Understanding the Universe: An Inquiry Approach to Astronomy and the Nature of Scientific Research

Understanding the Universe: An Inquiry Approach to Astronomy and the Nature of Scientific Research

by George Greenstein

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521192590
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2013
Pages: 656
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

George Greenstein is the Sidney Dillon Professor of Astronomy at Amherst College, Massachusetts. He is an accomplished writer, having written one textbook, three books on science for the general public and numerous magazine articles. One of his books won both the American Institute of Physics/US Steel science-writing award and the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. Professor Greenstein is a recognized leader in the American Astronomical Society's effort to reform astronomy education in the United States. Some time ago he co-organized a series of workshops for department chairs of the most prestigious universities in the country, which led to a set of proposed goals for reform of introductory astronomy courses nationwide. Professor Greenstein's field of research interest is theoretical astrophysics.

Table of Contents

Part I. Steps to Astronomy: 1. The sky; 2. The origins of astronomy; 3. Gravity and orbits; 4. Light; 5. The astronomers' tools: telescopes and space probes; Part II. The Solar System: 6. Introducing the Solar System; 7. The inner Solar System; 8. The outer Solar System; 9. Smaller bodies in the Solar System; 10. Planets beyond the Solar System; Part III. Stars: 11. Our Sun; 12. A census of stars; 13. The formation of stars and planets; 14. Stellar structure; 15. Stellar evolution and death; Part IV. Galaxies and the Universe: 16. The Milky Way galaxy; 17. Galaxies; 18. Cosmology; 19. Life in the Universe; Index.

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From the Publisher

"…an inquiry approach that explores the nature of scientific research sets this book apart from other textbooks. The readings and exercises are scaffolded to allow the students to build their own understanding of the big ideas in astronomy. The separation into different math levels makes it appropriate for a wide range of classes. I really liked the problem sets that required students to describe the logic behind their solutions." Dr Mary Kay Hemenway, University of Texas at Austin

"I have looked over the book and am impressed by what I see. Greenstein’s new book is a compelling and powerful introduction to astronomy, laying bare the fundamentals of scientific arguments and the scientific process." - Professor Steven Furlanetto, University of California, Los Angeles

"Understanding the Universe delivers on its promises. It is indeed inquiry based, and overtly uses astronomy as a means to explore the nature of science. We “Astro 101” teachers often describe our efforts as attempts to show how science operates, but then fail to teach that way. We revert to what Greenstein describes as the “shut up and learn” mode. This uniquely personal book, conventional in its structure, but unconventional in its insistence on clear and conversational explanations of core concepts, is a noble attempt to get the students to do the learning. Greenstein’s text does not merely tell students about the Universe; it helps them understand the Universe." - Professor Bruce Partridge, Haverford College, Pennsylvania

"George Greenstein has done an excellent job of clearly explaining the most important aspects of astronomy. His book brings the reader along on a journey of discovery and treats "what we know" and "how we know" as equally important. Exhorting students to actively participate rather than passively memorize reinforces a message that almost all instructors send. I encourage my colleagues teaching introductory astronomy to consider this book carefully." - Dr. Pauline Barmby, Western University, Ontario, Canada

"This unique text provides a superb framework for introducing students to the approaches scientists take to solving problems. By posing a variety of 'mysteries' faced by both ancient and contemporary astronomers, gathering and presenting data, searching for patterns, asking questions, posing and testing hypotheses both qualitatively and quantitatively, Greenstein introduces his readers to the tools of the detective-scientist." - Dr. Stephen Strom, National Optical Astronomy Observatory

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