archive: SETI Books, books, books...

SETI Books, books, books...

R.J. Fear ( (no email) )
Thu, 08 Oct 1998 08:48:50

Hi SETIzens,

Let me know if I'm out of line here. A few people have expressed interest
in reviews of books on SETI and RA. Here's what I can add to the list:

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Infinite in all Directions by Freeman Dyson

An interesting walk through the philosophy of Freeman Dyson. Covering life
as a scientific phenomenon followed by ethics and politics. Some
interesting observations but very little (okay no) data to speak of. (I
want to have lunch with this guy, there's more to Freeman Dyson than meets
the eye.)

Astronomy and Cosmology by Fred Hoyle

An obviously dated piece of material (copyright 1975) but a very well
organized work. Summary level coverage of many aspects of Astronomy and
Cosmology. A little light in the mathematics for me but not a bad place to
start. A guess would be that this book was intended as an entry level
Astronomy and/or Cosmology text book.

the story of JODRELL BANK by Sir Bernard Lovell

Most certainly a must read. For anyone considering the construction of
even a small radio telescope I urge you to read this and read it carefully.
The book chronicals the design and building of the dish at Jodrell Bank.
It includes the effects it had on it's designer, it's builder, the press,
and the surrounding communities. I've never been much for books written
from diaries but this one was worth it.

Home Is Where the Wind Blows by Fred Hoyle

I should have known from the title that this was for me a mistake. The
book follows the title and pretty much goes where the wind blows. It is
largely an account of Fred's travels and experiences. It contains no real
data to speak of. Only in Marion Indiana would this book be placed in the
reference section of Astronomy.

Uncertainty - The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg

I have nothing but admiration for Heisenberg's mind but they went to far in
the title of this book. It would have been correctly labeled "The Life of
Werner Heisenberg" due to it's lack of scientific subject matter. 30 odd
pages of quantum mechanics out of over 500. I'm on the fence on this one.
If you enjoy biographies go for it. If you're primary focus is mathematics
and/or quantum mechanics you may want to skip it.

Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

I know I'm probably asking for it even commenting on this book but here
goes. I don't think I've ever read a book that talked soo much and said
soo little. I enjoy Sagan's style (a little sappy at times) and it's
obvious from the book's content that he was (and still is) one of the
greatest minds in science. But I'm of the impression that this book was
written not for science but as a public relations push for science,
exploration, and political change. I'm not sorry I read it, just sorry I
didn't manage my expectation of it.

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If you haven't guessed I'm looking at going back to school to pursue a
degree in Astronomy. I'm consuming mass quantities of books and material
and thought others might benefit from the process. My apologies for the
dated timeframe of the books covered. More recent material has been
requested and the inter-library loans submitted.

Sincerely,
R.J. Fear

---------- if you're forwarding.... feel free to snip here ---------------

Robert J. (R.J.) Fear North Central Regional Coordinator
President The SETI League Inc.
Topia Inc. ND, SD, NE, MN, IA, WI, IL, MI, and IN
Adaptive Design and Development Corp. Project Argus Station ID: EN70en
225 North Boots Street
Marion Indiana 46952 USA
voice (765) 668-4198 fax (765) 668-4197
email: rjfear@mail.adaptv.com ICQ #: 111461

"If we don't know where we're going how will we know when we're there?"