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Heavenly Knowledge (1998): Spectacular Celestial Bodies!

Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, Heavenly Knowledge: An Astrophysicist Searches for Wisdom in the Stars (Avon, 1998)

[originally posted 17Sep2001]

The author stands in front of a wall-sized picture of a galaxy on the book's cover.

Wait, there’s a galaxy in that picture?
photo credit: betterworldbooks.com

First, it’s simply impossible not to like a chanteuse with a PhD in astrophysics. That’s just not a point anyone can argue. Period. End of story.

Terenzi’s book gives us an intriguing mix of astronomy and astrology (but no, don’t start thinking we’re going to be talking about Polaris in the eighth house of Scorpio rising, or whatever); hard science backed with hypothesizing about what we can learn from the relationships of the stars themselves. It’s fascinating stuff, certainly thought-provoking. If self-help manuals were written in this style (and by people with advanced degrees who actually knew what they were talking about and could effectively communicate it), they might be worth something. There’s a little something for everyone here: sex, rubbing elbows with the high and mighty, a bit of autobiography, more than a bit of sex, relationships gone bad, Thomas Dolby, Timothy Leary, and did I mention sex?

Seems to me (as an unrepentant male chauvinist) that Terenzi links the extrascientific (for lack of a better term) hypothesizing a bit too strongly to the feminine essence—after all, Einstein did speculate on some of the same things (though not usually in public)—but it is rather hard to refute the empirical bent of traditionally male-dominated science, so I’m willing to cut her some slack based on her background. But hey, we males can dream, too! ***

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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