouds, British astronomer Rowan-Robinson opens up the universe to the general reader. Discussing ancient beliefs, historical breakthroughs and current cosmological theories, he reiterates the continued centrality of the stars in mankind's understanding of itself. The volume's graphically lively pages feature current telescope images and radio maps next to medieval woodcuts and historical time-lines, with pointed quotes from sources such as Dante, Shakespeare, Whitman and Primo Levi arranged throughout with lavish care. There is nothing soft in the science that Rowan-Robinson summons in order to demonstrate the mysteries of the skies--``The stars and galaxies are like hard stones against our feet''--as he leads readers through the more technological aspects of this study. His passion for his subject, on its human scale and in its vast reaches of time and space, is contagious. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-7167-2359-2
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