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Publisher's Summary

"Over the past century, our vision has taken us far beyond the home Galaxy into the vastness of the Universe, where we find we are hardly alone. As far as we can see there are countless other galaxies of all shapes and sizes set within an ever-expanding space that was created in a "Big Bang" nearly 14 billion years ago. Along with solutions to old puzzles, however, come new riddles, as most of our Universe appears to be in the form of some kind of unseen "dark matter" and incomprehensible "dark energy" whose natures and origins remain unfathomable. Yet with all our questions - and knowing that there are questions still to be asked - we have learned the most important lesson: that all of this Universe is our home, that it took all of it to make us, that it is ours to behold and enjoy.While this course stands on its own, it is also an ideal complement to the first course of the set (Astronomy: Earth, Sky, and Planets), which covers celestial motions, constellations, telescopes, and planetary astronomy, all of it then integrated into a full picture of space and time.
©2004 James Kaler (P)2004 Recorded Books

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely awesome!

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.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • SydneyAustralia
  • 04-25-09

Excellent

This is the perfect audiobook for the layperson who wants to learn about the universe we live in. It is both fascinating and entertaining.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

By far my best science AudioBook ever...

If you could sum up The Modern Scholar in three words, what would they be?

Hugely Passionately Informative

What other book might you compare The Modern Scholar to and why?

richard panek's 4% universe for the voice, but actually better since we hear the professor himself

What does the narrator bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

his infectuous enthusiam for the subject

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

Get it...it is the most pleasant way I found to be awe-inspired this month.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Troy
  • PLATTSMOUTH, NE, United States
  • 12-05-12

Great Instruction

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great for those that have common high school education background to build on.

Any additional comments?

If you are any Astronomy enthusiast that wants to build on his or her understanding.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • St. Simons Island, GA, United States
  • 05-03-13

Challenging Subject Made Enjoyably Comprehendible

Where does The Modern Scholar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Easily in the Top 10

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does the narrator bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I never got tired of listening to Kaler but I preferred listening to one lecture at the time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good, BUT...

What made the experience of listening to The Modern Scholar the most enjoyable?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Modern Scholar?

Given the nature of the book (a series of lectures) there isn't any single "moment" that stands out.

What about the narrator’s performance did you like?

His enthusiasm in delivering what could be challenging material.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The material doesn't really lend itself to laughing or crying.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Prof. Kaler is the gold standard

I have many astronomy books and audiobooks and this is by far the best. Prof. Kaler's enthusiasm is infectious. His explanations are clear and intelligible. He doesn't get sidetracked with personalities, sociological implications, moral debates, etc., which have become the norm for supposed science books. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

This book is incredible both in content and presentation. The author does a magnificent job in explaining the content. I am not huge on the deep physics of astronomy but rather am interested in astronomy itself. This book covers the physics but in a more basic way that is easily understandable to anyone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Prof. Kaler's lectures set the standard.

Would you listen to The Modern Scholar again? Why?

I've listened to it 3 times in the 5 or so years I've owned it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Modern Scholar?

His description of type 2 supernovas. I listed to twice while falling asleep on a business trip.

Which character – as performed by the narrator – was your favorite?

The chapters featuring Prof. Kaler's explanations of star formation and destruction, and discussing the different types and "populations" of stars, are

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

A tour de force of a lecture.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Skaneateles, NY, United States
  • 02-10-14

Awesome course!

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.