I’m trying to start keeping a record of books that I read, my comments, and my ratings.
Let’s start with one that I’ve recently finished.
論争する宇宙 (Space Science in Dispute) by Yoshii Yuzuru
This type of book is called a 新書 ‘shinsho’ in japanese. These shinsho cover a wide range of subjects and they are written for the layperson. I’ve never read a shinsho before, but my Japanese teacher recommended that I try one. I picked this one because I’m interested in astronomy, and I took a ‘Space Science’ subject last term and I was pretty sure that I would understand at least part of it.
The book starts with the history of modern astronomy from Hubble’s time, goes through the 19th century and up to the present. The material got more and more difficult the further I read. The only thing that I understood clearly was Hubble’s Equation. Hubble stated that, from his observation of myriad galaxies, the speed that any galaxy is traveling away from us is proportional to the distance from that galaxy. In other words, the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it is moving away from us. This proportion is called the Hubble constant, which tells us many things about the state of this universe including the present age of the universe. Many scientists have fought and argued over the value of this constant using various ways of measurement, and this forms a large part of the book. I felt that the author was trying to explain difficult material as easy as he could; there were some graphs and pictures, and there weren’t many technical terms. Even though, I think I understood about half of the book.
The last chapter was of a different sort from the whole book. It tells the story that the author, Prof. Yoshii, experienced when he tried to build an astronomy telescope. Prof. Yoshii is currently at Tokyo University. He used to be a mainly theoretical type, but he needed a lot of telescope time for a type of special observation. At the time, Tokyo University received a large scientific grant so he asked for a part of it to build a telescope for use by Tokyo University exclusively. He met many obstacles on the way, but at last the telescope was succesfully built. It is call MAGNUM, and it’s situated at Hawaii.
All in all, an interesting read, with some difficult bits. A good book for anyone who’s interested in space or our universe.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10