©2004 James Kaler; (P)2004 Recorded Books
A can't say enough about how good this James Kaler is. His descriptions are so clear, so vivid, that listening to his "lectures" is more like watching a superbly narrated and vividly illustrated movie or video. As simply a demonstration of how interesting and enthusiastic a lecturer can be, this book/lecture is worth a listen. If you have any interest in astronomy, and the "wonders of the universe", this is it. It don't get 'no better!
I've gone on to research his books at Amazon, and they are uniformly highly reviewed. I just purchased his "Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Stars". He is better than the much more expensive lecture series I have watched from The Teaching Company on astronomy, which is given by Alex Filipenko of UC Berkeley, and that is excellent as well.
Hugely Passionately Informative
richard panek's 4% universe for the voice, but actually better since we hear the professor himself
his infectuous enthusiam for the subject
no,...I just paid attention like a madman because the delivery is fast, admiring the enormous command of the subject, and knowing that at any rate I would have to and want to go for second listen the next time i walk the dogs to the beach, a long one.
Get it...it is the most pleasant way I found to be awe-inspired this month.
Great for those that have common high school education background to build on.
If you are any Astronomy enthusiast that wants to build on his or her understanding.
Easily in the Top 10
Two Things: 1) Each lesson logically flowed to the next and steadily built a base of knowledge that prepared me to understand the next topic. 2) Kaler is committed to clearly focusing on key concepts and facts and is careful not to overwhelm the listener. His measured progression was brilliant.
Kaler is an expert astronomer and passionate teacher. I would enjoy spending time with him in the class room or over a cup of coffee.
I never got tired of listening to Kaler but I preferred listening to one lecture at the time.
To say the least, the author (who is also the narrator) is obviously enthusiastic about his field of study. I find his knowledge and love of the material keeps the listener interested and focused.
Given the nature of the book (a series of lectures) there isn't any single "moment" that stands out.
His enthusiasm in delivering what could be challenging material.
The material doesn't really lend itself to laughing or crying.
I'm slowly getting into astronomy for the purposes of pursuing a hobby in astrophotography, so I was looking for a basic intro to the stars and galaxies. This was a bit more technical than I was looking for, but it DID satisfy my desire to improve my understanding of the sky and it's origin.
There are a couple of drawbacks, however, that I think may be relevant. First of all is related to how I listen; I listen to books only while driving. Because of this, I couldn't take notes, which I otherwise would have certainly done.
The second, and most significant, drawback is that he often refers to what I'm sure are charts or maps. Obviously, not having visibility to those objects as he speaks takes something away from the text.
Overall, however, it served its purpose for my needs.
I've listened to it 3 times in the 5 or so years I've owned it.
His description of type 2 supernovas. I listed to twice while falling asleep on a business trip.
The chapters featuring Prof. Kaler's explanations of star formation and destruction, and discussing the different types and "populations" of stars, are
A tour de force of a lecture.
The universe is strange and endlessly fascinating. There is so much we don't yet understand yet what we have learned so far is mindblowing. This course is a fast paced review of our current knowledge of the cosmos. If you like astronomy you will like this course. Prof Kaler does a great job here. Some of this stuff is pretty complex and just plain weird and he does a great job making it as understandable as possible. Not only does he explain what we think is out there he explains how we figured out what we know, which is very interesting in itself.
Excellent course. I really enjoyed it.
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