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Cosmos like book/documentary/movie

  1. Jul 8, 2013 #1


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    Hello everyone. First of all, I'd like to apologize if this isn't the right place to open a new thread. I would like to buy a book or watch a film about the cosmos. I watched Cosmos by Carl Sagan it was really worth watching. However, since I'm going on a vocation in a month, I'd like to order a book on the Internet and read it/them while I'm enjoying the holiday. What I'd like to want in a book is really simple. I'm not that professional in cosmos, so anything not complex would be really good. However, I guess, if it's really simple, I think I'll get bored of it soon. So it sort of has to be balanced, if it's there's such a book.

    I also am interested in space/time travel movies. I heard " A Space Oddysey" is really good. But since it's quite old, it makes me think if it's still worth watching.

    I'm open to any suggestions. ( Both for books and movies/documentaries)

    I've used the search function before opening the thread. But it looked like a lot of them were asked like 4-5 years ago.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2013 #2


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    Depending on what you are willing to spend, "The Teaching Company" has numerous excellent DVD tutorials including cosmology, but they're not cheap (and NEVER buy them at "list" price --- they are always on sale at one time or another)
  4. Jul 8, 2013 #3


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    Thanks for the reply phinds. Well, I have yet to make up my mind on the price, but I think it can be up to 100$ ( for books).
  5. Jul 8, 2013 #4


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    I'd recommend these two:


    The book covers the history of most of the science as we know it today, by focusing on the people involved, with all their quirks and oddities. The science itself is painted in broad strokes and sometimes lacks accuracy. However, if you don't know much about geology, archeology, physics, chemistry, cosmology, and probably a few other areas, then this one will give you and introductory look at each of those, in a fascinating and enlightening way.

    The TV series is very much in a spirit of Sagan's Cosmos, albeit with a narrower scope. Bronowski has got a similar way of speaking about science in a clear and informative fashion, using long monologues that speak of deep understanding.

    Oh, and about "A Space Oddysey" - it's a very old-school film. Meaning long shots where nothing much happens, including a five minute(or so) section of caleidoscopic animation. My DVD release has got even the intermission half way through. Other than that(or maybe because of that?) it's a fantastic piece of cinema, with hard science and bucketloads of symbolism.
  6. Jul 9, 2013 #5


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    Thanks Bander. I've added them into my list. The book is said that it's really good. Looking forward to starting reading it!
  7. Jul 9, 2013 #6
    Narrower scope? Are you kidding? As dated as Ascent of Man is, I credit it as perhaps the number one influence on me getting excited about science. It is notorious for being arrogant in its scope, much more than Cosmos. It goes way deeper and broader into the sciences in general than Sagan's series, but obviously less so on actual "outer space" topics. Sagan was inspired to do the series after watching "Ascent of man," and even used the same producer/director Bronowski used, Adrian Malone. If you haven't seen that yet, that would set your month up right.

    As far as movies, I mentioned in another thread that the sequel to 2001, "2010: The year we make contact" (1984) was my favorite movie of all time. So, if you haven't seen any of the above, you're in for a treat. The book "2010: Odyssey Two" by Arthur C. Clarke is great too. Happy camping :smile:
  8. Jul 9, 2013 #7


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    Thanks for the suggestions! I've not seen any of them yet, which is, in this case, a good thing I think. :P
  9. Jul 9, 2013 #8


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    That's all I meant by that.
  10. Jul 9, 2013 #9


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    Check also Ken Croswell's "Alchemy of the Heavens".
  11. Jul 9, 2013 #10
    A few books to keep you up to date with modern cosmology. Sagan's work is great but a bit out of date now.

    First read :
    Big Bang by Simon Singh

    This gives a great narrative of the building of the classical picture of cosmology. It read like a detective novel and is quite brilliant.

    As we got the very early universe there is more room for debate and I would recommend some books that are more about cutting edge/speculative science. However they do give a really good picture of where we are now in our understanding of the universe plus promoting their own pet theories.

    Endless Universe by Steinhardt and Turok


    The Inflationary Universe by Alan Guth
    ( this is more mainstream than the above "Endless Universe" book but I think its easier a bit harder to read and "Endless Universe" explains inflationary theory anyway alhtough they voice a minority position of criticism)

    Many Worlds in One by Alex Vilenkin

    Once Before Time by Martin Bojowald
  12. Jul 9, 2013 #11
    Just in case your also interested in the mathematics of cosmology ie the FLRW metrics, the best book I found handy for that for the introductory level though you will need to previously understand calculus is

    Barbera Ryden "Introduction to Cosmology" http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0805389121

    for a decent astronomy book less so on Cosmology Ian Morrison "Introduction to astronomy and Cosmology" does not cover the FLRW metric however. http://www.amazon.ca/Introduction-Astronomy-Cosmology-Ian-Morison/dp/0470033347

    a more advanced book as it gets into perturbation mathematics.

    Scott Dodelson "Moden Cosmology" http://books.google.ca/books/about/Modern_Cosmology.html?id=3oPRxdXJexcC&redir_esc=y harder to undestand than the others I mentioned but not too bad
  13. Jul 9, 2013 #12


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    Thanks everyone for their suggestions. I wish they were all available in my nature langauge.( Some are, not all of them though). Ordered nearly all of them already by the way. Thanks again!
  14. Jul 9, 2013 #13
    What?! Looks like your going to have to extend your vacation to two months. Nice trick! :tongue:
  15. Jul 9, 2013 #14


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    To be honest, I already have like 2 months and 15 days. No problem here! :biggrin:
  16. Jul 9, 2013 #15
    For an online youtube {FREE}, search " Leonard Susskind Cosmology Youtube " series of videos [Standford U]

    They'll be an excellent introduction to any text you decide to read....

    First three I have seen are excellent.....
  17. Jul 10, 2013 #16


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    Thanks, Naty1.
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