Saturday, October 26, 2013

Amusing Quotes and a Book Review: Objects in Motion

Here are a few interesting/amusing tidbits from a book called Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (Secrets of the Universe) :
  • "In 1616, the Catholic Church banned [Copernicus' book On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres], and it remained on its "Index of Forbidden Books" until 1835."  I hadn't realized it was removed so relatively recently.
  • "Newton dutifully tried his hand at running the family farm, but his talents clearly lay elsewhere."  Haha, yes, clearly. 
  • "In addition to his great intelligence and his dedication to astronomy, Brahe is remembered for his eccentricity.  At the age of nineteen, he lost part of his nose in a duel over mathematics and wore a false nose made of silver for the rest of his life!" 

These quotes are all from the "Biographies of Scientists" section in the back.  Most of the book was less amusing than this, though it was interesting in its own way.  I didn't dislike it -- found most of it at least somewhat interesting, in fact.  It helped me (hopefully) learn a little more about some things I probably should have already retained more solidly from my previous learning.  It's practical scientific knowledge, explained understandably, and that's good.  It's probably not going to be hugely fascinating to most people, except perhaps those who really get excited about pendulums and planetary motion. 

Predictably, I think my son Peter is enjoying this series more than I am.  I was theoretically pre-reading it for him, but he wanted to read ahead (which I allowed -- there's only a bit of the typical stuff that comes up with science to potentially discuss per need -- the author believes in evolution, but it doesn't come up a lot), and he's already read portions of the book by the same author on relativity and quantum mechanics.  I'm not sure whether I'll get around to reading the others in this series myself or not.  I'd like to eventually, but I have to prioritize, and there are things more urgent, especially now that I've sort of gotten a feel for the series by reading one of the books.

These books aren't very long (this one is just 80 pages).  There are five of them.  They were combined in one book before, called Secrets of the Universe, but now that's out of print and used copies are expensive.  The prices on these are too high new from Amazon for what you get, in my opinion, but you can find at least most of them greatly discounted if you watch and wait.  I've bought all of them except one in this way so far.  They are on the Ambleside Online booklist for Year 6

Well, originally I only wanted to record a few of these quotes to share, partly for my own amusement, but now it's a book review of sorts as well.  Bonus.  :) 

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