Suggestions for books on astrophysics/theoretical physics for an 11 year old - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-19-2011, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pretty much the title.  DS has been exposed to plenty of Michio Kaku and watched lots of television specials on the topic, but his questions are getting way beyond me.  His science and math understanding are advanced, but he's a very average reader for his age, and his reading speed is slower than average.  I, myself, have read some of Stephen Hawking's work, but there's a lot of words to get through.  He has really unusual questions, like about plasma as a dimension of itself.  He's also looking at how if gravity works by bending space fabric with the mass of a large object and the other smaller objects then falling into orbit around it (like if you threw a basket ball in a gym parachute and then tossed in marbles from the edges), then could a sufficiently large object catapulted out of place actually tear the fabric of space.  And he's looking for numerical or practical physics answers, not "the rule is" or "common sense" type answers.  Point is, not things he'll find in the school library but I need not too wordy or some sort of audio version.

 

Any help would be appreciated!  Thanks.

 

 


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Old 11-19-2011, 11:17 PM
 
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Has he seen "The Elegant Universe"? PBS/Nova is showing the documentary lately. It's based on the book by Brian Greene, and his works might be a good place to start. They're written for laymen, and they don't get into the mathematics of 26 dimensions, but the discussion of the concepts, while more metaphorical than scientific, is fairly deep for non-specialists. 

 

Brian Cox has also written some books that seem popular, though I haven't read any of them. "The Wonders of the Universe" and "Why E=mc^2" and such.

 

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Old 11-20-2011, 05:13 AM
 
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The Elegant Univse has been great. Also everything by Brian Cox.

Also, the cartoon guide to physics, books written by Phil Plait and Neil de Grasse Tyson. We also suscribe to Scientificn American, which my 9 year old has been reading for a while now. Hopefully yur library has back issues.

Do you live near a college or university? Many will do "Science Cafe" or Saturday Morning Phiysics, or something titled like that. They will bring in scientists to give talks to the general public and are given at an appropriate level.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have traditional TV, but I bet DH could find the Elegant Universe through Netflix or the like, or track down the books.  I think DS would be fine with metaphorical representation of concepts, as he describes ideas that way himself, just so long as it actually looks at the theory rather than the "so and so's theory is" thing with little explanation or description that is often prevalent in physics books written for kids.

 

That's a good idea about the university.  We're an hour from one, but it's a regular drive for us.  Maybe they have something like that. 

 

Thanks for the suggestions! 


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Old 11-20-2011, 10:42 AM
 
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I just noticed this audiobook on sale at Audible and thought of your post. Can't vouch for it but the reviews seem mostly very positive about the content (some mixed comments about the narration skills of the author). Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

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Old 11-21-2011, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  I'm checking it out!


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Old 11-21-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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I watched part of Elegant Universe last night, and it was really fascinating.  My husband said both of our kids have enjoyed it.  I wonder if the book is as accessible as the show is?  Seems like it would be a great gift combo.

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Old 11-21-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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For a totally different approach, and different writing style as well (translated from Russian) - check out Yakov Perelman,  Physics for Entertainment, for example. No grand ideas in physics, more puzzles/observations.

 

There is a free PDF version online, here:

http://www.archive.org/details/physicsforentert035428mbp

 

 

 


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