cover image Time for the Stars: 2astronomy in the 1990s

Time for the Stars: 2astronomy in the 1990s

Alan Lightman. Viking Books, $20 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83976-6

MIT professor Lightman ( Ancient Light ) delivers a short course in astrophysics for lay readers who wonder what astronomers are wondering about. Is the universe finite or endless? Are we alone? Digitized data from powerful radio telescopes have not changed the astronomer's questions: it is the answers that are getting strange. Lightman is the author of several astrophysics texts as well as previous cosmology manifestos, and was co-editor of Origins, the Lives and World of Modern Cosmologists. His latest book has slight touches of all those works, and readers will find the material helpful in interpreting tomorrow's astronomy headlines. Lightman's tone is that of an amiable observatory tour-guide, one who tells less than he knows because he wants visitors to absorb the grandeur first. Illustrations. (Jan.)