Working on an Astronomy Book
You would think that with all the physics books I have written and the fact that I teach physics, that I really love physics. I don’t. I have never done that well in physics classes and for the most part, dreaded doing physics. It’s why I didn’t do that well in grad school when I was at UCSC. I just wasn’t into it. Going into a field you are not really in to is a bad idea. And as I write this it is hitting me how often in life I have let my opportunities and commitments determine what I did and not what I wanted to do. I’m alright, I’m not going to quit my job and head for the hills. But I do plan to start doing what I want to do because that’s what I want.
So I’m writing an astronomy book. Astronomy, to me, is the beautiful science. I step out every evening with my dogs and look to the stars. What’s up tonight? There is a whole universe of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae, black holes and neutron stars out there that are knowable, real, and visitable! I want my book to bring people to these places. But not just to visit and to admire the beauty of the cosmos. Also to learn about it and how things work. This is where physics becomes beautiful to me. Where even math becomes beautiful. When it explains how the universe works. How a star gets it’s energy, how galaxies form into huge beautiful spiral structures lighting up along the spiral arms as stars ignite.
My book will use astronomy to motivate learning the physics and the math. As most of my books, they are written for high school students. No where is there another group of people dreading math class or physics class and all the irrelevant knowledge dumped on them continuously. My book is for the young me, who loves astronomy but dreads the physics and math. Who will do the physics and math if it contains just a kernel of beauty and wonder.