Best astronomy & space science books according to redditors

We found 2,788 Reddit comments discussing the best astronomy & space science books. We ranked the 758 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Ufos books
Aeronautics & astronautics books
Astronomy books
Comets, meteors & asteroids books
Mars books
Solar system books

Top Reddit comments about Astronomy & Space Science:

u/[deleted] · 372 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

>First of all don't worry about cosmology and the big bang and black holes and all that

This piece of advice should be ignored. These are absolutely fascinating topics and you should study them in more depth if you want to. In order to get a popularized taste for it, I recommend beginning with:

-Kip Thorne: Black Holes and Time Warps


-Neil deGrasse Tyson, Origins

After you have satisfied your taste by reading more digestable, popular accounts, you can decide if you want to read more detailed and mathematically involved accounts. The downside is that the accessibility of the mathematically rigorous formulations are behind a mass of very detailed and very complicated physics. You basically have to be trained in physics.

u/EternalStudent · 306 pointsr/pics

Things you'll want:
This book:

Teflon pads as it is likely the pads on your dob suck and will make moving it suck as well.

A high field of view set of optics. I recommend any of the following (I have an 8" dob, you want a good wide-angle eye piece as it makes viewing a pleasure. Magnification is far from all important, esp. with a small telescope).

  • (Baader planetarium)
  • When picking out eye pieces, consider the magnification you'll get with your telescope (equations found online), the eye relief (bigger tends to be easier to use, basically how far your eye needs to be from the lens to be in focus), and the field of view (just how much of the sky you'll see).

    You need to collomate your telescope. Basically, your telescope's mirror is likely very off center. A dobsonian like what you have is two mirrors, the main mirror (the big one), and the little post mirror that reflects light off the main mirror into your eye piece. You need a laser collomator that will shine a light from the eye piece into the telescope. If your telescope was properly collomated, the laser would bounce off of the post mirror, hit the dead center of the main mirror, reflect back onto the post mirror, and back into the collomator. Look online for more information.

    Lastly, you probably want a Telrad. It makes pointing your telescope very, very simple, and almost eliminates the need to use a finder scope. (you don't need any accessories for this. Its wonderful).

    Happy stargazing!

    Edit: feel the need to qualify why I suggest Teflon pads. your telescope moves around on two axises, up and down, and left and right. Unlike a "conventional" refractor telescope (the ones that we think of as a good "my first telescope"), a lot of weight is placed on those bottom pads. If you replace the pads that came with your telescope's base with teflon pads, it will make it a lot easier to move it along that particular axis, asthere is less friction.
u/hobbitparts · 227 pointsr/WTF

Simon Singh explains.

edit: Hey, I didn't expect this to become the top comment. Neat. Might as well abuse it, by providing bonus material:

This is the same Simon Singh discussed in this recent and popular Reddit post; he is a superhero of science popularization. He has written some excellent and highly rated books:

u/ChrisAdami · 163 pointsr/science

It is true, we don't know what's behind the event horizon. If the black hole would be sufficiently massive (like, really supermassive) then if you are far enough from the center you would not be able to tell that you are inside of a black hole. After all, galaxies are moving around in the universe, and for all we know they could be orbiting the center of a black hole. However, this is all speculation. A good book for a beginner is perhaps Kip Thorne's book

u/astroNerf · 148 pointsr/TrueAtheism

> The thought of matter spawning out of nowhere for no reason seems.. weird, doesn't feel right, you get what I'm saying?

Quantum mechanics makes no sense to people who evolved in a macroscopic universe.

When we drive to work in the morning and come to a fork in the road, our car does not take one path while we (suddenly car-less) take another path before meeting up again prior to reaching our destination.

TVs and anti-TVs do not suddenly pop in and out of existence all the time.

Despite the fact that I am forgetful, my keys do exist somewhere.

In the quantum world, things are different, particles get separated from their physical properties, only to be reunited later on. Matter does indeed pop in and out of existence constantly. And particles may or may not be a certain way until they are observed.

When the universe was very young, it was very small. Quantum things happen when things are very small. Lawrence Krauss has shown that, for example, the universe could have come about from a physical nothing. Amazon. Also: youtube talk.

The universe consistently surprises us. Most discoveries about how the universe works have led to only more questions. The universe is not obliged to us to make sense.

u/brumguvnor · 133 pointsr/AskReddit

If you followed the "Mars Express" design concept as championed by Robert Zubrin you could do it for $10 billion: basically don't fuck about with space stations or moon bases: send a lander to Mars in advance with all of your food and supplies - and another lander that contains the return ship that self fuels on the ground: you don't set off from Earth until the return ship has sieved all the fuel it needs from Mars' atmosphere.

This methodology brings the price down by orders of magnitude from NASAs bloated estimates.

u/MarkyMark8609 · 66 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

A Brief History Of Time

Not to be confused with his album "A Brief History Of Rhyme"

u/waffle299 · 62 pointsr/askscience

In the book The Black Hole War, Stephen Hawking made a deliberately provocative comment in a small physics symposium that, if Professor Hawking was right, would shake the foundations of quantum physics to the ground. Leonard Susskind disagreed with Hawking's position, but was unable to demonstrate it mathematically.

It would take him ten years to do so, involving him with many other physicists and leading to several startling discoveries about the nature of black holes, time and space, leading to the holographic principle. Ten years of furious, brilliant research by multiple luminaries in the field, all touched off by a single, insightful question by Professor Hawking.

Susskind's book is quite accessible and well worth a read. Readers will get to see how physics is done, at least at the social and professional level. Plus, for a while and through Susskind, one gets to hang around a quiet social gathering of some of the most brilliant physicists the world has seen.

u/coneslayer · 61 pointsr/AskReddit

That reminds me of a class I took in grad school from Kip Thorne. He (co-)wrote the book on general relativity, won a bet against Stephen Hawking, and is a remarkably humble and agreeable guy. He's lecturing and writing equations on the board, and makes a mistake in writing one. It's pretty clear what the error is, but the student next to me wanted to make sure. She asks, "Why is that term (such-and-such) in that equation?"

Thorne replies, "Because I am an idiot." He corrects the equation, and continues to lecture.

The student next to me corrects her notes, but in doing so misses the next couple of sentences of the lecture. She asks, "I'm sorry, could you repeat what you just said?"

Thorne responds, "I said, 'Because I am an idiot.'"

u/BlueFire9020 · 61 pointsr/space

For a more realistic concept of Martian colonization,
The Case For Mars by Robert Zubrin is an excellent read. Zubrin focuses on a smaller scale, less expensive method of colonizing Mars which involves three Ares class launches, one for a MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), an ERV (Earth Return Vehicle), and habituation module. The MAV will use in-situ, or on planet resources to produce methane rocket propellant and fuel the crew’s method of leaving the planet once their stay ends. They will dock with the ERV in LMO (Low Martian Oribit), where the ERV will perform a transfer burn to get back home. This plan is known as Mars Semi-Direct (the original, known as Mars Direct, combined the MAV and ERV, but NASA necessitated the modifications that created Semi-Direct) and has been a vision of Zubrin since he originally proposed it to NASA in the 1990s. It should be noted, however, that one needs at least a small scientific background to understand Zubrin’s book. (Concepts such as ISP, deltaV, orbital mechanics ex. Hohmann Transfer, and chemistry involving synthesis of propellants as well as catalyst reactions. Most of it is explained but a minimal background in rocket science is helpful)

EDIT: this plan comprises NASA’s most recent Mars plan, which was actually designed around Zubrin’s suggestions and collaboration with NASA as part of the SEI. This plan can be found in more detail

u/Grays42 · 53 pointsr/technology

The tent is pretty useless unless you are only interested in a tiny spot of sky. The mirror isn't an observatory at all, just a way to kinda be lazy and decide you'd like to look through the imperfections of a non-optically-polished surface while looking at the sky. It'd honestly be easier just to inflate a small kiddy pool and lay back in it to support your head. (Binocular astronomy is really awesome, by the way. Buy a $50-$70 pair of wide-aperture binoculars and a copy of Left Turn at Orion, and you'd be floored by all the cool stuff you can see at night!)

The shed-looking observatory is pretty standard, it's one of a number of roll-away model observatories, of which this one is my favorite. Wide, shallow, plenty of room, plenty of sky. The one in the instructable is a bit tall and cuts off a ton of sky unless you're using a schmidt-cassegrain on a tall tripod, but if you're using a Dobsonian (which pivots much closer to the ground than a SCT), you've lost most of the sky.

u/MasterFubar · 45 pointsr/askscience

> It'd be like if instead of gravity pulling you down, the ground was being rocketed upwards at the exact rate for you to functionally experience the same thing.

Which is exactly what's happening.

There's no gravitational force. Gravitational force is a fictitious force, just like centrifugal force. What you are experiencing is the effect of inertia, your body wants to move in a straight line in spacetime and the ground won't let it.


u/voy3voda · 41 pointsr/Kappa

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." - Carl Sagan

Do Stephen a solid and read A Brief History of Time. And never forget the importance of knowledge. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan is another great one.
RIP Stephen Hawking, one of the truest niggas who ever walked the face of the earth.

u/tbiko · 40 pointsr/Futurology

The Case for Mars is a great read, often recommended on reddit. Published in 1996 but sadly a still relevant proposal for a low cost manned Mars mission using currently available rockets and tech. At the low end it was estimated to be $20B in 1996 dollars ($30B now). It details why NASA departments lobby for far more expensive tech that needs developing to justify their existence and boost their department.

The proposal in the article is for $19.5B annual funding.

If you don't want to read a whole book there is good info at the Mars Direct website or the wiki.

Does anyone know if this type of plan has any current traction?

u/MisanthropicScott · 32 pointsr/atheism

I always recommend Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin because it's less antagonistic and more matter of fact about our evolution. Another good choice might be The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond. Again, I'm trying to think of the less obvious and less vitriolic choices than Harris or Dawkins. Handing him something entitled "The God Delusion" is likely to just shut off his brain instantly.

Oh ... to combat the Young Earth mentality, you could consider something like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

u/weirds3xstuff · 28 pointsr/DebateReligion

I. Sure, some forms of theism are coherent (Christianity is not one of those forms, for what it's worth; the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma being a couple of big problems), but not all coherent ideas are true representations of the world; any introductory course in logic will demonstrate that.

II. The cosmological argument is a deductive argument. Deductive arguments are only as strong as their premises. The premises of the cosmological argument are not known to be true. Therefore, the cosmological argument should not be considered true. If you think you know a specific formulation of the cosmological argument that has true premises, please present it. I'm fully confident I can explain how we know such premises are not true.

III. There is no doubt that the teleological argument has strong persuasive force, but that's a very different thing than "being real evidence" or "something that should have strong persuasive force." I explain apparent cosmological fine-tuning as an entirely anthropic effect: if the constants were different, we wouldn't be here to observe them, therefore we observe them as they are.

IV. This statement is just false on its face. Lawrence Krauss has a whole book about the potential ex nihilo mechanisms (plural!) for the creation of the universe that are entirely consistent with the known laws of physics. (Note that the idea of God is not consistent with the known laws of physics, since he, by definition, supersedes them.)

V. This is just a worse version of argument III. Naturalistic evolution has far, far more explanatory power than theism. To name my favorite examples: the human blind spot is inexplicable from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution; likewise, the path of the mammalian nerves for the tongue traveling below the heart makes no sense from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution. Evolution routinely makes predictions that are tested to be true, whether it means predicting where fossils with specific characteristics will be found or how fruit fly mating behavior changes after populations have been separated and exposed to different environments for 30+ generations. It's worth emphasizing that it is totally normal to look at the complexity of the world and assume that it must have a designer...but it's also totally normal to think that electrons aren't waves. Intuition isn't a reliable way to discern truth. We must not be seduced by comfortable patterns of thought. We must think more carefully. When we think more carefully, it turns out that evolution is true and evolution requires no god.

VI. There are two points here: 1) the universe follows rules, and 2) humans can understand those rules. Point (1) is easily answered with the anthropic argument: rules are required for complex organization, humans are an example of complex organization, therefore humans can only exist in a physical reality that is governed by rules. Point (2) might not even be true. Wigner's argument is fun and interesting, but it's actually wrong! Mathematics are not able to describe the fundamental behavior of the physical world. As far as we know, Quantum Field Theory is the best possible representation of the fundamental physical world, and it is known to be an approximation, because, mathematically, it leads to an infinite regress. For a more concrete example, there is no analytic solution for the orbital path of the earth around the sun! (This is because it is subject to the gravitational attraction of more than one other object; its solution is calculated numerically, i.e. by sophisticated guess-and-check.)

VII. This is just baldly false. I recommend Dan Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" and Stanislas Dehaene's "Consciousness and the Brain" for a coherent model of a materialist mind and a wealth of evidence in support of the materialist mind.

VIII. First of all, the idea that morality comes from god runs into the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma pretty hard. And the convergence of all cultures to universal ideas of right and wrong (murder is bad, stealing is bad, etc.) are rather easily explained by anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Anthropology and evolutionary psychology also predict that there would be cultural divergence on more subtle moral questions (like the Trolley Problem, for example)...and there is! I think that makes those theories better explanations for moral sentiments than theism.

IX. I'm a secular Buddhist. Through meditation, I transcend the mundane even though I deny the existence of any deity. Also, given the diversity of religious experience, it's insane to suggest that religious experience argues for the existence of the God of Catholicism.

X. Oh, boy. I'm trying to think of the best way to persuade you of all the problems with your argument, here. So, here's an exercise for you: take the argument you have written in the linked posts and reformat them into a sequence of syllogisms. Having done that, highlight each premise that is not a conclusion of a previous syllogism. Notice the large number of highlighted premises and ask yourself for each, "What is the proof for this premise?" I am confident that you will find the answer is almost always, "There is no proof for this premise."

XI. "...three days after his death, and against every predisposition to the contrary, individuals and groups had experiences that completely convinced them that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus." There is literally no evidence for this at all (keeping in mind that Christian sacred texts are not evidence for the same reason that Hindu sacred texts are not evidence). Hell, Richard Carrier's "On the Historicity of Christ" even has a strong argument that Jesus didn't exist! (I don't agree with the conclusion of the argument, though I found his methods and the evidence he gathered along the way to be worthy of consideration.)


I don't think that I can dissuade you of your belief. But, I do hope to explain to you why, even if you find your arguments intuitively appealing, they do not conclusively demonstrate that your belief is true.

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 28 pointsr/atheism

It's also being expanded into one of the few books I've ever preordered.

u/CalligraphMath · 25 pointsr/space

Great question! The most direct method is by spectroscopy. This exploits the fact that atoms absorb and emit light at specific wavelengths. So, we can look at what wavelengths of light distant stars are emitting and absorbing, and infer what kinds of atoms are in its atmosphere. This is what lets us know what white dwarfs are made of, for instance.

There are also indirect lines of evidence. We can take well-tested theories describing nuclear reactions, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and others, and apply them to the interiors of stars. The most sophisticated models are supercomputer simulations that couple fluid dynamics models with statistical descriptions of nuclear reactions and electromagnetic interactions. They're tested both by ensuring that they're correctly applying theories tested elsewhere, and against actual astrophysical observations of stellar luminosity and spectra. (Side note --- as you might expect, these numerical capabilities have a decidedly terrestrial origin.)

Scientific advances along these lines often look like rasterizing, where the scientific community takes a very simple model and makes successive passes elaborating and refining it. For instance, you can look at the sun, measure its temperature, mass, and radius, and notice that it's mostly made of hydrogen gas. Then you can show that the kind of conditions that exist at its core necessitate hydrogen fusion. Once you've done that, you see that a hydrostatic equilibrium balancing energy produced by fusion with gravitational collapse accurately predicts the sun's radius and temperature. Then it's on to building more complex models to try to understand its inner temperature gradients, convection, solar storms, etc ...

(Source: Mixed graduate/undergraduate astrophysics was one of my favorite classes in college and I still keep BOB in a special place on my shelf.)

u/cronin1024 · 25 pointsr/programming

Thank you all for your responses! I have compiled a list of books mentioned by at least three different people below. Since some books have abbreviations (SICP) or colloquial names (Dragon Book), not to mention the occasional omission of a starting "a" or "the" this was done by hand and as a result it may contain errors.

edit: This list is now books mentioned by at least three people (was two) and contains posts up to icepack's.

edit: Updated with links to These are not affiliate - Amazon was picked because they provide the most uniform way to compare books.

edit: Updated up to redline6561

u/novacham · 25 pointsr/math

I remember reading A Brief History of Time while in middle school. I picked it up out of the public library on a whim. I was surprised at how easy of a read it was for a topic that is so complex. It was at that point I understood that the most complex topics in human history were easy to understand at a high level if explained simply, that the knowledge was easily accessible to someone like me.

It's one of the few books that I can point to that I can say legitimately changed my life.

u/Captain_Hadock · 22 pointsr/spacex

> It has always been about flags and footprints

He literally went against all of NASA by saying 30 days missions were a huge waste of resources and that the only way to properly do Mars Missions was to do opposition class mission, with a year and half stay... That's all in the book.

What's also in the book is that after 5 or 6 cycles (MAV lands at window n, crew lands at window n+1, leaves at window n+2), the covered surface by the frequently spaced landing sites (and by the methane powered rovers) would be sufficient to decide on the best landing site to start a more permanent base.

It's called The Case for Mars (which incidentally will totally be the name of my suitcase if I ever get a seat on one of these MCT), and while it smells like the 90s (built on STS assets, expandable rockets), it definitely is geared toward creating a permanent civilization on Mars. Watch this and tell me again that he is an Apollo kind of guy.

u/NobblyNobody · 22 pointsr/Physics

Hawking admitted he was wrong and paid off the bet, Len Susskind wrote a book on 'The Black Hole War' that covers it all pretty well, slightly iffy quality vid of a talk on the subject from himself here.

I don't think you could really call it settled necessarily, as far as I understand it there is currently another (continuing?) debate surrounding the 'firewall paradox'. I guess this article sums it up ok.

u/realdev · 18 pointsr/IAmA

Hey Lawrence! Huge fan of you work, thanks for everything you do.

Here's a link to the new book he mentioned for anyone who wants to pre-order:

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

Well worth the $15 in my opinion, to learn about all sorts of cutting edge stuff about the nature and origin of our universe.

And here's the YouTube video to give you a taste for the content. It's a little long, sixty-five minutes total, but definitely worth it.


For my questions:

  • What will the most important areas of physics to specialize in over the next ten-twenty years?

  • What are some central debates that might be resolved in that time?

  • How can we best further physics education in the US?
u/bwientjes · 18 pointsr/telescopes

"Turn Left At Orion" by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis. Can be found on Amazon here.

EDIT: Apparently there is an updated version of the book (5th edition).

EDIT 2: watch the delivery time - the link in my former edit says ships within 1-3 months. Might not be the best choice for under the xmas tree.

u/swordgeek · 18 pointsr/space

Before buying a scope, do some research. In fact, I tell people not to buy a telescope for at least a year after they've been bitten by the astronomy bug.

Get a pair of decent [binoculars]( (10x50 is just about ideal), a planisphere, and a copy of Nightwatch.

Also, a note on the binocs: Don't get zooms, don't get anything larger than 10x for handheld viewing, and make sure that the aperture (second number) is 5 (or more) times the magnification. So 10x50, 8x42, something like that.

u/XIllusions · 17 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You can read or watch "A Universe from Nothing" by physicist Lawrence Krauss.

To very briefly summarize this theory, it appears we live in a zero net energy "flat" universe. All the positive energy (like mass) is balanced by the negative energy of gravity. Such a universe could theoretically spontaneously arise from nothing. Nothing meaning no mass, no particles, no space, no time, no laws of physics.

It's kind of how +1 and -1 form 0 in reverse. You can, in theory, get "something" out of "nothing" if the conditions are right. And it appears that the universe in which we live fits those conditions.

It's also possible the universe has no temporal bounds -- that it had no beginning. In this respect, it makes no sense to refer to a "start" of the universe. Time for the universe could be like the surface of a sphere -- it has no beginning, just a defined surface area. Time is a very strange and non-intuitive thing. For example, we know time "bends, compresses and stretches" as in general relativity.

But of course none of this matters. Not knowing the origin of the universe is just not knowing. It doesn't mean it must be god. Atheists are comfortable not knowing. We simply do not believe there is enough evidence for god/gods.

u/blazingkin · 17 pointsr/Physics

I was in your position just a couple of years ago, here's what I did.

Start with a mechanics course if you haven't already, it's crucial that you have a solid understanding of physics before you try to learn the advanced stuff.

Learn calc all the way through vector calc. A great resource for this is Professor Leonard (this is calc 3, but he has all of them).

Here's where I learned physics Electricity and Magnetism, I also learned special relativity and basic quantum mechanics at this point (QM is optional, but fun)

I learned linear algebra and diff eqs at this point. I used Khan Academy for this, though I'm not sure it's the best resource out there.

Next, I would recommend trying to take a class on mathematical proofs, when you are reading papers rather than watching videos you will appreciate it. I watched this series because I'm a comp sci major, but if you aren't a comp sci person, just look for a methods of proofs class.

Now it's time for the fun stuff.

Tensor Calculus is what General Relativity is founded on, I found this series to be helpful

So now it's time to get into GR.

This series from PBS Space Time is a great introduction into accurate GR. Their other stuff is great too.

This video from DrPhysicsA steps through the thoughts behind each part of the EFEs and is not the best video, but it helped me.

And that's where I couldn't find any more videos, so I used some text resources.

The book gravitation is the most commonly used textbook for GR as far as I know.

I found this article on wikipedia to be ENORMOUSLY helpful in understanding how to work a general relativity problem. It took me a few times going through it to follow it all the way, but it is great.

Where you go after this really depends on what you are trying to do with GR, personally I find Kaluza-Klein theory to be very intriguing and that leads down the road to string theory.

Good luck

u/HerrGeneral913 · 15 pointsr/askastronomy

A good place to start is Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, by Carroll and Ostlie:
It's a good upper-undergrad to grad-level textbook that covers a lot of topics.

u/wolfden · 14 pointsr/askscience

> We get that our universe is ALL there is, and there is no place to go except within that 4d space-time. The problem is that in our heads, the univers is still contained within a larger "space".

If what you're looking for is a convenient metaphor that is both simple and mathematically accurate, then I'm afraid there simply isn't one. Your best bet is reading books like A Universe from Nothing, which remain relatively simple to grasp yet offer explanations of quality you're unlikely to find on the internet or TV.

u/mementomary · 14 pointsr/booksuggestions
  • Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan is a great overview of the science of statistics, without being too much like a lecture. After reading it, you'll have a better understanding of what statistics are just silly (like in ads or clickbait news) and what are actually important (like in scientific studies).

  • You on a Diet by Roizen and Oz is touted as a diet book, and it kind of is. I recommend it because it's a great resource for basic understanding the science behind the gastrointestinal system, and how it links to the brain.

  • All of Mary Roach's books are excellent overviews of science currently being done, I've read Stiff (the science of human bodies, post-mortem), Spook ("science tackles the afterlife"), Packing for Mars (the science of humans in space), and Bonk (sex), and they are all very easy to understand, but scientifically appropriate. I'm sure "Gulp" is good too, although I haven't read that one yet.

  • "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming" by Mike Brown is a great, accessible overview of exactly why Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet, told by the man who started the controversy.

  • "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking is a little denser, material-wise, but still easy to understand (as far as theoretical physics goes, at least!). Hawking explains the history of physics and the universe, as well as the future of the discipline. While there is a bit more jargon than some pop-science books, I think an entry-level scientist can still read and understand this book.
u/FoxJitter · 14 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Not OP, just helping out with some formatting (and links!) because I like these suggestions.

> 1) The Magic Of Reality - Richard Dawkins
> 2) The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
> 3)A Brief History Of Time - Stephen Hawking
> 4)The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking
> 4)Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari (Any Book By Daniel Dennet)
> 5)Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
> 6)From Eternity Till Here - Sean Caroll (Highly Recommended)
> 7)The Fabric Of Cosmos - Brian Greene (If you have good mathematical understanding try Road To Reality By Roger Penrose)
> 8)Just Six Numbers - Martin Reese (Highly Recommended)

u/luminiferousethan_ · 13 pointsr/cosmology
u/aj0220 · 12 pointsr/bodybuilding

I recommend reading the book; The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, numerous people have reported that they don't feel depressed or (as depressed/anxious) after reading it.

Here's a link to buy it on amazon

u/RankWeis · 12 pointsr/Freethought

I bet my dad that since I was bigger, I would fall into the pool before my younger brother did. He took a video camera out and recorded it, and we fell at the same time. I got mad and said that we had to do it again, so we did, and we both fell at the same speed. Then he explained gravity to me, and showed me Galileo's experiments off the leaning tower.

I don't recall ever having another understanding of the world that I believed so much, but turned out to be false - but this is a memory that's stuck with me for decades, so I think that in some way that experience did shape me.

Also, Lawrence Krauss has this book that is really good, although the subtitle question was not suitably answered for me.

u/The_Dead_See · 12 pointsr/telescopes

I would caution against spending that much money without going to a local astronomy club star party and looking through some scopes to get a sense of what you can actually see. Teenagers especially can become quickly bored with the hobby when they learn that they're not going to see the glorious Hubble style images of nebulas and such.

The good news is that you don't need to spend that much to get a scope that will give you a lifetime of good service - for around $600 you can get a z10 deluxe or if you're dead set on goto, $1000 will get you an Orion XT8g.

A standard 8 inch dob will only set you back $400 or so - Zhumell, Skywatcher and Orion are the big players but most all dobs are solid from any manufacturer - they're so simple not much can be done wrong.

The books you want are Nightwatch and Turn Left at Orion.

Hope that helps.

u/cherriessplosh · 12 pointsr/The_Donald

The problem with NASA doesn't really lie in how big its budget is, its in how congress defines the NASA budget.

Congress sets very narrow parameters that results in NASA operating in an very inefficient way. They do this because NASA's funding is used as pork to flow back to their districts.

We can travel to mars far more cheaply than any plan currently being proposed, we can do it basically with the existing NASA budget but it would require a major restructuring that would be politically untenable. If you're very curious in exactly how this can be done (the technical aspects, not the political ones), read Robert Zubrin's: The Case for Mars.

u/StressOverStrain · 11 pointsr/space

The usual advice is to learn your way around the sky with just your eyes and some binoculars before getting a telescope; you don't need anything more than that to learn constellations. I've also found these links helpful:

  • Here's a beginner's guide with star charts for each month to learn the constellations. If you want to use the telescope you can also just point it at the moon and use the moon map to look at interesting stuff.

  • This Week's Sky at a Glance gives you something interesting to look at every night that usually doesn't require a telescope. It also lets you know which planets are visible that week, when, and where to find them.

  • Turn Left at Orion is a very popular beginner's telescope book with lots of things to find and how to find them. Worth getting.
u/antonivs · 11 pointsr/cosmology

Sagan and Tyson aren't even in the same league. Sagan's Cosmos is much better, scientifically, educationally, and from an entertainment perspective.

However, if you're interested in cosmology specifically, neither series will get you very far. They cover a range of topics, some of which are prerequisites for cosmology (like relativity), others which aren't really cosmology (e.g. astronomy, astrophysics, other kinds of physics.)

Some books that are good for an accessible introduction to issues in cosmology are:

u/dogdiarrhea · 11 pointsr/Physics


Carroll, course notes (free, I think it may be a preprint of the book)



MTW (Some call it the GR bible)

They're all great books, Schutz I think is the most novice friendly but I believe they all cover tensor calculus and differential geometry in some detail.

u/Irish_Whiskey · 11 pointsr/atheism

It depends. I actually recommend not getting stuck reading religious arguments and anti-religious arguments. Try instead simply learning about the world. Your life and happiness don't need to be defined by religion, there's a lot more out there.

Read some books on science and history, not religious or atheist ones, just ones that expand knowledge. Things like Cosmos, or a History of the Peloponnesian War. Read about different cultures and their myths, like Edith Hamilton's Mythology. Read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And in the meantime, just be a good person who loves their friends and family, and don't worry about God, or the lack thereof.

When you've learned more and feel comfortable, I suggest learning about the history of your religion, and what people actually believed, not just what the religion claims it was always like. Karen Armstrong's 'The Bible' is a good one. Read an annotated Bible and look at what's actually there. Then feel free to read an apologist and atheist book to hear both sides.

Most importantly, you should be learning for the sake of learning, and enjoy it. Don't feel guilty or torn. That you feel like you deserve eternal torment for simply participating in a ritual with friends and family is a fucking tragedy. Hell, Christmas and Easter are mostly made of pagan traditions, some explicitly outlawed in the Bible, but I'm sure eating chocolate eggs and decorating the tree doesn't make you feel sinful, not should it. We give these things our own meaning, there's no outside force causing you unhappiness or judging you.

u/JLebowski · 11 pointsr/atheism


But seriously, I grew up going to a Grace Gospel church and reading Chick tracts till the age of 13. I was steeped in holy logic, but was always a smart kid with good parents than encouraged me to read...

I discovered Michio Kaku and started reading voraciously on the Straight Dope message boards around age 16. It was a pretty fast dawning on me that there was much more to the universe than what was explained by the christian bible.

To this day, it still bothers me to write words like 'god', 'bible', and 'gospel' without capital letters... But through it all, I credit the internet (non-caps) with the reason that I'm now an agnostic skeptic who set aside a traditional degree in favor of a philosophy major. Now I'm in medical school and interviewing for jobs next summer... haven't met god yet, just people with real pain, love, ignorance, and desire to just feel good in life.

u/Goldenraspberry · 11 pointsr/news
u/NGC6514 · 10 pointsr/askastronomy

The Cosmic Perspective is a pretty good introductory text for astronomy.

The most comprehensive text in astrophysics is An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie (often referred to as the "big orange book," or BOB for short). This text is much more mathematically involved, but will teach you most anything you might want to know about astrophysics.

If you really want to understand astronomy, then BOB is the way to go, but you'll have to learn calculus and a couple of years of physics to understand some of the concepts. I would suggest starting with The Cosmic Perspective and learning some physics and math if you become interested enough to move on to BOB.

u/Etrigone · 10 pointsr/askscience

You may wish to - if you're not already aware of it and/or read it - look into Lawrence Krauss' A Universe from Nothing - Why there is something instead of nothing. This might help and it's an intriguing read regardless. I've also seen multiple youtube videos of Krauss presenting this.

However, a point for folks to keep in mind is what a physicist calls 'nothing' may not be what they call 'nothing'.

Oh, and spoiler - it's cuz 'nothing' is unstable.

u/jfowl · 9 pointsr/astrophysics

For an astronomy 101 type textbook I would recommend Bennett's The Essential Cosmic Perspective. There are plenty of other 101 level books out there too if you just look around Amazon. If you want a meatier undergrad text book, I would recommend Carroll and Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (also known to many as the Big Orange Book, AKA BOB). BOB covers almost all the basics of astrophysics and has 30 chapter, if I recall correctly, but you'll probably want some grounding in college physics and math before diving too far into it.

Also, it may be worth checking out is Nick Strobel's site, It has some good intro-level material.

u/Astrokiwi · 9 pointsr/badlinguistics

I feel similarly whenever I see a popular science/philosophy/crackpottery book with "Dr. Archibald Cornelius, PhD" or whatever on it. It makes me feel that their argument is weak enough that "hey, I have a degree!" is the best way to support it.

Serious scientists do this too sometimes, but not very often.

u/Do_not_reply_to_me · 9 pointsr/engineering
u/Sima_Hui · 9 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

A little more than ELI5 but worth the effort, Kip Thorne, the physicist who consulted on the film, wrote a fantastic book that covers this question in depth.

You can read it here.

I recommend reading the entire Prologue since it's relatively short and pretty fascinating, and will give you the background to why it must be a very large black hole, but the part directly relevant to your question is the section entitled Gargantua on page 41. (Also relevant is the establishing of the problem on pp. 34-35)

If you like his writing, buy his book Black Holes and Time Warps. The link above is just some random PDF I found on a search.

To sum him up though, a super-massive black hole will have negligible tidal forces at its "surface" (event horizon). You therefore could hover just above it and not be spaghettified. Once you cross the horizon, you'd still be okay for a while, but now no amount of force could keep you from falling ever closer to the center. As you approached the center, tidal forces would increase exponentially until eventually you would be pulled apart. So yes, it would be gentle. At first. But once you go inside, spaghettification is inevitable, though not necessarily immediate.

TL:DR A big size to make it more gentle? Yes. Possible to enter without spaghettification? Temporarily yes, ultimately no.

u/EorEquis · 9 pointsr/Astronomy

Turn Left At Orion

Arguably the greatest resource ever written to help backyard astronomers find their way around the sky.

u/Nail_Whale · 8 pointsr/Astronomy

I hope your neighbor gets better. That being said you can see a lot with that scope! I'd recommend checking out the book took left at Orion. It's gives instructions and list a bunch of different objects in the night sky for beginners.

u/DenverBowie · 8 pointsr/DavidBowie
u/Senno_Ecto_Gammat · 8 pointsr/space


How to Read the Solar System: A Guide to the Stars and Planets by Christ North and Paul Abel.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan.

Foundations of Astrophysics by Barbara Ryden and Bradley Peterson.

Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program by Pat Duggins.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station by Chris Hadfield.

Space Shuttle: The History of Developing the Space Transportation System by Dennis Jenkins.

Wings in Orbit: Scientific and Engineering Legacies of the Space Shuttle, 1971-2010 by Chapline, Hale, Lane, and Lula.

No Downlink: A Dramatic Narrative About the Challenger Accident and Our Time by Claus Jensen.

Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences by Andrew Chaikin.

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA by Amy Teitel.

Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas Kelly.

The Scientific Exploration of Venus by Fredric Taylor.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.

Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White and Richard Truly.

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Bradley Carroll and Dale Ostlie.

Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space by Willy Ley.

Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Clark.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Russia in Space by Anatoly Zak.

Rain Of Iron And Ice: The Very Real Threat Of Comet And Asteroid Bombardment by John Lewis.

Mining the Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets by John Lewis.

Asteroid Mining: Wealth for the New Space Economy by John Lewis.

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris.

The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe Report by Timothy Ferris.

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson.

The Martian by Andy Weir.

Packing for Mars:The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution by Frank White.

Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler.

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne.

Entering Space: An Astronaut’s Oddyssey by Joseph Allen.

International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems by Hopkins, Hopkins, and Isakowitz.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene.

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space by Janna Levin.

This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age by William Burrows.

The Last Man on the Moon by Eugene Cernan.

Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz.

Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger.

The end

u/KerSan · 8 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Start here.

Then go here.

When you're ready for the real thing, start reading this.

If you want to become an expert, go here.

Edit: Between steps 2 and 3, get a physics degree. You need to understand basically all of physics before you can understand anything properly in General Relativity. Sorry...

Edit 2: If you really want a full list of topics to understand before tackling general relativity, the bare minimum is special relativity (the easier bit) and tensor calculus on pseudo-Riemannian manifolds (extremely difficult). I'd strongly advise a deep understanding of differential equations in general, and continuum mechanics in particular. Some knowledge of statistical mechanics and the covariant formulation of electromagnetism would be pretty helpful too. It is also essential to realize that general relativity is still poorly understood by professionals, and almost certainly breaks down at large energy densities. I strongly advise just taking a look at the first two links I posted, since that will give you an excellent and non-dumbed-down flavour of general relativity.

u/robertmassaioli · 8 pointsr/spacex

If this is a troll then it is excellent; I'm falling for it hook line and sinker.

However, if you are open to reading about why the reaction has been so negative (with all the downvotes) and want to read something cool instead Zubrin has a book called ["The Case for Mars"][1].

The book is not perfect (there are a few sections that could do with more recent information or more research input) but largely it's a good book that makes the wider points clear.

Or just read the much more approachable blog by Wait but why. Many people on this subreddit are here from that one post.

I promise this is usually a fun sub and people don't often get downvoted so harshly. :)


u/slanderbanana · 8 pointsr/scifi

"The MAV was an orbital would be nearly useless if it were not. The reason why it needs to be heavily modified, and why it DOESN'T achieve orbit (even though it could) is because it has to match the insanely fast velocity of the Hermes as it does a fly-by. A little orbital mechanics, and what happened to the MAV after the rendezvous was that it escaped Mars' gravity entirely and went into a long orbit around the sun. There's a slim chance it fell into the Sun, but making that happen is harder than you think."

"Much of the hard science behind the Martian and in NASA thinking in general surrounding Mars comes from a book called The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin. While it's a policy book, it's extremely engaging."

u/Kirkaine · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

It can be explained, though not simply, nor accessibly. Luckily, I'm not just an atheist, I'm also a theoretical physics student. Keep in mind that this of course can not be demonstrated empirically (science is the study of our Universe, so we obviously can't study things outside it in time or space).

Lets go back to before the Universe exists. Let's call this state the Void. It's important to note that no true void exists in our Universe, even the stuff that looks empty is full of vacuum fluctuations and all kinds of other things that aren't relevant, but you can investigate in your own time if you want. In this state, the Void has zero energy, pretty much by definition. Now, the idea that a Void could be transforms into a Universe is not really controversial; stuff transforms by itself all the time. The "problem" with a Universe arising from a Void is that the Universe has more energy than the Void, and it there's not explanation for where all this energy came from. Upon further investigation, we'll actually see that the Universe has zero net energy, and this isn't actually a problem.

Now, let's think about a vase sitting on a table. One knock and it shatters, hardly any effort required. But it would take a significant amount of effort to put that vase back together. This is critically important. Stuff has a natural tendency to be spread out all over the place. You need to contribute energy to it in order to bring it together. We're going to call this positive energy.

Gravity is something different though. Gravity pulls everything together. Unlike the vase, you'd need to expend energy in order to overcome the natural tendency of gravity. Because it's the opposite, we're going to call gravity negative energy. In day to day life, the tendency of stuff to spread out overwhelms the tendency of gravity to clump together, simply because gravity is comparatively very weak. There's quite a few more factors at play here, but stuff and gravity are the important ones.

Amazingly, it turns out that it's possible for the Universe to have exactly as much negative energy as it does positive energy, which means that it would have zero total energy, meaning that it's perfectly possible for it to pop out of nowhere, by dumb luck, because no energy input is required. Furthermore, we know how to check if our Universe has this exact energy composition. And back in 1989, that's exactly what cosmologists did. And it turns out it does. We can empirically show, to an excellent margin of error, that our Universe has zero net energy. Think about that for a second. Lawrence Krauss has a great youtube video explaining the evidence for this pretty incredible claim.

The really incredible thing is, given that our Universe has zero net energy, it's not only possible that it could just pop into existence on day, it's inevitable. It's exactly what we'd expect. Hell, I'd be out looking for God's fingerprints if there wasn't a Universe, not the opposite.

If you want to read more about it, by people who've spent far more time investigating this than I have, I suggest The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, and A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. Both go into detail about the subject, and don't require any prior physics knowledge.

tl;dr The Universe didn't need a "first cause". PHYSICS!

u/d47 · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

You seem to just read the public facing summary of emerging science and interpret it in a way you can easily dismiss.

I implore you to dig deeper into the science you're talking about.

Read this, understand it, and then you can dispute it with your own original points.

As it is now you're just repeating the same arguments that've been shattered over and over again.

u/matteotom · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

There's nothing really new here. Before anyone goes out and tries to use these points in an actual discussion, I just want to bring up the counter-points:

~0:18: How does it "shout" that there's a maker?
~0:21: Why does a beautiful creation necessitate a beautiful creator? (Also, define beautiful)
~0:26: Why should I listen to Einstein's assistant? Simply mentioning Einstein doesn't win any arguments
~0:30: Evolution through natural selection actually explains it pretty well
~1:24: "Before the big bang": There was no before, since the big bang was the beginning of time (I'm pretty sure Augustine pointed that out).
~1:28: See here
~2:07: He's defining the world as a "work" so he can say it had a maker
~2:45: It's not that 97% of the world is stupid, it's just that ~90% don't care
~2:55: "I don't know why there's a god instead of nothing." He's just punting the question one step down the line. What's the difference between saying you don't know why there's a god instead of nothing and saying you don't know why there's a universe instead of nothing? At least one can be studied.

I hope I don't get banned for the whole "no anti-Catholic rhetoric" rule.

u/moby323 · 8 pointsr/booksuggestions

The best beginner book as to "What the fuck is the universe about?" is definitely "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan.

It's a really interesting read, and runs the gambit from the origins of the universe to evolution by natural selection.

Check it out.

u/The_Serious_Account · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

While I think you're right, there's still some debate in the physics community about whether the particle becomes entangled with the black hole. It assumes information is preserved in black holes, which goes into the question of the black hole information paradox.

Susskind wrote an entire book on that exact subject called The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics. While Hawking did concede and agree with Susskind, not everyone did and it's still an active area of debate and research.

Edit: For some very closely related discussion read

u/casperdellarosa · 7 pointsr/news

I deeply respect Hawking, but he often makes mistakes due to the fact that he has to do the calculations in his head. Read Leonard Susskind's for an example of when Hawking incorrectly asserted that black holes violate the second law of thermodynamics.

u/Fizzlewicket · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I like pretty much anything Brian Greene writes. He's a layman's physicist, and is very good at explaining exactly what you are asking for. Try The Fabric of the Cosmos. In fact, I think there was a PBS Nova series of the same name that he hosted.

u/UltraVioletCatastro · 7 pointsr/Astronomy

"The Orange Book" is usually used as intro to astronomy:

u/MJtheProphet · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

>Particle physics has nothing to say about this because none of them posit a universe (or particles) that is actually without cause.

Surely you jest.

u/realcoolguy9022 · 7 pointsr/atheism

Could you at least explain why you picked the Christian God - and not any of the other Gods?

Surely you've heard the argument that cast a lot of doubt on your beliefs. Have you heard the history of the Mormon religion for example? There the sausage making of religion is rather plain to see, where the supposed prophet can't reproduce his original writing from his supposed gold tablet, so he claims God graced him with another - so his second translation was similar but different. This same sort of sausage making is thought to be the origin of all religions.

Without deviating from the Christian religion just how familiar are you with the bible? I'm not intending to be insulting or rude, but the old testament is filled with petty tales of a vile, jealous, merciless God with very few actual pieces of morality in it. Christianity would have done well to jettison it completely instead of rolling it into the bible.

Just one more thing - a book recommendation for someone interested in space

Absolutely one of the most fascinating books that is on the cutting edge of theoretical physics - especially as it relates to new theories of how space actually works! *spoiler (empty space has gravity - and this important)

u/orlet · 7 pointsr/telescopes

> How difficult is it to set up a GoTo each time you drive out to the country vs the dobsonian style?

You have to set up, power up, configure, align the GoTo before observing. Dobs are plop down and observe, that easy.

> How difficult is it to learn to map the stars and find your way around and can you recommend some learning material?

It's about as difficult as learning how to navigate your neighbourhood. I'd personally recommend Turn Left at Orion.

> Can you fine people recommend a model of each style? I understand with this I'll be getting lots of Puritans who don't recommend GoTos.

There is a solid reason why we rarely recommend GoTo scopes at this budget -- most of your money go into the electronics, leaving you with a small scope on an otherwise weak (physically) mount. Both work as a detriment to your observing. There's a nickname for those cheap GoTo telescopes: "We have 40,000 objects in our database you won't be able to see".

For a visual telescope the most important bit is the aperture. The larger it is, the more light it collects, the more faint objects you will be able to see. All of the objects you could see in a small GoTo scope you can also locate yourself with some effort, but 8" of aperture will easily show you much more in the same object. Plus, having found the object yourself is often its own reward, since you'll soon find out most of the harder objects are just a varying type of gray fuzzy splotch against the background.

So my recommendation would be the Apertura AD8. It's the same scope as the highly regarded Zhumell Z8, but High Point Scientific seems to be also shipping to Canada as well (unlike TelescopesPlus). Alternatively, locate a nearest shop selling SkyWatcher Skyliner 200P.

u/schorhr · 7 pointsr/telescopes

Hello :-)

The z10 will show the most if you can manage the size :-)

Even with the great accessories of the z8 (2" overview eyepiece worth $70 alone, dual-speed focuser, right-angle finder, moon filter, collimation tool), a good guide such as "Turn left at Orion" (the missing manual!), one or two additional eyepieces (1 2 3) are a good addition :-)

Clear skies!

u/Mount_Bugatti · 7 pointsr/askscience

In Hawking's A Brief History of Time, he explains the reason why we can only live in a universe of three spatial dimensions.

Newton originally discovered this purely mathematically. The force of gravity must be inversely proportional to the square of the distance in order for stable orbits to be possible. The force would be inversely proportional to the square of the distance only if the force-carrier (gravitons, photons, however you want to imagine the force propagating) was emitted in three spatial dimensions.

If you had two spatial dimensions or four, planets (electrons) wouldn't form stable orbits and nothing that we can imagine being matter would form.

u/praecipula · 7 pointsr/askscience

Answering your edit, time dilation does occur at the speed of light. So much so that at exactly the speed of light, no travel in time occurs. To a photon, this means it "feels like" it was born and dies at the same instant, if we're going to anthropomorphize here, even though to us we can see it existing in time.

EDIT: as u/Aliudnomen points out, "a frame traveling at c is not a valid inertial frame", which means it's not precise to say that time dilation is happening at the speed of light. Got a bit carried away with the explanation here :) You see infinity time dilation at the speed of light, but that's because the denominator trends to 0, which is a place that inertial objects can't get to. It doesn't really mean that time dilation is infinite, but rather nonexistent. This is why it's often said information is the only thing that can appear, to us, to travel at the speed of light: anything with an inertial reference frame can never get to the speed of light.

With you being in 10th grade, I'll use an analogy/projection that I find helpful. Imagine a Cartesian set of axes (the normal kind), where the y axis is time-velocity and the x axis is space-velocity. Draw a big circle of radius the speed of light, we'll call that "1 unit". Now, you need to replace the idea of "speed of light" (which implies movement of light in the space velocity coordinate frame) with c, the celerity constant: celerity means "rapidity of motion", but it was chosen specifically because it can mean speed in the 4 dimension coordinate system of spacetime. In other words, you can travel in space or you can travel in time, and both of these will be measured, not with mph, but with some fraction of c. With me so far?

OK, what relativity is saying here is that we are always traveling on a circle with radius c. If we don't travel along the space-velocity x axis (we're at rest), we travel along the time-velocity(y axis), and whenever we travel along the x axis, we rotate our point from (0, 1) around this circle clockwise toward (1, 0).

To see this, we can rearrange the time dilation equation:

t' = t / sqrt(1 - (v/c)^2) Original equation
t' / t = 1 / (sqrt(1 - v/c)^2) Move the t in the numerator over
t' / t = 1 / sqrt((c^2) - (v^2)) Multiply the guys under the sqrt by c^2
(t' / t)^2 = 1 / (c^2 - v^2) Square both sides
1 / (t' / t)^2 = c^2 - v^2 Invert both sides
1 / (t' / t)^2 + v^2 = c^2 Add v^2 to both sides
t^2/t'^2 + v^2 = c^2 Square under the first term denominator and invert.

This is an equation of a circle with radius c: the axes can be chosen so that the y axis is "ratio of time", which is what I'm calling "time velocity" and the x axis is "space velocity".

We are always traveling at c, and so we're always somewhere on this circle. This is why it's a constant: nothing in the universe travels faster or slower than this celerity, we can only change which coordinates add up to get us there. If we're perfectly at rest in the space-velocity dimension (x = 0), all of our travel is along the time dimension (y = 1): we're at (1, 0) on this point of the circle. With me so far?

This is what "spacetime" means: right here we're dropping the fact that space is 3 dimensional and considering all velocity to be along the one axis, but if you add in higher dimensions, this is spacetime: x, y, z, t all involved in the same equations. Events - which are used to describe "something that happens somewhere in spacetime" - always travel within a 4 dimensional hypersphere that relativistic folk call the light cone.

Back to our 2d example. As you start to increase your x dimension - that is, start moving - your celerity starts to rotate around the circle. When you travel half the speed of light, where x = 0.5, you can imagine the line drawn from the origin to the point on the circle that corresponds to this x coordinate slanting up and to the right, which happens to be solved by (x^2 ) + (y^2 ) = c^2. Solving for y, we get 0.866 - that is, we're traveling at 0.866 the normal rate of time flow.

Keep increasing space velocity, and you'll plot points like (0.6, 0.8), (0.7, 0.714), (0.8, 0.6), (0.9, 0.435), (0.95, 0.31), (0.99, 0.14), (0.999, 0.045), (0.9999, 0.014)

You see, we're putting more and more of our celerity into the space-velocity coordinate and taking it from the time-velocity coordinate. This is time dilation.

Finally, anything with mass requires energy to convert its travel in time to travel in space. As you keep attempting to get closer to (1, 0), it requires more energy to shift the angle around the circle, until the last little bit is infinite. This is why only massless particles (like photons) can travel at the speed of light.

You can also, then, intuitively grasp the other parts of this circle: what does it take to make time slow down? Well, we would have to move from the 1st quadrant (the top right quadrant) to the 3rd and 4th quadrants (the bottom quadrant). We don't really know for sure how to do this, but we do know that it seems possible that more exotic particles could behave just like matter, except progressing backwards. In other words, at rest, their velocity is (0, -1). What does it take to get from matter going forward in time to backwards? Well, you can't do it by increasing your space-velocity alone: no matter how much you increase your velocity, you can only ever get to almost (1, 0) with something that has mass. This is the "tachyon" idea: a massive particle that travels so fast that it loops around the coordinate frame into quadrant 4 (bottom right), that is, think about moving so fast that you move faster than the speed of light (perhaps you became massless for a second, then gained mass as you somehow started traveling in the negative time direction. This can't happen, AFAIK, because you'd have to travel through infinite energy to loop around, but you can imagine the symmetry here). Real particles can't do this, but it's theoretically possible that particles do exist that travel "faster than the speed of light", but only in a way that breaks what it means to have velocity: they're traveling backwards in time, so their motion is some fraction of c to them; they're not moving faster than the speed of light. To us observing them, they're moving faster than we can achieve with our motion on the x coordinate: their motion backwards in time makes them seem to us as if they're moving faster than c. They're not, remember: all of us are always moving at c.

If something has anti-mass, however (that is, antimatter), it seems possible to have it traveling at (0, -1) all on its own! It's hard to jump on something that has anti-mass, though, so this is still theoretical in many ways. That is, the equations say it should be moving backwards in time, but what that actually means is far more complicated: it maths out that way, but it's not like causality is broken (that is, when we create antimatter in particle accelerators, they don't appear "before" the collision, but they do get "younger" before they annihilate. What does "younger" mean to a particle? How do you define "younger" when it's getting "older in negative time"? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Also interesting is the idea of time dilation with negative velocities: the 2nd (top-left) quadrant. What does it mean to move "backwards" in space? Does that even have a meaning? I mean if I walk down the street, I'm moving forward in a direction, but if I walk the opposite way, I'm moving forward in the opposite direction. I'm not aware of anything discussing "negative velocity", but that's just my ignorance: perhaps someone else can chime in if they know more.

Finally, Carl Sagan here to describe what life looks like as you approach the speed of light. You can start to see from his example what it would be like to travel so fast that no time passes for you at all.

Finally, one of the most accessible books I've ever read is Stephen Hawking's a brief history of time. If you're at all remotely curious about either relativity or quantum mechanics, this guy, along with being just about the most brilliant mind in these fields, has a fantastic way of explaining the concepts while still staying true to the equations involved.

u/Capercaillie · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

It might seem perfectly reasonable, but physicists (of which I am not one) will tell you that it is not true. For instance, Lawrence Krauss, the preeminent physics explainer of our time, has written a book specifically called A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Again, I'm not a physicist, but I do believe what they have to say--they were right about that whole gravity thing, don't you know.

u/bluelite · 7 pointsr/telescopes

An 8" Dobsonian reflector telescope, such as the Orion XT8i with Intelliscope to help you find your way around the sky. $640.

The book NightWatch, $20.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, $30.

A planisphere. Get one appropriate for your latitude. $10.

A comfortable camping stool for sitting at the eyepiece, or your back will quickly complain. ~$30.

SkySafari for your iPhone/iPad, $3.

A pair of good binoculars, 8x50 or 10x50, $120.

A nice wide-field (62-degree) eyepiece, like the Explore Scientific 24mm. $140.

That's about $1000.

One more thing to add: a dark sky. Priceless.

u/kryptovox · 7 pointsr/Astronomy

A few things:

  1. Download Stellarium

  2. Pick up a copy of Nightwatch

  3. This is a good series on YouTube that covers some of the basics.
u/jell-o-him · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Some here will disagree, yet I think your cause is a noble one.

My suggestion would be to keep encouraging her to be a freethinker, question everything, and learn all she can about science. If she can be at a point where she understands that "science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking" (Carl Sagan), if she can fall in love with the wonders of the creation of the universe and the evolution of life on this world, then you'll be done, as those things will show any thinking person the absurdity of religion as a moral compass.

If she likes to read, here are some books you might consider getting for her:

  • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. An amazing argument for the use the scientific way of thinking in every aspect of our lives.

  • A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. How math and science can fully explain the creation of the universe, and a powerful argument against the universe needing a creator.

  • The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. The subtitle is The Evidence for Evolution. Meant as a book for readers your sister's age. Big plus is that if she likes it, she may want to read The God Delusion and/or The Magic of Reality.

    Edit: grammar
u/kzielinski · 6 pointsr/atheism
  1. Cosmology is complicated you are not going to get a simple answer to this. This is part of the challenge in scientific education. The religious side is making shit up so they can make up simple answers to complex questions. Science meanwhile is constrained by reality so it gives complex answers to complex questions.
  2. Seeing as its extinct I don't think it really has a common name.
  3. There's a book on that. Again the answer is complicated. One hypothesis is that the sum total of all energy in the universe is zero, so despite appearances it all still adds up to nothing.
  4. Natural selection the process by which evolution takes place.
  5. Again it's complicated, as we lump a lot of things together under the title morals. Some of them, like altruism, can be shown to be perfectly rational and are demonstrably a good survival strategy under many conditions. Others like our nudity taboo, have no particular value, they are just something our society happens to teach.

    Evolution & the Big Bang are separate subjects. Though for some simple explanations, you might want to pick up Richard Dawkins's The Magic of Reality, its a book aimed at children so it tries to explain things in simple terms.
u/NeutronStarPasta · 6 pointsr/atheism

There's a book on this...

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

u/shinkicker6 · 6 pointsr/atheism
u/A40 · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Look up a book or two on star hopping, like Nightwatch or Turn Left at Orion. These are incredibly fun to read and will inspire a hundred nights' viewing - and learning to star hop (finding and identifying things up there by their relationships to other things) is a skill you'll use every time you look up.

As to getting a telescope, my first (I still use it sometimes) was a $20 yard sale find - sold by Sears sometime around 1970. Binoculars, any telescope, and a "viewing list" are what I'd recommend to start having fun.

u/HollowImage · 6 pointsr/Physics

Thats honestly why I dont like neil tyson either. he makes more about being a "that kid" prickly guy to generate tension than to actually educate people nowadays.

anyway, that aside, a really good read is Kip S. Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps

it is real physics slightly diluted to help understand, but he doesnt shy away from hard concepts, like Chandrasekhar limit.

u/FunkyFortuneNone · 6 pointsr/quantum

Friend asked for a similar list a while ago and I put this together. Would love to see people thoughts/feedback.

Very High Level Introductions:

  • Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
    • A super fast read that spends less time looking at the "how" but focused instead on the ramifications and impacts. Covers both GR as well as QM but is very high level with both of them. Avoids getting into the details and explaining the why.

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution (Great Courses lecture)
    • This is a great intro to the field of non-classical physics. This walks through GR and QM in a very approachable fashion. More "nuts and bolts" than Mr. Tompkins but longer/more detailed at the same time.

      Deeper Pop-sci Dives (probably in this order):

  • Quantum Theory: A Very Brief Introduction
    • Great introduction to QM. Doesn't really touch on QFT (which is a good thing at this point) and spends a great deal of time (compared to other texts) discussing the nature of QM interpretation and the challenges around that topic.
  • The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces
    • Now we're starting to get into the good stuff. QFT begins to come to the forefront. This book starts to dive into explaining some of the macro elements we see as explained by QM forces. A large part of the book is spent on symmetries and where a proton/nucleon's gluon binding mass comes from (a.k.a. ~95% of the mass we personally experience).
  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond (Great Courses lecture)
    • Great lecture done by Sean Carroll around the time the Higgs boson's discovery was announced. It's a good combination of what role the Higgs plays in particle physics, why it's important and what's next. Also spends a little bit of time discussing how colliders like the LHC work.
  • Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time (Great Courses lecture)
    • Not really heavy on QM at all, however I think it does best to do this lecture after having a bit of the physics under your belt first. The odd nature of time symmetry in the fundamental forces and what that means with regards to our understanding of time as we experience it is more impactful with the additional knowledge (but, like I said, not absolutely required).
  • Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics
    • This is not a mathematical approach like "A Most Incomprehensible Thing" are but it's subject matter is more advanced and the resulting math (at least) an order of magnitude harder (so it's a good thing it's skipped). This is a "high level deep dive" (whatever that means) into QFT though and so discussion of pure abstract math is a huge focus. Lie groups, spontaneous symmetry breaking, internal symmetry spaces etc. are covered.
  • The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    • This is your desert after working through everything above. Had to include something about string theory here. Not a technical book at all but best to be familiar with QM concepts before diving in.

      Blending the line between pop-sci and mathematical (these books are not meant to be read and put away but instead read, re-read and pondered):

  • A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Intro to GR
    • Sorry, this is GR specific and nothing to do with QM directly. However I think it's a great book acting as an introduction. Definitely don't go audible/kindle. Get the hard copy. Lots of equations. Tensor calculus, Lorentz transforms, Einstein field equations, etc. While it isn't a rigorous textbook it is, at it's core, a mathematics based description not analogies. Falls apart at the end, after all, it can't be rigorous and accessible at the same time, but still well worth the read.
  • The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
    • Not QM at all. However it is a great introduction to using math as a tool for describing our reality and since it's using it to describe classical mechanics you get to employ all of your classical intuition that you've worked on your entire life. This means you can focus on the idea of using math as a descriptive tool and not as a tool to inform your intuition. Which then would lead us to...
  • Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
    • Great introduction that uses math in a descriptive way AND to inform our intuition.
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    • Incredible book. I think the best way to describe this book is a massive guidebook. You probably won't be able to get through each of the topics based solely on the information presented in the book but the book gives you the tools and knowledge to ask the right questions (which, frankly, as anybody familiar with the topic knows, is actually the hardest part). You're going to be knocking your head against a brick wall plenty with this book. But that's ok, the feeling when the brick wall finally succumbs to your repeated headbutts makes it all worth while.
u/redneon · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Get a pair of 10x50 binoculars and a copy of Turn Left at Orion. Don't rush out and buy a telescope. The most impressive things I've seen have been with my 10x50s. Using that book and learning your way around the circum-polar constellations is a great way to get started.

u/florinandrei · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

You know... instead of describing someone how a rare fruit tastes like, better just let them taste it. So go ahead and enjoy your new scope.

A few things to keep in mind:

Do not forget that collimation is an essential part of the maintenance of your scope. A scope that it not collimated is like a car with the oil never changed. Your vendor has some docs and videos on their site, about collimation; read and watch that stuff, then apply it.

You should do a more thorough collimation each time the scope gets bumped during transport. You should do a quick two-minute collimation check every time you use it (e.g. a quick star test with a strong eyepiece should tell you immediately what's going on).

There's a lot to say about collimation. There are many methods, techniques, and devices. There's a lot of stuff about it on the Internet, go ahead and google it. I'm not saying you should become obsessed with it, I'm just saying - take care of your scope.


It's not a bad idea to learn a little about star testing. It could be used for collimation, it could be used for a general assessment of the quality of your optics.

Plug in the strongest eyepiece you have, point it at Polaris (keep that star exactly in the center), and defocus. Watch those diffraction rings. They must be perfectly concentric (otherwise you're miscollimated), and must look exactly the same inside and outside of focus (otherwise the mirror is not exactly top-rated).

Again, this is a vast topic. You'll learn a lot about it if you keep googling it. Start slow and learn as you go.


The mirror in your scope is too thin to require a fan, but nevertheless, your scope will perform better if you take it outside 10 ... 30 minutes before you actually start observing. This is to minimize the distortion in a mirror that is rapidly cooling, and to minimize the convection boundary layer on the mirror.


Some theory:

Your scope has 114 mm of aperture (D = 114) and a focal length of 900 mm (F = 900). Therefore the focal ratio is F/7.9 (900 / 114).

Magnification is the focal length of the scope divided by the focal length of the eypiece, or the aperture divided by the exit pupil:

M = F / f = D / d

The maximum useful magnification is 2D = 228x. Really, it's more like 200x. That means the shortest eyepiece that makes sense in this scope is 4 mm (900 / 228), or an 8 mm with a 2x barlow, same thing.

The minimum magnification is around 20x; if it's less than that the exit pupil is too big (> 6 mm means it's bigger than your eye's pupil) and you're wasting light and aperture. That means the longest eyepiece that makes sense is around 47 mm (there are no eyepieces that long in the 1.25" format anyway).

EDIT: Previous paragraph was wrong, I fixed the numbers. Need moar coffee.

So, use any eyepiece longer than 4 mm. Use high magnification for planets and double stars. Use low magnification for wide faint targets like M31.


Many people will tell you to "buy moar eyepieces", or "buy a barlow", or "buy a Telrad". A lot of that is bullshit. Keep the scope collimated, have a good set of eyepieces, and you'll be fine. The XT4.5 comes with a magnifying finderscope, which is vastly superior to the Telrad or any other naked-eye finder under the light polluted urban sky. Under a dark sky far from the city, a naked eye finder becomes more usable.

You may not even need the Moon filter if you observe the Moon with plenty of lights turned on around you. A scope cannot make a surface appear brighter than in reality - it only makes it bigger. So if you're not dark-adapted then the Moon may not be a problem. But everyone's different, see what works for you.


Buy a book called Turn left at Orion, it will teach you lots of interesting things to see. Install Stellarium on a laptop or smartphone.

These days, Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible in the West at sunset, while Mars is a red dot rising in the East.

Clear skies!

u/Hideka · 6 pointsr/space

your request is basically "i want to reach for the stars with no effort because im handicapped and poor" and sadly you are limiting yourself because of that mindset.

This is handicapped. so whatever ouchie, booboo, or challenge you might have: Suck it up and deal with it; every handicapped person in the world that makes anything of themselves comes to realize this.

if you can flip burgers at mcdonalds, you can make enough to get your education at any age (expecially if you are handicapped as you would get SSI, plus that pension you mentioned). dont think that your above flipping burgers- nobody is above flipping burgers to survive.

things you need to do first:

  1. fix your financial situation. you can live and study on less than 150 a week of income. if you cant manage to make 150 a week, then you are going to have problems.
  2. once you relearn all that you've lost, you have to focus on getting a higher income. you cannot achieve your dream without at least 30k a year of income and even then it would be difficult in the current economy.
  3. since your a blue collar worker- being a scientist isnt your best route. now Space craft engineer is well within your realm of doing if you did any form of manual labor/dealing with blueprints.
  4. study your space engineering and design a space ship that can surpass anything on the market (keep in mind, thousands of other people with a 20 year head start have already been trying to do this, so you need to blow minds if you want to make it.)

  5. required reading

    Book 1

    Book 2

    book 3

    Book 4

    Book 5

    sadly without a degree- people wont acknowledge you or accept your theories. you need to get a solid college education for anyone to care. i recomend getting a diploma in astronautics and then going from there.
u/Cletus_awreetus · 6 pointsr/Physics

This is definitely above your level, and it's from 1982 so it's a little outdated, but if you're really interested in astrophysics then it might be worth checking it out and trying to work through at least the first few sections. I think it's written so that you can follow it without too much math involvement.

Frank Shu - The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy

Otherwise, there are a lot of great popular-writing (i.e. not a textbook) books about physics/astrophysics. Here are a few:

Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time

Carl Sagan - Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Death By Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries

My biggest advice, though, for taking physics in high school is to try to do as well as you possibly can in your math classes. Those are the most important for getting into physics. If you do well in math then physics should be pretty easy.

u/DopeWeasel · 6 pointsr/Physics

For those who haven't read this, there's quite a bit of insight into various arguments between Hawking, Susskind and others surrounding the nature of black holes. Great read!

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

u/ImAWizardYo · 6 pointsr/EmDrive

>Can you point out a place where I've been substantively wrong?

Let's start with your understanding of the word "arrogance"

>I assume the opposite.

Thrilled this wasn't stated as fact.

>Perhaps you should open a physics book.

Whenever I get the chance. Other than my HS books and college level Physics, I started with this one over 20 years ago while still in HS. It's actually not that hard of a read despite what some will say. Some of the math is a little advanced but not required to follow along as context and diagrams are provided.

u/InfinityFlat · 6 pointsr/Physics

The most mainstream is by and far Carroll and Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, lovingly known as the Big Orange Book or BOB. Be warned that it is somewhat hardcore - you need to have a firm founding in Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetism to understand and appreciate the calculations, which are really the heart of the matter. Lacking this, though, you can actually read through the conceptual and qualitative discussions quite well and still learn a lot.

u/davincisbeard · 6 pointsr/askastronomy

Start here and go through the trig and calculus videos, problems, etc. Then hit up the physics stuff. After that you might want to find other resources to learn Trig, Calc, and College level physics. Then you can think about picking up this hefty thing.

Edit: There is also an "ebook" version of the book above. I won't say where. But it's out there.

u/universal_concord · 6 pointsr/Glitch_in_the_Matrix

This book might explain it somehow. I'm still reading it but of the part I've covered, it says that interaction within what is so-called dreamscape between two entities (case in point: human) is real as have been shown by their repeated excursions.

Simply put, what you both experienced is as real as what could have possibly happened if you were not sleeping. It's just that you both had the opportunity to generate the same brain waves to be able to speak through a higher channel of communication.

Edit: Oh the downvote. I can't really understand how people can be so close-minded without evidence to the contrary.

u/MIUfish · 6 pointsr/atheism

> If there isnt a creator then how did all this life get here?

Abiogenesis is our best working guess for now, but there's a lot of work left to be done. The key thing here though is to be honest and admit that we don't have all the answers rather than wave our hands and say that it was a magical sky faerie.

> I under stand the big bang, at one point all the matter in Universe was compact then it all expanded outwards, well from school I learned that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. How did all that compact matter get there in the first place? I dont know.

It's ok to not know - that's honesty. This excellent book by Lawrence Krauss is fascinating. If you don't have access to it, there's also a talk he gave a few years back.

> I guess I'm getting old enough where my own opinions are forming I'm just trying to decide what I want those opinions to be.

Remember that ultimately our opinions are just that - opinions. The universe is as it is regardless of what we may wish to be true and what we may believe.

u/DashingLeech · 6 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I'll try at ELI5 level.

Paper is a good analogy, but expand it to 3 dimensions. To see what flat means, you need to know what "not flat" means. Imagine a really large piece of paper covering the Earth. You mark an arrow on the ground then walk off in that direction, keeping in a straight line. Eventually you circle the globe and end up back at your arrow on the ground, approaching it from the tail of the arrow. You then pick a random direction and draw another arrow and do the same thing. No matter which direction you go, you always end up coming back to the same spot.

In this case, the paper is not flat; it is curved. Specifically, it is closed, meaning it loops back onto itself. However, locally it might look flat from any point you are standing. Imagine it on a bigger planet like Jupiter, or around the sun, or even larger. Locally you would measure it as being very flat, within a tiny fraction of a percent. So something that looks flat could actually be curved but with a very large radius of curvature.

But this analogy is only in 2 dimensions, covering the surface of a sphere of really large size. The curvature is in the third dimension in the direction of the center of the sphere (perpendicular to the local surface of the paper).

Imagine it now in 3 dimensions. You are floating in space at leave a real arrow pointed in some direction. You fly off in your rocket in that direction and eventually find yourself approaching the arrow from the tail end. It doesn't matter which direction you point the arrow, that always happens. That is a closed universe in 3D, meaning it is curved in a fourth dimension.

A flat universe would be one where the radius of curvature is infinite, meaning you'd never end up back at your arrow from the tail end.

I think this description is important because there is some disagreement on this. The measurement of the universe being flat within 0.4% does not mean that it is flat; it means the radius of curvature could be infinite (flat) but could just be very large. In fact, if you watch theoretical cosmologist Lawrence Krauss' talks on "A Universe from Nothing" or read the book, if you pay close attention you'll note a contradiction. At one point he jokes about how theorists "knew" that the universe must be flat because that makes it mathematically "beautiful", but then later describes how theorists "knew" the total energy of the universe must add up to zero as that is the only type of universe that can come from nothing, and yet also says that only a closed universe can have a total energy that adds up to zero. Hence is it closed or flat?

I attended one of these talks in person where this was asked and he confirmed that he thinks the evidence is strong that it is actually closed, but really, really large and hence looks flat to a high degree, and that the inflationary universe model explains why it would be so large and flat looking while being closed and zero net energy (and hence could come from nothing).

After going through all of what I know of the topic, including many other sources, I tend to agree with him that it makes the most sense that it is likely just very close to flat but is really slightly curved back onto itself at a very large radius of curvature. That also means our observable universe is only a very tiny percentage of the universe that exists.

u/timms5000 · 6 pointsr/Physics

Regardless of the OPs eventual interests there's a reason we start with Newtonian stuff in most 101 type courses. I think its reasonable for OP to start there if they are serious, my recommendations are:


  • go through this Classical Mechanics course. While I haven't used this one in particular I can vouch for the quality and clarity of Walter Lewin's teaching.

  • Make sure you use the associated problem sets with any course you choose. The importance of solving actual problems can not be over emphasized.

  • When you find yourself struggling with the math (I promise that you will eventually) make sure you take the time to go learn some of the mathematics, if you like the MIT courses I think their math department also has lots of resources online.

  • Stick to a study schedule. Physics is fun but treat it like a sport, you can do it for fun but you won't get anywhere if you never practice


  • Feynman Lectures are a great middle ground between a rigor and accessibility. I highly recommend these for a fun way to learn the basics

  • Hawking's books are great reads

  • Cosmos was a wonderful series

  • If you want flashy and motivating, check out Brian Greene's stuff.

    From there, op can look at different fields, biophysics seems like it would be the most likely candidate in which case OP might also want to brush up on organic chemistry and learn how to use MATLAB.
u/NukeThePope · 6 pointsr/atheism

Thank you for the effort! I'll try to do you justice with a thorough response.


> 1. God says what he needs to say to us through the Bible.

Sure it's the Bible and not Harry Potter? To anyone without your obvious bias, the Bible looks like a collection of fanciful but poorly edited fiction. God's message hasn't reached me and it hasn't reached 5 billion other humans alone among the living. In other words, if this is an omnipotent's idea of effective communication, God sucks as a communicator.

> 2. God is not inert, he sometimes does miracles

Prove this and I'll leave you alone. Has God ever healed an amputee? Has God ever accomplished a miracle that has no natural explanation?

No wait, references to the work of fiction mentioned in #1 don't count. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that your precious Bible is anything more than a stack of useful rolling papers. I've addressed this before. J.K. Rowling has Harry Potter performing scores of miracles in her books, it's really easy to create a miracle with pen and paper.

> 3. The evidence is not inadequate. If you want evidence of his existence, there is evidence everywhere, and in sheer necessity, it is pointed out that God must exist.

So you say. Your following arguments are... sorely lacking. Here we go:

> 3.1 The need of a creator
If you saw a car in the forest, you wouldn't say it randomly came into existence and over time came together by itself, because it is too complex for that to have happened.

Correct. That's easy for me to say because I know exactly what a car is and how it's made.

> In the same way, this universe and everything in it is far too complex to randomly explode into existence and come together by itself, a creator is needed and that creator is God.

Your analogy doesn't hold. The universe is not very complex conceptually, it's been satisfactorily explained how all heavenly bodies resulted from the expansion of space followed by the clumping of clouds of primeval hydrogen. Suns and the nuclear process in them? A natural consequence of packing a lot of hydrogen with gravity. Heavy elements? The ashes of nuclear fusion. Planets circling around suns? That's what happens when heavenly bodies nearly collide in a vacuum, influenced only by each other's gravity. Finally, the complexity of life on earth is neatly explained by evolution from very primitive beginnings from substances that occur -naturally- in the void of lifeless space. No magic is required to explain any of this. But I see we get to talk about this in greater depth in #4.

Still, for your interest, this video refutes Craig's Kalam Cosmological argument and is thoroughly captivating while presenting modern cosmology. Highly recommended!

> 3.2 The need for an original mover/causer
You know nothing moves by itself correct?

No, I don't know this, because I have a solid education in physics. Atomic nuclei spontaneously explode and particles fly from them - movement without a mover. Plato's Prime Mover argument dates back to a time when people didn't know anything about physics and science was done by sitting on your butt, guessing and thinking.

> 3.3 The need of a standard
When you call something, for instance let's say "good", there has to be a standard upon which good is based.

This response of yours -so far- is sounding suspiciously like a copy of a William Lane Craig debate argument. Please note that all of his arguments have been successfully refuted - though not necessarily within one debate or only within debates. But regardless, I can easily address your arguments on my own.

Now then. Basic moral behavior has been shown to emerge naturally as a result of evolution. Yes, this is why theists hate evolution so much. It explains a lot of stuff that used to be attributed to God. Animals in the wild show moral behavior such as altruism, fairness, love, cooperation, justice and so forth. Even robot simulations, given only the most minimal initial instructions, develop "moral" behavior because that turns out to be a successful selection criteria for survival.

If you try to point out that humans display and think about much more complex moral situations than animals, I'll agree. But you know who invented those extensions of purely survival-oriented moral behavior? Humans did, not God. Humans look at the behaviors that promote survival and well-being in animals and humans and call it "good." They see behavior that hurts and kills animals and people and makes them suffer, and they call it "bad." Your five year old kid can grasp this concept - you insult your god when you claim this is so difficult it necessarily requires divine intervention. I recommend Peter Singer's book Practical Ethics, a thoughtful and thorough discussion of morals far more nuanced and acceptable to a modern society than the barbaric postulates of scripture. Rape a virgin, buy her as a wife for 50 shekels, indeed!

> 4.1 About the Origin of Life/Finely tuning a killer cosmos

> Anyway, for life to come together even by accident, you would need matter


> now the universe is not infinite and even scientists know that.

I'm not sure that's certain, but it's probably irrelevant. Let's move on.

> that scientists say made the universe would need matter present.

Correct. We certainly observe a helluva lot of matter in the present-day universe (to the extent we can observe it).

> Where do you expect that matter to have come from?

An empty geometry and some very basic laws of physics (including quantum physics). This is very un-intuitive, which is why people restricted to Platonic thinking have trouble with it. But you know that matter and energy are equivalent, via E=mc^2 , right? Given the raw physics of the very early universe, matter could be created from energy and vice versa. OK, that still doesn't explain where the (matter+energy) came from. Here's the fun part: it turns out that the universe contains not just the conventional "positive" energy we're familiar with, but also negative energy. And it turns out that the sum of (matter + positive energy) on one hand and (negative energy) on the other are exactly equal and cancel out. In other words, and this is important, the creation of the universe incurred no net "cost" in matter or energy. This being the case, it becomes similarly plausible for for the entire universe to have spontaneously popped into existence just like those sub-atomic particles that cause the Casimir Effect. Stephen Hawking has explained this eloquently in his book The Grand Design but you may prefer Lawrence Krauss' engaging lecture A Universe From Nothing.

> I know for a fact that people are smarter than an explosion and even they have been unsuccessful in making organic life forms from scratch

Wrong again. It took them 15 years, but Craig Venter and his project recently succeeded in constructing the first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell.

By way of interest, people making the kind of claims you do were similarly amazed when Friedrich Wöhler, in 1828, synthesized the first chemical compound, urea, that is otherwise only created by living beings. This achievement torpedoed the Vital Force theory dating back to Galen. Yet another job taken off God's hands.

> let alone have them survive the forming of a planet.

Now this is just dumb. First the planet formed, then it cooled down a bit, then life developed.

> Because of that, I doubt an explosion could do it either.

So you're right there: The explosion just created the planet and the raw materials. Life later arose on the planet.

> Chance doesn't make matter pop into existence.

Yes it does. The effect I was mentioning earlier is called quantum fluctuation.

> 4.2 The human brain

(skipping the comparison of man with god. I don't see it contributing anything. All of this postulating doesn't make God plausible in any way)

> 4.3 The Original Christian Cosmos

> 4.3.1. Maybe because we are after the fall, we have already lost that perfect original cosmos Paul imagined.

Wait, this contradicts your next point.

> 4.3.2 You have to give Paul some credit for trying. He didn't have any the information or technology we have today.

Thank you, this confirms my assertion that the Bible and its authors contain no divinely inspired knowledge. The Bible is a collection of writings by people who thought you could cleanse leprosy by killing a couple of pigeons.

Now, about that original cosmos: either Paul was too uneducated to conceive the cosmos as it really exists, or what he imagined is irrelevant. In any case, what you consider the "after loss" cosmos is trillions of times larger than Paul imagined; it would be silly to call this a loss.

The fact remains that the world as described in the Bible is a pitiful caricature of the world as it is known today. And Carrier's main point remains that our cosmos is incredibly hostile to life; and if man were indeed God's favorite creation, the immensity of the cosmos would be a complete waste if it only served as a backdrop for our tiny little planet.

u/mattymillhouse · 5 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Some of my favorites:

Brian Greene -- The Fabric of the Cosmos, The Elegant Universe, and The Hidden Reality. Greene is, to my mind, very similar to Hawking in his ability to take complex subjects and make them understandable for the physics layman.

Hawking -- I see you've read A Brief History of Time, but Hawking has a couple of other books that are great. The Grand Design, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time.

Same thing applies to Brian Cox. Here's his Amazon page.

Leonard Susskind -- The Black Hole Wars. Here's the basic idea behind this book. One of the basic tenets of physics is that "information" is never lost. Stephen Hawking delivered a presentation that apparently showed that when matter falls into a black hole, information is lost. This set the physics world on edge. Susskind (and his partner Gerard T'Hooft) set out to prove Hawking wrong. Spoilers: they do so. And in doing so, they apparently proved that what we see as 3 dimensions is probably similar to those 2-D stickers that project a hologram. It's called the Holographic Principle.

Lee Smolin -- The Trouble with Physics. If you read the aforementioned books and/or keep up with physics through pop science sources, you'll probably recognize that string theory is pretty dang popular. Smolin's book is a criticism of string theory. He's also got a book that's on my to-read list called Three Roads to Quantum Gravity.

Joao Magueijo -- Faster Than the Speed of Light. This is another physics book that cuts against the prevailing academic grain. Physics says that the speed of light is a universal speed limit. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Magueijo's book is about his theory that the speed of light is, itself, variable, and it's been different speeds at different times in the universe's history. You may not end up agreeing with Magueijo, but the guy is smart, he's cocky, and he writes well.

u/Cataphractoi · 5 pointsr/Physics

Far from it, he's also one of three authors of one of the most famous GR books.

u/angryobbo · 5 pointsr/Physics

Ah, Leonard Susskind is a boss.
I'd recommend giving The Black Hole War a read if you haven't already.

u/drzowie · 5 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

/u/SwedishBoatlover has the right idea. FTL travel is the same as time travel, because events separated by a spacelike interval (such as departure and arrival using an FTL craft) don't have a definite before/after order. That's why we have limericks like that one about the Lady named Bright.

Seriously, FTL travel would screw up physics very badly. Like, "Ghostbusters crossing the streams" badly. Classical mechanics (the physics of baseballs, planets, and such) would cease to work. Quantum mechanical feedback through the closed path (from the exit back to the entrance) might make the entire Universe implode.

To learn more about this topic, try Kip Thorne's awesome book about wormholes and the damage they would cause to the Universe at large. FTL travel of any kind would have similar effects.

u/MyDogFanny · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

No. Science does not indicate that the big bang came from nothing. The idea of something coming from nothing is a Christian concept. In the beginning God created... And God created something from nothing.

The astrophysicist Lawrence Kraus wrote a book A Universe from Nothing. It was a great read but unfortunately it fed into the idea of something coming from nothing. What Kraus did in his book was to change the meaning of the word 'nothing' in order to have a title that would sell more books. Kraus' 'nothing' was actually 'something'.

u/theg33k · 5 pointsr/askscience

We actually use the distances between really far apart things in the universe and make a "triangle" just like they were talking about on the surface of the Earth. The math is pretty complicated, but you might enjoy A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. It has a pretty good in depth but mostly understandable by mere mortals explanation of how these things are measured and determined.

u/DoctorWaluigiTime · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Given your apparent troll status, I will simply recommend a book for you that addresses your question nicely. A Universe from Nothing (ISBN-13: 978-1451624465
| ISBN-10: 1451624468) by Lawrence M. Krauss gives scientific explanations about how the scenario you question can occur.

You don't have to buy it to read it, as you can check it out from your local library (or if you have an e-reader, borrow it online).

u/DarthBartus · 5 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I really like Lawrence Krauss' explanation - universes with certain characteristics, which our seems to possess, can have zero total energy. As it turns out, empty space acts, as if it didn't want to be empty - in a state of high vaccum, space suddenly starts to boil with virtual particles - particles and antiparticles, that spring into existence and annihilate each other instantly. If that happens in empty space, then it is reasonable to suggest, that in absence of space, such virtual spaces might spring into existence, and if certain conditions are met, rather than instantly collapse, they might expand and be filled with matter, gravity and dark energy, while having zero total energy at the same time.

You might learn more from his lecture, or his book on the subject.

u/themandotcom · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

If you want peer-reviewed studies, see the references in that book.

u/mhornberger · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

>rigid (biological) materialism

What is rigid about considering life a material phenomenon? We have no indication of any kind of reality other than material.

>what is Time?

That's a physics question. Here is a book by Sean Carroll that covers science's best (and always tentative) models on the subject.

>If you're measuring a pulse or taking an MRI scan, it's pretty silly to conveniently forget that you're sitting on a 4 billion year old rock, dealing with the nuclear dust of stars long passed.

Yes, Carl Sagan pointed out that we are stardust. It's well known, and I don't think anyone has forgotten about it.

>Does "Love" exist?

Yes, as an emotion.

>Does the number "7" exist?

Yes, as an abstraction. The symbol stands for a mathematical quantity. And the Prince song.

>The literal idea of love.

Yes, but love literally exists as an emotion. It has no existence independent of emotions, no more than patriotism or optimism exist independently of the minds of conscious agents.

> We consider love as an eternal idea.

But few mean that literally. Humans have always had love, and probably other animals feel something analogous to love, but life has not always existed here. If you believe that the universe has always existed and that there have always been worlds populated by life complex to have emotions, then possibly you can argue that love is actually eternal. I can't speak on that.

>We say, there is such a thing as "absolute morality."

Which seems to mean just that we're really really sure. We're expressing the intensity of our conviction. Then there are theists, some of whom call their version of what they think God said objective and inerrant. But that's another issue. There is always someone claiming to speak for God.

> but it seems silly to think a "better physics" or "better biology" could in principle shed any light at all on "the nature of the soul" (that is, psyche)

Soul, mind, spirit, seem to be metaphors for consciousness, awareness, mind, whatever. If you think that science has nothing to say about the mind, about cognition, learning, memory, or perception, I would argue that you aren't really trying.

>back then they would have readily acknowledged the reality of angels and gods

Believing in something isn't "acknowledging the reality" of that something. That phrasing begs the question. They also "acknowledged the reality" of gods or spirits causing lightning, disease, earthquakes, etc.

>why are we continually hard-pressed to justify ourselves before the faithful?

What am I justifying, exactly? That I don't see any reason to believe in God? Science is, so far as I can tell, the only way we have of learning about the world out there. Religion and faith were basically failed sciences. When there was a plague, they prayed and built churches. Science actually works. It's not perfect, and will never make us omniscient (so far as I can tell) but the alternative is... what? Believing that Zeus made the lightning? You actually consider that an improvement over science?

u/The_Artful_Dodger_ · 5 pointsr/AskPhysics

The textbooks recommended in the intro Astronomy class here are An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll & Ostlie and Foundations of Astrophysics. I've never read through either, but apparently the first one is much more detailed.

The older edition of Modern Astrophysics is significantly cheaper and will fit your purposes just as well: 1st Edition Carroll

u/Malakite213 · 5 pointsr/astrophysics

Possibly the best all round book out there for a basic introduction:

Far too expensive to buy, but if you can find it in a local library it would be invaluable. Everything in it is at a level that you can easily teach yourself stuff you don't know from various online resources.

u/KlicknKlack · 5 pointsr/EverythingScience

Read: A Case for Mars

It answers these kind of answers much better and more legitimately than /u/probelike. We don't need to go to the poles to refine fuel, there are techniques where you bring 1/8th of the fuel you need to get back and spend 2 years using a specific chemical process of pulling out a gas from the thin martian atmosphere to get the other 7/8ths. (You can read a more detailed account on the physics and engineering behind that in the book linked in my comment. It also talks about how people determine 'how long it will take to get to mars' which is not a set time, it all depends on how much fuel you want to use.)

u/AloneIntheCorner · 5 pointsr/askscience

There was a book written about it.

u/Revigator · 5 pointsr/askphilosophy

Well A) the Higgs boson was originally joked as "the goddamn particle" because it was so difficult to detect. Some editor shortened it because that name would have gotten a bad reaction from people.

B) you should really check out cosmologists Lawrence Krauss (video) or Stephen Hawking (transcript). Krauss even wrote an entire book on the topic titled "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing".

This might be more of a science answer than a broader philosophy answer, but these guys have math to back it up.

And C) "Intelligent Design" has already been ruled out by biologists, who find no convincing evidence. It's evolution and its various mechanisms that explain all the wonders and diversity of life.

Warning, Krauss in particular has a lot of disparaging remarks about religion and its followers.

TL;DR - According to these theoreticians, "nothing" (as a quantum mechanical phenomenon) is physically unstable, and "something" is certain to appear given enough time.

u/speedracer13 · 5 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

Because nothingness is impossible, per ASU and Caltech research. There are a ton of books on this subject, along with JSTOR documents (which you should have a subscription too if you are in college). This one is especially easy to read and comprehend the material. Enjoy. I'll gift you the Kindle edition if you really have an avid interest in learning new things.

u/Snarkiep · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

A physicist named Lawrence Krauss wrote a book on this. Its called a universe from nothing. Good read. Also, if youre interested another good book that adresses different attempts to answer the question 'why is there something rather than nothing?' is called "Why does the world exist?" by Jim Holt.

Heres some links:

edit: I just noticed that someone else mentioned Krauss in an above comment. Sorry for redundancy.

u/skyboard10 · 4 pointsr/askastronomy

Carrol and Ostlie, a.k.a BOB (big orange book).

u/blablabliam · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

Hmm. Well, I really like Codyslab on youtube. He has some intersting stuff. Vihart uses to make some creative math videos back in the day.

If you want books, Richard Feynman wrote a bunch that are great. My favorite is "Surely you must be joking, Mr Feynman!" Which covers such adventutes as cracking the safes of the Manhattan project, sleeping on a bench the first day of his professorship, and his eureka moment with quantum electrodynamics!

A good textbook for a little light reading is the Big Orange Book, or the BOB. It is a good intro to all different subjects on astrophysics, and if you take it in college, this may be one of the books you need to get. Some solutions can be found online for it too ;)

u/Cpt_Burrito · 4 pointsr/astrophysics


If you don't know any calculus Stewart Calculus is the typical primer in colleges. Combine this with Khan Academy for easy mode cruise control.

After that, you want to look at The Big Orange Book, which is essentially the bible for undergrad astrophysics and 100% useful beyond that. This book could, alone, tell you everything you need to know.

As for other topics like differential equations and linear algebra you can shop around. I liked Linear Algebra Done Right for linear personally. No recommendations from me on differential equations though, never found a book that I loved.

u/antpuncher · 4 pointsr/spaceporn


The gold standard in intro astronomy is the Big Orange Book by Carroll and Ostlie (orange standard?). Probably not the first book to read, but if you're serious about astronomy it's essential reading.

I really like the podcast Space Time with Stuart Gary. He basically goes over recent papers, but at a level that is very approachable for non-scientists.

You may get a lot out of a non-major intro textbook. I believe that John Fix's book is the one we use at my university. There are a number of intro texts out there, I'm not an expert on which is the best. But make sure it's not more than 5 or so years old, a lot has happened in the last few years.

Also, don't let the math scare you off. You need to learn calculus, and it was hard for me, too. But, you can definitely do it.

I hope that helps!

u/marysville · 4 pointsr/spacex

How To Build Your Own Spaceship is a fantastic introduction to rocket appliances and commercial space flight. It's pretty short, too. I highly recommend.

And obviously The Case for Mars.

u/adam_dorr · 4 pointsr/philosophy

> No one has yet succeeded, then, in explaining how something could literally come out of nothing: in every case some sort of prior condition needs to be presupposed.

I'm surprised there is no mention of physicist Lawrence Krauss's new book, A Universe from Nothing. He does quite a good job explaining how the latest physics suggests that the universe literally did come from nothing.

It is also important to understand that both space and time are features of the physical universe; the universe does not exist within these things. So the notion that we need to explain "prior" causes and what happened "before" the universe began is simply an error, since those words are meaningless without time. An analogous question would be, "where did the universe come from"? There was no space prior to the universe, so it is an error to try to reason spatially.

u/distantocean · 4 pointsr/exchristian

> People seem to tell me to just stop asking these questions because it's impossible to ever know...

It's definitely not that you should stop asking the questions, it's that the only people who are genuinely qualified to answer them are cosmologists. So while it's fun to speculate, the only way to make real progress on these questions ourselves would be to get a PhD in physics. Which I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do at this point in my life. :-)

It's interesting to read what people who actually do have a PhD in physics have to say about these questions, though. That's why I linked you to a few articles/debates in my other reply. And there are plenty of books out there that look at the origins of the universe and how it could have arisen (for example The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll or A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss).

One thing to keep in mind is that quantum physics is not just counterintuitive but wildly counterintuitive. So even though we may have beliefs like "everything needs a cause", and even though that principle is reasonable in everyday life, it doesn't necessarily apply in quantum physics, where the very notion of causality is debatable. That's why non-physicists (definitely including philosophers and theologians) are just not qualified to answer these questions -- because our intuition leads us astray, and the rules that work for us within the universe fall apart when we're looking at the origin of the universe.

u/Pandromeda · 4 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Lawrence Krauss wrote a book about it, A Universe from Nothing.

It doesn't actually answer the question since no one has yet found an answer. But if the question is really bugging you it is an interesting read.

u/mepper · 4 pointsr/atheism

> Clearly something can not be created from nothing, thats a rule of physics I'm pretty sure. If this can't be explained, than wouldn't that mean that some higher power must have put it there?

Who created the higher power, then?

You might find this talk (by theoretical astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss) about how the universe could have spontaneously came from "nothing" ("nothing" is purposely in quotes because it's not really nothing): . He also has a book on the same topic:

u/BioTechDude · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

"Turn Left At Orion"

A excellent guide to finding objects that look good in a telescope.

Also/or "Nightwatch"

Adding a cheap green laser pointer REALLY helped with aiming my scope. Granted, my scope came with a pretty crappy viewfinder. The laser also makes it super simple to point to objects in the sky when sharing with people "no, not that little star near the other thing, THAT little star near the other thing". Just get some rubber bands to attach it to the scopes main tube.

But the MOST important thing I ever did for my astronomy hobby: Joined An online astronomy message board.

u/MathPolice · 4 pointsr/Astronomy
u/professorpoptart · 4 pointsr/AskReddit

a brief history of time,

edit: Sorry, i forgot to remind you not to buy from amazon either.

edit 2: Actually if you want it, pm me your address and I'll ship you my copy

u/nietzkore · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You concept of time isn't wrong and I didn't post to correct you in any way. I love Asimov's The Collapsing Universe and Hawking's A Brief History of Time. I hope others get to read them and enjoy them as well, even though physics has changed and some of the information is outdated... they are so well written.

No one knows what the universe was like before the Big Bang. There are some very weird theories out there with evidence behind them. Any one of them might be right, or they might all be based on information we don't fully understand and could be all wrong.

  1. Our universe could have collapsed once before and reformed in a new explosion of matter. That is based on background radiation being uneven across the night sky. Its difficult to imagine how our universe could collapse again, seeing as it is still expanding and at an always faster pace, such that in a trillion years, if you were to stand on the surface of a burned out and utterly dark planet Earth, you couldn't see any stars (outside our own combined galaxy of Milky Way and Andromeda after the collision), because the distance between us was so great that light couldn't make it here before we were beyond its reach. Crazy right?

  2. Our universe could be the matter ejected from a black hole in another universe. It could be the other end of a wormhole where matter enters/ed a black hole sometime far away and ejected out to create our big bang. So there could be a before in that case, although in another universe which could have different laws. Also crazy!

  3. A great discussion between Dawkins (biologist) and Krauss (theoretical physicist) called:
    SOMETHING FROM NOTHING? Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss that I recommend you watch the entire way through (though its 2 hours, it is well worth for someone interested in such topics). However if you are short of time, go to 47:30-51:00 minutes and watch Krauss explain how matter could literally form in deep space where there is nothing. This means our universe could have formed from nothing, turned into a singularity, and then formed in a big bang. Krauss says, "...That 'nothing' is unstable. That 'empty space' is unstable. The laws of quantum mechanics combined with gravity, will tell you, that if you have empty space there, and you wait long enough, particles will be created. And if you wait long enough, empty space will always produce a universe full of matter." It just makes you say, Whhaaaat?

    Combine the concept that our universe is something like the surface of an expanding balloon where everything is getting further apart all the time. Over enough trillion of years, the empty space between those old galaxies could create their own singularities and own universes. We don't have a way to measure something like this.

    Since the boson particle was only recently observed and confirmed, there will be a lot of changes coming. That means the Higgs-Boson field that creates all mass... well it might not have been causing mass within the singularity. At which point the singularity could expand without the forces of gravity until the h-b field took over... there are just too many variations at the time. That doesn't even cover dark matter or

    TL;DR... Before the big bang could have been (1) nothing but a singularity since no time/space, (2) other universes, (3) other parts of this universe, or (4) literally nothing but empty space.
u/auchim · 4 pointsr/AskReddit

I love how these kind of "gotcha" questions are always couched in a willful misunderstanding of what the actual scientific theory states.

Read a book, shitbird.

u/porscheguy19 · 4 pointsr/atheism

On science and evolution:

Genetics is where it's at. There is a ton of good fossil evidence, but genetics actually proves it on paper. Most books you can get through your local library (even by interlibrary loan) so you don't have to shell out for them just to read them.


The Making of the Fittest outlines many new forensic proofs of evolution. Fossil genes are an important aspect... they prove common ancestry. Did you know that humans have the gene for Vitamin C synthesis? (which would allow us to synthesize Vitamin C from our food instead of having to ingest it directly from fruit?) Many mammals have the same gene, but through a mutation, we lost the functionality, but it still hangs around.

Deep Ancestry proves the "out of Africa" hypothesis of human origins. It's no longer even a debate. MtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA can be traced back directly to where our species began.

To give more rounded arguments, Hitchens can't be beat: God Is Not Great and The Portable Atheist (which is an overview of the best atheist writings in history, and one which I cannot recommend highly enough). Also, Dawkin's book The Greatest Show on Earth is a good overview of evolution.

General science: Stephen Hawking's books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time are excellent for laying the groundwork from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativity through to the modern discovery of Quantum Mechanics.

Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine are also excellent sources for philosophical, humanist, atheist thought; but they are included in the aforementioned Portable Atheist... but I have read much of their writings otherwise, and they are very good.

Also a subscription to a good peer-reviewed journal such as Nature is awesome, but can be expensive and very in depth.

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate is also an excellent look at the human mind and genetics. To understand how the mind works, is almost your most important tool. If you know why people say the horrible things they do, you can see their words for what they are... you can see past what they say and see the mechanisms behind the words.

I've also been studying Zen for about a year. It's non-theistic and classed as "eastern philosophy". The Way of Zen kept me from losing my mind after deconverting and then struggling with the thought of a purposeless life and no future. I found it absolutely necessary to root out the remainder of the harmful indoctrination that still existed in my mind; and finally allowed me to see reality as it is instead of overlaying an ideology or worldview on everything.

Also, learn about the universe. Astronomy has been a useful tool for me. I can point my telescope at a galaxy that is more than 20 million light years away and say to someone, "See that galaxy? It took over 20 million years for the light from that galaxy to reach your eye." Creationists scoff at millions of years and say that it's a fantasy; but the universe provides real proof of "deep time" you can see with your own eyes.


I recommend books first, because they are the best way to learn, but there are also very good video series out there.

BestofScience has an amazing series on evolution.

AronRa's Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is awesome.

Thunderfoot's Why do people laugh at creationists is good.

Atheistcoffee's Why I am no longer a creationist is also good.

Also check out TheraminTrees for more on the psychology of religion; Potholer54 on The Big Bang to Us Made Easy; and Evid3nc3's series on deconversion.

Also check out the Evolution Documentary Youtube Channel for some of the world's best documentary series on evolution and science.

I'm sure I've overlooked something here... but that's some stuff off the top of my head. If you have any questions about anything, or just need to talk, send me a message!

u/tagaragawa · 4 pointsr/askscience

If I recall correctly it's pretty good. The basic concepts behind relativity (and quantum mechanics) haven't really changed over the past, say, 50 years. Even the Standard Model, developed in the 1970s, is the best description of elementary particles we currently have.

The most important novelties would be the very "flat" Cosmic Background Radiation, nevertheless having small seemingly random fluctuation; and inflation, which is one attempt to explain those phenomena.

I would argue that many modern books are actually straying from accuracy in favour of speculating about solutions to open questions with for instance string theory and multiverses, for which there is no evidence. Hawking himself is guilty of that too:

u/Mikesapien · 4 pointsr/Cosmos

Bill Nye

u/Relevant_Comment · 4 pointsr/worldnews

I think I could possibly answer a part of your question in this post that I already made, but let me elaborate further since it isn't everyday that I'm able to have deep conversation IRL. My room-mates are muggles.

>But, what you're saying is that any such identity is acceptable and that one has to possess at least one such identity to be alive?

Yes. That's what I feel. As long as I (what is this 'I' in the first place) have an identity which ever it may be, as long as I'm self-aware I don't mind.

After all, can you imagine how the world was before you were born? How it will be after you die or 'die'? It's simply unimaginable. Coming back to our identity, I'd rather be someone since hey, if I'm that someone, I wouldn't know about this 'me' or would I? What guarantee do I have against the fact that every night when I go to sleep, my mannerism are completely altered, and my memories retroactively correct themselves.

Not to sound depressing (since I'm not depressed or anything) but mind, brain, body, life, existence seem pretty puny when compared to the vast scales of space and time that exists. Yes, I'm reading that and each moment I spend reading it, I get angrier at humans for the false sense of pride.

u/tikael · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

>how does the heat death of the universe cycle into a big bang again?

All right, I will take a crack at explaining this. In the heat death of the universe there is no matter present (because eventually it will all decay). This leaves us in the same state we (presumably) were before the big bang, this opens up the possibility of another one happening. In fact there are some who speculate that the big bang was not a special event, but instead a common event that may even happen now that matter is in the unverse. The special thing about our big bang is [inflation]( "Sorry there isn't a on this subject, it is a pretty dense topic"). Inflation is pretty hard to wrap our heads around so if you want to know more you might try reading The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

>And would we not have any background radiation from previous big bangs?

Heat death denotes that all matter and energy have decayed so no we would not.

There are of course even modern physicists who have proposed alternatives to the big bang but most of them require quite a few more assumptions about how the universe works so I would not put my money on them.

u/Cdresden · 4 pointsr/scifiwriting

You can't come up with radical ideas extrapolated from current science if you don't have an understanding of current science.

Start with research. I think the first thing you need to do is to bone up on physics. Asimov's series is a great popular science examination of physics.

Then read some of the more outre modern popular science books. Hyperspace by Michio Kaku would be an excellent choice.

It's no good trying to write about future physics if you don't have a familiarity with at least high school series physics. A large percentage of SF fans is scientifically literate. If you try handwaving, you'll come off as technically naive. Better to write about elves & vampires, where you can make shit up as you go along.

u/IronFeather101 · 4 pointsr/PlaceNostalgia


Wow. Have you read this book? It's my favorite!

u/dwdukc · 4 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

u/smokehidesstars · 4 pointsr/telescopes

Turn Left at Orion is a perfect beginner-level book:

u/bekroogle · 4 pointsr/telescopes

I think addressing both of those with in-depth answers could fill a book... Oh wait, it has! Check out [Turn Left at Orion] ( While you can probably find pirated versions around, you're far better off with the spiral bound version--this book is meant to be out in the field with you (and not screwing with your night vision like display screens will).

It gives a big list of cool things to look at through 1) binoculars, 2) small telescopes like yours, 3) larger backyard scopes.

It then tells you how to find them by "star hopping". It even has pictures of what to expect in your finder scope, etc.

u/ebneter · 3 pointsr/scifi

Well, first of all, "Hawkin" (I assume he means Stephen Hawking) didn't create the term "black hole," and it's actually fairly correct, at least in the sense that there's a "rim" (the event horizon) and things can "fall in" to the hole.

But the second paragraph is simply gibberish. There are things called black bodies, and black holes have some relation to them, but certainly not in the simplistic manner described. And black holes are an endpoint of stellar evolution, not the beginning: They* are formed when a massive star undergoes a supernova explosion and the remaining core collapses. About the only true statement in the second paragraph is, "Light bends around all bodies of mass, including stars and planets." In fact, this is a standard prediction of general relativity, first measured during a solar eclipse in 1919.

Kip Thorne, who was the science advisor for Interstellar, wrote a pretty accessible book on black holes if you want more details. He's also written a book on the science behind Interstellar.

* Caveat: This applies to stellar-mass black holes. There are supermassive black holes in the centers of many (most?) galaxies, including our own, and we don't fully understand how they form.

u/DarthContinent · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking is great but maybe not technical enough for you. His colleague Kip Thorne, however, wrote "Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy" which is significantly meatier on the hard science side of things.

u/mozart23 · 3 pointsr/Physics

I think you should read this book to get a clear idea about everything related to string theory :

u/SquirrelicideScience · 3 pointsr/Physics

When it comes to QM and String Theory, Brian Greene wrote a great book on the subjects.

u/0d3vine · 3 pointsr/battlestations

Really great setup! Saw the kind of books you like and I recommend The Elegant Universe if you haven't read it already

u/wafflequeene · 3 pointsr/OSU

I heard he's doing a layman's overview of string theory, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, which is similar to what he did in his book The Elegant Universe.

u/JRDMB · 3 pointsr/Physics

I posted some video ideas earlier but I see that you also asked for any docs recommendations. A good place to read up on what some leading physicists have to say is The Nature of Time contest winning essays and prizes sponsored by the Foundational Questions Instiute (FQXi). There's a wealth of good info in those essays.

If you want to get into it even further, FQXi hosted a conference on Time (again with leading researchers in the field) and they posted the videos and slides from that conference here

If you want a popular-level book recommendation, mine would be From Eternity to Here

u/NtnlBrotherhoodWk · 3 pointsr/telescopes

You can see quite a bit with this telescope. I highly recommend getting this book. It's a great starter for finding galaxies and nebulae and you should easily be able to see everything in the book (I could see M81 and M82 on a smaller telescope within Seattle city limits).

u/reggiecide · 3 pointsr/telescopes

Yes, you can use a telescope in light polluted skies. When I got back into the hobby a few years ago, I was stuck observing on my patio practically under a street lamp facing a bright yellow wall and I could see quite a few things. A good book is Turn Left at Orion, which was originally written for people with small telescopes and light-polluted skies.

u/AlexC77 · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion is a great introductory book.
It will show you what is in the sky when, how to find it, and what you will see in the telescope. (You're not going to get Hubble quality views)

The moon is very new this week, so take the opportunity to look at it while it's still a sliver. It's visible just after sunset.

Download Stellarium for your computer, and dial it in for your location. It will also help you identify the sights.

I don't have that particular model, but I've hauled my 114GT around in the back of my station wagon, with no ill effects. (Nothing outside of typical collimation)

u/tactical_mittens · 3 pointsr/telescopes

Read the instructions. Go outside and look at the moon.

Get the book Turn Left at Orion.

u/wintyfresh · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Eyepieces, skymaps (or just download Stellarium), books like Nightwatch and Turn Left at Orion. You might also consider a Telrad and a red-filtered flashlight.

u/SpacemanSpifffy · 3 pointsr/space

That's a great scope you got yourself there, it'll treat you well. Check out the books NightWatch and Turn Left at Orion for great information on how to get started in Astronomy. "NightWatch" answers a lot of questions you might have where "Turn Left.." serves more as a guide and map to the night sky, and both serve as excellent resources.

u/kukkuzejt · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Basically, the larger the diameter of your telescope, the more light it collects and the more distant and fainter objects you can see. Also, more light means you can magnify the image more (by changing the eyepieces of the telescope) without it getting to faint to see properly.

I'm only at the research stage into my astronomy hobby at this point, so I can't really help much, but go onto youtube and there are lots of videos of sights through telescopes. Start by searching for "my telescope" and take it from there, and look up prices for the scopes you see.

Turn Left at Orion and NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe seem to be the go-to books for understanding what objects you can see through different telescopes and where to find them, though I haven't bought either of them yet.

If you're really good with your hands, you might want to try building your own telescope for cheap.

u/Big_Brain · 3 pointsr/Astronomy
  • Grab your copy of Stellarium
  • Learn these astronomy basics
  • Then look high at the brightest stars first, check their names,
  • Find the story behind them (constellations got stories in greek, roman, american, asian mythology...),
  • Ask yourself how big is that star, what temperature is it on surface, what's the difference between a blue star and a red giant star.
  • Whenever you see an object in space, try to find what it is it made of, its distance...
  • Find out the answers - many good websites provide this info.
  • Don't try to locate as much objects as possible (forget about the galaxies for now). Discover them slowly. Aim for the moon/planets and the brightest stars first. One object per night.
  • Plan your nights. Stellarium and here at /r/astronomy will help you.
  • As you advance, read about astronomy actually... Turn Left at Orion and more books...
  • Then it will be time to go deeper in space for the clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Fellow astronomers at Reddit are already recommending how to upgrade your equipment to a telescope.

    Welcome aboard.
u/josephsmidt · 3 pointsr/cosmology

If you think you can read an undergraduate textbook Ryden is a standard.

However, if you think that may be too advanced, start with some popular books on the subject such and The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku or the classic by Hawking A Brief History of Time.

If after reading those you want something more advanced but still not a textbook try The Road to Reality by Penrose. It reads like a popular book but he actually works through math (and the real stuff with like tensors etc...) to make his points so it is more advanced. Also, the Dummies Books are also a more intermediate step and are often decently good at teaching the basics on a lower technical level than a textbook.

u/sheddd · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

There's lots of interesting things you'll never understand; quantum physics is going to be one of them unless a Grand Unified Theory (or a subset of that which reconciles quantum theory and relativity) is discovered.

If you haven't read it, try A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking; you may enjoy it.

u/UnstuckInTime · 3 pointsr/atheism

try reading "The Grand Design" and "A Brief History of Time" for more understanding on the universe, time and the big bang.

>I am an atheist except in one very crucial sense - I believe SOMETHING supernatural created the universe at the moment of the big bang.

this is a "god of the gaps" type argument, just because science has not yet found all the answers does not mean that a god exist.

u/lechnito · 3 pointsr/AskReddit


u/mack2028 · 3 pointsr/homestuck

To know why what you are saying doesn't make sense you need to read a very large amount of physcis books, may i suggest starting at Bill Bryson's a short history of nearly everything then moving on to Stephen Hawking's a short history of time

u/ap0s · 3 pointsr/space

You can't go wrong with A Brief History of Time or The Universe in a Nutshell.

A book that is only partially about space but covers a lot of material that I'd highly* recommend is How to Build a Habitable Planet.

u/vibrunazo · 3 pointsr/atheism

I really enjoyed Hawking's Grand Design because he throughly and eloquently answers the common question of "how can you explain the origins of the Universe without a god?". That is often times the one conflict point that believers just cannot grasp their heads around.

u/atheistcoffee · 3 pointsr/atheism

Congratulations! I know what a big step that is, as I've been in the same boat. Books are the best way to become informed. Check out books by:

u/efrique · 3 pointsr/atheism

This isn't really to do with atheism... it's just science.

> I know this may be better placed in a science related sub reddit but I don't really know of one

/r/explainlikeimfive or /r/cosmology or /r/askscience or ...

In particular try:

See also:

Krauss, Lawrence A Universe from Nothing

Hawking and Mlodinov The Grand Design

u/Jolleg · 3 pointsr/atheism

We are venturing into a semantic problem. The universe is a closed system. This means that space and time are finite. But that is how we interact with the universe. These are the dimensions we know. So trying to talk about what happened before space and time is contextual nonsense for us as humans. Therefore trying to talk about what happened before the big bang is talking about nothing. Just as talking about anything outside of space-time. This instantly makes us want to say that makes space-time infinite, but that is not true. I would recommend this or this book. The second being a "softer" read.

Trying to state that the universe needs a creator but the creator does not is a little bit of slight of hand.

You are saying by definition God does not require a creator or he would not be God. Well, by the same right I am saying by definition the Universe does not need a creator.

But this gets into something even more complex that I wouldn't begin to have the time or space here to write. When you talk about cause you need to also be thinking about what type of cause you are speaking. here is a place to start.

u/lifeinpixels · 3 pointsr/Physics

I'm a physics student excited to take astrophysics this fall semester. We're using the Big Orange Book (Intro to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie, 2nd ed.), which, according to many around here, seems to be a great text. My copy came in the mail today but I'm wondering if I got a counterfeit.

There are a few reasons I am suspicious. The cover is a faded and uneven shade of orange, the print appears low quality on close inspection, the binding is glued, and the overall feel of the book falls short of most textbooks I've used. Additionally, the book shipped new, from Malaysia (with a customs value of $25).

I bought the book from Abebooks (specifically not an international edition) and am hoping for a refund. Just to be sure though, would anyone be willing to take pictures of their copy for me to compare? I am specifically interested in color, the binding as seen while the book is closed, and how well the print on the cover aligns with the spine.

I'm hoping this is a book I keep for a while, so I want to make sure I have a copy that will last! Thanks for your help!

u/xeno60 · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Start by finding some astronomy clubs in your area. That would be very helpful if you wanted to get into stargazing. Most people would be more than happy to let you try out their telescopes. If you're near a university or college, try finding some astro groups there as well. Even if you're not a student it would be good to check it out. If you want to get into more astrophysics/cosmology I found this book to be a very well written introductory text It was the textbook I used in my intro astrophysics course. Other than that, there is always the popular authors that reddit likes. NDT, Laurence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, etc...

u/uhwuggawuh · 3 pointsr/cosmology

I wouldn't be too afraid of Carroll & Ostlie's Big Orange Book, even though it is very comprehensive. I'm an engineer and just started reading it when a physics grad student at my lab recommended it as the standard introductory text.

The text requires some technical background, but is designed to be accessible to all (or most) math, science, and engineering majors.

u/the_jacksonpalooza · 3 pointsr/Retconned

Thanks! I buy it the first chance I get. I recommend these two. and I came across these two books on my journey. The first is a fairly easy book to read, and I would consider it an introductory to the way I feel things are. Many of you could probably read it in a night or two. It was here that I learned about the double slit experiment. The second book is a larger book written by a scientist, Tom Campbell. It is much more exhaustive. This will take more time to read, but it's also a very good book in my opinion.

u/bonekeeper · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I see what you mean because I've experienced it too - walking around my house, where everything was pretty much the same, except for the kitchen which was completely different, or a table that wasn't supposed to be there, etc. It is real, in its own context. One might consider it as being "not real" if you think that things are supposed to be as objective as the physical world is, but that might not be the case (most likely it isn't the case).

One good example of this is Thomas Campbell's research and book (The Monroe Institute) - he has some talks on YouTube about this subject and how he came to study consciousness with Bob Monroe, their experiments, etc.

At first he also thought it was "just in your head", until one day they did an experiment where two humans, in a lab setting but different rooms, without direct physical communication between them, were to "astral project" and meet, then go about experiencing stuff - talking to beings, going places, etc together, then they should come back and record the things they experienced (before talking to each other). Turned out that they did in fact experienced together the same events and their stories matched.

So I think the subject has a lot more to it than just "real" and "not real", or objective vs. subjective.

u/madp1atypus · 3 pointsr/Futurology

I wonder how many people in this thread would enjoy reading Robert Zubrin's work. He laid out a solid plan over 2 decades ago with existing tech. for those interested

u/snesin · 3 pointsr/spacex

In Rubert Zurbin's excellent 1996 book The Case For Mars, he describes the Mars Direct plan which places a small nuclear reactor (does not say what type) capable of 100 kilowatts and lowers it into a crater or natural depression. This powers the chemical plant to produce fuel for the trip back.

To my mind, this seems to be the easiest solution; many small reactors. Portable with a rover, you can set up perimeter/remote bases that are not limited by umbilical cord length. If one has a problem, you still have capacity in the others.

I would also expect a few small RTGs laying about as well. Though an RTG is fairly inefficient for producing electricity, they are simple, dependable, and long-lived. The radioactivity is obviously a concern, but not insurmountable. Also, Mars is cold and a lot of energy will be needed for heat, and the RTG's waste heat can tapped directly without inefficient conversions.

u/Jayesar · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

Lawrence Krauss

It is brilliant. I loved the lecture from him (with the same title) on youtube and the book takes it to the next level. I have gained so much knowledge just reading a chapter a day on the tube to work.

u/soulcoma · 3 pointsr/askscience

Here is a great book I just finished, while much broader in scope, will help you understand what is in that 'empty space'.

A Universe From Nothing. Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.

u/Timmy2Hands · 3 pointsr/skeptic
u/uncletravellingmatt · 3 pointsr/atheism

>without a God how did the universe come into existence?

I could rephrase that into a question that would be even more baffling:

>with a God, how did the universe come into existence?

The 2nd one is more crazy to explain, because now you need to know how a god was created, not just why there is or isn't more or less matter and energy.

If you are genuinely interested in astrophysics, here are some good books written by people who know more than me about the issues you mention:

Remember, even if you don't know the answer to a question about nature, it's always OK to say "I don't know." It's not OK to pretend that a story about the supernatural explains an issue in the natural world, if embracing the myth about the supernatural wouldn't really explain how things work, and would really only raise more questions.

u/noluckatall · 3 pointsr/atheism

You didn't say how old you were, but if you're financially dependent on your parents, you should probably keep quiet on the subject - including with your sister - until that is no longer the case.

On the something from nothing question, if she is science-minded, give her a copy of the Krauss book on the subject:

u/omniclast · 3 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience
u/heyguesswhatfuckyou · 3 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

You should check out A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. The whole book is an attempt to answer that very question.

u/TheRamenator · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

No, the null hypothesis is "we don't know".
God(s) did it is a claim, as is it sprang into existence on its own. There is some evidence for the latter (1, 2)

u/Deastside · 3 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

There is a great book called A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss that goes into great detail.

u/Semie_Mosley · 3 pointsr/atheism

A good book for you to read is A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

It will answer your questions.

u/trailrider · 3 pointsr/atheism

Well, you can get Lawrence Krauss's book or check out his Youtube lecture.

u/hedgeson119 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Check out the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.

Check out a copy of the books The Greatest Show on Earth or Why Evolution is True from a library. You can also get one of them for free on Audible, but you will miss out on the citations and diagrams.

See if you can watch or read The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. I watched the miniseries, it's pretty good. It used to be on Netflix but no longer is.

Cosmos is great, and is on Netflix. If you want to watch videos about Cosmology just type in one of the popular physicist's names, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss (his Universe from Nothing book is really great, so are his lectures about it), Sean Carroll etc.

Let me know if you want to talk, I'm always up for it.

u/oooo_nooo · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

This is quite the loaded question. First of all, most atheists would not say that "God cannot possibly exist." Second of all, disbelief in the existence of God cannot in any way be called "faith." Finally, the Big Bang itself is where all the materials came from. For more thoughts on this subject, I recommend Lawrence Krauss' book, A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.

u/two_in_the_bush · 3 pointsr/IAmA

All the ad hominem aside, can you explain your perception of the word "nothing"? You seem open to understanding the scientific side of the discussion.

If you're interested in exploring what is meant in science by nothing, there's a great book by Theoretical Physicist Lawrence Krauss, entitled A Universe from Nothing.

I think you'd find it to be a great read.

u/spaceghoti · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Hello Dr. Goldberg, and thank you for doing this.

What do you think of Dr. Krauss' lecture and book on "A Universe From Nothing?" Do you think his conclusions follow the evidence, or do you think he's trying to shoehorn the evidence into his conclusions?

u/Orion5289 · 3 pointsr/atheism

This is an incredibly complex topic, physicists have spent entire careers trying to answer this question. It would be really hard to give him a quick and easy answer. If you are interested in this topic I would recommend reading this book by Lawrence Krauss:

u/OrionsArmpit · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

One of my favorite books about stargazing and basic astronomy. A "must have" in my experience.

Another one as you get into binoculars or telescopes is "turn left at Orion" which is all about cool objects in the night sky, how to find them in binocs/telescopes, and what they're gonna look like. Plus lists of objects arranged by light pollution/size of telescope. It's awesome for the "what to look for tonight?" questions.

It's also suggest getting a sky chart, or sky chart software. Both have good versions available free, like Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel. Learn to set them up to mimic the sky you actually see in your area (stellarium does this by simulating light pollution, cartes let's you filter by star brightness). These will help you learn the constellations, which is how you find things up there.

u/pixlgeek · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Luna and Jupiter will look fantastic.

With Jupiter you should more than be able to see all four moons pretty well and the bands should be faint but visible. Give your eyes time to adjust and make sure you're in a nice dark place. I'm sure that goes without saying but it can't hurt to reinforce the concept.

That is a great starter scope. Get yourself a good star atlas, I really recommend NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe as a starter ( It has good seasonal star charts and lots of practical info about viewing the sky.

I really hope you enjoy the scope and please do post a follow up on the performance and your experiences.

I notice you said you are in CST Time Zone. Where are you located. If you are in the Houston Area we should get a little star party set up with fellow redditors.

u/kiponator · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

The star charts in the book "Nightwatch" are pretty good. Pretty likely you can get Nightwatch at the library, it's very common.

Google Sky (free) is really good if you have an Android Phone.

SkySafari ($3) is pretty good if you have any iOS device.

Stellarium is my favorite for PCs.

u/gasm_spasm · 3 pointsr/atheism

I actually enjoyed his book a great deal. Link for the lazy.

u/HabeusCuppus · 3 pointsr/Futurology

This is closer to ELI15 (high school geometry) but should help you out I hope.

a good lay discussion of the holographic principle is included in leonard susskind's The Black Hole War

but I'll reproduce some of the explanation here: basically there is a principle in some string theories (and believed necessary to quantum gravity) that states that a total description of a volume (3 dimensional space) can be thought of as encoded on the surface of the volume of that space. This was first noted around 1978, so it's not a new theory.

A volume can't be more complicated than the amount of information (entropy) that can be written to the surface of the volume.

If a volume becomes too complex for its description to fit on its surface area, then the volume will grow until it does (see black holes).

In the strongest form of this principle, this isn't just a mathematical constraint on volume complexity but an actual property of reality: everything apparently going on within a volume is the result of a projection from the surface surrounding it, and properties of 3D space (such as being 3D) or having gravity are emergent in the way that "holographic" projections are in optical illusions, and only occur at low energies and macroscopic scales.

This was inspired by black hole thermodynamics which is why there is a lay discussion in the book I mentioned above.

u/omanilovereddit · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

This is the theory OP is looking for.

Or read this book :

u/adj-phil · 3 pointsr/videos

The Black Hole War by Leondard Susskind covers all this.

u/KM1604 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Time is technically a dimension, but it's a dimension which is only relative because we chose the speed of light to be our constant. It makes the math easier. The idea of multiple dimensions beyond the fourth is again exactly that - something to make the math easier. The more you study the various models for quantum mechanics or relativity, the more you realize that each model does one thing well...and that it does everything else poorly.

I understand that your premise is that you believe we can imagine the difference between n and n+1 dimensional experiences for values of n <= 3, and you want to expand that to n > 3 to include a model for God's experience with creation, but it just doesn't work that way. It's an interesting thing to do if you're writing a physics text for the greater population. It's like when Susskind wrote this book and included the bit about black holes being a hologram whose event horizon was determined by the amount of information unretrievable (since his whole point is that no info is lost), and that the surface area of the event horizon is equal to the number of bits of information contained in the black hole if you assume that the Planck length is the smallest surface area capable of containing the bit.

That leads to the model of the event horizon and black holes where the information is correctly encoded on the event horizon, and that as energy is given off by the black hole the event horizon decreases by a corresponding area to represent the information ejected by the radiation.

He then makes the fantastic leap of conjecturing that perhaps the entire observable universe is a giant black hole and we live inside it...which would make all of us holograms projected onto the inside of the black hole from our bits of information encoded on the event horizon...which to us is the boundaries of our known universe/singularity.

It's an interesting idea, but to take that idea (or the n+1 analogy of dimensional analysis you're doing with time) and apply it to the theology of a very real and non-theoretical God would be to misunderstand the limitations of our model, and to unjustly limit God to the rules and limits He placed on the observable universe.

You'll forgive me for ignoring the "symmetric bilinear form" but even the wikipedia article references it as a generalization and not to be correctly used without additional terms in any practical explaining the nature of God.

u/LieselMeminger · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. The writing is so good you won't care about the squeamish content.

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. A perfect blend of a historical retelling and science.

A Treasury of Deception by Michael Farguhar.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks. Short stories of the mentally abnormal patients of Sacks.

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Taylor. Very good insight on what it is like to live with, and recover from brain damage. Also talks science about parts of the brain as a nice intro to the subject.

Mutants: On Genetic Variety in the Human Body by Armand Leroi.

And of course,
Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

u/gipp · 3 pointsr/askscience

I'm assuming you're looking for things geared toward a layman audience, and not textbooks. Here's a few of my personal favorites:


Cosmos: You probably know what this is. If not, it is at once a history of science, an overview of the major paradigms of scientific investigation (with some considerable detail), and a discussion of the role of science in the development of human society and the role of humanity in the larger cosmos.

Pale Blue Dot: Similar themes, but with a more specifically astronomical focus.


The Greatest Show on Earth: Dawkins steers (mostly) clear of religious talk here, and sticks to what he really does best: lays out the ideas behind evolution in a manner that is easily digestible, but also highly detailed with a plethora of real-world evidence, and convincing to anyone with even a modicum of willingness to listen.


Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid: It seems like I find myself recommending this book at least once a month, but it really does deserve it. It not only lays out an excruciatingly complex argument (Godel's Incompleteness Theorem) in as accessible a way as can be imagined, and explores its consequences in mathematics, computer science, and neuroscience, but is also probably the most entertainingly and clearly written work of non-fiction I've ever encountered.


The Feynman Lectures on Physics: It's everything. Probably the most detailed discussion of physics concepts that you'll find on this list.


Connections: Not exactly what you were asking for, but I love it, so you might too. James Burke traces the history of a dozen or so modern inventions, from ancient times all the way up to the present. Focuses on the unpredictability of technological advancement, and how new developments in one area often unlock advancements in a seemingly separate discipline. There is also a documentary series that goes along with it, which I'd probably recommend over the book. James Burke is a tremendously charismatic narrator and it's one of the best few documentary series I've ever watched. It's available semi-officially on Youtube.

u/LastImmortalMan · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

I think pockets of extreme ingenuity were present in certain places, Asimov has some great non fiction books that explore the nature of these types of discoveries and sciences... Its a look at human intuition, ill post links when I get home!

Edit: As promised, here is the link to the Asimov book: The Edge of Tomorrow. It's a great book that combines non-fiction stories and science-fiction stories to stir the imagination and provide a framework as to how/why humans and their intuition lead to the amazing fantasies in science-fiction (which often lead the way for future discoveries).

Another great book to read is Carl Segans: The Cosmos, I know the TV series was wicked awesome (and inspired a generation of great scientists) but the book is that much better... being able to break down the math and explore core concepts in much more depth is very eye opening. The book is written in a way that the technical information provided can be figured out by a lay person while not losing to much of the concepts in the translation.

u/JuninAndTonic · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

I've always heard good things about Edgar Rice Burrough's The Land that Time Forgot though I've sadly never read it myself. And, hey, it's free!

As far as science non-fiction, I consider A Short History of Nearly Everything to be absolutely essential since it covers so very much in a tremendously entertaining way. Also, if you are interested in physics but don't have any background in it I recommend any of Michio Kaku's books such as his latest Physics of the Future. He writes in an accessible manner that distills all the things that make the ongoing developments in physics exciting. I credit reading his books many years ago with getting me started in the sciences. Lastly, for learning about the universe, you can never go far wrong with Carl Sagan's Cosmos. It is easy to see from reading it why he is considered one of the greatest of the science popularizers.

u/MoonPoint · 3 pointsr/scifi

Here's a quote from Carl Sagan's Cosmos:

> There is the deep and appealing notion that the universe is but a dream of the god who, after a hundred Brahma years, dissolves himself into a dreamless sleep. The universe dissolves with him - until, after another Brahma century, he stirs, recomposes himself and begins again to dream the cosmic dream.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, there are an infinite number of universes, each with its own god dreaming the cosmic dream. These great ideas are tempered by another, perhaps greater. It is said that men may not be the dreams of gods, but rather that the gods are the dreams of men.

You might also find The Conscious Universe: Brahma's Dream interesting. The author discussed Hindu timescales.

u/Mr_M_Burns · 3 pointsr/space

Here you go: Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos

u/shavera · 3 pointsr/askscience

Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos is also really quite good for General Relativity. Even if I personally don't find the appeal in string theory.

u/InfanticideAquifer · 3 pointsr/philosophy

The claim that "time is exactly like space" is not true. Time is treated as a dimension in Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR), but it is very different from the "usual" spatial dimensions. (It boils down to "distance" along the time direction being negative, but that statement doesn't really mean anything out of context.) The central idea of relativity is that while the entire four dimensional "thing" (spacetime) just is (is invariant), different observers will have different ideas about which way the time direction points; it turns out to be convenient for our description of nature to respect the natural "democratic" equivalence of all hypothetical observers.

I can point you to a couple of good resources:

is a very good, book about SR, and some "other stuff". It's pretty mathematical, and I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't totally comfortable with college level intro physics and calculus.

is the "standard" text for undergraduate SR; it's less demanding than the above, but uses mathematical language that won't translate immediately if you go on to study GR. (I have not read this myself.)

This is the book that I learned from; I thought it was pretty good.

This is Brian Greene's famous popularization of String Theory. It has chapters in the beginning on SR and Quantum Mechanics that I think are quite good.

This is Einstein's own popularization, only algebra required. All the examples that others use to explain SR pretty much come from here, and sometimes it's good to go right to the source.

This is a collection of the most important works leading up to and including relativity, from Galileo to Einstein, in case you'd like to take a look at the original paper (translated). The SR paper requires more of a conceptual physical background than a mathematical one; the same can't be said of the included GR paper.

I don't know what your background is--the first three options above are textbooks, and that's probably much more than you were hoping to get into. The last three are not; the book by Brian Greene and the collection (edited by Stephen Hawking) are interesting for other reasons besides relativity as well. For SR, though, another book by Greene might be a bit better: this.

u/DrDumpHole · 3 pointsr/funny

Physics of the impossible is where is drew the line. Cool for actually little kids I guess.

I really liked Hyperspace: a scientific journey through universes, time warps and the 10th dimension.

I got his book in 7th or 8th grade so it took me quite a while to even sorta get it. I really just thought it was cool. That book springboarded me into Brian Greene's stuff. After that I really became attached to the "philosophy" of quantum physics. Then... I became a nihilist and kinda hated everything and gave it up haha. Now I'm back to being happy with my cartoons and the occasional science channel

u/redsledletters · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Confrontational atheism: Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier

>"Know, then, my friends, that everything that is recited and practiced in the world for the cult and adoration of gods is nothing but errors, abuses, illusions, and impostures. All the laws and orders that are issued in the name and authority of God or the gods are really only human inventions…."

>"And what I say here in general about the vanity and falsity of the religions of the world, I don’t say only about the foreign and pagan religions, which you already regard as false, but I say it as well about your Christian religion because, as a matter of fact, it is no less vain or less false than any other.

Softer (much less confrontational) atheism: 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God

>This unique approach to skepticism presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt. Whether you're a believer, a complete skeptic, or somewhere in between, you'll find this review of traditional and more recent arguments for the existence of God refreshing, approachable, and enlightening.

Favorites non-fiction (or at least mostly non-fiction as time will tell) and not directly related to atheism: Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension and The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and the Universe in a Nutshell

Favorites fiction (also not directly atheist related): Treasure Island, and Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld

Atheism book I've tried to read and found to be over my head that's supposed to be the end-all-be-all: The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God


Currently reading and while enjoyable it's a bit tough to get, I've found myself re-reading pages regularly: QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

u/keryskerys · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

"Bravo Two Zero" or "Immediate Action" by Andy McNab.

"Supernature" by Lyall Watson. An old, but interesting and thought-provoking book.

"Hyperspace" by Michio Kaku.

"Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen.

"People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck.

Edit: I was going to suggest "The Hot Zone" as well, but Amberkisses got there ahead of me, so I upvoted him/her instead.

u/QuakePhil · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

I'm reading Hyperspace by Michio Kaku; it is a very interesting book about how geometry makes seemingly non-geometric things possible, but the book edition is dated 1995.

Do you guys know more recent books on the topic, with a similar popular science slant? Specifically about geometry's role in physics?

u/Ridcully · 3 pointsr/technology
u/stealth_sloth · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Chris Adami, professor of microbiology and astronomy (I know, odd combination) who has done some work related to black holes, had an AMA in /r/science the other day. I'll just carry over this comment

>It is true, we don't know what's behind the event horizon. If the black hole would be sufficiently massive (like, really supermassive) then if you are far enough from the center you would not be able to tell that you are inside of a black hole. After all, galaxies are moving around in the universe, and for all we know they could be orbiting the center of a black hole. However, this is all speculation. A good book for a beginner is perhaps Kip Thorne's book

u/TheMrJosh · 3 pointsr/Physics

Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy is a great book. It starts off with a science fiction story and goes on to explain the principles behind it. There's a little history in there too, which is always interesting. One issue, however, is that it's a little old now so may be a bit outdated.

u/StardustSapien · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion
u/Iwantitnow · 2 pointsr/science

Good book for the layperson on the Big Bang.

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

u/absolutspacegirl · 2 pointsr/atheism

It sounds like you want someone to tell you for certain that there either is/is not a God/Hell and how the universe as we know it came to be (ie what caused the Big Bang) and wrap it up in a box with a pretty bow and put it under your Christmas tree for you to open.

Guess what - we'd all like that!

No one knows these answers for sure. There IS a lot of evidence for the Big Bang even though you say you don't believe in it. You say you want the truth and that is the truth...we really can't help you if you ask a question, we give you an answer (supported by many forms of evidence), and you tell us, for the most part, that we're lying.

What was "before" that (yes, I know it's bad terminology but we all know what I mean) - no one knows.

Is there a god? No one knows but there is zero evidence for one. Same for hell.

You might feel better if you become a Deist for awhile while you try to figure things out. Sometimes it's scary for people to think they might be an atheist so soon after questioning their faith.

In the meantime I'd read up on the Big Bang and the universe in general. Watch Cosmos.

Here are some books to help you get started:

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe - Simon Singh

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution - Neil deGrasse Tyson

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking

u/jolly_mcfats · 2 pointsr/FeMRADebates

Kinda coming late to this.

First- let me say that I have listened to this podcast on occasion, and usually enjoy it. In fact, I often find that when it does discuss women in history, it is extremely interesting because what is discussed flies in the face of a common perception of women in history (ie, that they were powerless and had no influence).

Because these particular episodes tend to be the ones most accurately described as "stuff I missed in history class"- they become the most memorable. If I were to describe the podcast to someone, I would probably mention that it often covered women in history. I wouldn't really write a letter of complaint, because... well, it would only really bother me if I felt that they were getting it wrong (and I am way too much of a history noob to really have that reaction unless we are talking about one of a very few things I have actually studied as an adult), or if I felt the presentation was deliberately partisan. It's not- and women featured in it are sometimes portrayed as protagonists, and sometimes antagonists- which makes it a somewhat refreshing take on inclusivity. In particular I remember some bit about the influence of washington wives in mid-18th century america that was none too flattering. Oftentimes I find that attempts to tell "herstory" paint women as a saintly underdog of history- always doing great things, never making mistakes. Sometimes you'll run into what seem to me to be strange emphasis effects (consider Pickering vs Leavitt. Variable stars are really cool, but somehow the context of their discovery as part of the process of nailing down the big bang theory is missing from wikipedia)^1. That's not what this podcast does.

When I hear "stuff you missed"- I assume it is going to be an examination of past events from perspectives not generally given the spotlight in history classes- which tend to focus on the stories of the famous and powerful, and the conflicts between them. The title of the show would lead me to expect to hear more about Leavitt than Pickering, because I would expect the history of nailing down the big bang theory to be prominent, whereas "Pickering's Harem" and the discovery of variable stars might be left out (although, I've really only read one history of the Big Bang theory, and that is where I first learned about Leavitt). "Pickering's Harem" is interesting outside of that particular bit of scientific history because it highlights how the conventions of the time (public discomfort at the impropriety of men and women working side by side at night under the light of stars) affected the professional opportunities available, even when you could pursue degrees in a field- especially if you've ever worked in an observatory and know how unromantic it is, and how little hanky panky you would expect in the freezing conditions that are required viewing things at night at high altitudes without introducing atmospheric disturbance.

I don't think I'd just write it up exclusively to implicit bias. Sexism exists, and there is resentment for ideologically-driven efforts in the area like this one. Historical innacuracy aside, detractors seem to derive far too much enjoyment from denigrating the woman who was incorrectly identified as the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter for only working a few weeks, or maintaining that Ada Lovelace was only indisputably the world's first technical writer to just claim that people just want accurate accountings of history. People seem to want history to reflect that people like them were important- and that people who aren't like them have their importance exaggerated. We expect some strange transitive property of history in which we seem to be tallying up what accolades we are personally worthy of, despite the fact that we had nothing to do with it.

  1. Or maybe this is my own implicit bias operating. I'm not arguing that Leavitt deserves less attention- I'm saying that Pickering isn't getting enough at wikipedia, which is a little odd considering how important scientific writers like Singh find him.
u/pstryder · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Thank you for the attempt at clarification. I am afraid that I still do not understand - it makes more scientific sense to claim that something came from nothing?

This is a common misunderstanding of what the Big Bang is referring to.

The Big Bang is not an event 13.7 billion years ago that created the universe. The Big Bang is the currently happening expansion and evolution of the universe. It is an event that happened after time=0. The Big Bang is not an explosion into spacetime. It is an explosion OF spacetime.

When atheists say things like 'Time didn't exist before the Big Bang, so it's nonsense to ask what happened before the Big Bang' they are not being facetious or evasive.

It really is like asking 'What's north of the North Pole?' If you are standing on the North pole, there is no direction you can face that can be described as being 'north' of your position. Even looking straight up or straight down are not 'north' of your position.

There is no 'before' the Big Bang, because time starts with the Big Bang.

What happened at time=0? "We don't know, and it is possible we CAN NEVER know." In fact, it is possible that the question is meaningless.

What I do know though, is that saying 'God did it' doesn't answer the question, and prevents exploration that may answer the question.

> Matter has always existed a priori, which therefore allowed the chemical reaction of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang was not a chemical reaction. I hope by my brief explanation above you get that now.

> Matter came as a result of the "Big Bang," but we do not know what caused the "Big Bang" in terms of quantifiable, physical evidence. All that is offered is conjecture.

Essentially correct. However, the conjecture has a grounding and does not violate ANY of the known laws of the universe. I HIGHLY recommend watching the lecture by Laurence Krauss, "A Universe From Nothing".

Now, as for how matter came to be, we actually have very good explanations, based on particle accelerator experiments. Very early, the universe was so hot and dense that there was no matter, just a lot of heat and energy. As the universe expanded, it cooled. Once it cooled enough, the energy was able to bundle into discrete particles, when then combined into mostly hydrogen atoms, with a little helium thrown in for variety. The rest of everything in the universe came about by nuclear fusion within the heart of stars. We are literally made from the dust of the stars.

I highly recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene and Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh as a good introduction to the science of cosmology.

> The problem is that if we do not apply the attribute of eternity to God, then we will find ourselves citing an infinite regression of "God X created God Y, who was created by God Z." But, again, I simply point back to the acceptance of either the Big Bang or matter always existing - scientists do not know with absolute certainty, but still make the claim.

Exactly the same issue here on the other side: you believe, but do not KNOW (remember what I said about semantics mattering sometimes?) that God is in fact eternal. You MUST assert the eternal nature of God for precisely the reason you presented; to end the infinite regress. However, you haven't answered the question, you have made an assertion, based on belief, not knowledge.

> Both atheist materialists and Christians have to accept something a priori to defend a premise and a conclusion. First and foremost, of course, is the premise that we really exist. Second is that we can come to know something. Third would be that reality as we see it is real.

Totally agree. And philosophy is useful for thinking about these premises. However, no matter what you think about the situation, if we do not accept these three premises, we can't accomplish much.

First, you have to assume you exist. Trying to operate while assuming anything contrary to that is meaningless. You literally cannot do it. Part of the nature of consciousness is the implied fact that you exist, for without that implication, you would not be conscious. Sure, it's a tautology, but there you go.

Second, obviously we can come to know things, because otherwise we would be a brain in a vat, cut off from all sensory perception. Since we have sensory perception, we have information flowing into our consciousness. If nothing else, we come to know that sensory input. The question becomes how trust worthy is it? Since it is fairly obvious to anyone who has seen an optical illusion that our senses can be tricked, we have developed the scientific method to test our sensory perception.

And that's where we hit the third premise. Science allows us the best way yet found to determine if what we know does in fact reflect the nature of reality. How do we know science is the best way we have found? Because SCIENCE WORKS BITCHES!!! Yes, I am invoking utilitarianism.

> And yet we hold to abstract ideas of non-provable ideals. The human race (in general) holds to concepts of "morality" and "truth" and "goodness" and "badness", but we cannot test or defend those ideas with physical, repeatable, empirical evidence.

Correct. I agree 100%. Science cannot tell us what is good, right, wrong, moral, immoral, bad, evil, etc. Science can only tell us what is. The value judgments are left up to us.

Now, science CAN (and in fact is beginning to) tell us where and how these 'moral ideals' we have came from/developed.

As an atheist, if you follow the the concept to it's logical end, you come to the realization that there is no such thing as objective morality. All morality is subjective. The best I have ever heard it stated:

The difference between good and evil is EXACTLY the difference between the lion and the gazelle.

I don't see a collision between science and philosophy. Generally what I see is a failure to understand how best to integrate the two disciplines.

u/cr42 · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I actually see a lot of parallels between your situation and where I found myself at your age. It was 14 or 15 that I really developed an interest in science, because before that I hadn't really been properly exposed before that. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, I'm now a third year university student studying physics and I love it; I'll be applying to PhD programs next fall.

Like you, astronomy (by which I broadly mean astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, etc.) was what really caught my attention. In school, I liked all the sciences and had always been good at math (calculus was by far one of my favorite high school courses because the science can be pretty watered down).

If you're interested in learning more about astrophysics, I would recommend any one of a number of books. The first book on the topic that I read was Simon Singh's Big Bang; I read a couple Brian Greene books, namely The Elegant Universe and Fabric of the Cosmos; I read Roger Penrose's Cycles of Time, and finally Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Also, I bought a book by Hawking and one by Michio Kaku that, to this day, sit on a shelf at my parents' house unread. I would recommend Singh's book as a nice book that should be at your level, and in fact it was the one recommended to me by some professors who I bugged with questions about the universe when I was around your age. Also, Bryson's book is a good survey look at a lot of different scientific topics, not just astrophysics/cosmology specific; I enjoyed it quite a lot.

As far as reaching out to people, I would recommend trying to connect with some scientists via email. That's what I did, and they were more responsive than I expected (realize that some of the people will simply not respond, probably because your email will get buried in their inbox, not out of any ill-will towards you).

At this point, I'll just stop writing because you've more than likely stopped reading, but if you are still reading this, I'd be more than happy to talk with you about science, what parts interest(ed) me, etc.

u/wall-of-meth · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

I highly recommend science oriented books. Science is no "Maybe, perhaps, whatever", it is clear: facts are true when they are proven as such, and wrong when proven as wrong. There are theories everywhere but no one relies on them before they aren't proven right nowadays.

For a good summary of science, I recommend „A Short History of Nearly Everything". It really is about everything that regards progress in science: From Physics and chemistry, over geology and cosmology to anthropology and evolution. It is a pleasure to read, very well written and researched.

For more detailed, yet very accessible physics and explanations of the universe, there is "Big Bang".

Then there are things that - in my eyes - are beyond anything that TRP touches. Medical conditions which impair your sensory organs or rather the areas of your brain that process those sensations: Complete failure of a brain area, malfunctions in processing, illnesses. Those are very interesting stories and will make you think outside of your box. What would you do if this happened to you? How do people build a life around this? What does it feel and look like inside an affected persons head? Oliver Sacks has written a few books about those conditions/cases. He has a very pleasant and personal style of writing down his stories about the patients or even himself.

Quite analogue to that I recommend the series "Dr. House" if you are interested in that topic.

I can only recall those two from the top of my head. Of course, there are other topics which are interesting as well:

Philosophy (see: Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Platon), ancient poetry (see: Vergil, Homer, Alighieri) [because this indeed is for the most part fictional, you learn a lot about the spirit of the times], psychology, economy, paleontology, anthropology, etc etc.

Also, you shouldn't miss out on reading up about how cars/car engines are built and how they work (there are great animations of this on Youtube), this can come in handy if you want to repair one or get an idea of what features are worth your money. Same goes for computer technologies, household equipment. Basically I recommend to read up on every technical or even economical topic to be up to date.

As well, you can do researches about daily things. The internet is great at getting you those informations. But be sceptical, everyone on the internet can write articles about anything.

Often times it's the things we don't notice that have the most impact: linguistic (the history of bascially all languages is very exciting), where resources come from (nuclear plants - on this topic I found a well researched article/book on reddit regarding
-, coal power stations, wood clearing, purification plants, oil producers, mining, opencast mining, fishing, farming, animal breeding), the many climate zones of the globe and which one you live in, flora and fauna of the globe, the sea and especially the deep sea.

You get the idea. Turn your head around 360° and look under the surface of things. Lift a rock to see what is underneath, there is a lot to discover.

u/left_lane_camper · 2 pointsr/space

The first atoms came into existence around 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe’s temperature was low enough for electrons to become bound to free nuclei and thus form atoms. Every element heavier than lithium was formed in the cores of huge stars, so carbon and oxygen nuclei didn’t exist until around 100,000,000 years after the Big Bang at the earliest.

The Big Bang wasn’t an explosion, but rather a rapid expansion of space. It didn’t occur in one place, nor was it fueled by a chemical reaction.

Whether something came from nothing or if it even makes sense to talk about what caused the Big Bang — as a notion of causality presupposes the existence of time — remain open questions!

If this seems strange and confusing, don’t worry, it is strange and confusing! The conditions encountered in the Big Bang are extremely far removed from anything we experience in our lives today, so we have little frame of reference to fall back on for understanding the beginning of the universe in an intuitive fashion.

Don’t let this dissuade you, though! There is a huge amount of stuff one can learn about the Big Bang still and its strangeness only makes it more interesting and exciting to learn about, even if some of the concepts take a little time to wrap our heads around!


Here are a pair of classic books written for the interested layman that I think are good introductions to some of the topics at hand:

Big Bang — Simon Singh

A Brief History of Time — Stephen Hawking

u/Rhizobium · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I'm not qualified to make a recommendation on basic physics, but here are some of the best examples of science writing I've come across for the other subjects you've listed:

  1. Scientific History and Chemistry - The Invention of Air, by Steven Johnson. This book is about Joseph Priestley, and his contribution to the discovery of oxygen. Priestley was incredibly prolific, and made a ton of contributions to completely unrelated fields. It also touches on why science started to really take off at this point in history, and the necessary conditions for good science to occur.

  2. Natural Sciences - Why Evolution Is True. Jerry Coyne takes a college-level biology class on evolution, and condenses it into a single book. It is very easy to understand, even if you don't have a biology background.

  3. Scientific History and Astronomy - The Big Bang by Simon Singh. This is probably the best popular science book I've ever read. A lot of these books will tell you how scientists think the universe works, and stop there. This book is different, it explains the reasons why scientists think the universe is a particular way, and lays out the history of how these ideas changed during the development of astronomy.
u/omgpokemans · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I'd also recommend Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh. It's more concerned with the origins of the big bang theory itself, but has a few chapters about Lorentz, Einstein, Poincare and the slow development of the theory of relativity, and subsequently special relativity. It's fairly accessible and is light on the math.

u/MC1RMutant · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I come from a similar background. I attended a conservative religious university and eventually found my way out, but was completely uneducated.

"Big Bang" by Simon Singh changed my life. Not only did it put me on the right path in terms of understanding the history of science (and the world), but it did it in a way made it painfully obvious how connected it all is. I cannot recommend it enough. I've shared it with a few friends from school who now endorse it the same way I do.

u/polyscimajor · 2 pointsr/space

Leonard Susskind, as is mentioned, wrote a book that I strongly recommend The Black Hole Warin which he goes on to talk about A.) Hawking Radiation B.) Whether "Information" that goes into a black hole is permanently destroyed and for me, at lest, C.) he brought up the notion of the universe being a holographic image.

He sets out to write the book for the populous at large, and I feel he succeed in that. The Book was a VERY excellent read for the subject at hand. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who frequents this sub reddit.

u/roontish12 · 2 pointsr/askscience

This is exactly what this book is about.

u/jetoze · 2 pointsr/books

I really enjoyed The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind.

u/ux500 · 2 pointsr/science

There is a fascinating book on all of this called "The Black Hole War" by Leonard Susskind. It is very accessible to non physicists and tells the story about what a black hole is and the struggle in the physics community to understand them.

u/RandShrugged · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Cosmos by Carl Sagan Get a used copy. Best 50 cents you can spend.

u/JimmyBob15 · 2 pointsr/askscience

Looking on their website it seems as if they do not let outside people borrow from their library, sorry :(.

I know many libraries have "partnerships" for the lack of a better word, where if you try to borrow a book from the library, and they don't have it, they will request it from somewhere else they are partnered with and get it for you.

Some ideas of books:

For my undergraduate astrophysics class I used - Foundations of Astrophysics by Ryden and Peterson, ISBN13: 978-0-321-59558-4

I have also used (more advanced, graduate level) - An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie, ISBN13: 978-0-805-30402-2

There are plenty of other undergraduate text books for astrophysics, but those are the only two I have experience with.

Some other books that may be just fun reads and aren't text books:

A Brief History of Time - Hawking

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter - Feynman

Random popular science books:

Parallel Worlds - Kaku (or anything else by him Michio Kaku)

Cosmos - Sagan

Dark Cosmos - Hooper

or anything by Green, Krauss, Tyson, etc.

Videos to watch:

I would also suggest, if you have an hour to burn, watching this video by Lawrence Krauss. I watched it early on in my physics career and loved it, check it out:

Lawrence Krauss - A Universe From Nothing

Also this video is some what related:

Sean Carroll - Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time

Hope you enjoy!

Edit: Formatting.

u/bender_2982 · 2 pointsr/atheism

This is a question I have grappled with, since it is something I will eventually face if I ever have children. I feel like the only reasonable route is to provide my child with a copy of this, this, and this, as well as a copy of the Bible, and encourage them to ask questions about anything they're trying to understand. I'll tell them the truth: that many people believe in a god or gods, but that there's no proof that any of it is actually true, and tell them that it's important to understand it for themselves instead of relying on someone stating that something is true and refusing to allow them to question it.

Question everything, even the most mundane detail, until you understand why anything is said to be true or false. That will hopefully be the legacy that I can leave to a child.

Santa Claus will also be a problem.

u/sports__fan · 2 pointsr/books

You can't go wrong with anything by Carl Sagan. Try Cosmos to start with.

Black Holes and Time Warps by Kip S. Thorne is another good one.

u/MrXlVii · 2 pointsr/tabc

Going to try and post books that are related, but not actually "atheist".

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

The first one for obvious reasons. Sagan is the secular Jesus, and I'd say the second is an interesting read for anyone religious or otherwise, but I feel like it would be better received if you don't actually believe in Christianity. It's a great read though

u/YJSubs · 2 pointsr/koreanvariety

Cosmos is written By Carl Sagan. Amazon sure has it.
If not, google it. It's pretty popular/famous book.
I guess you're pretty young because you didn't recognize Carl Sagan.
Carl Sagan was american researcher, astronomer and educator, very famous in public because his involvement as host/narator for Cosmos TV Series.
The new Cosmos TV Series is being hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson btw.

If you have finished Cosmos, read his sci-fi Novel "Contact"
Really good.
Ridiculously good.
Same book was adapted to movie with same title :
Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey

Interesting trivia:
Carl Sagan is also the one who design/head committee of Voyager Golden Record.
His legacy literally will go on forever, unless it bump into celestial object :)

I'm glad you found the beauty in old literature.
Huge fans of Agatha Christie myself.

edit (add Amazon link):

u/Daide · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

About the universe and what happened between t=0 and now? Well, I'd have to say start with Cosmos and you can also go with the documentary Sagan did of the same name. He touches on this subject in both of those.

Lawrence Krauss wrote A Universe from Nothing which goes into how there are explanations on how our universe could come to be without the need of the supernatural.

Victor Stenger has a bunch of books on this topic but I guess I might recommend The Falacy of Fine-Tuning.

u/jcblitz · 2 pointsr/forhire

I wrote this for you really quick, it's a simple web service that will return the price given an amazon product id. Example: returns "$7.99"

If you know the amazon id, you already know the product URL:${the_id}/ so it is no necessary to return with the price.

u/Mason11987 · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> So, when we look at Andromeda through an ultra-mega-super powerful telescope - we are seeing something that is 3.5 billion years "old"?

Well, 2 million years old. That's how far away it is.

But the galaxy itself (not it's light) will collide with the milky way in 3.5 billion years. Sorry for combining those two facts in a confusing way.

But there are PLENTY of galaxies we can see today that are many billions of light years away. Which means what we see of them is how they were many billions of years ago, which is crazy.

I'm not really sure what I could recommend. I've been poking around and reading about space for a while just reading stuff I come across. If you aren't watching it I'd recommend the TV series Cosmos running right now with Neil Degrasse Tyson. I also really liked a couple books by Brian Greene (here's a link to one, and another.). The first one I really liked and it helped me to get a grasp on some things that always confused me.

Also, as a mod of ELI5 I'm not afraid to say ELI5 is an awesome source, and most any topic you can think about has been covered in depth here. Just type keywords into the search box and go to town. If there's something you can't find a great explanation for, post and ask and you'll get some great responses. /r/askscience is also great, although they are more sticklers for citation and aren't always as focused on layman explanations as ELI5.

u/homegrownunknown · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I love science books. These are all on my bookshelf/around my apt. They aren't all chemistry, but they appeal to my science senses:

I got a coffee table book once as a gift. It's Theodore Gray's The Elements. It's beautiful, but like I said, more of a coffee table book. It's got a ton of very cool info about each atom though.

I tried The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks, which is all about the people and family behind HeLa cells. That was a big hit, but I didn't care for it.

I liked The Emperor of all Maladies which took a long time to read, but was super cool. It's essentially a biography of cancer. (Actually I think that's it's subtitle)

The Wizard of Quarks and Alice in Quantumland are both super cute allegories relating to partical physics and quantum physics respectively. I liked them both, though they felt low-level, tying them to high-level physics resulted in a fun read.

Unscientific America I bought on a whim and didn't really enjoy since it wasn't science enough.

The Ghost Map was a suuuper fun read about Cholera. I love reading about mass-epidemics and plague.

The Bell that Rings Light, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Schrödinger's Kittens, The Fabric of the Cosmos and Beyond the God Particle are all pleasure reading books that are really primers on Quantum.

I also tend to like anything by Mary Roach, which isn't necessarily chemistry or science, but is amusing and feels informative. I started with Stiff but she has a few others that I also enjoyed.

Have fun!

u/SouthFresh · 2 pointsr/science
u/jacobmc8 · 2 pointsr/quantum

Physics is very cool and awe-inspiring - I’ve always had a big interest in it as well! Since people have already supplied you with some answers to your question, I thought I’d give you a book suggestion: Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene This book changed the way I look at the world. Brian Greene does an incredible job at explaining complex topics in an understandable and exciting way (not like a textbook - actually feels like you are reading a story). And there is even pretty extensive notes if you want to take a deeper dive. His TED Talks are great as well - and so are his other books!

u/Mocten_ · 2 pointsr/EliteDangerous

Audio Books are your friend, like seriously pick up something to listen to.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration by Michio Kaku

Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time: Great Discoveries by Michio Kaku

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind (This one I recommend on the highest degree, personally I have read it 3 times)

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen W. Hawking

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Contact by Carl Sagan

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

All these books I've listened to or read, and I recommend all of them some more then others, I have tons more about Quantum Mechanics, Physics, Biology, Cosmology, Astronomy, Math etc. But I'm to lazy to list all of them here.

u/chadcf · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

You might like The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene is a string theorist but this covers a lot of quantum mechanics and various modern physics ideas in a fairly easy to read manor for the layman.

u/Trisa133 · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> Those analogies do not correspond to any actual scientific concepts.

Those analogies does correspond to actual scientific theories. Read this book

and watch this

That series does the best job of explaining it to non-scientists.

Brian Greene is a pretty well known name in the world of Physics

u/IHateEveryone3 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Eh, he should have said that their is a negligible, however non-zero, probability that one of the electrons in his body is elsewhere.

Uncertainty Principle

Try this book like this for the information to be distilled in a more understandable fashion.

u/Alypius754 · 2 pointsr/IAmA

The well-worn copy of Hyperspace by Michio Kaku has a special place in my bookcase. Right next to Gravitation.

u/love_boost · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I read in the book Hyperspace that they don't think the current M-theory/String Theory is the final theory, because of the fact that gravity cannot be mathematically explained in the same way that the electromagnetic/strong/weak forces are, so my choice will probably have to be that.

u/GetOffMyLawn_ · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

If you're feeling brave you can try reading his 1994 book on black holes and time warps. I suspect that the book he wrote about the science of Interstellar is more approachable.

u/oro_boris · 2 pointsr/Physics

You might want to read this book, by Kip Thorne:

Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program)

u/dicey · 2 pointsr/Physics

The math is more in depth than can be covered in a single post; there are ginormous volumes dedicated to the subject.

For cosmological models the typical solution to Einstein's field equations is the FLRW metric. In the case of expansion and the balloon analogy which gets bandied about the important part is to see how points on an expanding surface all move away from each other, not that the surface is closed. The FLRW metric involves a parameter k which is linked to the amount of mass-energy in the universe. If the quantity of mass-energy is small the overall structure of the universe is closed like the surface of the balloon. If the mass-energy exactly equals a certain critical value then the universe is flat and open, essentially an infinite plane. If the mass-energy is larger than the critical value then the universe has a hyperbolic shape which, it turns out, is quite hard to visualize.

Interestingly, the parameter k is really close to the critical value which determines the large scale structure of the universe. Current data points to k being larger than the critical value, so our universe would have a hyperbolic geometry. This parameter also is linked with the eventual fate of the universe. If the data is correct and k is larger than the critical value then gravitation will never be able to entirely stop the universe's expansion and we will all eventually die cold and alone. If k is smaller than the critical value then gravity will win and we will all die packed tightly into a glorious inferno.

u/Benutzername · 2 pointsr/askscience

Gravitation by Misner/Thorne/Weeler is not bad.

u/marcusesses · 2 pointsr/math

Since you're helping me in my thread, I'll help you in yours.

Try Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler. It offers a very intuitive (i.e not many proofs), geometric introduction to differential geometry.

u/astrochica · 2 pointsr/astrophysics

Find a used version of Carroll & Ostlie and read it cover to cover. Bits of it might get too in-depth depending on your experience, but then you can branch off and find other resources for those areas that interest you. The NED Knowledgebase is also fun to read and I recommend AstroBites to keep up on current literature until you feel comfortable delving directly into publications. Have fun! :)

u/acnine · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

The best bang for your buck, in my opinion, is Abell's Exploration of the Universe. It's dirt cheap (comparatively), and it contains a lot of the basic math you should know. The major concern is that this book is old, and some of its information is very well out of date. However, the basics of the planets and stars haven't changed significantly in, oh, 50 years or so, so this book is a solid introduction.

If you want something a little more up-to-date (and a little pricier), you might want to check out The Cosmic Perspective. My main complaint is that this book has very little mathematical rigor, but its explanations of concepts are rock solid.

If you really want to shoot for the moon (heh), you could pick up copies of Foundations of Astrophysics or An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. These are NOT 100-level texts, but these two (especially the second) are must-reads in the world of astronomy textbooks.

u/KubrickIsMyCopilot · 2 pointsr/space

If you want a rigorous basic understanding of astrophysics, you need a couple of years of college-level math and physics. If you are the sort who can learn difficult material on your own, they have textbooks at libraries. These topics go into it:

Math: Presumably you had the full track of algebra and trigonometry, so then you need single and multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

Physics: Newtonian mechanics, heat and electromagnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

You also need statistics, which I would advise learning the basics of before trying to learn quantum mechanics. Chemistry is nice to have too, but isn't essential except for certain topics.

Once you have this background, there are introductory astrophysics textbooks you can read. In fact, you might just want to browse through one at a library just to see what it's like. The one I learned from in college was pretty great:

Even without completing the entire background knowledge, you can pick up some fascinating things reading a book like that.

u/CapNMcKickAss · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

There's a lot of fun and interesting physics and astronomy that can be understood with little more than solid algebra skills. Add a little bit of introductory calculus, and there's a lot to keep you busy. If you're brave enough to dive into calc, I recommend this book.

Since you expressed particular interest in Astronomy, I would suggest using that as an anchor point. Get a good Astrophysics text like An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and start there. Inevitably, you will come upon concepts that you're shaky on-- luckily this is the age of the internet! I find HyperPhysics is a great resource (which appears to be down at the moment).

If you find that Newtonian physics is tripping you up, I recommend Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide to fill in the gaps.

u/The_Wisenheimer · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

The most common introductory book to astronomy is probably this one:

It is pretty much the bible of undergraduate astronomy. Keep in mind, that a lot of it is going to be hard to follow if you do not have a couple of semesters of calculus and physics under your belt, but if you want an overview of the material you would be learning as an undergraduate. It is pretty thorough, though a bit outdated at this point.

There are also plenty of textbooks used to teach GE astronomy classes that do not have a steep math and physics assumption. You might want to find out what the local college or university uses for their GE astronomy classes and start there. Those books should be easier to follow.

u/DopeFishLives · 2 pointsr/science
More in depth than the others mentioned but most parts arn't to bad if you have a basic understanding of physics and math.

u/lmxbftw · 2 pointsr/astrophysics

If you want a post-graduate level of understanding, it will be hard to learn the math past calculus that you will need with no instruction. Maybe impossible unless you are very gifted or studious. You'll need to learn more advanced math (taylor expansions, more advanced integration methods not always taught in calc I, multi-variable calculus, ordinary differential equations and linear algebra for starters). A layperson's understanding wouldn't require that much (maybe reading Sagan and Co. would be enough?), but it sounds like you aren't content with that. Maybe it would be good to start reading some journal articles and seeing what you can glean from them (introductions mostly), especially reviews of subjects you find interesting. If those are opaque, check a local university library for textbooks like Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Padmanabhan's astrophysics I-III, Binney and Tremaine and things like that. There are text books more focused on specific subjects as well, but that's more a matter of personal interest. For me, Lewin and van der Klis is good, and so is Accretion Power in Astrophysics and the "CV Bible." You might notice Cambridge Astrophysics publishes quite a lot of quality astrophysics textbooks.

None of those are going to be legible without the math, though. There's not really anything between the "popular science" and "so you're taking a graduate course in astrophysics..." level texts that I've seen.

u/sidhebaap · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Carroll and Ostlie might work as a good starting point for you. It's introductory, covers a lot of material, and doesn't assume you've already done all the standard physics major's coursework.

An alternative to look at might be Astrophysics for Physicists, by Choudhuri.

There's also Essential Astrophysics, by Lang.

(Carroll and Ostlie is probably the "default" textbook, but I'd recommend either of the others more, if they suit your level.)

(A useful trick, for any topic, is to search for course notes on professors' webpages. You can often find really nice things out there. Here is an especially nice example. Even just finding syllabi can point you at textbooks and recommended references.)

If you enjoy video lectures, Caltech has courses at edx (astronomy/cosmology aimed at non-majors) and Coursera (galaxies and cosmology, introductory-for-majors perhaps?) Cornell has relativity+astrophysics at edx, though I'd say it's heavier on relativity. Australia National University has a series of four at edx, covering astronomy and cosmology. I'm not sure what's available soon through Coursera, but they've offered quite a few astro courses in the past.

u/hylozics · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

I just finished reading "astral voyages" by Bruce Goldberg and i thought it was really good.

planning on reading this one next. Thomas Campbell worked with Robert Monroe and the Monroe institute and proved astral projection to be real.

u/SpiritWolfie · 2 pointsr/freedomearth

Wow I LOVE this!! Thanks for posting it.

I've been a fan of Tom Campbell for a few years now and I find his ideas quite compelling. His book trilogy, My Big TOE goes into great detail about these ideas. I've only been able to get through about 1/2 the first book and that was years ago. The ideas were just too "out there" for me at the time. Hmm.....maybe I should try again because it was all quite compelling.

u/corpina · 2 pointsr/Futurology

There's a great book series that is like the "ELI5" version of this idea, written by a NASA rocket scientist:

My Big TOE

u/kojopolis · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

I don't 'believe' anything that can't be proven

you're prying at irrelevant details

My Big TOE - The Complete Trilogy [Paperback]

read this book, the dude who wrote it is a physicist, and he promotes skepticism

i see your perspective, but i can tell you don't understand mine, which is why i recommended that book, written by someone who actually dedicated their whole life to this shit, so i can totally understand why it is probably difficult to understand people like me

so the problem isn't you not understanding, but me being unable to explain, the book kind of challenges your thoughts and sort of poses questions that can lead you to contemplating this on your own

that's really all i can say, do what you want with your life, but until you've tried to understand don't go attacking everyone lol.

u/animistern · 2 pointsr/lawofattraction

My Big TOE weaves everything together in a coherent big-picture framework that eventually makes a whole lot of sense, but you have to be willing to re-examine much of what you think you know. Kindle edition is also available.

u/esadatari · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

I came to the same conclusion, but I am most assuredly not a neuroscientist, just an avid fan of it! I work for a tech hosting company that's heavily cloud based, and happen to be someone who teaches our employees how to manage and troubleshoot the technology behind "the cloud", as well as the servers in the cloud, etc. To teach more efficiently, I eventually stumbled upon brain science books and TED talks (back when they were amazing, like Jeff Hawkins-amazing) and blogs, and tDCS, and learning theory and the list goes on. Somewhere along the line, someone ended up suggesting I try out some mindfulness meditation, and recommended Get Some Headspace, which helped me tremendously.

I eventually got to the point of where you are describing; you really do just observe, and sometimes it can provide great clarity. I then started thinking a lot about who I am, where am I when I am dreaming, or when I am not dreaming, where I am when I'm observing myself and my thoughts, even when I was driving. Someone also really dug me deeper into a mental hole when they showed me some podcast discussing consciousness, which mentioned that when driving your car, your conscious sense of "self" extends to your entire vehicle. So I applied the claim as theory, and tested it, and understood exactly what they were saying at that moment. I had always taken it for granted, lol. So, jump to about 6 months ago.

I, similarly, had already started noting synchronicity between the seperation of brain and mind and the end-result of a cloud-based virtual server operation (groupings of hypervisors, which run vms, are waiting to be used, but the communication/action happens due to what's happening within the hyp, etc). It's ironic, too, because I had just been introduced to the concept of Docker containerization concepts, and then the next day, someone i had just met ended up serendipitously suggesting I read this book after he and I had discussed a lot of the same books we've read. I'm very skeptical when anyone mentions any consciousness theories, so it really only was the reason that he and I had been talking about books like Mindsight, Mindset, A Whole New Mind, Start with Why, Talent Code, and the list goes on; I had deduced this person was not a crackpot. So I said, "I'll just see what this is about." I highly suggest being very skeptical about it, treat it like historical "what if" fiction, and enjoy the theory. There are parts with which I do not agree, but as someone who works in technology and also takes an active interest in learning theory, neuroscience, and AI, it makes A LOT of sense. I used to write stories a lot back in college, so I'm used to taking a fictional "what if" on a stroll down mental lane. I decided to make it to the end and then judge for myself. I'm not finished yet, but I'm in the final stretch. I have to say, I'm intrigued enough to suggest it to others if they show the same awareness. I hope you have the open-enough mind to ponder it and reserve judgement until full grokking/understanding has been achieved.

As for meditation, I practice daily now. I'm very happy I stumbled across the suggestion of de-stressing by mindfulness meditation. It's led to nothing but more reality and context being shaped around me, and it's allowed me to understand myself very well.

Edit: format

u/uncle_pistachio · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

If you want to further your understanding of the universe you should read this and this. 2 of the most mind altering books I've read.

u/FusionXIV · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

No. A survey of the world's oceanic life is already underway; mapping the ocean floor is not terribly useful or important, and most mapping techniques aren't precise enough to detect small artifacts of the sort that ancient tribes would have had.

NASA, on the other hand, is trying to develop technologies which will make it easier for us to explore and later colonize other planets.

It is almost inevitable that humans will colonize Mars at some point in the next few hundred years (to make a very conservative estimate- it would actually be possible to send a manned mission to mars using a combination of Apollo technology and 1800s industrial chemical reactions to make rocket fuel from the atmosphere of mars).

Space is the final frontier- a frontier with almost limitless potential for expansion. History shows us that nations which are expanding along a frontier show far more innovation and far less stagnation; an example is the American frontier, which gave America a huge boost of innovation and corresponding world power for centuries. Once humanity takes the leap to exploring and colonizing space, it's quite likely that the challenges of that task will unlock a huge wave of technological progress for our entire species.

At the moment, the problem with NASA is that everything in its budget is subject to review by Congress, even though most Congressmen know nothing about what NASA does. This has created a small project centered culture at NASA; groups of scientists lobby for NASA to change its overarching goals in order to justify their individual projects, instead of NASA creating a long term strategy on the lines of the Apollo program which individuals would then adjust their projects to support. Because of this, very little useful gets done, and NASA wastes massive amounts of time and money sitting in the space station doing this test and that test without actually going anywhere.

If you really want to make NASA useful, it should have a set budget (higher than it is now) and a long term plan of action which is controlled by the NASA director, not one which changes every time a new president is elected.

If any of that interested you, The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin is a great read on the subject of NASA and what we should be doing with our space program.

u/gonzoforpresident · 2 pointsr/printSF

The Case for Mars is a good plan for how to settle Mars.

Project Orion by George Dyson is about the nuclear rocket program.

u/jood580 · 2 pointsr/HFY

I would recommend checking out the book "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin. In it he covers how we could begin to colonize mars within 10 years.

I would recommend reading it or listening to the audio book

u/recipriversexcluson · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion


> Here we have this beautifully made basket. It's nice and deep and woven in such a way that each egg is carefully secured and safe from harm short of catastrophe (e.g. having the basket crushed by a falling safe).

Like these five falling safes?

  1. Ordovician-silurian Extinction: Small marine organisms died out.

  2. Devonian Extinction: Many tropical marine species went extinct.

  3. Permian-triassic Extinction

  4. Triassic-jurassic Extinction

  5. Cretaceous-tertiary Extinction


    > The second basket is a bowling ball size rock. Bowling ball rocks make lousy baskets, so we have to bring all our basket constructing materials with us.

    Already proven wrong.


    And all the other basket materials.

    See also
u/dorylinus · 2 pointsr/space

The Moon could be a useful source of some key minerals ("volatiles"), particularly water, both for human consumption and for the production of fuel. This is principally due to the fact that the Moon's lower gravity and lack of atmosphere makes it much easier to get from the Moon's surface to an orbit around the Moon, and moving from lunar orbit to near-Earth space (which the Moon basically defines the outer edge of) is relatively easy as well.

However, for exploration of the rest of the solar system (and beyond!), the real place to go is to the asteroids, starting with the NEOs (Near Earth Objects), as these are not in general gravitationally linked to the Earth, and would allow us much easier access to the rest of the solar system. In his book The Case for Mars Robert Zubrin also shows by analysis that the delta-v needed to get to the the asteroids is actually much lower from Mars than it is from either Earth or the Moon, so a better intermediate target before asteroid mining would actually be Mars, which also possesses far more of the chemicals and minerals useful for spaceflight than the Moon does.

TL;DR there is some reason to go develop the Moon, but much more compelling reasons to focus on Mars and the asteroid belt instead.

Caveat: It depends on what you mean; the radius at which Earth's gravity ceases to be the dominant force acting on a body in orbit, to be replaced by the Sun's gravity, is actually further than the Moon's orbit, and astrodynamicists often refer to that distance as the outer edge of "near-Earth space". Edit: See Sphere of Influence and patched conic approximation for more details.

u/Fredescu · 2 pointsr/philosophy

Just came to post this. His book will be out in a few months:

u/thezoen99 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You didn't even begin to answer the question. Thank you for posting though.

Read some physics, there's a great new book by Laurence Krauss.

There are some very good ideas out there about the question I think you're asking, but it's so poorly phrased that I'm really not sure. Reading books other than the bible is a good start though.

u/WeaponsGradeHumanity · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Well there's a few layers to your question.

Traditional Big Bang cosmology doesn't call for "something to come from nothing". The whole "so there was nothing and it exploded" line is a misrepresentation of what the theory is all about. I've just written a really quick and simplified explanation of the Big Bang theory here.

Lately we've been exploring the nature of reality on a quantum scale. We're learning more and more each day about how the universe works on a really tiny scale. It turns out that the things that make the things that make atoms are so weird that even our best scientists have trouble understanding what is going on. We are encountering particles that seem to affect each other over a distance for no reason, particles that seem to behave differently depending on how you look at them and even, you guessed it, particles that flick in and out of existence in flagrant disregard for our regular world view.
I haven't read it myself but A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (article) (book) (video) comes highly recommended.

I'm not sure what you mean by "how can they fight each other", do you mind restating the question?

Edit: Oh, and as far as 'Laws vs Universe' is concerned: 'Laws' aren't something that have a concrete existence. It's just a term we use to describe some aspects of the universe's behaviour which we think we understand well. There's no 'chicken / egg' dilemma, there's just the universe.

u/Rikkety · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Just watched the video at didn't find anything out of the ordinary with it.
Mind you I am not an astronomer or anything, I just find this stuff very interesting, so I read a bunch of books on the subject. I've recently finished Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe From Nothing" and I heartily recommend it, though it's not a particularly easy read.

If you haven't already you should really watch Krauss' talk of the same name (which later resulted in the book). It's my favorite talk on anything ever.

u/trickygringo · 2 pointsr/exmormon
u/ThePressman · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

If you like the video, I highly recommend you read the book as well. It's more comprehensive, and will blow your mind.

u/Jay6 · 2 pointsr/space

A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss was written only a year ago. It has a great summary of all the exciting discoveries in cosmology from Einstein to recent understandings of dark energy. He even covers an interesting explanation as to "spoiler" how the universe could come from nothing.

u/modusponens66 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

>You seem to be saying entirely different things each time you comment on this point.

I am saying the same thing. Philosophers, particularly before the advent of modern science, have often become so dedicated to concepts that they make faulty assertions about the natural world. Concepts derived from a limited understanding become impediments. Grand metaphysical systems of the past may impress with their internal consistency and complexity, but they do not describe the natural world with the accuracy or usefulness of modern scientific theories.

>but rather whether it is sound.

Soundness implies truth of the propositions used as premises in the argument. How would one test the premises of metaphysical arguments about prime movers and such? While I admit that such arguments may be interesting or internally consistent or even valid to the extent that they do not violate the rules of deduction, they are still built on definitions that do not allow for testing against the natural world and are thus not sound.

>No, physics doesn't suggest anything like this.

Lawrence Krauss would disagree.

>The ontological argument...

Depends on the definition of 'great' and whether such definition does or does not include existence. Descartes' goes on to include 'clear and distinct' ideas of supreme beings. These are very muddy concepts and to say 'well I guess god exists because this proof is valid' just seems silly by the standards of modern science. Grenlins exist because I have defined them as the 'greenest thing' and it is greener to exist than not to.

>science of course relying on the methods of logic.

Science relies on observation. Such observation has at times shown a world that does not conform with traditional notions of logic. It is the strength of science that it adapts to what is observed rather than attempting to squeeze the data into an accepted dogma.

>you seem to regard the meaning of time as being limited to physics

The OP asked about time in regard to cosmology which I believe is best dealt with by physics for reasons stated. If you mean by the 'meaning of time' how one experiences time, how it relates to human affairs, etc., then 'yes' other disciplines, from art to sociology, may have something to say.

u/galanix · 2 pointsr/atheism

How the universe was made?

I think the real crux of the question you're asking is how can something come from nothing? (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; I don't want to speak for you) Let me just start off by saying there is no definitive scientific answer to this question... yet. However, there are very prominent research scientists who have tackled the question and come up with very cogent theories (backed up by current mathematical models).

I won't pretend to understand most of these theories as I'm a biologist, not a physicist. There is one recent book written on the very topic called A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (he is a published theoretical physicist and cosmologist). He posits that particles do in fact spontaneously come into existence and there is scientific proof and reasoning for how and why. I haven't gotten around to reading it myself (it was just published this year), but I've been told it's good for the layman on the topic.

Now let me move on to some of the problems with this question. Perhaps you yourself don't have this supposition, but the supposition many theists make with the question (where did the universe come from?), is that if it can't be answered than God must have done it. This is a logical leap that defies rational reasoning, and is a leap theists have been making for millenia. What makes the tides go in and out? We don't know; must be God. What causes disease? We don't know; must be God. Where did the universe come from? We don't know; must be God?

It's what's known as a God of the gaps; wherein anything that can't be explained is conveniently claimed to have a divine explanation. Until a rational scientific answer comes along and religion takes a step back. There will likely always be gaps in our knowledge base (most definitely in our liftetimes). That doesn't mean we should make the same mistake as our ancestors and attribute these gaps to God. It's okay to simply not know and strive to understand.

Another huge problem with your question is that the theist answer only serves to further complicate the original question.

  1. How can something come from nothing?
  2. Well it can't right? So God must have created that original something.
  3. God is something. Go back to step 1.

    Theists tend to skip that third step, or explain it away as God just always existing. Yet the universe always existing is something that is logically unacceptable to them. If anything, throwing God into the equation only makes it more complicated. A sentient being capable of creating the initial state of the universe would be more complex than what it is creating (meaning God is more complex than the universe). Trying to explain than how God came into being is more complicated than the original question, so nothing has really been answered or solved.

    If you're really trying to stump atheists, the best common theist argument I've seen is the cosmological constants one (how are they so fine tuned?). No doubt there are answers, but that's one of the better arguments out there. I won't go into it here, just search for it.
u/AussieDaz · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you haven't already read it this is a great read:

u/Battle4Seattle · 2 pointsr/evolution

I believe that a question prefaced with "If evolution simply came out of nothing...", is a subset of the question "Did the universe simply come out of nothing?". The physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a book called "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing" that explains how it is possible that the universe did in fact evolve out of nothing. There's also videos on YouTube of him explaining this, and here's one of them.

Once you can wrap your mind around that possibility, it can then be inferred that just about everything else could also come out of nothing, including evolution.

u/55erg · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Yes, quantum fluctuations - where stuff can pop into existence out of empty space - is proven fact.

It's as exciting as it is disturbing when you think about it. But then the laws of physics don't really care much about our feelings.

Reading up further I would suggest Wikipedia

And a good book on the wider subject is A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

u/RedditoryInstincts · 2 pointsr/Physics

Just look at your sentence: What CAUSED the Big Bang. Cause. Causative, Causation, Cause. Whatever "caused" the Big Bang was causative, by literal definition. If X caused Y, X was causative, no matter what X is.

The question, and answer, are a bit confusing because of how physics describes an "empty" universe. Check out A Universe from Nothing.

u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

You should check out this book. Even if you disagree with it after finishing it, you'll have learned a great deal about the current state of our knowledge of cosmology and where it's going.

u/Bakeshot · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Well I was trying to be cordial in correction, but you see this now as an opportunity to play a victim and call us a circle jerk. In fact, that's all you really seem to be doing is telling us that we should "stop hiding behind our beliefs", that there is "no reason to believe in the supernatural", and that we're "sad". I'm trying to reach out, as the 1 Peter verse you so appropriately quoted has said, in a spirit of gentleness and respect, but it seems you'd rather just mock people. The reason we have rule 5 is because there are enough people saying "gOD DON'T REAL" on reddit, and it's redundant to have people constantly coming in and saying:

> Everything we know about our universe can be explained through natural means, including the origin of the universe itself (see this book[1] ).

This sub exists to discuss Christianity. If you'd like to debate the value in a naturalistic philosophy, other subreddits exist for that.

u/filladellfea · 2 pointsr/space

The universe is 4-dimensional. X-Y-Z + time. You can distort all four of these things with gravity. You can really distort these things with intense gravity (i.e., a black hole). If you position yourself near a black hole (i.e., right next to the event horizon), time will be so distorted compared to time flow where gravity is not so intense (i.e., away from the event horizon) that "your" time will move super slow and you the rest of the universe will age much much faster.

If you want to learn more about this, I recommend this book. It's one of my favorite reads ever.

u/snissn · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/Risen_from_ash · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend a great book: The Elegant Universe. The answer to many questions here and more! :)

u/itsthehumidity · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

For a more in-depth look at String Theory I recommend The Elegant Universe.

You undoubtedly already know the part of the theory that posits everything boils down to these fundamental "string" objects, and the way they vibrate (both in terms of the typical wave vibration, but also the way where the whole object moves back and forth) determines how it behaves in the universe. And that's influenced and constrained by the type of space in which the strings can move, etc.

But how might that help resolve QM and GR? Well, because strings have a little bit of length.

When we think about particles, we treat them as points with zero dimensions. That works all right in the framework of QM, but when you apply the equations of GR to those points, you end up with some fun, indeterminate divide by zero issues. Any nonzero length at all, like something on the scale of the Planck Length, can bridge the connection and produce a meaningful result.

Now, that's not to say that's all there is to it or everything has been solved (far from it), but that may shed some light on why it's an attractive theory to pursue. There are then many types of String Theory, which may just be different facets of one larger one, but finding connections between them is difficult. And experimental confirmation of strings is completely out of reach of our current technology. So, much remains to figure out.

u/hippocratical · 2 pointsr/askscience

I really enjoyed The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. A nice mid point between layman and post-doc

u/Futchkuk · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

For people who enjoyed this explanation I highly recommend The Elegant Universe it gives a great ELI5 overview of modern physics from Newton to string theory.

u/ACoderGirl · 2 pointsr/Showerthoughts

As a different idea if you're just interested in the whole dimensions thing, I'd recommend The Elegant Universe. It's mostly about string theory, but a prerequisite for understanding that is that it must teach all about higher level dimensions.

It uses the flatland analogies for a bit. But it's a modern and serious read. It's not exactly an easy read, but it's not a textbook either. Should be good for anyone who enjoyed physics at the high school level.

I found it most interesting for its explanations of relativity, though. That wasn't taught in high school, so I found it mind blowing.

u/DrTenmaz · 2 pointsr/movies

No problem!

Philosophy of time is an enormous area!

Not only are there many distinct positions that attempt to address the scientific and philosophical questions in different ways, there are different positions regarding the very method by which we should attempt to answer these questions! Some of these certainly overlap.

What do I mean by this?

Putting it roughly:

There are those who tend to think that we should use science to answer these questions about time. All we should care about is what observations are made; we should only care about the empirical data. These people might point to the great success of our best scientific theories that refer to 'time', such as those in physics, including; Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Entropy (The Arrow of Time), and even Quantum Theory, but also those in neuroscience and psychology, where our perception of time becomes relevant (such as the Inference Model of Time and the Strength Model of Time). So we have notions of physical/objective time, and subjective/mental time. We may talk about time slowing down around a massive body such as a black hole, or time slowing down when a work-shift is boring or when we're experiencing a traumatic event.

But there are also those who tend to think that we should use not just science, but also uniquely philosophical methods as well. Conceptual analysis is one such method; one that involves thinking very carefully about our concepts. This method is a distinctically a priori method (A priori is just philosophical jargon meaning; "Can be known without experience," for example, the statement "All triangles have three sides"). These people think we can learn a great deal about time by reflecting on our concepts about time, our intuitions about time, and the laws of thought (or logic) and how they relate to time. This philosophical approach to answering questions about time is distinctively metaphysical opposed to the former physical and cognitive theories about time.

Of course there are many who may see the use in all of these different approaches!



Hawking, S 1988, A Brief History of Time: From The Big Bang to Black Holes, Bantam Books, Toronto; New York. [Chapters 2, 9 & 10. Absolute Classic, little dated but still great read]

Gardner, M 1988, Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments, W.H. Freeman, UK. [Chapter 1]

Greene, B 2010, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, W. W. Norton, New York. [Chapter 2 is a great introduction for Special Relativity]

Physics and Metaphysics:

Dainton, B 2010, Time and Space, 2nd edn, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal; Ithaca N.Y. [Chapters 1-8, 18, 19 & 21. This book is incredible in scope, it even has a chapter on String Theory, and it really acknowledges the intimate connection between space and time given to us by physics]


Hawley, K 2015, Temporal Parts, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy <>. [Discussion of Perdurantism, the view that objects last over time without being wholly present at every time at which they exist.]

Markosian, N 2014, Time, The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy <>.

Hunter, J 2016, Time Travel, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Callender, C & Edney, R 2014, Introducing Time: A Graphic Guide, Icon Books Limited, UK. [Great book if you want something a bit less wordy and fun, but still very informative, having comprehensive coverage. It also has many nice illustrations and is cheap!]

Curtis, B & Robson, J 2016, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time, Bloomsbury Publishing, UK. [Very good recent publication that comes from a great series of books in metaphysics]

Ney, A 2014, Metaphysics: An Introduction, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London; New York. [Chapters 5 & 6 (Chapter 4 looks at critiques of Metaphysics in general as a way of answer questions and Chapter 9 looks at Free-will/Determinism/Compatiblism)]

More advanced temporal Metaphysics:

Sider, T 2001, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time, Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, Oxford New York. [Great book defending what Sider calls "Four-Dimensionalism" (this is confusing given how others have used the same term differently) but by it he means Perdurantism, the view that objects last over time without being wholly present at every time at which they exist.]

Hawley, K 2004, How Things Persist, Clarendon Press, UK. [Another great book: It's extremely similar to the one above in terms of the both content and conclusions reached]

Some good Time travel movies:

Interstellar (2014)

Timecrimes (2007)

Looper (2012)

Primer (2004) [Time Travel on drugs]

12 Monkeys (1995)

Donnie Darko (2001)

The Terminator (1984)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Predestination (2014)

Back To the Future (1-3) (1985-1990)

Source Code (2011)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

u/OGdrizzle · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

"An elegant universe" by Brian Greene is a good read. It leans more towards string/superstring theory. "The science of interstellar" also touches on some concepts related to quantum mechanics.

I know that you asked for books but "PBS Spacetime" is a YouTube channel that does a great job explaining quantum mechanics. "Veritasium" is another great channel with a few videos explaining phenomena as well. I posted links below. Physics is dope. Happy hunting!

An elegant universe:

The science of interstellar:

PBS Spacetime:


u/ombwtk · 2 pointsr/samharris

>But we also know at the most fundamental level of quantum mechanics the world works in terms of probabilities that collapse into a single reality.


That's the Copenhagen Interpretation, not the Many Worlds Interpretation.

This post from Sean Carroll on Quantum Mechanics (it's ch. 11 in his book From Eternity To Here) is very clarifying and demystifying even though it doesn't answer all your questions.

u/cRaziMan · 2 pointsr/AndroidQuestions

I know this isn't what you're looking for, but I looked into this quite a bit when I used to go out stargazing myself. In all honesty apps aren't the best for this properly.

If the 2 of you are actually getting interested in the night sky then I would say buy yourself the Turn Left at Orion book.

Stellarium is an amazing free computer program that you can use to do your homework beforehand and see what you'll actually be looking at that night.

Some cheap binoculars and tripod would add a lot to the experience as well.


As for the answer to the question you're actually asking:

Google Sky Maps is what you need for some quick and dirty casual sky scanning.

The other must have app is Astro Panel. It'll tell you when sky viewing conditions are good (it's pointless going out when conditions are terrible and not really seeing much)


If the trip is to go out and set the mood to make a move on a girl you like then all of this will only get in the way and there's a lot to be said for just going out with a picnic blanket and a warm blanket to look at the plain night sky to set the mood.

You could look up when there's a meteor shower to give you something to see without any equipment or sky map.

u/AdaAstra · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

For a starter book to get the basics of stargazing, I would recommend Nightwatch: A Practical Guide To Viewing the Universe or Turn Left At Orion. They don't have real detailed sky maps, but they give good representations of some of the major constellations and names.

For star maps, I use Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas or Orion's DeepView Star Map. These ones are good for more detailed star maps and require a few basics to figure out. Or you can just match the stars up to known stars and just stumble your way around (which is not a bad learning method either).

u/jswhitten · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

You can't go wrong with a Dobsonian in the 6"-8"-10" range. At the lower end they'll be less expensive and more portable, but at the higher end you'll be able to see more.

I have an Orion 8" Dobsonian. They also sell Intelliscope models that will assist you in finding objects. I like finding things on my own, by star-hopping, but it takes a little patience and experience. These books will help:

I recommend getting one with at least two eyepieces, or at least one eyepiece and a Barlow, so you'll have a choice of magnifications.

And whether or not you get a telescope, a pair of binoculars is a good thing to have. 7x50s are nice and easy to use without a tripod. 10x50s will show you a little more but are a little harder to hold steady. Anything larger and you'll probably want a tripod for them. I have 10x50s and am considering getting these:

u/AirbagEject · 2 pointsr/telescopes

While it's not directly related to the telescope, if you are buying from amazon the Orion 27193 XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope and Beginner Barlow Kit isn't going to be in stock for another 3 weeks.

In my opinion you will not be missing much to get the one without the additional barlow lens+red light.

Instead I would spend that extra $20 the way u/schorhr's recommended to me by buying the book, Turn Left at Orion. It is an awesome book that teaches you a ton about all different aspects of astronomy including what you can see in a telescope, and where/when you can find it.

u/rbartlett9671 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I guess it really depends on how familiar you are with the night sky - but there's one book that's literally invaluable for astronomers of all levels - Turn Left At Orion - there's no finer book, quite frankly, and the authors are an inspiration to me. If my books were anywhere near as good as theirs, I'd be very pleased and proud.

(Get the larger, spiral bound edition -

I would also buy Astronomy Hacks - there are a TON of tips and tricks in there and, again, it's aimed at astronomers of all levels.


I had an Orion XT 4.5" Dobsonian and loved it. Celestrons are also excellent and both companies have equipment that are reasonably priced and well suited to amateurs of all levels. I'd start with something relatively small, like a 4" or 6" reflector and then go from there.

Beyond that, I would highly recommend joining a local club or, at the very least, ask a question here on Reddit or join a group in Facebook.

The two I like the most are the Telescope Addicts ( and Astronomy 4 Beginners. (

I hope this helps. Feel free to email me at [email protected] at any time. At some point in the nearish future I'd like to write an astronomy book for suburban astronomers (especially beginners) but I'm not sure when that might happen!

(In the meantime, have a look at my other book, 2015 An Astronomical Year - the Kindle version has a lot of graphics and text highlighting the best naked eye sights throughout the year -

Clear skies!

u/ArtDSellers · 2 pointsr/telescopes

The Z10 would be a great scope. I have the Z12, and I love it. It's a lot to handle though. The Z10 would give you some more mobility and wouldn't take up too much space. A 10 is still a great light bucket and will give you wonderful views of lots of fun objects.

There are myriad resources to get you going on what to see and when to see it. You can check out for a day-by-day update on what's happening in the sky. Telescopius is another great resource. Also, grab yourself a copy of Turn Left at Orion. It'll help you get acquainted with the night sky.

The Bahamian sky should treat you quite nicely. Just be patient with the equipment and the hobby. Learning takes time.

u/12stringPlayer · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Congrats on your first nebula! I'm always amazed at the ambivalence some people have about astronomical things. Years ago when comet Hale-Bopp was riding high, my ex and I had gone to visit another couple who lived in a pretty dark area. One of them knew my love of Astronomy, and asked about the comet. "It's up right now and spectacular!" was my reply.

We went outside to take a look... except for my ex, who complained that it was chilly and that she just wasn't interested. The other couple loved it, and we were out for a while looking and talking. When we went back in, my ex said "That took a while! How long does it take to look at the sky?"

BTW, you may be interested in my favorite book for small telescope owners: "Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them" by Guy Consolmagno.

u/oopswizard · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

Your teenaged relative could learn how to navigate the stars, and identify constellation locations by sight with a quality pair of binoculars and a book like Turn Left at Orion.

For an even more involved and rewarding gift, check out local telescope making workshops.
You only need a mirror blank (typically made of pyrex glass) and some grit, so he can certainly do this at home when he's not at the workshop. An 8" mirror will take about 40 hours of grinding and polishing the surface, which ends up being optically superior to machine-made mirrors.

u/jasrags · 2 pointsr/telescopes

Here is what I bought:

Orion 5691 LaserMate Deluxe II Telescope Laser Collimator

Celestron Accessory Kit

Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them

I got the accessory kit as a Christmas present. I wanted to get a range of eyepieces then upgrade the ones that would benefit, I'm going to get the eyepiece mentioned by someone else.

Orion 8920 6mm Expanse Telescope Eyepiece

As I'm having issues with my current 6mm eyepiece . Great scope!

u/kraegar · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I highly recommend "Turn left at Orion" - it's a book that's available here:

It lists, by season, what's in the sky, which constellation it's in, and rates them for binoculars, small telescopes, and Dobs. Doesn't have a ton of objects, but really gives a good start to people just getting into the hobby who are looking for things to see.

u/Greypilgram · 2 pointsr/space

I'd strongly advise against getting a goto dob. They dont work that well and for the most part make it less likely you will use your scope.

Instead teach yourself how to star hop using:

Then mount a telrad quick finder on your scope:

Dobs are all about setting the scope on the ground and getting to viewing quickly and easily, a cheap goto mount will just fight you in doing that.

u/davedubya · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Get yourself a good star chart, observing guide or phone app. Learn about what you can see in the sky and then point your telescope, see what you can find.

Planets - Jupiter rises quite late at night at the moment. Saturn sets not long after sunset. The Moon would be a good target to start off with.

DSOs - Some will be harder to locate that others. With a Dobsonian, you can learn to starhop and it becomes easier with practice. Some will look amazing, others will just be faint fuzzies.

u/Aldinach · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Others have already mentioned it but join an astronomy club and download Stellarium. Here's a couple book suggestions:
Turn Left at Orion will get you familiar with some of the more interesting objects to look at in the night's sky. This is definitely a good place to start. You also want to pick up a star atlas to help you navigate the sky and find some of the dimmer objects in the sky. A favorite is Sky and Telescope's Pocket Star Atlas. Another favorite for new astronomers is Nightwatch which will educate you a bit more about astronomical bodies and the night sky.

u/mcphat · 2 pointsr/telescopes

North is a better viewing direction for me, and M81/82 were the first galaxies I ever saw through the telescope. They've been the only galaxies I can fairly consistently see from my backyard.

M51 looks like a very light gray fuzz in my light polluted (B6-7) backyard. If see conditions aren't really good it's very easy to miss. But, if I go a short distance away (B4 skies) it starts to get some more structure (though admittedly still not very much). I found M51 easier to see than M101, but relatively similarly sized.

Do you have the Turn Left at Orion book? They have great tips for locating tons of DSOs as well as what to expect through various types of scopes.

u/Gurneydragger · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I just got Turn Left At Orion that everyone on here recommends from Amazon. It was on sale for only $17 and it was worth every penny for finding interesting things in the night sky. A good star chart is nice as well, learning where stuff is makes the sky that much easier to enjoy.

u/ieGod · 2 pointsr/space

Turn Left at Orion is specifically aimed as a guide to seeing tons of objects from regularly light polluted cities. You'd be surprised what you can resolve.

u/SaganAgain · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

2 good books to get you set:

  1. 'Nightwatch' by Terence Dickinson :
    This will get you oriented with everything astronomy.

  2. 'Turn Left at Orion' :
    This book will show you how to actually find nebulae, double stars, and galaxies in the night sky. It will also show you what each looks like through the eyepiece of an amateur telescope.

    *You can probably find the e-book version of each of these online if you look. But then again, having a physical book in front of you is 10x better.

  3. Software

    Stellarium :
    Pretty much a software planetarium thats free. All you have to do is type in your location and it'll show you exactly whats in your sky at the moment. Three useful keyboard buttons: 'pg up' = zoom in, 'pg down' = zoom out, 'n' = shows deep sky object locations.

    Last but not least:
    Try to get yourself a used dobsonian telescope (8 inch or 6 inch). You can definitely get one for $200 used. Its a good investment b/c its something that lasts a lifetime and it retains its value extremely well. Remember astronomy is about actually seeing and experiencing the sky, and not just learning about it from a book.

    Hope you get hooked on astronomy like I did last year.
u/Red-Fawn · 2 pointsr/telescopes

Always going to recommend the book Turn Left at Orion for beginners. It'll give you a good idea on how to star hop, what time of the year is best for viewing what, and a feature list of night sky objects to look at. It also has a conservative view at what you're going to see - what's drawn is what you're going to get.

u/seladore · 2 pointsr/askscience

Turn left at Orion is what I always recommend to amateur astronomers starting out.

u/cspayton · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Thanks for responding!

I think that there are a few books which have influenced me greatly, but I have a much more expansive list of books I want to read than ones I have already consumed.

To start, you should try the greats:

u/pretzelzetzel · 2 pointsr/atheism

Don't trust everything you read online, either. Books are still generally your best bet, because people who might not know what they're talking about can't edit them while you're reading them.

Obviously I'm not saying all books are better than all internets, but find some credible ones and you're much better off.

I'm not a scientist by training, but I can suggest a few books that will provide a pretty good counterbalance to what your mom will be teaching you. (A few of them have quasi-religious-sounding titles, too, so if she happened to find them lying around she might not get too angry.)

The Chosen Species: The Long March of Human Evolution

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

A Brief History of Time

I can recommend more if you'd like. These ones are pretty broad surveys of the topics of (in order) evolution, more evolution, the role of science in society, and the physical nature of the universe. If you're homeschooled, I'm assuming high school-level? None of these books is technical - they're all 'popular science', intended to explain broad concepts to non-scientists. They're very, highly interesting, though, and it's easy to find recommended reading lists once you discover some specific topics that interest you. The Chosen Species itself has a lengthy and detailed bibliography and recommended reading section at the end.

I hope I've been able to help! Good luck!

u/crustation · 2 pointsr/books

I love music, so my favourite one was Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. A history of electronic music which gave me a real in-depth appreciation of the electronic music scene now.

I also really liked A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Flatland (not exactly non-fiction, but extremely interesting).

u/artimaeis · 2 pointsr/books

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Amazing read, will probably change the way you perceive the world around you. :)

u/loseit_birds · 2 pointsr/BravoRealHousewives

We better kick in and get them this

u/adelie42 · 2 pointsr/austrian_economics

>a couple of science books about physics

Any chance it's A Brief History of Time and The Feynman Lectures on Physics?

u/idigdigdug · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Lots of comments here trying to argue that you're "doing Judiasm wrong" or "not hard enough" ("Of course mitzvos aren't fun... that's the point!") so I'll offer the kofer perspective.


  • Start a blog (if kids do that these days, tumblr?) and write about your thoughts and ideas. The process will help you figure out what you think. You will also get feedback from readers who will challenge you and help you sharpen and defend your point of view. Google phrases like: jewish skeptic blog, orthoprax, frum skeptic. You'll find a whole community of people asking the same questions you are.

  • Do the mitzvos that you find meaning in. Try alternatives to mitzvos that turn you off to Judiasm. For example, I get nothing out of davening so when I go to shul I bring a book that offers some personal or spiritual growth and read that on Shabbos instead. (I do not go to shul during the week).

    Here's a bunch of stuff I've found informative in my personal journey:

    Skeptic reading:
  • On the origin of the Torah - Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
  • On the origin of the Universe - A Brief History Time by Stephen Hawking
  • On the origin of people - Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

    Skeptic viewing:
  • To see a pair of magicians aggressively attack illogical thought - Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (if you don't have Prime just YouTube it).
  • To see a bombastic, arrogant, smart, funny atheist debate R' Boteach - Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate on God - There a lots of these on YouTube. Many are worth watching.
  • Mythbusters - A good place to be entertained and learn how to attack a question/problem analytically.

    Skeptic Listening:
  • This American Life: 290: Godless America Personally, I found Act Two with Julia Sweeney particularly meaningful.
u/dat_cosmo_cat · 2 pointsr/compsci

I read Complexity: A Guided Tour on a flight a few years back. It's a thoughtful and well written non-technical CS book, uses concrete real world examples with interesting historical tangents weaved in (I enjoy that "here's what people believed at the time/here's how this person figured out XYZ" sort of stuff). It kind of reminded me of Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

u/raleigh15gotbanned · 2 pointsr/AskReddit


Read "A Brief History of Time" and tell me it has no practical use, is not mathematically definite, and has no practical use. Read any textbook on any science or mathematical subject and tell me it's not practical, and not mathematically definite.

u/buyacanary · 2 pointsr/science

You can't go wrong with A Brief History of Time. Written for the layman, it's excellent stuff. I believe there's some stuff that's slightly out of date in there by now, but for a basic understanding of the history of the universe it paints a very easily digestible picture.

u/Supervisor194 · 2 pointsr/exjw

Demon Haunted World is so good - it's in my "big three," books that really helped me change my worldview. The other two are A Brief History of Time and the deliciously amoral The 48 Laws of Power.

If you lean towards the nerdy, Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near are also quite interesting. They lay out a fairly stunning (and strangely convincing) optimistic view of the future.

u/thepurpleDUKE · 2 pointsr/psychonauts

I only know of it in paperback, couldn't find it online sorry...

u/GrabbinPills · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I'm a pretty big chemistry nerd, and if my brother were to buy me another chem textbook, I'd thank him politely and then toss the book on my shelf. A gift in a similar vein might be A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is pretty short, but it is as close to "reading for enjoyment" as you can get when it comes to astrophysics.

If you're willing to not buy him a book, simplemathtome had a pretty good idea of a drink set. Besides buying the actual "lab themed" set, it isn't too hard to find relatively cheap pyrex lab glassware around. It is often expensive new, but you can find some pretty cheap. Craigslist/garage sales/thrift shops/ebay/amazon(seriously) are good places to start, over the years I've accumulated my own little lab setup, I have a few erlenmeyers (50mL for shots, 500mL for beers!), a volumetric flask, a couple beakers, a round bottom, and a florence flask, all Pyrex or Kimax. I got a few of them used from places where they were unsure of the previous owner, so those ones I use as flower vases / decorative / just cool to have. Something just feels wrong drinking out of lab glassware if you aren't absolutely sure where its been.

tl;dr I'd think it was way cooler if my bro bought me a pyrex erlenmeyer shotglass than a textbook.

u/Eipifi · 2 pointsr/space

About the why questions you asked: I'm afraid nobody has the definitive answers you are looking for. But there are people who ask the same questions you do. Let me point you to read "a Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking.

> "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"

u/elementalizer · 2 pointsr/self

A good book that is fun to read and has tons of anecdotes about scientific history is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

In a similar vein, you can ponder the more mind-bending aspects of our Universe with Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time

Other than that you may find some interesting things in the works of Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins (I personally recommend Dawkins's The Selfish Gene)

If you are sick of scientific titles you can also check out Freakonomics or The Worldly Philosphers

These Books are all written for a general audience so they go down pretty easy.

Deciding which major in College can be tricky - I was lucky since I knew exactly what I wanted to study before I left High School, but maybe some ideas in these books will pique your interest. My parents always told me to go to school to study something I love, and not to train for a job. I'm not so sure this advice carries through in "recovering" economy. You may want to factor in the usefulness of your degree post-college (but don't let that be the only thing you consider!).

Good Luck, and enjoy!

u/austin_k · 2 pointsr/books

A Brief History of Time, by Steven Hawking is a classic. I found it to be a little dense and difficult at times (I'm no expert in physics), but it's a pretty cool overview of some deep science questions (e.g. where did the universe come from?) for non-scientists.

James Gleick's biography of Isaac Newton is also quite good. My calculus professor recommended it.

I also liked The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios.

u/goodbetterbestbested · 2 pointsr/science

No, not an imposition at all.

I read this book a long time ago, but I think it is where most of the information I know about cosmology came from, and speaks to the idea of time as analogous to spatial dimensions:

The Universe In A Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

I haven't read A Brief History of Time but I hear it's great, too.

and there is always this wikipedia article:

u/scharvey · 2 pointsr/space

I found A Brief History of Time to be a very interesting book when I was in high school. It's not so much about space as it is about the physics side of things. At least a good starter in this area.

u/pngwn45 · 2 pointsr/changemyview

>There is no conceivable mechanism by which the brain could generate consciousness, yet I am conscious.

Yes there is, check out I am a strange loop..

>There is no conceivable mechanism by which the universe and everything came into existence, yet here it is.

Yes there is check out A Universe from Nothing or The Grand Design.

You can argue these all you want, but (here's the important bit), even if there weren't conceivable mechanisms for these things, and even if our prior probability was really low for these things, we have roughly 10^500 times more evidence for our existance, and for our consciousness (ignoring the semantic problem with this word), than we have for things like para-psychology.

If I walked around every day, communicating with others psychically, and, when I ask the neighbor for sugar psychically, she comes over with some sugar, and when I psychically scream "Stop!" everyone stops and stares at me, then yes, I would be a fool to dismiss psychic communication.

This is exactly what happens with consciousness. I notice that people behave exactly as they would as if they are conscious (myself especially). If they weren't conscious, they (and I) would behave differently, so their behavior is a testing mechanism.

This is exactly what happens with existence. I notice that things... exist, and behave as if they exist. If something didn't exist, I wouldn't expect everyone to behave as if it did.

It's all about probabilities. nd with para-psychology, the probability is simply really, really tiny.

>He that will only believe what he can fully understand has either a very short creed or a very long head.

Your leaving out the other half here. While it may be stupid to only believe thing you completely understand (by the way, I believe many things that I only partially understand, advanced mathematics, for example), the alternative, believing everything you don't understand, is far more "stupid. (really, personal attacks, is that necessary)."

u/Great_Gig_In_The_Sky · 2 pointsr/funny

Yeah! This weekend I went to a local book store and spent the better part of the evening there. I had a blast and picked a book by Stephen Hawking

u/Circus_Birth · 2 pointsr/atheism

the new stephen hawking book the grand design is pretty fantastic. it's a very interesting, easily readable explanation of modern physics as well as the history of physics. this book is where hawking finally comes out of the atheist closet in a very non-political way, basically explaining that while people can believe in a god our knowledge of physics doesn't have a need for it.

u/brunson · 2 pointsr/Physics

You should check out Stephen Hawking's "The Grand Design" . I'm not sure I agree with all of it and I'm really not sure about M-Theory, but he makes an interesting case for the big bang resulting from quantum effects and our universe resulting from Richard Feynman's theory of a sum of histories.

It's not a definitive work, but it's an interesting read and will introduce the lay reader to a series of fascinating concept in classical and quantum physics.

u/rukkyg · 2 pointsr/DoesAnybodyElse

I have this sometimes (I also don't remember events but remember facts). Like something will happen and I feel like I dreamt it years before. But I kind of assume that I must just think that I had dreamt it years earlier. But now that I think about it, I guess it's possible I really did remember something that didn't happen yet in a dream, given what I read in The Grand Design.

Something weird is that I specifically remember getting out of a pool and walking towards a house -- and having deja vu about it -- thinking it had happened months before. And then, it happening again and remembering both deja vu times before. But the "3rd time", it was the first time I had ever been to that house.

u/ggliddy357 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

>First off, he wasn't a teenager, he was probably about 30.

I was talking about Mary.

>What's more likely? A natural universe was created by something beyond physical laws, or it just came out of nowhere.

I think you ought to watch this.

Or read this.

u/bogan · 2 pointsr/atheism

>but from nothing cannot come something.

That seems like an argument against the existence of a god as well. Else where did the god come from? Theologians can say the god has always existed, but one can as well state that our universe is part of an endless cycle of collapses and expansions or that time did not exist before our universe arose from the quantum foam, so it is meaningless to ask what came before. One could explain the existence of the universe as the eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist Steven Hawking did in The Grand Design.

>In his latest book, The Grand Design, an extract of which is published in Eureka magazine in The Times, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”
>He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”



>As Stephen Hawking says in his book A Brief History of Time (quoted by Victor Stenger, Has Science Found God?, p. 148): "In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero." In other words, it is not the case that something came out of nothing. It is that we have always had zero energy.


Some people don't like the notion of a universe forming from quantum foam, they would much rather imagine a god forming it, which is why we have thousands of creation myths, including the two biblical ones, the one written by the Priestly Source in Genesis 1 and the older creation myth written by the Jahwist in Genesis 2, which borrow from Sumerian mythology.

Some people feel that they must have an answer as to how the universe came to be. They don't like "We don't know all the details"; for them "God created it" is so much more satisfying.

Some prefer the answer given thousands of years ago by our distant ancestors who said Atum or El, or Ptah, or Vishvakarman, or Yahweh, etc. created the universe. For some, that is a much more comforting answer.

u/cypherpunks · 2 pointsr/atheism

> Whoa whoa whoa... Who said that?

Almost all cosmologists. General relativity doesn't require "space" to exist as a static playing field on which other things dance around; its brilliance is that it shows how space and time can be warped and twisted in areas of high mass density.

The big bang actually brought space into existence, blown up something like a balloon. Actually, the correct metaphor is the surface of a balloon. When you inflate it more, where does the extra surface come from?

A truly complete answer requires an understanding of general relativity. This 1200 page textbook starts with heavy mathematics and gets steadily more difficult. I'm not trying to stonewall, but it's way too complicated to summarize here.

Basically, the entire concept of time is pretty complicated around black holes and the big bang. It changes place with space. The expression "before the big bang" might not make sense, like how if you walk north, you'll reach the north pole. If you keep walking, you'll be going south. Even though you never turned around.

And when we get really close to the big bang, all our current theories break down. For reasonably large, slow, and light things, classical Newtonian physics is all you need. At high speeds, you need special relativity, which isn't too difficult. As things get smaller, this gets less accurate until you need quantum mechanics to understand what's going on.

When things are very heavy, you need general relativity to understand what's going on.

The big bang was both very small and very massive, requiring both. And unfortunately, they're currently incompatible in a very fundamental way. They can't both be right, and probably neither one is.

The problem is, the conditions under which the disagreements become apparent are the insides of black holes, which not really accessible to human scientists. Particle accelerators like the LHC get as close as any human technology can.

The frustrating thing is that we've been unable to find the slightest error in either theory, but there has to be an error somewhere!

[Edit: spelling fix.]

u/SanityInAnarchy · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> Please provide sources for everything you say

Not everything requires a source. Besides which, you don't provide one.

> 1. The bible- it was written by many different people describing the same events.


> I don't see how multiple different people could all record the same thing if it wasn't true.

There are many ways:

  • They could each know what the other was saying, and all decide to lie together.
  • They could all be relying on the same misinformed source.
  • The entire account could be unreliable, even the account of who wrote what.

    You have provided no evidence to suggest that these things are not true about the Bible.

    > Also the bible doesn't seem like something someone would make up

    Really? It doesn't? Why is that?

    > William Craig has good arguments for this

    This is not a citation. William Lane Craig has written many things about the Bible. A citation would be a specific quote which we can verify that he actually said -- or, failing that, a transcript of the argument in question. You've provided neither.

    > 2. Risk of athiesm

    You're going to have to be more specific. What, exactly, do you see as a risk here? If you are thinking of Pascal's Wager, it is an absurd false dichotomy -- see my response to your point 4 below.

    > 3. Big Bang theory- how can there be something from nothing

    If you really want to know, there is an entire book no the subject, written by an accomplished physicist. The TL;DR is: We don't know yet whether the question even makes sense, but there's several theoretical models for how this could be the case.

    As an example, in one model, time began with the Big Bang, so the notion of the Big Bang coming from anything is incoherent. So the Big Bang isn't "something from nothing", because as soon as you say "from" in that sentence, you're talking nonsense -- it's as if you asked "What's North of the North Pole?"

    But the short answer is, we don't know how the universe began yet. We have some ideas of how something could come from nothing (and routinely does), but we don't know that this is how the Universe began.

    So, your turn. How can something come from nothing? Because that is exactly what the Bible says God did, right? If not, where did God get the stuff he made the Universe from?

    > 4. What if the devil really is deceiving me

    Good question. What if he is? I don't mean about atheism, necessarily -- what if he's deceiving you about religion?

    Think about it. Would it be beyond Satan's power to produce a book, and influence major historical figures to spread it as a false religion? What if Jesus was really the Antichrist in disguise, and you damn yourself to Hell with every prayer? The Bible itself, in Revelations (chapter 13, I think), talks about the Beast's rise to power, in which he spreads a false religion as a false prophet -- how do you know you're not following a false religion already? Surely, if the Beast had the chance, he would rewrite the Bible to make himself seem like the hero.

    So... I can't help you with your fear about the devil deceiving you, but atheism is certainly no worse off than religion in that regard. You could be deceived by the Devil, or you could be trapped in the Matrix, or any number of things. The only way your mind can function, the only way you can get anything done, is to assume that you are not -- to at least assume that your mind is mostly your own, and begin to reason about what else you can know.
u/bokehtoast · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Interesting article! I am actually about to start reading A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss.

u/asianApostate · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Lawrence Krauss has done ground breaking research on what may have initiated the big bang. I don't know what you are calling the "timeless unknown," but there are forms of energy beyond the outskirts of our universe that can cause "Big bangs." There maybe many universes beyond our ability and instruments.

>Science is limited by the human mind and the senses through which the human mind perceives the universe.

Science most definitely is not limited to the human senses as our instruments have allowed us to observe much more. Much of science is actually quite contrary to our senses.

Sure it is limited by the human mind but there are many minds in history that have made amazing discoveries that the ordinary minds did not.

Also not a big fan of the word magical to describe things outside of fiction. It is very non-specific and has implications, whether you mean it or not. Very counterproductive in a debate forum.

>There is another way to explore and discover and this is the inner dimension which is ultimately non physical.

What's an inner dimension and what have you discovered about it? The human mind is quite creative and sees patterns where they don't exist and is quite capable of fabrication of whole worlds of things. How will you prove your so called, "inner dimension?"

u/SplitReality · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Well as I understand it there are a number of different kinds of multiverses that can exist. The one with the strongest evidence comes out of understanding of the inflation theory which is the currently widely accepted theory that fits with our observations. Inflation caused our universe to expand very rapidly shortly after its creation. After a short while that inflation stopped and created the universe that we see today.

However that stopping of inflation did not happen everywhere. We just happen to exit in a place where it did stop. Our pocket of reality exists in a still expanding...well I have no idea what that is, but whatever it is it is still expanding faster than the speed of light. From time to time other parts of the expanding...umm thing... will stop expanding and another universe will pop out. The point is that all these universes would be moving away from each other faster than the speed of light so there is no way they could interact with one another.

All of that comes as a natural consequence of our current theories of inflation which have substantial evidence to back them up. They are not proven, but they are our best current understanding. Other theories of multiuniverses come from string theory which I believe strive to be internally consistent but aren't backed by any physical evidence or observations.

Edit: I only know this because I just got done reading A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. I'm an atheist but the book is too preachy for my taste. It's author Lawrence M. Krauss says the book came about from debates with theist and it shows. I wish it had stuck with the straight physics instead of diverging from time to time into discussions like would be found on this subreddit. Still, if you want to know more I'd suggest picking it up.

u/faykin · 2 pointsr/atheism

In order of likelyhood of pissing off your friends:


Christopher Hitchens: "God is not Great"

This is a brutal and unforgiving deconstruction of theism. It won't make you any new friends, and might alienate your existing friends. I really enjoyed it.

Sam Harris: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Another brutal deconstruction, this one is gentler and easier to stomach. Think mail fist in a velvet glove. This is only gentle in contrast to Hitchens.

Lawrence Krauss: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

A more positive, life affirming approach. Still ruthlessly atheistic, but less evangelical than Hitchens and Harris. Warning: Complex ideas, complex writing, it's not an easy read. Fun, but not easy.

Richard Dawkins: An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist

Similar to Krauss' book, but even easier to read. Dawkins does have a reputation for outspoken atheism, which will turn off some readers.

u/tau-lepton · 2 pointsr/news

>While something can be used to make something else, we can't make something from nothing. It ain't do-able. Some people think you can, but you really can't make something from nothing and this is both observable, (confirmable), and obvious. You can change stuff into other stuff, but you can't create stuff from nothing. This is fundamental, basic, and important because it means Big Bang theory is incorrect, in so far as it states the Big Bang was the start of everything.

That’s wrong actually, physics is not as simple as you think. Here’s a decent read for the layman

”Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end.”

u/jlew24asu · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion
  1. we dont know yet

    atheists dont know the answer and we are humble enough to accept and admit that. we actively support however, trying to find answers.

    if you really want to dive into this, one of the smartest men on earth (IMO) wrote a whole book on this one topic.
u/Thistleknot · 2 pointsr/cosmology says that the Universe is flat. They did it by using geometry measurements on the dispersion of the Microwave Background Radiation (some sort of measurement to test if it was curved).

u/IRBMe · 2 pointsr/Christianity

> If you don't believe in God, what explanation do you have for the fact that there is a universe.

"The six primary Planets are revolv'd about the Sun, in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same plane. […] But it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions. […] This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being." -- Isaac Newton.

He would perhaps ask a similar question: if you don't believe in God, what explanation do you have for the fact that the planets proceed in such regular motions?

The continuation of Newton's work by French scholar, Pierre-Simon LaPlace, prompted Napoleon to remark on the absence of any mention of a creator in LaPlace's explanations of celestial mechanics; LaPlace famously replied, "I had no need of that hypothesis." Don't fall into the trap of God of the gaps reasoning as Newton did. Admit with honesty when you simply don't yet know the answer to a question and continue searching as LaPlace did.

To answer your question, however:

  • The Late astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist and astrobiologist, Carl Sagan responds.
  • Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss answers in book form and in a lecture.
  • Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking answers in a brief video and in a more detailed lecture.
  • Theoretical cosmologist Sean Carroll answers and addresses these exact issues in a debate with William Lane Craig.
  • Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin explains.
  • Matt Dillahunty and Jeff Dee of The Atheist Experience responds.

    > Remember your basic maths/aritmatic, zero plus zero = ? or zero times zero = ?

    I want you to go do some research (you'll actually find it in many of the links I provided above). I want you to go away and find what the sum total energy of the entire universe is.

    Also, while playing with arithmetic, try it with imaginary numbers. If you add imaginary numbers, you only get more imaginary numbers, and if you multiply them, you get even less than nothing, if you see what I'm getting at.
u/Talibanned · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Instead of restating what's been said a million times, I would suggest reading books like A Universe From Nothing. Its a great book which explains things in language people actually understand.

u/PrecariousLee · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism
u/in_time_for_supper_x · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

> We have eye witness testimonies.

We supposedly have eye witness testimonies, because almost none of the witnesses (besides the apostles) are named, nor are they alive, and their "testimonies" were recorded many decades after Christ's supposed ascension. Besides that, witness testimonies are not enough to prove that supernatural events are even possible.

> There was a detective who works cold cases, and would convict people of crimes based on people's testimonies. He was an Atheist investigating the case for Christ. He found that the people's testimonies lined up, and he would consider them as viable evidence in court, and he came to the conclusion that it was all real.

There are many authors like this one, who think they have the silver bullet that will prove their religion, be it Christianity or Islam, who eventually engage in all sorts of fallacies and provide nothing of substance. I haven't read this guy's book to be honest (Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels), but I have read other books by Christians who claim that they can prove the "truth" of Christianity. Short summary: they haven't.

The fact of the matter is that these books do not stand to scrutiny. Have you ever read anything written by Bart Ehrman, or other real scholars? They would vehemently disagree with that guy's conclusions.

Bart Denton Ehrman is an American professor and scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is one of North America's leading scholars in his field, having written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers. Ehrman's work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.

-- from WikiPedia

You should also read stuff by:

  • Richard Dawkins (i.e. The God Delusion, The Greatest Show On Earth, Unweaving the rainbow, etc.),

  • Lawrence Krauss (i.e. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing),

  • Sean Caroll

    and other scientists if you want to see what science actually has to say about reality and about how grossly wrong the Bible is when it tries to make pronouncements on our physical reality.

    > Why do you not believe in the gospel accounts? They were hand written accounts by people who witnessed an event, or people who spoke to those people.

    That's the claim, not the evidence. It's people claiming to have witnessed supernatural events for which they have no evidence, and even more than that, all these witnesses are long dead. We have nothing but third hand accounts of people from 2000 years ago claiming to have seen or heard wildly fantastical things for which we don't have any evidence that they are even possible.

    Heck, we literally have millions of people still alive who swear that they have encountered aliens or have been abducted by aliens - this is a much better evidence than your supposed witnesses who are long dead by now - and it's still not nearly enough to prove that these aliens actually exist and that they have indeed been abducting people.

    > Some of the things Jesus spoke about is verifiable today. As I have pointed out about the Holy Spirit guiding people, and people being able to heal and cast out demons in Jesus' name.

    Many of Buddha's teachings are verifiable and valid today, yet that does nothing to prove Buddha's claims of the supernatural. Besides, you first have to demonstrate that there are such things as demons before even making a claim of being able to cast them out. Bring one of these "demons" into a research facility and then we'll talk. Otherwise, you're no different than the alien abduction people or the Bigfoot hunters.
u/DSchmitt · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You can check out his book on the subject, or one of his lectures.

In brief, no matter or energy, time or space, but we still have a quantum foam. In this quantum foam, time and space, matter and energy can be created without cause. The non-existence of the quantum field can not exist, it always was and always will be. It is not dependent on time and space, matter and energy, and thus doesn't have a beginning or need a cause.

u/gta-man · 2 pointsr/space

>What kind of telescope is a "good" beginner's telescope?

Here are some guides.

>How do you know where to aim your scope?

>How can I learn more about identifying stars and star formations?

>Also, any information that you think would be helpful

Don't over search the web for good telescopes, as a beginner you should get a normal telescope and see how much you ACTUALLY like the night sky, starting with binoculars is advised since they cost way less and you can still see a lot of stuff. If you want more you move on to a telescope.

also: /r/Astronomy

u/Douces · 2 pointsr/space

The first scope does not have computer control, you will have to manually adjust the scope. Don't forget to budget in some eyepieces. I would reccomend a book called NightWatch by Terence Dickinson before you buy anything.

u/citysquirrelly · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Here is a book I really like for just what you are doing - observing manually (with a red flashlight). The fourth edition specifically mentions it now has SOUTHERN star charts.


NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover-spiral – September 12, 2006

by Terence Dickinson (Author), Adolf Schaller (Illustrator), Timothy Ferris (Foreword)

ISBN-10: 155407147X

ISBN-13: 978-1554071470




u/shankcraft · 2 pointsr/astrophysics
u/frid · 2 pointsr/askastronomy

I'm not familiar with the book you mentioned, but the best one I know for people getting into astronomy is NightWatch by Terence Dickinson.

u/kami77 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Dobsonians are great for beginner scopes. Get the largest aperture you can afford (6 inch, 8 inch, etc.) aperture is the most important factor. For example, a 8 inch scope gathers four times as much light as a 4 inch scope.

The star thing is a nice thought, but not official I'm sure you know. You are paying for a fake certificate to print out basically.

I would recommend this book in place of the star thing

Probably the best beginner book IMO.

u/astrocountess · 2 pointsr/Astronomy is also a good website for getting star maps. A potentially useful book isNightWatch. This is the one specifically, I am not saying buy it from amazon, just to give you an idea. It has some good basic astronomy concepts as well as telescope basics. Also, look for local star parties. You'll be able to find a lot of people who know a lot of good tips. Enjoy and happy stargazing!

u/akatch · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

This is an AWESOME book for beginners. It is full of information, available on Amazon (quite cheaply, I might add... at least when I bought it), and a lot of book for your money. The books contain a chapter on purchasing a telescope, but if you go with one of the older editions, just use their website for a more up-to-date telescope buying guide. The one thing it seems to lack is good star charts. Fortunately, this book is also readily/cheaply available on Amazon and is good for just that. I own both and they have been very informative. Good luck!

u/badcatdog · 1 pointr/atheism

I never made that claim.

Probably your bias is so strong that you cannot read correctly. It is blinding you to the simple truth of my words.

I would not use the word "created" for example.

The subject of the early universe falls under the scientific domain of cosmology.

May I recommend "A Universe from Nothing" by professor Lawrence Krauss:

It tries to make the current scientific understanding of the early universe accessible to the lay man.

u/MeeHungLowe · 1 pointr/atheism

You are not using the correct definition of atheism. It is the lack of belief in the existence of any deities. That's it. Nothing else. It says nothing about any other types of "belief".

The only valid answer we have today for the origin of the universe is "we don't know". There are many very smart people pushing the boundaries of our current knowledge. My personal, mostly uneducated, belief is that we are on the right path with quantum mechanics. Physicists studying quantum mechanics do not seem particularly bothered by the "something from nothing" aspect. It is only theists and non-physicists that see this as an insurmountable problem.

You might be interested in A Universe from Nothing by Dr. Lawrence Krauss

One of my favorite ideas is from J. Richard Gott & Li-Xin Li, who have postulated a model whereby the universe can create itself.

u/FreakyRiver · 1 pointr/atheism

Regarding #2: I think the physicist Lawrence Krauss actually did say 'something came from nothing', or actually, "A Universe from Nothing".

u/Japjer · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

We don't really know. It could be literally infinite, but it's too large to understand.

One interesting take I heard, while reading Lawrence Krauss' A Universe From Nothing was the idea that we're just a microverse within a grand universe.

I can't explain for shit, but picture it like this: you have a massive, single Universe. It's a whirling, unstable realm of probability and crashing dimensions, with an unfathomable size.

In this grand Universe, a eight separate dimensions collide and release a huge amount of energy. It bubbles outward for a hundred thousand years or so, then collapses. A separate location has six dimensions collide, creating some matter and antimatter, expands for a billion years or so, theb collapses. This is happening billions of times per second, with most of those little bubbles forming and immediately collapsing, a few others lasting for a billion or so years, and a very few stabilizing and lasting nearly indefinitely.

Our universe is that last one. Just a single, tiny expanding bubble. A galaxy in a larger universe. There are probably others, but they are so far apart that there is no way to imagine the distance (the nearest stable 'verse could be two trillion 'verse-lengths away).

u/CallMeObadiah · 1 pointr/atheism

I would like to highlight the bottom part of the book and leave the link to Lawrence Krauss's book A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing

TLDR: "Nothing is unstable, and anytime you have nothing, you always get something, so long as it disappears eventually."

u/WalkingHumble · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>Single point... a very hot and dense... already existing... single point... which rapidly expanded (the expansion being the Big Bang).

Ahh gotcha, so this is what you're talking about asking for proof the universe began.

Then I'd recommend the following further reading:

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss
The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
The Inflationary Universe by Alan Guth

>Universe was not created per evidence.

There's a high level primer here.

u/DiggerW · 1 pointr/atheism

I have not read this book, but I've heard nothing but very positive reviews of it (from other non-believers, granted), and it's written specifically to speak to this question:

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, by Lawrence Krauss

u/09112001 · 1 pointr/atheism

The average atheist is a layman just like anyone else, we aren't quantum physicists so we (generally speaking) couldn't possibly explain nor should we be expected to explain the prevailing theories on how "something can come from nothing".... the point of being an atheist is not that you know everything up to and including that a god didn't create the universe, it's that you LACK belief in any god(s) that have ever been proposed due to lack of objective and peer-reviewed evidence to support their purported existence(s).

On that note, in regard to your questions, this might be a good starting point:

u/jkirlans5282 · 1 pointr/MastermindBooks

I read The particle at the end of the universe as well, I'd recommend
Lawrence Krauss' a universe from nothing.

u/TheFeshy · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Nothing about your claims of "self-evidence" is true in my case.

> These beliefs are ones you cannot help but believe; for example, the belief that you exist.

Descartes? "I think, therefore I am?" That's evidence, not self-evidence (though it is evidence for self.) I find it convincing; but then I have a strong bias. This isn't about sufficiency of evidence though; it's about evidence vs. self-evidence.

But how do you take it beyond that? How do you extend it to observations, to the universe, to reality? There are two choices there:

> Most of us also posses pragmatism as a self-evident belief.

"Most" people don't think about it at all. "Most" people are content to think their smartphones are magic. Scientists aren't most people. I'm no most people. And if you're thinking about this topic enough to have this conversation, you're not most people in this respect either. So let's look beyond the pragmatism of "not thinking about epistemology and empiricism won't get me eaten by a tiger, so why bother" and get on with the conversation.

I do consider the possibility the universe is a simulation, or that I'm a brain in a jar being fed stimulus (Actually it's hard to distinguish that testably from surfing reddit, but I digress.) Why not? But those avenues of thought don't lead very far; I feel I've considered them sufficiently. They haven't lead to useful insights yet (saving perhaps the holographic principle), but I remain open to the possibility. Pragmatism has it's place; you can't philosophies if you don't pay attention to things like not dying, but that's evidence for its necessity, not its sufficiency. Think further.

> Why is the sky blue? Because you see it as blue. How do you know that it actually is blue? You don't, but you [presumably] find it self-evidently more rational to assume that what you see is representative of reality, via pragmatism, or a similar philosophy.

And this is where I differ vastly from your preconceived notions of me. I believe the sky is blue because, when I was nine, I built a crude spectroscope and measured it (It's actually mostly white, by the way, with a small but significant increase in the intensity of blue light over what is expected of black-body radiation. Not counting sunset of course. And neglecting absorption lines - I was in third grade, the thing wasn't precise enough for that!)

So that's evidence the sky is blue (and that I was an unusual kid), not "self-evidence." Although in this case, actually observing the sky with your eyes is still evidence; our eyes may be flawed in many ways, but they are sufficient for distinguishing between at least a few million gradations between 390-700 nm wavelengths. That's quite sufficient for narrowing it down to "blue."

That's exactly what I mean about what people consider "self-evidence" actually being evidence they've seen so often they've forgotten it's evidence. You note the approximate visible wavelength of the sky many times a day; it's actually quite well established by repeated observation that (barring systematic errors in our visual processes) it's blue.

> But, if someone did not share this self-evident belief, they would find it quite irrational to assume that the sky is indeed blue in reality, as opposed to merely in your perception of it.

So let's say this happened - let's say someone said the sky was green. Well, there are two possibilities, and we can distinguish between them by showing them other objects with similar emission or reflection spectra. One is that they see these other purportedly blue objects as green. No problem! They simply use "green" to mean "blue." Half a billion people use azul instead, so this is no big deal.

The other possibility is that every other blue thing we can test looks blue to this person, but they still insist the sky is green. This again leads to two possibilities. One is that the sky really is green just for this individual and most of what we have determined about reality is false. The other is that this person has a psychological condition that makes him believe the sky is green. Do we have to accept that the sky is simply self-evidently green to him? Nope! Science!

Put him in a room, and through one slit allow in natural sunlight, and through another match the spectrum of solar light with artificial light as closely as possible. Vary which slit is which. Can this person regularly identify the "green" sky? (specifically compared to control groups?) If not, we can conclude he sees the sky as green due to a psychological condition, not something indicative of reality. This is surprisingly common - just read up on dowsing for instance. There are people convinced they can detect water with sticks, but every one of them fail in tests to do so at rates above random chance. (Dowsers got away with this in old days because when you dug a well, you'd only have to hit a state-sized aquifer.)

The alternative, if he can regularly identify the sky slit as green, and assuming that other possibilities have been excluded, is that reality really doesn't work the way we think it does. Maybe he's a separate brain in a separate jar. Maybe light waves like certain people better. Maybe what we thought were photons were just faeries and they're screwing with us for fun. Whatever the case, though, we'd now have evidence for it. Not "self-evidence" but actual evidence.

Now, you can argue that maybe reality doesn't matter - maybe that person's psychological condition that makes him see a green sky is just as important as the blue sky. Maybe it makes him happier or donate to charity more or whatever, so we should leave him alone. All fine arguments, but they would be separate discussions.

From your other link:

> I also concluded that by logic, existence itself is uncaused.

That remains to be seen. Well-tested theories still leave open other possibilities; though obviously we haven't yet tested these possibilities. But since your basis for belief, according to the other thread, was on the necessity of an uncaused creation in violation of natural laws, I thought you might be interested to know that there are some hypothesis regarding said creation that fit within those laws.

u/Urobolos · 1 pointr/atheism

I enjoyed reading a Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss.

u/dog_on_the_hunt · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Reported? For what? Baffling...

A Universe from Nothing

>One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing.

Of course, that's nonsense and he's been taken to task for his definition of "nothing" – but, yeah, he thinks "the Big Bang started from literally nothing..."

I'm honestly baffled why citing a scientist who premiumsalad claims doesn't exist is a problem for this sub. But, yeah, this will certainly be my last post here. Cheers.

u/FattyWantCake · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Your god is 'something'and doesn't provide an answer. Also we've never demonstrated that nothingness is possible, so it's a faulty premise.

The short answer is, we don't know for sure (and regressing one level by saying 'god' is insufficient), but if you want the best current explanation, and to get into the meat of the question rather than the semantics, though, see; multiverse theory and the anthropic principle.

Furthermore, science is a self-correcting mechanism, not the end-all-be-all answer that religion claims to be. Not a 1-to-1 on the claims they make.

Edit: a more nuanced, actual physicist's answer to your question:

u/nolan1971 · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

You're assuming that we don't have evidence, though. That was more of less true even as recently as the 1980s, but there's been a ton of work done on cosmology since then.

I suggest A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing as a decent starting point. There are other good books on the subject out there as well, but I like Krauss' writing style. Echo of the Big Bang is good as well, even if it's getting a bit dated.

Anyway, I get it. Cosmology (and a lot of physics in general) is unintuitive. Which is why relying on intuitive experience is a Bad Idea™.

u/creepindacellar · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

this really was a good book, if OP really wanted our best understanding of what "nothing" is, and why it is so hard to come by.

"A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss

u/ses1 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>In these previous posts, we have one of the world's leading cosmologists, Don Page, (who happens to be an Evangelical Christian) disagreeing with your assessment. We have another, Sean Carroll, who also disagrees.

Okay, let’s play dueling cosmologists! Stephen Hawking thinks the universe had a beginning. Lawrence Krauss wrote a book where he says the universe sprang from nothing.

So this line of argument is pointless.

>Even the BGV theorem states that “almost all” inflationary models of the universe (as opposed to Dr. Craig’s “any universe”) will reach a boundary in the past – meaning our universe probably doesn’t exist infinitely into the past.

You are incorrect, once again. See below.

>Alex Vilenkin further goes on to state…

But Alex Vilenkin also said this: If someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Borde and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning, I would say that the short answer is "yes". If you are willing to get into subtleties, then the answer is "No, but..." So, there are ways to get around having a beginning, but then you are forced to have something nearly as special as a beginning.

This is where the “almost all” comes into play. The Aguirre-Gratton model and the Carroll-Chen model “get around” the BVG but their models fail for other reasons.

And what did Alex Vilenkin think of WLC’s handling of the BVG theorem?

During a debate Krauss basically accused WLC of misrepresenting the BVG theorem. WLC contacted Vilenkin to see if what he thought of the way WLC as using the BVG

Vilenkin: I would say the theorem makes a plausible case that there was a beginning. and I think you represented what I wrote about the BGV theorem in my papers and to you personally very accurately source

Furthermore Vilenkin, and graduate student Audrey Mithani, used mathematics to examine three potential logistical loopholes in the 2003 theorem, strengthening the original premise that the universe did, in fact, begin Or see a more technical paper

>So, I've shown leading cosmologists who disagree with you, and even the V of the BGV trio that you are using to support your claim disagrees.

You’ve shown 2 leading cosmologists who disagree with me and I’ve shown 2 that do agree with me. But I’ve also shown, right out of Vilenkin own mouth and via what he wrote, you are completely wrong about the BVG

>So, how can you claim you have a JTB about the origin of the Universe?

The BVG theorem, to start.

>The truth is, unless you have come up with a theory that harmonizes quantum mechanics with the theory of relativity, then nobody has the math to see past the Planck Epoch.

As Alex Vilenkin says the BVG theorem is independent of this.

>Thus, nobody can make a claim as to what existed or didn't exist prior to the Big Bang.

But we are talking about whether the universe began; it did according to the best data that we currently have.

Once we conclude that it did have a beginning we can then get onto what caused it.

So, your claim that the premises of the KCA are “unsupported” has fallen on its face, and thus the universe must have had a cause.

>This is what WLC claims it states, but as I quoted above that's not what the theory states. It says almost all inflationary models (not any universe as WLC erroneously claims) will reach a space-time boundary (not a "beginning" as WLC claims).

Refuted above by Vilenkin above on two counts. One, WLC represented the BVG well, and two Vilenkin says the universe began - in the last couple of minutes Vilenkin says explicitly that the universe began.

As I said your claim that premises of the KCA are unsupported can be dismissed as unintelligible.

>I have shown how this cannot be a JTB because we cannot have knowledge of what occurred before the Planck Epoch. We can speculate, but currently this is speculation only.

Since we have now established that both premises of the KCA are JTB’s based on what we currently know, therefore, the universe requires a cause.

>….I'm not claiming the Singularity existed for all eternity. Rather, I'm saying we can't know, with our current knowledge, the nature of the Singularity. I'm not saying it's eternal, or that it's not. I'm saying we don't know.

So you take no position. Why does this come as no surprise. But that doesn't matter. We know [JTB] that an infinite regress of causes is impossible, nor can something cause itself into existence, therefore there must be uncaused metaphysical necessity; a MNC.

We have no evidence of anything that existed before the universe. Thus we can say that this MNC caused the universe into existence. Why do I say this? Occam’s razor. We know the universe exists, we know that it must have been caused, we have no reason to think that is any intermediary between the two.

So, space, time, and matter began to exist. What could have caused them to begin to exist.

Whatever causes the universe to appear is not bound by time (temporal). There was no passage of time causally prior to the big bang, so the cause of the universe did not come into being. The cause existed eternally.

And the cause is not material. All the matter in the universe came into being at the first moment. Whatever caused the universe to begin to exist cannot have been matter, because there was no matter causally prior to the big bang.

So what could the cause be? Abstract objects, like numbers, sets and mathematical relations - but they have no causal powers.

Minds, like our own mind, can create things like poems and novels.

>The infinite regression? It may be a problem, sure. It's also not a problem that is solved by adding a deity, because if this deity is eternal, then it also extends infinitely into the past. The only way around this (that I see, at least), is to special plead the problem as not applicable to the deity.

You are confused. An infinite regress of causes is impossible, not an uncaused MN. And it isn’t special pleading since atheists the world over used to say the universe was this MN.

>Not exactly. Not only is the Universe having an ontological beginning (a cause is a different point) something we cannot know, this is dangerously close to being an "MNC of the Gaps".

If atheists accepted the universe as an MN, then it is special pleading on your part to try and disallow it now.

>Further, if the Singularity existed for all of eternity, and the initial conditions were sufficient to cause the universe, then why isn’t the universe eternal?
Why would it have to be eternal, even if the Singularity is?

If you are postulating the Singularity as the MNC why would it “decide” to create the universe ~13.8 billion years ago? If the cause is sufficient from eternity then the effect should happen at that point - from eterinty.

But if this MNC was a mind with a will then it could decide to create the universe ~13.8 billion years ago. Problem solved.

u/amateurphilosopheur · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

Here's a quick and dirty summary of some of my favourite arguments against Christianity and related religions:

  1. Evolutionary theory defeats the argument from design/Paley's watch: complex organic design and adaptation - as well as all associated phenomena, such as speciation and diversity - can be explained more successfully in naturalistic terms, via natural selection and the other empirically well-confirmed mechanisms of evolution.

  2. Quantum mechanics defeats the first mover/cosmological/something-can't-come-from-nothing argument: Quantum mechanics shows the universe can in fact materialize from nothing (see [A Universe from Nothing] (, and that this kind of creation ex nihilo happens all the time; also, multiverse theory shows our universe may just be one of many. Hence something can in fact come from nothing; and the need for a first cause, God, is specious (it is just as likely that the multiverse has existed forever and will continue eternally).

  3. There are logical contradictions inherent in the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent creator (theodicy): for instance, such a god would want and be able to eliminate all evil, yet evil exists.

  4. The ontological argument assumes existence is a property, which (thanks to Kant, Frege, and Russell) we have reason to think [it is not] ( Plus - and this may be more damning - the whole argument depends on us accepting a stipulated definition, as well as assuming existing is more perfect (whatever that means) than not-existing; 'definitional arguments' like these aren't all that convincing.

    As you can see, some of these arguments are empirical/scientific in nature while others have more of a logical/philosophical/a priori flavour. I myself tend to find the former more compelling, but together I think they make a knock-down case. In other words, once the two biggest pillars of support for Christianity (complex design, the universe's origin) are removed, what you have left is conceptual issues with the theory.
u/aketzle · 1 pointr/exjw

Very good advice. Another good suggestion on the origin of the universe: "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss. (

The "I just don't believe it could have come from nothing" argument is, according to her, the reason my mother keeps going back to the JWs. My husband and I gave her this book to read, but of course she didn't read it. Of course, how you get from, "Maybe we didn't come from nothing," to, "Therefore the JWs have the right religion" is a mind-boggling leap of conclusions to anyone who thinks about it. But then, they're trained explicitly not to do that. :)

u/brojangles · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>I'm in no way saying that it is wrong because I do not know and in fact Hawking does not know if that is reality.

Actually this is just math. We do know that universes can create themselves, and we do know that with an infinite number of trials
every possibility will occur an infinite number of times.

Your "contingency" argument can be dismissed out of hand. That's just First Cause in new fish wrap. Prove the universe is contingent. Explain why God is not. Philosophy has no application to the origin of the universe anyway. That's a scientific question, not a philosophical one. Theoretical physicists are not stumped by apologetic pseudo-philosophy.

>I do not know that it was ever possible for nothing to exist. By occam's razor though it does seem as the simpler state. I would be interested to read what you have read that says quantum physics tells us that pure nothingness cannot exist because at this point I've never heard anything like that.

Lawrence Krauss A Universe from Nothing

Lecture available on youtube

u/JustWantToDie5 · 1 pointr/science2

The whole Universe... came from nothing. Krauss presents a compelling case, relating it to things we know are happening all the time, virtual particles forming and disappearing again, and there's always the theory which looks pretty good so far, that the total energy of the Universe is zero.

Where'd it all come from? a quantum mechanical anomaly, random chance, an accident of something that shouldn't have happened, but did anyway - which is why we're here to see it, but if it hadn't, we wouldn't be. What started it? Nothing, it came from nothing, before it was nothing, really nothing, no time, no space, no matter, no energy, no anything.

u/GardenSaladEntree · 1 pointr/todayilearned
u/BrosEquis · 1 pointr/changemyview

>There was NOTHING and then something was created out of that.
The latter is foolish. There can not be "nothing", no existence of any kind, but if you are an atheist you must believe that it is true. Telling me that there was nothing makes absolutely zero sense and makes you look as foolish as the (religious) creationists you mock.

While I don't refute your view that it's foolish to assert to know definitively that there's a God or not with 100% clarity, I got an issue with this point of yours. It's incomplete. It's possible to have a valid and sound hypothesis of the origins of the universe that does not require a God of any kind.

Read the book A universe from nothing by a leading astrophysicist from MIT. There's also a
video lecture by him discussing this same point. It discusses just how empty empty space is (hint: it's not) and how mathematically provable that our universe could have sprung from nothing.

In the end, you can't prove or disprove the existence of God. You may only adapt a world-view that includes a higher power or not.

I hope you took away that some people aren't as naive as you make them out to be.

u/zombiegeezus · 1 pointr/Astronomy

It is and it's based off the book that I believe is Russian. Anyway, the one he is talking about is this one. You can also check out Binocular Highlights.

u/LocalAmazonBot · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:

Link: this


This bot is currently in testing so let me know what you think by voting (or commenting).

u/idoescompooters · 1 pointr/askastronomy

Nice! Well, I would definitely recommend he read some Carl Sagan (Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot) and Steven Hawking (Brief History of Time, The Grand Design, etc.). Looks like there's a really good book out since 3 days ago called, The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne. This would be a really good book to get him. I picked up a pretty old Astronomy textbook a while ago for a really cheap price that I'm going to look over a bit, but I don't know of any specific ones to recommend. Here's an awesome PDF I got from a redditor who was offering an eBook and PDF of his book for free to anyone who asked:

u/Soggy_Stargazer · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I second the finder, although I will recommend the rigel over the telrad, especially on the smaller scope.

I would also recommend NightWatch which is an excellent beginners guide as well.

u/Awffles · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I'm also an xt6 owner.

For software, you can't go wrong with Stellarium. It's free, and it lets you choose your location as well as time and date. Very handy.

For reading material, these two books have served me well:

Nightwatch: contains loads of stargazing tips and general astronomy information. Also contains star charts, and detailed charts of select constellations.

Binocular Highlights: I find myself using this one all the time. Its focus is on binocular astronomy, but you can use it with a telescope as it's a sort of "best-of" of the night sky. Each object has a detailed, zoomed-in map and a brief description. Contains star charts for every season, with every object in the book marked on the charts.

For photography, you'll only really be able to take decent pictures of the Moon and the brighter planets. As others have pointed out, you'll need some fancier equipment to take good pictures of deep-sky objects.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite objects:

The Orion Nebula (M42): under the heavily light-polluted skies of my backyard, still fuzzy and nebula-like. Glorious under dark skies, when the dusty arms and finer details become apparent.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31): Looks like a big hazy smudge through the eyepiece. Its companion (M32, I think) is also visible in the same field of view.

Ring Nebula (M57): Even under light-polluted skies, I can pick this one out pretty easily by star-hopping. Looks like a small, blue donut.

Double Cluster: absolutely brilliant collection of stars in a single field of view.

u/aterfy27 · 1 pointr/telescopes

Surprised to not see anyone recommend Nightwatch yet! Although I'm not sure how it is for southern hemisphere....I've found it pretty helpful, though!

u/ExhaustedManager · 1 pointr/askastronomy

I also enjoyed this one: Link

It's not overwhelming and does a good job of explaining the basics.

u/plytheman · 1 pointr/Astronomy

If you're looking for a book I got NightWatch a few years ago and I've been pretty happy with it as a crash course in astronomy. It's not the most detailed book you'll get, but it's a great introduction. There are a few chapters that go into some (quick) science on everything from the Sun to the planets to deep space objects, a chapter on choosing a telescope, and one with a brief overview of astrophotography. It also has some basic charts for each season and then maybe 18 or 20 more detailed charts focused on the constellations and interesting DSOs to be found near them.

Due to being broke and too wimpy to stand out in the cold this winter I haven't taken the next steps of getting a telescope or more detailed sky atlas but I'd certainly recommend at least stopping at the library to find the book if not buying it.

u/FoolishChemist · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

Actually this is a book I read when I was a wee chap back in high school. The book has a bunch of references, so you can easily look for the original source material if you need it. Also that's the same Kip Thorne who advised the Interstellar movie.

u/DrunkPlanck · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Apart from that you can also work your way through textbooks, such as Molecular Quantum Mechanics, read popular publications such as A Brief history of time or The Elegant Universe (haven't read those unfortunately).

You can also visit the subreddit /r/Physics, to be up to date, ask questions and such, or even visit 4Chans /sci/ which gives you access to a large science and math guide.

u/reasonosaur · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was just starting to get interested in philosophy. I took an unusual route, but I can sure recommend some good books that will change how you think!

  • This might be above your level, but Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps will certainly change the way you look at the world! Many concepts are explored. It's a great jumping off point to any of the books he references.

  • While this is more pop-philosophy, Richard Brodie's Virus of the Mind is great for your age level. Highly recommended!

  • I'm a huge fan of Nietzsche, and his Beyond Good and Evil is profound and influential. It can make you question some of your most basic assumptions.

  • More science-y but The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene is truly an amazing book that demonstrates just how strange and non-intuitive the universe really is. Natural philosophy at its finest.
u/pixel_fcker · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Excellent post. If any of you are still having trouble with the idea, then for a lengthier version of this explanation complete with diagrams, I highly suggest picking up The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene:

u/TotallyNotAFrog · 1 pointr/Physics

Anything by Brian Greene. His books are aimed at laypeople, and he explains the ideas behind quantum mechanics, relativity and string theory without any mathematics whatsoever.

I would recommend you start with The Elegant Universe and then The Fabric of the Cosmos. These books are easier to follow than Brief History of Time, and explain all of the interesting aspects of physics such as time dilation, warping of space, particles being waves, etc.

u/SpacedOutKarmanaut · 1 pointr/trees

To put this in a slightly different light than other commenters, there's one simple answer: the laws of physics should work no matter what you're doing (this is what Einstein focused on). You can't go exactly the speed of light, but even if you blasted off from Earth at 0.999c (very close to it!) your spaceships headlights, disco ball, and christmas light would still beam light away from you at the speed of light. Whaaat? Why?

Speed and velocity are relative. In this case, your ship is moving relative to Earth, and off to Neptune or some dank, misty moon like Titan. If you're in empty space and a spaceship goes floating by, it's difficult to tell if she's the one whizzing past, or you. Inside you're own ship, like when you're in a smoothly cruising car, it's almost like you're standing still. Hence, when you turn on a flashlight, or your headlights, they work just like normal and the light travels at the speed of light. If this seems weird - it is a bit weird! It's where all the cool stuff that happens in relativity comes from (twin paradox time dilation, E= mc^2). To learn more, I seriously recommend checking out shows like Cosmos or books like "The Elegant Universe." Hopefully they will blow your mind like they did mine. :)

u/audiophilistine · 1 pointr/askscience

One of the best explanations for relativity I've come across is from Brian Greene in "The Elegant Universe," a book I highly recommend if you're interested in physics without having to learn all the math involved. Be warned, the material is dense. Took me about four months to read and digest.

Basically, space and time are different expressions for the same concept, space-time, much like magnetism and electricity are different expressions for the same force, electro-magnetism. Greene says we're always travelling at light speed. When standing in place, we're moving at light speed through time. When we move through space at any speed we're moving a corresponding amount slower through time. The faster we move through space the slower we move through time up until we reach light speed, at which point we've completely stopped moving through time.

So, when travelling at any significant fraction of light speed, our relative speed through time is slower than that of someone standing still. It's kind of a see-saw effect where increasing one side decreases the other side of the equation. This is so fun to think about because it's mind bending and totally counter-intuitive.

u/cowmoo · 1 pointr/threebodyproblem

In a different vein, I heard that there is a popular science nonfiction Chinese book, called "The Physics of the Three Body Problem Universe,"

I was keen to order it but realized that I probably can't understand it.

But there are several excellent pop-sci books on String Theory, Big Bang that I would have considered abstract, obtuse prior to reading Three Body Problem,

u/QWERTY_REVEALED · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene did a pretty good job of covering high-level physics concepts up through string theory.

u/Hypersomnus · 1 pointr/worldnews

By looking at the gloves. The Centauri look at the gloves in order to deduce the earth glove key.

TBH; I am no expert on this stuff, we are reaching the point where my hackneyed understanding via science writing and metaphor is falling apart. I suggest reading "the elegant universe by brian greene". It is a super cheap book that has a lot of really amazing explanations for stuff with relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory.

u/prescient_potato · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

For anyone interested in this kind of stuff, I highly recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene ( I thought it was a great read and relatively easy to understand for someone not in the physics field.

u/Bike1894 · 1 pointr/conspiracy

It's VERY well understood. Gravity is concretely understood. We can predict orbits, how fast something will fall, gravitational constants, etc. etc. etc. EVERYTHING on a large scale (talking about anything macroscopic) can be precisely modeled and explained.

The issue that we run into is when we get into the Microscopic scale. Not the size of molecules, but the size of atoms and sub-atomic particles. That's when things get tricky. Scientist and theoretical physicists cannot YET accurately model anything that's smaller than an atom. Hell, we can't even tell where an electron will be in the orbit around the proton. However, this is what Quantum Mechanics is trying to tie together. Because nothing at that level mathematically follows the rules of Macro physics such as gravity. It's been a century long question and once a unifying theory comes around to join Quantum Mechanics and Gravitational theory, then it's going to be monumental.

You're absolutely correct that the theory of gravity doesn't apply to ALL things, because at the very small scale, things get really weird. Theories about 11+ dimensions come into play. No one really knows yet or how to predict it.

Fascinatingly enough, this is what Interstellar was about. At the beginning of the movie, they explain that they finally found the unifying theory that joins gravitational theory and quantum mechanics together.

Rest assured, we know how gravity works. We can accurately predict how planets will move, and how gravity impacts other objects. There are anomalies like black holes and quantum mechanics that we just simply don't know enough about. But I can confidently say, gravity is real, we know what it is (although we can't physically see the force, we can just see how it impacts objects), and the math behind it is very concrete.

Since you seem quite literate, I'd highly recommend reading this book:

It's a tough read, but it's real quite fascinating and eye opening to how bizarre the small world really is.

u/NegativeGPA · 1 pointr/zen

Have you seen Mr. Nobody?

I highly recommend it

But read this first:

u/seanmcarroll · 1 pointr/askscience

We know many things, and many questions are still unanswered.

u/DuckTruck · 1 pointr/philosophy

I cannot recommend enough this book "From Eternity to Here", a book that explores time as a thermodynamic phenomenon.

u/greysky7 · 1 pointr/timetravel

I just subscribed to this sub, and I'm so sad you didn't get any answers here. I came here after reading a few books that deal with the actual science behind the physics of time travel.

Here are a few to get you started.

How to Build a Time Machine

Time Travel and Warp Drives

I really recommend From Eternity to Here, it's just raw science on time, though there is an interesting chapter that really explains what it would take for travelling through time backwards. Overall, a very important read if you want to know what time actually is, compared to how we perceive it.

Also, I'll recommend the first book I started with, which I got into because I was writing a short story for a college class that involved time travel. It explains time travel and how to use it in fiction, so it's much less technical but gives a solid understanding as to how we would typically perceive the effects of them. it deals with getting paradoxes right etc. Here it is.

EDIT: Just realized all my links were to Canadian amazon, I'm sure they'll be on the US amazon if that's where you happen to live. Have fun!

u/randomb0y · 1 pointr/Physics

Sean Carroll wrote a book about time too, where it's all about entropy. You can always check out the amazon page of a book for a summary. Here's Carroll's:

I don't personally subscribe to either view, I think time is more fundamental than entropy and there's no good reason to believe our universe "closes up on itself".

Also here's a short Carroll talk on the subject of time:

u/Johnzsmith · 1 pointr/books

No particular order:

Blind Descent by James M. Tabor. It is a great book about cave exploration and the race to discover the worlds deepest supercave.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Are you interested in the universe and how it all happened? This gives some pretty insightful answers.

From Eternity To Here by Sean Carrol. A really interesting view on the nature and concept of time and how it relates to the us and the universe. It can get a bit deep from time to time, but I found it fascinating.

Adventures Among Ants by Mark W. Moffet. It's about ants. Seriously. Ants.

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. A first hand account of the ill-fated Scott expedition to the south pole in 1911-1912. Even after reading the book I cannot imagine what those men went through.

Bonus book: The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan. Human intelligence and how it evolved. Some really interesting stuff about the brain and how it works. A very enjoyable read.

u/jaredjeya · 1 pointr/Futurology

That's simply a mathematical description of it. We're saying that antimatter moving forwards in time is mathematically identical to matter moving backwards. Matter can be thought of as antimatter moving backwards in time, too.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy increases) comes from the definition of entropy: high entropy means that there are lots of ways to arrange things microscopically so that they're indistinguishable at our level. That means necessarily that there are more high entropy states than low entropy states, so by pure probability evolving a system in time (in either direction) leads to a higher entropy system. It's got nothing to do with individual particles moving forwards or backwards in time.

Most of what you consider to be consequences of time moving forwards are consequences of entropy increasing: a being moving "backwards" in time isn't going to remember the future, because remembering is about being able to work backwards from your current high-entropy state to a low-entropy past. Imagine you have a photograph: if entropy was lower in the past, it probably resulted from the lower entropy situation of a camera photographing the subject. If it wasn't lower, then it might just be a random chance collection of atoms that used to be a high-entropy gas.

So to answer your question: antimatter is going to obey the same laws here as everything else. Entropy increases because we don't know anything about the future, and know that in the past it was lower. The same applies to antimatter.

Sorry for the wall of text - but if you're interested you should read this book, which does a remarkable job of explaining entropy.

u/from_ether_side · 1 pointr/exmormon

First article:

There's a link in there to another article that is also good.

Here's a talk given at a Mormon transhumanist conference. It's not really tied to mormonism, especially not this talk.

The guy speaking is a friend of mine, and he describes himself as an agnostic, leaning toward the theist side. His definition of god is very different from the typical definition. It's more like the process of evolution heading towards more complexity and more cooperation, it is possible that there is something directing that. Of course there is no conclusive proof, there really cannot be, but it is still interesting to think about.

I also like a concept called the arrow of time. Here's a fun music video for an intro.

Look in the description for a link to the lecture that inspired the music video. The professor is Sean Carroll, and my friend recommends his book,

I hope that helps!

u/McTuggets · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion
u/DarthHM · 1 pointr/Astronomy

My favorites are:
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide,

A Guide to Backyard Astronomy (I found this one at a 2nd hand bookstore, not sure if it's still in print. This is my absolute favorite because of some great starhopping tours they put in the back)

EDIT: Here's an example of one of the starhop tours in A Guide to Backyard Astronomy.
The icons clearly indicate whether the target is a naked eye, binocular, or telescope object.

Of course there's the ubiquitous Turn Left at Orion. I can't say much about it since I've never actually gotten around to reading it.

Alternatively, check out
as well as Mr. Fuller's YouTube channel

The "Basics" playlists are damn good, and unlike a lot of other sources, the practical demonstrations on video make things super clear to understand.

u/KristnSchaalisahorse · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion is often recommended. It seems to be great for learning about navigating and observing the night sky with binoculars or a telescope and what you can expect to see.

I have the Backyard Astronomer's Guide, which is extremely comprehensive and teaches just about everything such as navigating the night sky, information about the various types of objects, observing with the naked eye, binoculars, and telescopes, details about different types of telescopes and accessories and how to use them, and a few sections on astrophotography.

However, it is a bit hefty and not super cheap. And it doesn't include a detailed sky atlas (but it does talk about them).

Stellarium is a very popular planetarium program. It's awesome. And free!

u/walkingcarpet23 · 1 pointr/askastronomy

Thank you! I passed the link on to my parents, and I am considering getting him this book as well.

u/VaultOfDaedalus · 1 pointr/telescopes

So to basically make a shopping list:

u/Sycosys · 1 pointr/Astronomy

ah fair enough, Left Turn at Orion is highly recommended by folks around here.

u/812many · 1 pointr/telescopes

I use printouts and books much more than apps. Printouts especially are great because you can mark them up and plan what you want to look for.

I mostly use to get the map of what's up this month, and it includes locations of the planets. Easy two page printout. Of course, planets are bright enough that you don't even need dark skies to find them, so you can try pointing your funscope at them right now.

Currently, the planets are coming up later at night, with Jupiter coming up after mindight, mars after 2:00am, and venus at 4:00am. So if you want to see them, I'd recommend getting up early in the morning. I'd recommending practicing finding them in the sky with an App before you leave. They are super easy to find once you've done it a couple of times, and follow the path of the sun.

Since your scope and binoculars are relative low on magnification, you'll probably want to look for big bright nebula's, star clusters, and galaxies. If you've never seen any of them before, look for the bright ones: the Orion Nebula and Andromeda galaxy are huge and going to be high in the sky in the evening. They are both bright enough to see a little bit of even in light polluted skies, so I'd practice finding them before you leave on vacation.

For traveling recently, I just brought binoculars and a tripod. I have cheap sets of 7x50 and 15x70. Your funscope has a 76mm mirror, about the size of my big binoculars.

Personally, I think it's a great idea to bring both the scope and the binoculars. You'll get a feel for what you like to look through more once you're out there.

I am not an expert on taking pictures through telescopes, but I do know that if you don't have a tracking equatorial mount, it's really tough to get anything in the sky because you have to take brief pictures. And the funscope doesn't have a parabolic mirror, which makes goop pictures very difficult, too.

If you're just starting out and want to get into the hobby, I really recommend the book Left Turn at Orion. Truly a great guide to getting started when you have no idea where to start in this hobby. And it's the best guide for finding stuff for the first time.

u/TeenBear · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

If you're just aiming to look at things in the sky:

u/Stubb · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Whatever telescope you end up getting, pick up a copy of Turn Left at Orion. It's a step-by-step guide to finding and observing a hundred different celestial objects with a small telescope.

I've had great luck using the book with Starmap Pro to find my way arond the night sky.

u/Benisar · 1 pointr/pics

You should start with using your finder scope, so make sure it's aiming correctly, this is very important and will save you time later! I would also highly recommend a book like Turn Left at Orion. Its a great book to teach you how to find things, plus its a great guide on the best things to find year round.

For finding things you can't see, you use finder stars, starting with a star you can see and using the finder scope to jump from star to star on a path to your target.

However, you mentioned wanted to view planets, most of those will be visible to the naked eye during different parts of the year, Jupiter in particular is lovely and bright right now. Stellarium is an excellent tool to find out whats visible in your area at any time.

Of course, things are more difficult if you live in an urban area with loads of light pollution, this link might help you more with that.

If you have more questions, /r/telescopes or /r/Astronomy might be able to help you out more than I can.

Good Luck and dark skies!

u/Grunchlk · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Oh, gotcha. I understand now. Then yeah, get him a telescope and he'll appreciate it. More than anything it shows that you pay attention to him and care about his hobbies. Also, be sure he has a copy of Stellarium (it's free) and for future presents you can get him copies of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide and Turn Left at Orion not to mention the countless accessories that are available in the astronomy world. Just pop back over to /r/astronomy if you need more ideas!

Edit: Stellarium link

u/e6c · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This is THE book that started my love of science. I have read it multiple times and each time my understanding of the universe grows be leaps and bounds... If you buy it and don't love it, I will pay you back.

u/goingandcoming · 1 pointr/islam

This is - in dept - a difficult question for me to answer. Time itself is very hard to define as an isolated concept and books, like for example written by the great mind of our time Stephen Hawking, are written about it. This is a quote from the book 'Ibn 'Arabi - Time and Cosmology', (page 24):

>"...time is one of the most fundamental issues in philosophy and cosmology, since the whole of existence is nothing but consecutive series of events in time. Everybody feels time, but most people do not question it because it is commonly experienced every day in many things and is so familiar. However, it is far more difficult to understand the philosophical nature of time and its characteristics.

>Throughout the history of philosophy, many opposing views have emerged to discuss and describe the different aspects of time, and some novel hypotheses have eventually emerged in modern cosmology. However, it is still the dream of every physicist to unveil the reality of time, especially since all modern theories have come to the conclusion that time is the key."

When I would try to explain the concept of time to anyone, I would first of all state that we humans have our limitations. We do not know, other than that what we perceive. I would not have known that time is relative, if it were not for Einstein and Hawking to back-up their theories. Note that we are still scratching the surface, since I try to answer your question, without going into matters like what CERN does and what the effects of their assumptions and conclusions will have on widely accepted theories in modern day science, or for example the Higgs boson (he named it the 'God particle') and what this means for our basic understanding of concepts like cosmos and time.

I think that your question originates from not understanding the concept that Allah is not his creation. So everything that we observe, is within the creation of Allah and it is very hard (it would seem impossible, if not for the mercy - of knowing him - that he send down upon us) to define anything that is outside of his creation.

A chemistry professor in Stuttgard, which is a converted Christian himself, said about time: "Allah creates all of his creation again in every small instant". The same professor said that modern western scientists only recently made a shift in thinking about time, while 'Ibn 'Arabi (which I mentioned earlier) expressed such theories in his time already. The professor could make this conclusion, because he is an active member of fora where his peers post, discuss and promote the newest theories, and for example the papers they write, on these subjects.

u/lurkinggru3 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

A Brief History of Time I loved this book and learned quite a bit about the relationship between light and time.

u/togashikokujin · 1 pointr/space

Well... Not really? I'd probably word it more as experiencing the passage of time faster/slower as opposed to moving through time faster/slower, as the latter (at least to me) seems to imply time as an absolute, but that may just be a wording issue on my part.

Honestly we're moving toward areas I don't feel as confident explaining, but I'll give it a try. As far as I understand, basically if two observers are at rest with respect to each other in the same inertial reference frame, they will experience the same passage of time. If the two observers are in motion with respect to each other (outside of a major gravitational field), each will observe the other's clock as going slower than his own. Each observer's experience of his own passage of time also never changes.

Clocks near significant gravitational masses also move more slowly than those farther away, which isn't reciprocal like the relative velocity time dilation. An observer farther away from the mass and one closer will both agree that the farther away observer's clock is moving faster and the closer observer's clock is moving slower.

If all this fascinates you and you want to read about it from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, I'd recommend Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time". You can also check out the Wikipedia pages on the theory of relativity and time dilation, but I think it helps a lot to have a whole book to explore the ideas rather than just a couple Wikipedia pages. Also, Hawking is really good at explaining all of it in a way that normal people like us can understand while still keeping the ideas intact.

u/HeathFlugruger1 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

If you're looking for a history of physics, I highly recommend Big Bang by Simon Singh. Its a really interesting introduction into the history of how we know what we know in physics and astronomy, and how we've gotten to this point in our accumulation of scientific knowledge.

u/mowgly · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I would recommend reading "Big Bang" by Simon Singh. Very easy to read and entertaining too.

u/hovding · 1 pointr/books

I would recommend Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh. He leads the reader through our own history of cosmological discovery. Starting with the ancient Greeks and how they found the circumference of the earth with just a stick and a hole in the ground and ending with the big bang theory. It doesn't get very technical.

It's a starting point at least. There was also another post here that led to a list of the 100 best science books.

As for self-awareness, I really don't have any suggestions, but just the fact that you are seeking to be more self aware is a step in the right direction.

Good luck!

u/goo321 · 1 pointr/AskHistorians


depending on where you are from, read a book about every major war your country fought. Who's kidding who, wars are the interesting parts.

Biographies or auto-biographies are interesting.

I remember as a kid i liked,

Recently liked:

u/CraigKostelecky · 1 pointr/bigbangtheory

I’m sure you now realize this forum is about the TV show, but plenty of people here have the basic knowledge about this so you may get some good answers.

The simplest answer is we don’t know. We don’t even know for sure if the Big Bang actually happened. But it was calculated by observing the motion of the stars and calculating where they’d be if time was reversed. And when they did that, the stars and galaxies all met at a single point 14.2(ish) billion years ago.

There have been other observations to back up this claim (CBR for one) so it has become widely accepted by the scientific community.

But since all measurements are reset at the time of the Big Bang, it’s hard to tell what happened before then (if anything).

This is of course an oversimplification of a complicated scientific theory, but it gets the point across. If you want to read more about the Big Bang theory, Simon Singh wrote a nice book that’s not too hard to understand if you don’t have a science background).

u/ein_kreb · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Basically, because people are stubborn and refuse to let go of their ideas. Sometimes the older, established scientists refused to accept newer models or theories because they believe that their's is the correct one; and sometimes they stop or stifle the progress of younger scientist. It's usually only after the older scientists have retired/died that new paradigms arise.

You should read [Simon Singh's The Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe] ( for some historical examples.

u/MegaTrain · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

I was a YEC until I read Simon Singh's book Big Bang, which convinced me that the evidence for an old universe was strong and convincing. For the next several years before my full deconversion, I was an old-earth creationist.

You just can't argue with the speed of light, and the "God created the light already on the way to Earth" just seemed really stupid.

u/juuular · 1 pointr/changemyview

Given our current understanding of physics, eventually the universe will experience a heat death and all the stars and all the black holes will evaporate. Some of the crazier theories posit that empty space will spontaneously decay to a lower energy state and cause another Big Bang of sorts.

Good further links for the interested:

u/JustDroppinBy · 1 pointr/trees

I'm going back to school right now to raise my GPA so that I can eventually become an astrophysicist. Never did much homework in high school... I can't take physics courses without the preliminary course credits first, so my best sources are books written by physicists and the only one I've got is this one. I'm almost finished with it, though, and looking for suggestions on what to read next. Any thoughts?

u/CKoenig · 1 pointr/cosmology
u/GarethNZ · 1 pointr/PhilosophyofScience

You all might enjoy:

The Black Hole War

Summary / Discussion


Although parts of the discussion on this thread need to differentiate with information in the 'real world' sense, and knowledge / inferred information.

u/REGULAR_POST · 1 pointr/space

I know I’m showing up a bit late, but I absolutely have to recommend The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind:

I know it might sound like an overly-specific or technical book, and the title gives the impression that the author has a chip on his shoulder about Stephen Hawking, but I can assure you that neither of those things are the case!

The story of the “war” itself is really just about how Susskind and Hawking had a friendly scientific disagreement over whether it’s theoretically possible to retrieve something after it enters a black hole. They discussed it for years, and eventually it was Stephen Hawking who admitted he was wrong.

But the reason I’m mentioning the book is that it does an amazing job of explaining everything. Susskind knows that in order to write a story about the black hole war that people will actually find interesting, he has to explain black holes, gravity, light, and quantum physics in ways that normal people can understand. And he does!

The book isn’t amazing because it’s a story about someone who proved to Stephen Hawking that he was wrong. It’s amazing because when you’re finished with it, you’ll actually understand why he was wrong, and why it’s so important.

Other people have suggested some great books, and it’s never too late to go back to school, but if you want a book that will really spark your passion and motivation, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Now I’m all hyped and feel like I should read it again...

u/l27_0_0_1 · 1 pointr/movies

There's a cool popular science book that mentions that even in 90s-00s he was quite unwilling to accept the wrongness of one of his theories when it was proven to be false by a group of physicists.

u/justaquestion223 · 1 pointr/askscience

If you're really interested in the subject, one of the best books on black holes I've ever read it, appropriately titled, The Black Hole War(My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics) by Leonard Susskind.

u/Akathos · 1 pointr/videos

Would the observer actually see anything? If he would see the probe, wouldn't that mean that black holes shouldn't be black because of the imprints of stars that fell into it (if it's a large enough hole of course, otherwise it would've been shredded to bits).

If the light waves of those stars are stretched to extremely low frequency radio waves, does that mean that the "imprint" of the probe on the black hole is invisible to us?

I recently read The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind who states that the information of the probe (the bits of probe itself actually) did came out of the black hole in Hawking radiation? He also states that the horizon of a black hole (or the area one planck-length above it) is extremely hot...

Okay, this question is kind of messed up right now, so again: how is a black hole black if information comes back to the observer?

u/Ottershaw · 1 pointr/space

There was a book that is basically the series in print. Carl Sagan wrote it. I have not read it personally, but fully plan on it. I have seen the series and fully endorse it as well. But I understand some people absorb and learn better through reading, so for posterity:


u/totalinferno · 1 pointr/

I liked Carl Sagan's Cosmos too!

u/Cataphract1014 · 1 pointr/pics
u/randomintandem · 1 pointr/atheism
u/ryeinn · 1 pointr/science

Fair enough. Didn't know that this was where you were coming from.

No, I haven't read Barrow. But pretty much any popularization of physics recently seems to make this very point. From Brian Greene to Lee Smolin seems to make this point.

I think we were both missing what the other was saying. I agree with your point on why, apologies for the bluntness. I didn't fully see your Devil's Advocate position until now. So I guess we agree to agree?

u/alexgmcm · 1 pointr/books

For Quantum Physics I cannot recommend Quantum Physics: A Beginner's Guide it has enough maths to make it worth reading, but the equations etc. are in supplemental boxes with explanations and investigations so you can ignore all the maths if you want. It tends to focus on the applications of quantum physics in semiconductors, superconductors which is good to learn about as it is easier to comprehend than the really tricky philosophical implications.

I would also recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, because it has more philosophical stuff in it, and although it is broader and not just about quantum physics but includes relativity and stuff too, it is an awesome book and you won't regret reading it.

For evolutionary biology I would recommend The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, it is a Science book so don't worry if you don't like his aggressive atheism as if I recall correctly it doesn't rear it's head in the book at all. It is especially good if you enjoy Computer Science as he makes some analogies between life and programs which are obviously easier to appreciate if you have some experience (Dawkins was a programmer for many years).

I don't know what paleo-anthropology is so unfortunately I can't recommend anything there, but I would be extremely happy if you could enlighten me and perhaps recommend some texts. (Not terribly helpful, I know :P )

u/bojang1es · 1 pointr/philosophy

You should read The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene, he covers many of the major concepts in physics and string theory in an accessible manner.

u/sheep_wave · 1 pointr/Tinder

the fabric of the cosmos by brian greene.

this is the book that got me into the subject when i was a kid. it builds understanding with terms that are understandable and then builds from there.

and dont worry, if i opened a paper from anything other than my own specific niche id be just as lost!

.... that said, i dont have a better answer than a five hundred page book. its not a simple topic!

u/EngineerRogers · 1 pointr/EngineeringStudents

Well, one of the books I read that really got me started in cosmology and physics is Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I think it is his best book and talks a lot about the fundamentals of our universe. Brian Greene studies string theory and those bits are interesting, but just know that the theory is far from complete or proven. This one is definitely the most physics heavy suggestion.

Another book that I really enjoy is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It is essentially a history of science, and he covers a lot of topics. Many of which I knew almost nothing about when I read it. It puts into perspective how all the things we know came to be.

The next two recommendations are not books, but they still have a lot of great information in them. This first is a Youtube series called Crash Course Astronomy. The host is Phil Plait, one of the programmers involved with the Hubble Space Telescope. There are a lot of videos, so it would keep you busy and learning for a while.

The last recommendation is as close to the upper level undergraduate astronomy courses that I have taken without actually doing any math. It is a bunch of class lectures from Ohio State University that were recorded and released as a podcast about stellar astronomy and planetary astronomy. I found the lecturer's voice a little whiny at first, but I soon got past that because the content was so good. I kid you not, I listened to this ahead of my ASTRO 346 Stellar Astronomy class at my university, and I felt like the class concepts were almost a review.

All of those recommendations require you to do no math, but you only get a glimpse of the concepts that way. If you want to dive in more, you'll need to take a class or read a textbook on your own.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about astronomy as a subject or as a course of study in school :)

u/IHopeTheresCookies · 1 pointr/science

The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos

Also, The Age of Spiritual Machines discusses theoretical and quantum physics. I'm not saying its the book to read to learn physics but thats what originally got me interested.

u/rainbowlu12 · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I teach "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" every year. My students love it!

This is on the list I keep for my husband. He is kind of a nerd :-)

u/darthmase · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

Pretty much everything that passes by. I love learning new things and expand my knowledge, but here are my biggest passions:

-Music: I'm studying to become a composer and music has been a major part of my life since birth, as I was born into a musical family. It's such a joy when I find a new band or composer and start going through their works and discover many new, exciting works. It's even better when you analyse scores and play then on piano, and everything starts to make sense, the melodies, harmonic structure,... sometimes it gives you the same feeling as when you open your christmas present, except you have been given an insight into a mind of a musical genius from the past.

-Lore: A lot of times I pick up a new game/book/TV series/movie, if I really like it, I go and read as much background lore as possible. The extra information and insight behind the main plot is really interesting to read and I tend to memorize unhealthy amounts of useless information :) So far it spans through Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Warhammer 40k, Elder Scrolls, and probably a few more I forgot.

-History: It's real life lore :) Big emphasis on Roman empire/Viking culture/WW2.

-Philosophy: Basically discussing everything ranging from old philosophical problems to problems and dilemmas of the today's world.

-Physics: I love reading about space, black holes, wave-particle duality, electricity,... The more experimental it is, the better. I highly recommend this book.

-Motorsports: Rally and F1 mostly, but I love to drive and I am always blown away by the skills these drivers have. Also, the tech behind the cars is amazing and very interesting.

But the best part is if I can explain the above things to somebody else. It's really one of my favorite things to do. I really like to share my enthusiasm with other people and I can go on for hours at the time :)

u/legalpothead · 1 pointr/scifiwriting

It doesn't make sense to me.

For inspiration, see if your local library carries any Michio Kaku, especially Hyperspace or Physics of the Impossible.

u/Parrk · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Michio Kaku does a great job of explaining advanced concepts of physics in layman's terms. He describes 14 dimensions in the book.

read this book:

get it elsewhere please.

edit: OOH! since you mentioned time. This will help you learn to conceive alternate states of such....and is a really kick-ass book.


u/whitedawg · 1 pointr/woahdude

Well, I believe that quantum physics indicates that the space in which we exist is in fact four-dimensional (including time), so the likelihood that we're in fact a dot on a higher-dimensional Mona Lisa is pretty small. Our universe may be 10-dimensional overall, but six of those dimensions split off from our four-dimensional space when energy density dropped shortly after the big bang and are currently curled up in an infinitesimal ball. One hypothesis is that, if you raise energy levels high enough, the 10 dimensions will unify again and the gravitational force will unify with the electromagnetic forces.

For a fantastic explanation of all this, check out Hyperspace by Michio Kaku - it's a book about quantum physics and crazy higher-dimensional stuff, written for people who don't know anything about physics, that reads like a novel.

u/darktask · 1 pointr/books

What about A Short History of Nearly Everything? Or Seal Team Six? Or The Magicians? What about American Gods, Hyperspace and The Grand Design

What I'm saying is 18 is too few. Get cracking.

u/jsmayne · 1 pointr/AskReddit

How to Win Friends and Influence people simple tips on how to be a better human being

The Richest Man in Babylon Simple tips to keep and grow the money you have

Factory Girls true stories of the modern Chinese migration of young women from rural farm areas to cites to work in factories

Hyperspace "Wil Wheaton recommended" blow your mind with science!

u/dmeltesen1316 · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

I read a different idea by Kip S Thorne. In theory if we could create and contain a black/worm hole we could send one of them at (close to) the speed of light. That end would experience time slower than the other end. So in theory passing through each end would be a portal to the past/future.

Edit: Source
Black Holes and Time Warps

This book explains theory only and ideas on how to use exotic matter to keep a wormhole open. It's very easy access with just the right amount of technicality.

u/Kapede · 1 pointr/science
u/tfmaher · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

This book was what pushed me into teaching science for 10 years:

Black Holes and Time Warps by Kip Thorn. Does a great job explaining things in a simple, concise way. Written for people with minimal working knowledge of physics.

u/SAI_Peregrinus · 1 pointr/space

Yes, it does hold. Mass-energy is the typical term used when talking to laypeople, but physicists tend to use natural units (\hbar=c=k_{B}=eV=1) which means that mass and energy are equal, not just equivalent. E=m, instead of E=mc^2, since c=1. (E^2 =m^2 c^4 +p^2 c^2 becomes E^2 =m^2 +p^2 for high velocities, for the pedantic.) So the terms are interchangeable, as long as you're using the right system of units.

The actual theory (the Alcubierre metric) is a solution to the Einstein Field Equations (the complex system of nonlinear partial differential equations that make up general relativity). However, since these are differential equations they can have many solutions, and indeed many different solutions have been found. It is not known which solution (if any) is correct for the real world. In general, it can't be known for certain until a full theory of quantum gravity is discovered. Indeed, the existence of "Dark Energy" is one of the indications that the theory is slightly wrong. It may be explainable as a modification of the theory or may actually be some sort of negative mass-energy, but at the moment we have no way to tell. Again, we need a complete theory of quantum gravity.

For anyone actually wanting to learn about this sort of thing in detail, try the following, in order:

Both are graduate level texts (it's a graduate level theory) and require a thorough understanding of differential equations. And differential geometry, and all the more basic physics on which they build of course. The first book starts with some very good material on Newtonian gravity, but you'll still want to have had at least a year of undergraduate physics to start. The theory is simple, but the solutions are very complicated.

u/bukvich · 1 pointr/holofractal

John Wheeler trivia: the textbook he and Misner and Thorne put together is both the largest text book (also known as the phone book) and the most readable book with thousands of tensors in it I have ever seen. Seeing it is out of print is nearly as strange as it would be to see Feynman's lectures out of print.

u/Chromophobia · 1 pointr/atheism

1215 pages 5.7 pounds
That could work...

u/john_o · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Carol and Ostlie is pretty much the undergraduate astrophysics textbook. It's likely that you'll have to get this book anyway if you're going into an astro program, so you might as well get a head start if you're sure you want to go into this.

kyliethesilly asks a valid question, as this book is fairly math intensive and assumes a lot of knowledge of calculus and differential equations. However, I got this book early on in my undergraduate career (before even learning how to solve differential equations), and I think exposing myself to the material was helpful.

u/spacemark · 1 pointr/astrophys

Can't believe no one has mentioned edX. You can audit for free or pay (like $50 iirc) to get a course certificate. This course series is done by ANU, one of the best astrophysics schools in the world. I've been told the "Best Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe" course is the best comprehensive look at today's burning questions, but haven't taken it myself yet.

Someone else mentioned the textbook "An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics" or BOB (big orange book) as it's called by students, but I don't think you want to sit there reading a textbook with a bunch of math, even if it is the "bible" of astrophysics. Go with edX would be my recommendation.

u/ab_ra_ca_dabba · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Book that you want is Carroll & Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. This is the standard Astronomy textbook.

It assumes you are aware of Differential Equations and Atomic Physics.

EDIT: At a slightly less advanced level is Ryden & Peterson's Foundation of Astrophysics. Peterson writes very good papers and Ryden has another book called Cosmology which is pretty good. I have not reviewed/ used this book so my knowledge is slightly iffy on this one.

u/erictrea87 · 1 pointr/astrophysics

Then work through this. Should keep you busy for a few years.

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (2nd Edition)

u/xarious · 1 pointr/Physics

I'm just surprised that you have no serway, though you have grifiths, and stewart. your also missing my favorite book , since you don't really have any astro in there. Can't get a picture of my shelf right now, at my parents for christmas.

u/loafkikl · 1 pointr/AstralProjection

All planes differ due to your vibration state/level of awareness. I think I personally have only been to the lower planes(Near Earth/Near Time.) Generally everything looks like you would expect but some things are abnormal.

In 2007 I had an experience, felt the vibrations, relaxed, rolled out of my body and drifted straight towards and out the window landing two stories down into the grass(My bedroom was'nt in a multi-story home). To me, the grass was vivid and green. It was dark where my body was but in this reality plane , it was dayish, foggy. I could feel the moisture on the blades of grass touching my hands, I could smell the grass. I looked up, and all the houses around my neighborhood had 20 foot chain link fences around the entirety of the property. I stated to myself "odd.." I took off up into the air, and all of surrounding houses blocks away had the same. At the end of each street there were these large machines, they were operating though made no noise. I went to inspect one but before I got to close i was whisked back to my body.

I concur with danwasinjapan, read Robert Monroe's books. If you want a more scientific look on Astrial travel, etc check out "my Big Toe" by Thomas Campbell.

u/Wood_Warden · 1 pointr/conspiracy

DMT: The Spirit Molecule :: describes how DMT spikes are released when we're born and die and the connections the author believes are made once we understand that the pineal gland is the seat of the spirit.

The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History by Terence McKenna :: Discusses origins of mankind and the probable development of higher-consciousness through psilocybin and other entheogens. Also discusses beings in realms that closely resemble the same realms discussed in the book My Big T.O.E. below.

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock :: Discusses how, through different culture's entheogens (natural cultural psychedelics), one can see/visit/communicate with other beings co-evolving with us through history. Just like humans are evolving in this plane, this author believes that the stories of Elves or Fairies are the same beings that have now become Greys/Aliens in today's mythos. He discusses his journeys and experiences as well as other's first-hand accounts on certain entheogens and the patterns seen.

Not In His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief by John Lamb Lash :: discusses how the current Judea-Christian god is a counterfeit-mimic deity (villain of the galaxy basically) and how we're trapped in a false-copy (matrix) of a more perfect realm. Goes through the Gnostic mythos that shows and explains how they came to write/believe such concepts.

My Big T.O.E./Theory Of Everything by Thomas Campbell :: doesn't use psychedelics to achieve other states of consciousness but uses transcendental meditation and science to map non-physical matter realities. The author is one of the early students from the Monroe Institute (of Out-of-Body experience fame).

u/tenfttall · 1 pointr/interestingasfuck

He broke his theory into three volumes.

I encourage your skepticism, but you will be served best by an open mind.

u/tolley · 1 pointr/outside

Here's a really interesting walk thru Hang in there buddy.

u/cbCode · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Check out the My Big Toe Trilogy. This is a mind exercise that can help remove the, therefore God argument.

u/ryanmercer · 1 pointr/Colonizemars

I haven't a clue there. I've just built stuff on Earth haha and know plywood and siding square footage adds up pretty quick for a structure which would be the similar case with a mold.

Personally I've always imagined something inflatable for living areas at first like Bigelow is testing on ISS. Once we had a good handle on excavating and manufacturing some sort of concrete or brick from local materials I'd imagine buried barrel vault type construction like Zubrin seems to like in some of his books, although I did some math on that once (in this sub I believe), I'll see if I saved it.

Edit: hmmm I can't seem to find it but here's a comment along the ideas


> I never see the lack of a magentosphere getting brought up.

It's not an issue. You aren't going to be living/temporarily living in clear nylon inflated bubbles. Yes, you'll absolutely pick up more rads if you are living in an unshielded habitat but shielding it is going to be quite easy if you have even modest mechanical means of moving regolith.

Worst case for a non permanent mission, the areas of the habitat you spend most of your time in have the water stored in the walls and ceiling.

Quick shielding for more permanent living you take a strong, but light, material like Nylon 6 with you ultra-light metal poles. You place the poles around the habitat you then weave the material between them (think 'under over') and then spend your first few days using modestly powered Martian wheelbarrow to scoop and move regolith between the material and the habitat with the exception of shielded doors. Again, have some of the water stored in the top of the modules for the hours the sun is overhead. OR make a simple machine that fills sandbags, the sandbags would require more material (fabric/plastic) but would likely be quicker than carting regolith around.

More long term shielding, your habitats are largely underground OR you use regolith as a component for making bricks and stack bricks around the hab modules.

For a short term mission I'd do something like what I laid out here with LEGO with the modules being inflatables then I'd come in with poles, sheeting and loose regolith to get in-hab rad exposure similar to what you'd get on Earth. For fun I have about 18.5 m2 of PV panels displayed in the model which would provide about 1415w at high noon and the tanks are actually landed ahead of time largely empty containing ISRU units to generate/capture usable things from the atmosphere. Probably WAVAR for one of the ISRU units which upon landing could quickly be used for starting soil washing experiments and/or hydroponics, if near the northern polar region you could take your time harvesting water ice for melting, you could also have some of the water from the WAVAR going to a second ISRU purely to make oxygen and hydrogen, you could also have one making monopropellant hydrogen peroxide for the return mission and/or return samples.

As far as atmospheric depletion, exactly what /u/Pimozv said


Edit 2: another relevant comment of mine


> and sending builders?

Companies might. A lot of the habitats are likely going to be inflatable in nature at first. If you can assemble a tent you'll likely be able to assemble a habitat. Later you can relatively easy make bricks from local materials (almost entirely from the regolith) and build vaults/bunkers under ground and then cover with regolith, pressurize them and they'll eventually seal themselves off thanks to the temperature... moisture from exhalation and what not will seep through any cracks and ultimately freeze You could also go in and paint some sort of sealant. Above ground you'd use a sealant or put an inflatable inside the brick structure. I suggest reading Zubrin's books The Case for Mars and Mars Direct: Space Exploration, the Red Planet, and the Human Future and his fiction, but scientifically accurate book, How to Live on Mars which is a guide written in the future for those that are on their way to Mars. His fiction book First Landing is also worth reading, it came out before The Martian and involves an entire crew trying to scrape by on Mars.

u/salty914 · 1 pointr/science

> The idea of sending one mars on mars just to say that humans walked on it is stupid and doesn,t do much, just like the ISS.

Hence why I did not suggest that; I mentioned Mars Direct, created by Robert Zubrin. He is highly critical of a "flags and footprints" type of mission where we would just land, say something dramatic, plant a flag and leave. Mars Direct involves an 18-month stay and sets the groundwork for future missions, in-situ production of resources and living space, and longer stays. If you haven't read The Case For Mars, I recommend it.

u/m00dawg · 1 pointr/nasa

Mars is 37% of Earth's gravity according to wikipedia. It could be true that it may prove detrimental to those living on Mars long-term. I doubt it, but there's one good way to study those affects, and that's to go to Mars. A 3 year mission is unlikely to cause severe issues, especially if gravity is simulated en-route.

You can do that by spinning the craft, as you alluded to, but you can also do so by tethering the habitable portion to another object (such as the burnt out upper stage of the rocket that is sending you to Mars). In doing so you can decrease the size requirements of the habitable portion of the craft. This is discussed as part of Mars Direct. To be fair, this hasn't been tested (certainly not on a large scale - I think a small scale test is happening this year) but the principle is sound.

On that note, some sources on Mars Direct that I found very interesting and helpful:

u/Sivanar · 1 pointr/france

Pour ceux que ça intéresse, je recommande vivement

The case for Mars de Robert Zubrin.

Livre écrit en 1996, qui, selon Carl Sagan lui même a changé la perception de la conquête de Mars à la NASA.

Zubrin fait partie des conseilles d'Elon Musk.

u/DokuHimora · 1 pointr/Futurology

Actually it does. Read this book and you'll see we could have already established a base there years ago:

u/yoweigh · 1 pointr/spacex

We're delighted to announce that r/SpaceX will be hosting an AMA with Dr. Robert Zubrin! The event will take place in its own dedicated thread this Saturday, November 23rd at 12:00 Pacific Time, which is 20:00UTC. As you may already know, Dr. Z's book The Case for Mars was a significant early influence on SpaceX's Mars colonization plans. His recent IAC2019 Mars Direct 2.0 presentation generated some good discussion here.

This is happening for real! We've been in contact with representatives of the Mars Society and Dr. Zubrin himself. We are very thankful to everyone involved for giving us their time and attention.

We'll collect the top few questions from this thread and repost them in the dedicated AMA thread on Saturday. Everyone will of course be welcome to ask their own questions in the AMA thread as well. Dr. Z will probably stick around answering questions for a few days.

Just to reiterate, this is NOT the actual AMA thread! That will be created a few hours before the AMA begins on Saturday.

u/RoboRay · 1 pointr/KerbalSpaceProgram

The Case for Mars and Entering Space are excellent reading for anyone interested in the future of space exploration. Or blowing up kerbals.

u/3d6 · 1 pointr/atheism

> i'd love to hear what you've got, though.

Have you read "A Universe From Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss yet?

Krauss is a physicist from the University of Arizona who has become a bit of a rock star in atheist circles over the past few years. His book explores what our modern understanding of particle physics might tell us about the Big Bang.

u/uwjames · 1 pointr/atheism

You are not ready for a debate, but perhaps you are ready for an education. Read/watch these and then report back to us:

Universe from Nothing Video

Universe From Nothing Book

The Selfish Gene Book

How New Organs arise video

Why Evolution is true Video

Greatest show on Earth Book

u/PdoesnotequalNP · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I can not give you enough upvotes. I will also try to summarize the talk for those that are too lazy to watch the whole video.

Cosmologist are pretty sure that the right answer is the second one: energy came from nothing.

I'll try to explain it: we know that most of the mass of bodies does not come from quarks that form protons and neutrons, it comes from the empty space between them. We have theories that say that empty space is continuously bubbling with particles that pop in and out of existence, and experimental results confirm it. Actually, our best theory is accurate to 10 decimal places with experimental results, that is amazing.

So, what is the energy of vacuum space? Cosmologists calculated that and the answer was: energy of vacuum = 10^120 x mass of all the universe. That's scary, because if it were true, we wouldn't be here. So cosmologists knew that the answer was: the total mass of universe has to be zero (total mass is given by "normal" matter, energy and negative energy). And now we know that it is actually true: accurate measurements showed that our universe is flat, and that means that it was born from an exact balance of negative and positive energy. A flat universe is the only universe that can start from nothing, and our universe is indeed flat.

Dr. Krauss also wrote a wonderful book that I highly recommend: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.

u/onandagusthewhite · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Here's a really good book on the topic. One theory goes that Universes are popping up all the time like bubble bath under a faucet. We may never know for sure though.

u/kayble12 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Do! It's a very good talk. It even spawned an entire book.

u/tyrellj · 1 pointr/atheism

Awe, and I was going to post this link. Nice work sir.

u/SirBuckeye · 1 pointr/cosmology

If you're at all interested in this question, I HIGHLY recommend reading Lawrence Krauss's new book A Universe From Nothing. The answer to your question is a key to understanding the title question of the book. It's all explained clearly and is easy to read.

u/XSavageWalrusX · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist
u/DrIblis · 1 pointr/atheism

>something had to come from something

well, we know this to be true, but we do not know if something can come from nothing. Look up Lawrence Krauss' "A universe from nothing"

>For example, if you believe in the big bang wouldn't have something had to start the big bang (God).

for the sake of argument, i'm going to assume that your god did start the big bang. What caused god?

>So what do you believe was that first push in the creation of whatever the first think in the creation of the universe?

the correct answer is we do not know. Science doesn't make up answers like religion and assert them to be true. Currently, we have no evidence about anything before the big bang or what caused it. Therefore we cannot assume anything at this point.

u/tailcalled · 1 pointr/compsci

> I don't think one does at all. Also, i don't think the last part of what you said fits the first part; it would fit the obverse.

Huh? Every substrate is a system, so if every system needs a substrate, it really seems to me that you'd end up with infinite recursion.

> One of the leading cosmological theories is based on the recent destruction of any empirical paradigm of 'nothing' thanks to Krauss. It's the bubble-chain energy-spike emergent blackhole universe stuff (that I'm betting many people here have read about, though I can't name the guy who is credited with building the framework).

I've heard about it before, but I haven't had time to look into it. According to a summary of his book, Krauss explains how the universe came to existence via quantum gravity. The question is, though, why does quantum gravity exist?

Edit: whoops, you edited your post.

> Philosophically, it would be very hard (dare I say impossible) to even posit a credible hyperthetical metaphyscial structure that wasn't substrate: the moment you have an instance of thing, it is substrate imbued with properties by its parent 'physics' in whatever capacity the universe in question has them. For me, this is really a restsatement of a much purer derivative: "nothing" is the absolutely perfect equivalent of "no system". If there's a system, then there cannot be "nothing". In fact the moment one bounds something as "nothing" conceptually, you are implying a related comparator that negates the concept in the first place.

Well, I'm not saying I have a good alternative, I'm just saying that I don't think we know enough to know that there is no alternative to having a substrate.

u/spin_kick · 1 pointr/space

Winning the lottery 50 times in a row has mathematical odds. Its unlikely, but possible. You dont need the supernatural for it to happen.

The same goes for matter popping into existence. Its entirely possible without a prime mover, intelligent force, space aliens or the flying spagetti monster. (see:

We dont even know if there was a "beginning". It may have always been. What sign tells you there was a beginning?

You cant go beyond science; its not a "thing"; its a way of observing your environment to learn more through proof. If you need to look for signs, its obvious you are looking for something that isnt there.

u/iHaveAgency · 1 pointr/atheism

Why is there something rather than nothing?

A deep question that has been asked, and answered, in Lawrence Krauss' book, A Universe From Nothing (Wikipedia entry - Amazon book sales - Krauss Lecture#1 - Krauss Lecture#2 - YT e-book, read by Krauss himself)

u/hurricanelantern · 1 pointr/atheism

>That doesn't explain what was before the Big Bang

There was no 'before' space-time was created by the big bang.

>An alternate reality could have existed with no Big Bang

[Citation Needed]

>so really you can't explain the catalyst for the Big Bang and why it happened.

Not true.

u/eddyg987 · 1 pointr/ethtrader


read this book, let me know if it makes any sense. My guess is there is nothing still, like -1 + 1 kind of deal.

u/johninbigd · 1 pointr/evolution

It's a good question why there is something rather than nothing. I suggest you read this book or at least watch the related YouTube videos.

u/lurker_joe · 1 pointr/atheism

It is a problem, but I think us atheists have faith that science will some day figure it out, if the answer isn't one that is outside the bounds of human knowledge.

Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing" is on my list of books for this summer. It seems to me physics is making way with this, though.

u/AnanymousGamer · 1 pointr/atheism

Glad to help. He references a book of his, maybe you could check that out as well. Enjoy your day!
P.S. - Good to know you are interested in science. The world needs more rational thinkers and discovering enraptures within it.

u/shankpuppet · 1 pointr/space

If you want your mind blown with some very cool cosmological theories, I suggest reading A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing (Lawrence M. Krauss). He's a famous atheist, but even a believer can read this book just for the science, it's very well-written.

u/goatsecxy · 1 pointr/Physics

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is also good. Its famous because it makes things like spacetime easy to understand. I've read it several times. Learn something new each time.

u/ethanfromthedeepend · 1 pointr/space

There was recently a revision to Stephen Hawking's: A Brief History In Time and it does a really good job of laying out some of the construction behind the biggest phenomenons in space without getting to complex conceptually. Definitely recommend it for dipping your toes in the water so to speak.

u/dajaymo · 1 pointr/Physics

A brief history of time. Hands down the best primer on theoretical physics.
Also Sagan. Easy reads, though you will have to read certain sections a dozen times to really get them. Still the best for building a framework IMO

u/WordUpvote · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I read 'A brief History of Time' and felt stupider.

u/TheBB · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/cookie_partie · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Time is simply what we call a fourth dimension, in addition to length, width, and depth. As beings that perceive four dimensions, the one we label time is the one that we perceive differently from the others. This video can help to explain the concept, and goes on to explain further dimensions as well.

Stephen Hawking discusses the nature of time and its perceived directionality in one of his books, which is a relatively easy read. Some of the discussion relates to the idea that entropy increases in our universe (that we constantly move toward a universe that is less ordered).

I am caught with trying to understand if you are asking an existential or scientific question. If you were asking if perception of time by humans is absolute, I would have to say that it is not. Clearly a year feels much longer to a 7 year old than a 70 year old. If you are asking for an existential proof that the memories you have really happened or if you exist as an entity that merely believes in a fiction that something you choose to call "the past" has occurred, that is something that I can't answer for you.

The beginning of the wikipedia page on time actually covers some interesting concepts as well.

u/admorobo · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

u/KapinKrunch · 1 pointr/books

A Brief History of Time made me brain hurt but was a fascinating read. If you do read it, I recommend taking it in in 1 chapter segments.

u/CoreLogic · 1 pointr/askscience
u/pond876 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Reminds me of the way once I attempted to explain the possibility of a >3D universe literally encompassing the concepts described in Hawking's "turtles all the way down" anecdote.

It involved diagrams of hyper-turtles and everything. Most of my effort went into making sure that every turtle in my diagram looked ridiculously happy.

EDIT: I was also drunk at the time these events took place :D

u/Fizrock · 1 pointr/space

I would highly recommend Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. It goes into some detail about quantum mechanics, and gets into black holes some. But be warned: Despite being toned down, it is still a pretty hard read, and you will find yourself going back to re read things a lot.

For a documentary, you could probably google one and look for the one with the best ratings. I remember watching one a few years ago, but I can't find it.

u/jse_chemistry · 1 pointr/agnostic

I am not a physicist but I have never heard one claim the Universe is infinite. As was mentioned before, the universe has no edge so it appears to be infinite. Watch this video if you can make it through:

Understanding the universe is exceedingly difficult even for the smartest people (which I am not one of). Crazy stuff happens in the universe, this is one of the reasons I am not atheist, it is just too wild.

Time dilation for one:

For instance, time is moving quicker for satellites relative to us here on earth, since we feel a larger effect of gravity. They had to slow down the clocks on the GPS satellites:

Long story short, there are a lot of really wild things happening in the universe, maybe take a look at a book called Brief History of Time written by Stephen Hawkins.

u/metalzim · 1 pointr/interstellar

Of course! :)

Here are a few of my favorite youtube channels that cover our universe.

These guys do a good job of giving excellent and creditable facts while keeping the video short and sweet.

This channel covers more than just space, but again they give good facts while still keeping the videos not too lengthy.

And of course, nothing gets more credibility than the big guys themselves, NASA. These videos are a bit long, but are just loaded with a ton of real world space Q&A's.

The few magazines I have lying around my house right now are all related to space, and they are a great read for any of my guests! Heres a link for the planetary society (main source of my reading material)

and here are a few books that every curious mind should take a good long glance at when it comes to our universe.

(this one is a MUST READ!)--->

The main podcast I listen to is Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He has a plethora of different guests on at all times talking about new and fascinating topics. Here's a link for his show

And when it comes to articles, most of them come from Reddit! I am subscribed to a ton of different space related subreddits which post countless numbers of interesting articles all the time. Here is a small list just to name a few

r/space r/astronomy r/astrophysics r/astrophotography r/science r/spaceporn

I hope this helps!

u/XNormal · 1 pointr/Python
u/Carthoris · 1 pointr/Physics

There are some amazing answers above me Calamitizer's being exeptional in my opinion but I thought I would try my hand at answering.

Given your discussion of black holes I want to point out that a black hole and other singularities are the ultimate barrier, the smallest 'point'. A Schwarzschild black hole exists theoretically as a point surrounded by an event horizon. The event horizon is what you would actually see and it would appear much larger, however this event horizon is just a visible boundary, it is the radius (from the black hole) at which the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light.

If you haven't read it A Brief History of time is a great book and explains black holes and their functioning in great detail.

u/Paladout · 1 pointr/todayilearned

he's not talking about the universe, he's talking about everything that's not the universe. only in our universe would the laws of the universe apply, the sequential nature of time being one of them.

look at it like this. our universe is on the lowest tier. one tier above that is god or gods or whatever. god(s) made the universe because everything has to have a cause and effect right? this is how it holds up in our universe so why wouldnt it hold up everywhere? with that same logic, something has to have created god(s) and something has to have created that god and that god and that god... until you get to a point where that god just has to exist. cause and effect wont hold up in his tier. if that doesnt, then how do we know that any of the laws of nature do on any tier that isnt our own? the universe wouldnt need a creator because there wouldnt need to be a cause for it. the universe just kinda is.

on top of all of this, this is only assuming that we are rational beings capable of drawing conclusions from what we observe around us. with what i wrote above we know that the laws of nature really only satisfy the small number of observations that is our universe (infinite as it may be, small in the grand scheme of things)

tl;dr pick up a brief history of time

u/MajorWeenis · 1 pointr/atheism

For the lazy:

u/MassRain · 1 pointr/soccer

>No, we're talking about the general idea of an intelligent creator. How come something came up of nothing?

Thats where you are ;dont want to call wrong; but have a different view. There needs to be a beginning, a backstory with an intelligent creator too if there is one right?

To begin with; the universe might not even need an intelligent creator. Human's universe and time perceptions might be different than what we are thinking right now.

Its the same thing with myths; you think they are different but no. In the early history the science and technology wasnt this advanced. It was very, very basic life; sort of like animalistic. When there were lightning strikes people told eachother it was because they made the owner of the land(area, territory) angry.

2-3 thousand years ago people believed there is something like an intelligent creator, and earth is his backyard; a playspace.

Maybe 2 or 3 thousand years later people will look at us and laugh about our ideas/religions about universe and rest just like we find "lightning strikes" stuff weird, understandable; but not true.

I dont know how universe "started" for sure, there are theories about it but maybe they can change in the future; we dont know.

There is something missing in your wording too, its in grey area. Its just disbelief of religion and gods, no need to complicate it; it isnt necessarly an alternative theory to religion/gods. "Disbelief in something bigger" does not mean refusing to acknowledge anything about "beginning of universe, before the universe" stuff; its just disbelief of gods, creating creatures/testing them/punishing them/ kind of gods. And yes; gods can be your "something bigger" but also antimatter; big-bangs can be your "something bigger" in your wording. An agnostic tells me "you cant prove nonexistence of god"; but its just same like fairytales; i dont need prove to know that they arent true.

I also honestly dont have enough word/term knowledge to discuss these stuff advanced. You can look/search these.

u/TheIcelander · 1 pointr/Christianity

>I would submit this "suppression of truth" is the cause of much the violence, suicide, drug use, mental illness, and hopelessness in the unbelieving world.

I would submit that you're wrong. I've been an atheist my entire life and I'm not violent, suicidal, a drug user, mentally ill (I think) or hopeless, nor have I ever been.

>Copying errors and mutation cannot create new organized coded information.

This sentence lets me know you don't actually understand evolution.

>Scientists operate on the principle that the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics are always true, always, but the atheistic scientist cannot say why.

There are several ideas on why this is true. You just haven't read them. Stephen Hawking's latest book goes into it in quite some detail. Lawrence Krauss also did a great lecture on the subject.

>Everyone would say that the torture of women is wrong, but in a random evolutionary world, why would it be wrong.

Because we're relatively weak species who really only get by on our wits and ability to cooperate. Torturing women (which is an interesting example) would degrade group cohesion and make cooperation less likely, meaning that a group with better cooperation would outcompete them for available resources.

>All the atheist can say is “we all know right from wrong”. Oh really, why would that be if my brain is a separate biological unit from everybody else?

Because our ideas of right and wrong are based on behavioral traits that helped our ancestors succeed. We love our kids because being loved by their parents helped our ancestors to survive.

>No wonder they are so unhappy.

You ask us not to resort to name-calling and then you keep insisting that I'm unhappy. I'm not unhappy, and most of the non-believers I know aren't unhappy.

u/paulinsky · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I really liked The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. It gives you a perspective of string theory, multiverse, tons of stuff about the universe, origins of the universe, and the philosophy of science that is ment for more entertainment and informing than dense physics literature.

If your looking more for space stuff there is Space Chronicles by Neal deGrasse Tyson

u/Aquareon · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>"Don't be so quick to put us (theists/spiritualists) all in the same boat. There may be many more like me than you realize. Unfortunately, the more close minded, irrational among us tend to be the more vocal."

Also, more numerous:

>"Yes I realize that the latter hold place in certain historical religions, but I really don't care about them, as they don't have anything to do with my beliefs. I do get that you are making the point that my beliefs now, ultimately, are just as fictional as those beliefs then. But I would say that it is a false equivalency, a slippery slope, to compare them. Any belief must be tested and judged on its own merit."

It's not so much "Dead religions are untrue, so currently relevant religions are also untrue" as it is "If you exhaustively study other religions you will see pervasive shared themes and implied psychology that the "somewhat smart" mistake for proof that all religions are divinely inspired and that the slightly more clever realize is proof that they were all authored by human beings."

Part of judging a belief system, in particular a holy text on it's own merits is giving it a read-through without the a priori assumption that it's correct on some level. Look at it instead as an anthropologist and psychologist, it is very revealing.

>"In fact, I'm suggesting that contemplation of this other realm is purely optional, that you don't need it for fulfillment in this realm, and that any conclusions about this other realm should not fly in the face of what we know about this realm."

In an ideal world. But what you've said is another way of saying "Don't treat it as if it's true, and it won't create problems". Other sincere, devout religious people you try to convert to this approach will sense that about it right away, like a cow catching a whiff of the slaughterhouse it's being led into.

>"Who am I?"

A mostly hairless self aware primate, part of a thin film of primates currently coating the globe for however long the oil holds out.

>"Why am I aware of myself?"

You have a sufficiently complex brain.

>"Where does my experience as an individual come from?"

The fact that your brain is physically separated from others and does not exchange information with them except by speech and writing.

>"How did the universe begin?"

Spontaneous particle and antiparticle separation events in an endless sea of quantum potential. "Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' because you will get 'down the drain', into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that." -Richard Feynman

>"Why is there something instead of nothing?"

Nothingness is maximally ordered. Collapse into somethingness was guaranteed by entropy. As for why entropy still applied back then, see the Feynman quote above.

>"I don't think science can answer these questions."

It's actually explained most of that and is working hard on the rest. I recommend picking up a copy of

>" It only simply gets at the fact that belief in a spiritual....something....may well satisfy certain philosophical questions that science can not. "

But does it? Simply offering up a story is not the same as explaining something. An explanation which cannot be shown to be true is not an explanation, it is a story. If you need to know a big bang occurred I can show you pictures of the lingering background radiation from it. If you need to know that matter and antimatter can spring from nothingness (insofar as we can tell at the moment) I can show it to you in a particle accelerator or at the event horizon of black holes in the form of Hawking Radiation. There's such a wealth of provable explanations on offer from science that the idea that some people take a story and treat it like an explanation because it's religious in origin is profoundly frustrating.

>"But I don't think these questions will ever be answered in any quantifiable, measurable way."

Even if that were true, it doesn't make a story legitimately equivalent to an explanation. Treating the story as true just because we don't have an explanation yet ignores the other, more sensible option of simply saying "we don't have it all figured out yet, and may never". I'll admit, "We don't know" is not satisfying. But that doesn't justify replacing it with pretend-knowledge.

>"But for those who chose to contemplate them, they must be answered spiritually. At least for now."

If, indeed, what they are doing can truthfully be called 'answering'.

u/raven_tamer · 1 pointr/trees

awesome, I am currently reading The grand design and I love to go out, smoke a bowl, get to a [4] and then start reading. My mind just wanders about for ages thinking about stars and planets. It's awesome

Uptokes for you and your afternoon xD

u/SULLYvin · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Give him this book and tell him to shut the fuck up.

u/Warven · 1 pointr/atheism

I'd recommend you to read this book, it provides some answers to great questions like these. Also, this video :)

u/AZbadfish · 1 pointr/atheism

I would also say "Grand Design" by Hawking and Mlodinow. If you can at least kind of understand it, you'll be able to answer why there is nothing rather than something and how it happened without a god.

u/troutb3 · 1 pointr/atheism

I couldn't explain it more than Krauss; he knows much more about it than I do. The net of it though is that known physical laws do allow for a singularity such as the big bang with no "impetus" or external force.

Would suggest Stephen Hawking if you want to do more reading on it.

*edit to add link

u/Galphanore · 1 pointr/atheism

The Grand Design is pretty good.

u/phoenix7782 · 1 pointr/todayilearned

This is actually mentioned in Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design.

u/seriously_chill · 1 pointr/Objectivism

> The concept "Spacetime" makes no sense at all

Why do you say that?

> If you can define it in causal/physical terms that would be very interesting.

I'll leave that to the pros. Here is a list of good books that cover the subject. I strongly recommend Gravitation by Misner, Wheeler and Thorne, a classic textbook on GR that covers such concepts exhaustively. It's not an easy read (and definitely not for laypersons) but in my opinion it counts as among the greatest books ever written

u/Grammar_Buddy · 1 pointr/atheism

Many reasons, plus I own this book.

u/shammalammadingdong · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

Try this:

I'm not a physicist, but this book seems like a standard text, and I found it to be an excellent resource.

u/hauntedchippy · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

>The song is a wave of vibrating air molecules

The "song" is not a vibrating air molecule. I can sing the same song back to you and it would be different vibrations, but the same song. The song can sung be a different person, but it is still the same song. The song can be stored as a series of 1's and 0's but when played will still be the same song but the vibrations of the air molecules will be different because it was stored digitally.
Songs and words can be represented physically, but this does not mean they are physical themselves. Is the "law" is a physical object? Are "crimes" physical objects? Can you point out where scientists have discovered the crime atom? Concepts, abstractions are not physical and it is childish to pretend they are.

>Beauty is mathematical patterns loosely related to the golden ratio.

Wow, and people say us scientists are cold and unpoetic. There's really no way for me to go here if you truly believe this.

>It is called "materialism"

Materialism does not dictate that abstract concepts must be physical. What materialism does say is that there is only nature. There is no supernatural or unnatural. What exists exists. The physical universe is entirely physical.

>However, what you're talking about is not abstraction. It is closer to the theory of the "universals."

A 'universal' is an abstraction. Just as a word is not a physical object neither is a property of such a word.

>I do not have a belief on this matter.

If you honestly can't comprehend the difference between something real and something abstract then you do have a belief on the matter and my arguements will fall on deaf ears since they presuppose abstractions.

>No, you are not. If you were taking your information straight from the OT, you would know that you speak absolutely nonsense.

It is helpful to point specifically what I said was wrong rather than just declare it. Did god or did he not flood the earth? Was this a real flood and not a 'metaphorical' flood? Were Noah and his family the only human surivors? Simple yes or no questions.

>Anyway, prove your statement that God had to break the laws of physics to cause the flood.

You need to answer what the flood is first. I can ask this question to a hundred different christians and get a hundred different answers, which version are you subscribing to?

>Yes, but it is not my job to figure out how God did it.

You can start by telling me what he did first, then we can deduce the possible ways of doing this.

>I don't know what you mean by clear exchange of mass

Electrons have mass. Also energy is mass.

>No. The word 'universe' is defined to encompass all that is physically real,

Then you and I and astrophysics are using different definitions. The universe is defined to be everything that exists.

>Your argument falls flat on the fact that many scientists defend (and are attempting to prove with good chance) the existence of the multiverse,

The argument doesn't fall flat because scientists are not infalliable. Also, good luck to them searching for a multiverse (though it would be undetectable by definition), Copenhagen interpretation FTW.

>it is certainly not a strange idea for science that something outside of our Universe exists.

It is a strange idea precisely because there is no evidence for it. Even the string theorists have yet to make an experimental prediction. They are like the aetherists of yesteryear.

>Aging is measurable. If they are not aging, then they are immortal. It is verifiable.

And what if they are aging so slowly that it cannot be verified above uncertainty that they are aging? Better to put a hard limit on it, say 500 years?

>No more hunger and preventable diseases...

Well this is your version of utopia though it hits pretty close to any mark that I would measure to be a good interpretation. One world government though? I doubt tea-party activists would call that utopia.
But whatever it's a workable definition. I don't think it'll ever be achieved, not because there is no supernatural but because of human nature. Maybe we could do it with a bigger planet and a lot of robots. Or mind control, would that count?

>Yes. I do not consider it true resurrection because we have very little control over the outcome

We'll have very little outcome over the football results but it's still football. Certain techniques make the outcome more likely, but there is no such thing as certainty and it certainly isn't random that using, say, a defibrillator has a better chance of starting someone's heart than not.

>I want an absence of time-limit.

We'll we've advanced to the point of minutes.

>As long as there is a body left, in reasonable condition, it should be doable 100% of the time.

The devil is in the details, define 'reasonable'. Right now a limiting factor is nerve tissue damage which is currently impossible to reverse.
Still though, the techique is only getting better.

>Supernatural souls do not exist. It is greek pagan mythology.

So there are no souls or spirits in christian mythology? If your body doesn't go heaven then what does?

>As long as it is not a machine.

Details, devil, what is a 'machine'? If a machine is that which is created by man then the task is impossible by definition.
Would you allow a new form of bacterial life created artificially in a lab as an acceptable result?

>They are achievable and measurable. They are not easy.

They are getting close to being measurable, clearly defined conditions need to be stated from the beginning or else these definitions could change and we could never acheive the result.

>This has been found multiple times. And whenever it happens, they find an excuse to why the dating doesn't match.

This can't be true. There is a nobel prize out there waiting for anyone who can disprove along standing scientific theory. Einstein got one for disproving Newtonian physics.
If I had such evidence that evolution was false I would be shouting it from the rooftops because it would be one of the greatest discoveries ever and would advance our knowledge.
If by 'excuse' do you perhaps mean 'reason'? Show me the best three pieces of such evidence.

>No, it is not true, sorry

Roman examples aside. Do we not celebrate winter solstice? Have we not named our days of the week after Norse and pagan gods? Do you have a starsign?
Our culture is a melting pot of those that came before it.

>Your argument is basically, "if something doesn't exist already, then it cannot ever exist."

Not something, but basically yes as applies to time and space. You cannot say there was nothing and then there was time because 'then' is a temporal concept that cannot exist without time and you may as well say 'always'.

>Citation needed.

Well you can start with Gravitation is you want the details, or you could probably find it all in some of Hawkings pop-sci books

>No. Answer the question. By 'evolution' you mean M.E.S. or the basic premise of the theory?

You're confusing two arguments here. I was using evolution as analogy for something you know to true, this was before I knew I was talking to a creationist.
So instead of biology lets use geology. Just to double check, you know the Earth is an oblate spheriod yes? OK, imagine you are talking to a flat-earther and he demands absolute proof that the Earth has no edge, what do you say to him?

>...there is demonstrable evidence that M.E.S. is wrong.

Another topic for another day.

>It is the Bell's Theorem.

Just Bell's theorem not 'the', and it is a rival idea to the probability interpretation of quantum mechanics so hated by Einstein. In every experiment so far, QM holds perfectly. Though there are some limitations on what experiments can be done and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of this.
(Here's]( a good paper on the incompatibility will non-local realism theories like Bell's and QM

>I wouldn't go as far as saying that such important premise of QM 'doesn't make any sense.'

What doesn't make sense is something being both non-local and non-casual in the same experiment at the same time.

>Virtual particles are only demonstrably non-causal if locality is assumed to be true. The problem is that locality is independently demonstrably not true.

Yes, and non-locality depends on classical causality being true, which it demonstrably isn't at the QM scale.

>First, it is possible to prove a negative.

You can never prove the non-existence of something, you can only show where it doesn't exist

>You should not attempt to prove him wrong. You should request of him the proof that he is right.


>There is a wall behind me.

I never said how far behind you, or how large the elephant was, or whether the elephant can go through walls. Here is the problem in proving a negative. All you can say at this point is there is no visible evidence of an elephant behind you, but is absense of evidence really evidence of absense?

>Virtual particles only violate causality is locality is assumed as true, as far as I know. Unfortunately I don't have access to the journal.

Well this is splitting hairs a little. Newtonian physics only works if you assume locality is true or causality is true (and you usually assume both). Virtual particles exist, they do not on their own violate locality but they do violate classical causality.

u/thenuge26 · 0 pointsr/pics

>I obviously proved that they are not.

Really. Better call up Stephen Hawking and tell him.

Or maybe just read his book, A Brief History of Time, and learn something. Ha, wait, you obviously can't read, better find you the audio books.

u/Eratosthenes · 0 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There's a great book on Amazon called Gravitation that explains it pretty well.

u/ShitIForgotMyPants · 0 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I have read some Greene but I found Sean Carroll's "From Eternity to Here" much more illuminating in regards to the direction of time and entropy in general.

u/wkdown · 0 pointsr/science

'Fabric of the Cosmos' by Brian Greene

u/chakazulu1 · 0 pointsr/AskReddit

Not at all. What has been proven, has been proven. It exists as a base for progress until it is proven otherwise. It is funny that you mention 2+2 because math is axiomatic and can only be proven within a system. Even the most basic math is subject to scrutiny under different circumstances.

Here are a few books you might enjoy:


A Short History of Nearly Everything

They explore some ideas I think you might like. I'm not an idiot, even though it is clear you think so. I just don't like rational. It is boring.

u/Parrot132 · 0 pointsr/atheism

>No physicist said 'something came from nothing'.

  1. Lawrence Krauss is a physicist.

  2. In his YouTube video and related book, both titled "A Universe from Nothing", Lawrence Krauss says exactly that.

  3. Therefore, you lose.

u/feomothar · 0 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Short answer: spontaneous quantum fluctuations, but i recommend you read" this

u/revericide · 0 pointsr/worldnews

My advice to you is to read a book. The ones I pointed out would be a good start, but if you can't handle actual scholarly works yet, the Bible and Doctor Seuss aren't going to get you terribly far. So try finding a library. Pick up Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. Then maybe you can graduate on to Jack Diamond and Graeber before tackling Pinker, Sagan and Krauss.

Read a book.

u/DEEGOBOOSTER · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

>I don't know any physicist who would say we "came from" nothing at all.

Me neither, but there are influential people out there writing books about the topic. I.E. A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (although Krauss is a Theoretical Physicist)

>I should clarify that I mean "something that is self-existent" in the vaguest and most non restrictive way possible: quantum foam or universe generator of a sort of higher order multi verse space, for instance.

Of course :)

u/number1eaglesfan · 0 pointsr/tifu

I'm also Christian, but you might want to read this to understand some things better:

u/mac3wan · 0 pointsr/SimulationTheory

Have you read THOMAS Campbell’s My Big TOE?

My Big Toe: A Trilogy Unifying Philosophy, Physics, and Metaphysics: Awakening, Discovery, Inner Workings

u/harkonnenjr · 0 pointsr/atheism

EDIT: Sorry man, someone already recommended this below.

Lawrence Krauss has a new book about this subject. I know, a book is a little much but it's a pretty important question.

Here's the link:


u/Metsubo · -1 pointsr/quantum

Yes. Dr Lawrence Krauss wrote the answer to that in a book. Here's a video too.

u/moon-worshiper · -1 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Recent Zen realization:

The sound of one hand clapping is a longitudinal displacement wave.

It explains BAO (baryon acoustic oscillation).

Zen explains quantum mechanics, superposition and entanglement.

Another Zen koan that is enlightening every day:

Infinity lies in a flower petal.

The best synthesis of mathematics and Zen is "The Tao of Physics". Capra needs to write a new book to consolidate the findings of the past few decades.

The Zen koan, "First there was a mountain, then there was no mountain, then there was" is like a mini-review of "A Universe from Nothing".

It is also a synopsis of Schrodinger's Cat.

Physics is finding everything is nothing and nothing is everything, matter plus anti-matter equals nothing. Physics and Zen are on the same perfect circle path, a perfect circle with no beginning or end, with a center with no center.
A center with no center

u/johnholmescock · -6 pointsr/todayilearned

As utterly retarded as the catholics are, I have to say they are pretty clued up on science. Instead of the typical USA 'tard evangalist denying the simple facts in front of them, the pope simply moves the goalposts and accepts what reality is, but makes out the "big-bang" is "god-diddit".

There is also a brilliant book for kids (and I admit myself too!) by the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno

There is no religious rubbish in that book and it is excellent. I would love to see a "tea-party" right-wing christian guide to the stars... hohoho...

(Atheist here BTW, but I don't have a problem with religious scientists who stick to the science!)