Astrophysical Wonders: A Conversation with Scott Tremaine

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Science

This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Scott Tremaine, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study and an internationally renowned expert in both galactic-scale and planetary-scale astronomy. Topics that are part of this extensive conversation include the process of scientific discovery, in particular related to comets, Pluto, planetary rings, shepherding satellites, exoplanets, chaos theory and the formation, stability and uniqueness of our solar system. 

Further topics include galactic-scale astronomy, galaxy formation, dark matter, quasars, black holes, the large-scale structure of the universe and many outstanding open questions of contemporary astrophysics.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, On Butterflies and Fish, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Personal Reflections - Astrophysical origins and research-administration balance

II. Exoplanetary Insights -  Looking beyond to assess our uniqueness

III. Puzzles and Solutions -  Solar system formation and shepherding moons

IV. Rings, Comets and Pluto - Mysteries, discoveries and evolving definitions

V. Investigating Stability - Considering past and future

VI. Large-scale Issues -  Colliding galaxies and dark matter

VII. Black Holes - Different types, different evidence and open questions

VIII. Fundamental Questions -  The need to stay in contact with experiment

IXConcluding Thoughts - Public policy and capitalizing on the moment

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert through a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks.


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The Conversation
Personal Reflections
Exoplanetary Insights
Puzzles and Solutions
Rings Comets and Pluto
Investigating Stability
Largescale Issues
Black Holes
Fundamental Questions
Concluding Thoughts

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 

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