Goldilocks and the exoplanets

You know, I felt so inspired after getting rid of my budding astrophysicist that I turned straight to the Hawkings, Father and Daughter. I’m ashamed to admit that George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt has had a long wait chez bookwitch, but when I got to it I realised it was all for the good. Before this last academic year I wouldn’t have known about the Goldilocks Zone, nor about exoplanets.

Stephen and Lucy Hawking, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt

But after Daughter’s projects last year I have heard quite a lot about them. And I have to say that whoever complained about the frivolousness of the Goldilocks Zone (calling it that) can’t be too close to professor Hawking. If he can tolerate Goldilocks, then so can we all. (I loved the description and the illustration of Earth as Goldilocks. Whereas the Resident IT Consultant only muttered about distances…)

OK, I’m getting sidetracked here. The second book about George has him going on a treasure hunt in space. It might have to do with exoplanets, which are sort of Earth-like planets on which life can live comfortably.

Grannies rock. Where would we be without them? Not in deepest space, anyway. And a computer with attitude is amusing, if a wee bit worrying. Sweet Cosmos.

I was wondering about who the baddie would be this time. I apologise to Emmett for half suspecting him. He’s a sweet supernerd, that’s all. Just not good with travelling.

As with Lucy Hawking’s first book about George, this is an exciting tale for children, interspersed with some serious science. I came away from this one feeling that the short essays on all manner of spacey stuff could easily be used to teach people older than ten about astrophysics, too. There is something about getting the cream of space/physics/astronomy to write on serious subjects, but aimed at young children.

Stephen and Lucy Hawking, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt

As I’ve said before, I want Lucy for my teacher (should I find myself back at school). And George will do very well as a textbook. In fact, having discovered that Daughter hasn’t read this one either, it will have to make its way to Scotland. It could come in useful.

It’s not only astrophysics you get. There is a fair bit on the environment, too, and not all through George’s parents, who are rather Green. Plenty of food for thought in here.

I believe George number three is on its way to me. Can’t wait!

(The illustrations are fantastic. Not only the drawings by Garry Parsons, but the photos from space. You often get the same tired photos over and over, whereas this book has pictures that I’d not seen. Wonderful!)

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4 responses to “Goldilocks and the exoplanets

  1. Phrases like ‘the Goldilocks Zone’ really appeal to me – my perception is that many scientists have a fine sense of the frivolous and absurd, and will rarely reach for a dry, cold term when an amusing or cuddly one is available. Just look at the words used to describe quarks (up, down, charm, strange etc), and phrases like WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) or my current favourite, the OWL (Over-Whelmingly Large) telescope. When the first pulsar was detected, it was labelled LGM on the graph (Little Green Man).

    Scientists are rarely as dry as the popular image of them – most evidently have vast and playful imaginations, and it shows in the language they are happy to use. I wanted to be one – can you tell?

  2. Another example of scientist sense of humour – probably the best:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thagomizer

  3. Sigh, yeah, I can tell.
    But you’re right. Scientists are fun, and I pity those who feel you can’t have amusing names for things. I should really have taken a photo of the Goldilocks illustration, shouldn’t I?

  4. this awesome

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