The Stars of Heaven

The Stars of Heaven

5.0 2
by Clifford A. Pickover
     
 

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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 guide book, The Stars of Heaven, you need not be an astronomer to explore the mysteries of stars and their profound meaning for human existence.
Stars have fascinated humankind since theSee more details below

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 guide book, The Stars of Heaven, you need not be an astronomer to explore the mysteries of stars and their profound meaning for human existence.
Stars have fascinated humankind since the dawn of history and have allowed us to transcend ordinary lives in our literature, art, and religions. In fact, humans have always looked to the stars as a source of inspiration and transcendence that lifts us beyond the boundaries of ordinary intuition. In the tradition of One Two Three... Infinity, Pickover tackles a range of topics from stellar evolution to the fundamental and awe-inspiring reasons why the universe permits life to flourish. Where did we come from? What is the universe's ultimate fate? Pickover alternates sections that explain the mysteries of the cosmos with sections that dramatize mind-expanding concepts through a fictional dialog between futuristic humans and their alien peers who embark on a journey beyond the reader's wildest imagination. This highly accessible and entertaining approach turns an intimidating subject into a scientific game open to all dreamers.
Told in Clifford Pickover's inimitable blend of fascinating state-of-the-art science and whimsical science fiction, and packed with numerous diagrams and illustrations, The Stars of Heaven unfolds a world of paradox and mystery, one that will intrigue anyone who has ever pondered the night sky with wonder.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Ambitious overview of astronomy, by the author of Strange Brains and Genius (1998), whose material here seems far more often strewn than marshaled. Popular-science journalist Pickover's central belief-that the "stars of heaven" yield the essential secrets of existence itself and, in so doing, are a spiritual as well as scientific resource-is shared by many. Nonetheless, he spends too much of an overcrowded agenda initially selling this idea, invoking along the way everyone from Vincent van Gogh to Britney Spears. Even after this preamble, Pickover feels obliged to employ a SF scenario featuring a cast of hyperevolved extraterrestrials to add flair to his illumination of various stellar phenomena. Unfortunately, since he also uses these characters to relentlessly flaunt his erudition and grasp of biochemistry, it doesn't work. After plodding through endless digressions in the fictionally enhanced sessions, lay readers will likely yearn to relax with the more formal discourse that reprises each. These are indeed packed with facts and figures. (For example: A solar granule is about the size of the state of California.) The author's failure to initially focus, however, means he must bob and weave through a capsule history of astronomy and the basic processes of the stellar/solar furnace before settling into what he really wants to write about: how we got here, where we're going, and why. It is only in these latter sections, credibly merging points of scientific departure with informed speculation, that Pickover finally finds fourth gear. By projecting the fate of carbon-based life as we know it (or perhaps don't yet) in terms of galactic evolution, he mostly avoids the stupefyingstrings and beads of the quantum geeks and gives us the vision of a palpable universe, marching forward to somewhere. Finding God in the details is possible, but labor-intensive.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195148749
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/30/2001
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Ian Stewart
"Pickover just seems to exist in more dimensions than the rest of us."
Marcus Chown
"A quirky, off-the-wall take on the subject of stars. Packed with insights and asides, The Stars of Heaven is bound to increase Pickover's fanbase."
Robert J. Sawyer
"Clifford A. Pickover is the heir apparent to Carl Sagan: no one else does better popular science writing than Pickover."

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