Pasachoff/Filippenko represent a team that brings together experience in writing, research, and teaching. This book provides a brief, interesting, up-to-date, and beautifully illustrated overview of astronomy. Pasachoff/Filippenko are each very experienced in teaching introductory astronomy and bring that experience to bear in this text.
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Jay M. Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, where he teaches the astronomy survey course and works with undergraduate students. He is also Director of the Hopkins Observatory there. Pasachoff has observed 35 solar eclipses and is Chair of the Working Group on Solar Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union. He is part of a group of scientists observing the atmosphere of Pluto through stellar occultations. He also works in radio astronomy, concentrating on cosmic deuterium and its consequences for cosmology. Further, he collaborates with an art historian on images of comets, the Moon, and eclipses. Pasachoff is U.S. National Liaison to the Commission on Astronomical Education and Development of the International Astronomical Union and is also Vice-President of the Commission. He has twice been Chair of the Astronomy Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he has been on the astronomy education committees of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is on the Council of Advisors of the Astronomy Education Review, the on-line journal sponsored by the American Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. In addition to his college astronomy texts, Pasachoff has written the PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO THE STARS AND PLANETS, and is author or co-author of textbooks in calculus and in physics as well as several junior-high-school textbooks. Pasachoff received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard and was at Caltech before going to Williams College. His sabbaticals and other leaves have been taken at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Pasachoff has been awarded the 2003 Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society.
Alex Filippenko was recently awarded the 2006 Professor of the Year award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for his introductory astronomy course. He is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, having joined the faculty in 1986. He received his bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1979), and his doctorate in Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology (1984). An observational astronomer who makes frequent use of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck 10-meter telescopes, Filippenko has also developed a completely robotic telescope that obtains data while he sleeps. He also made major contributions to the discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is speeding up with time, driven by a mysterious form of dark energy--the top "Science Breakthrough of 1998," according to the editors of Science magazine. Filippenko's research accomplishments have been recognized with several major awards, including the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1992) and the Robert M. Petrie Prize of the Canadian Astronomical Society (1997). A Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, he has also been a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2001) and a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (2002). In 1991 he won the two most coveted teaching awards at Berkeley. He has played a prominent role in science newscasts and television documentaries such as "Mysteries of Deep Space," "Stephen Hawking's Universe," and "Runaway Universe."
"Pasachoff and Filippenko is an excellent text--certainly one of the better brief astronomy texts, and arguably the best. It reads well, it is engaging, it is clear, and it is concise." "The authors seem to have taken great pains to be accurate and to keep the reader informed of assumptions and limitations... It tells why a particular topic is important... It anticipates and clears up possible points of confusion... Brief historical notes help establish the perspective that astronomy is an ongoing, exciting, human adventure." "The level is good. The average introductory astronomy student can read it, but it has not been really 'dumbed down.' Because the authors have chosen their words with great care, it is one of the most accurate books on the market."
"I like the idea of having a short book which allows the students to focus on the key ideas. I like very much [the authors'] efforts to debunk pseudo-science and distinguish such nonsense from real science." "The authors have done a good job in covering the emerging areas of astronomy." "The way that your authors integrate the physics concepts into the book is appropriate for this course. For example, I like the way they introduced general relativity by relating it to solar studies. These are difficult concepts but they were presented in such a way that they should not overwhelm the students."
"Love the starparties! These might be the best 'lab' of all. The little lightbulbs for highlighting core ideas, and especially dealing with misconceptions, are great. This is clearly a student-friendly text." "No problems with the writing style, or pace--I've got one of Pasachoff's field guides on my desk...He's a pro! And widely regarded for his science, and for his writing."
Weaknesses: "None that I can see." Specific Errors: "Couldn't find any!"
On Chapter 16 (A Universe of Galaxies): "This chapter is superbly done. The discussion on dark matter and the sections on 'The search for distant galaxies' and 'The Evolution of Galaxies' are exceptional. On Chapter 17 (Quasars and Active Galaxies): "Entire chapter is excellent. Discussion on quasars is excellent. Figure 17-28 on the appearance from Earth of an active galaxy--excellent."
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