Diamonds in the Sky

AAS Abstract About Diamonds in the Sky

I presented a poster paper about this idea at the January 2005 American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, California.  The AAS held a special session on using the Humanities to Teach Science.  David Brin also attended and gave a memorable talk to a standing-room-only crowd.  My abstract is still online, and here it is, spelling corrected, if you don’t feel like clicking a link:

[112.04] Diamonds in the Sky

M. Brotherton (Wyoming)

My first science fiction novel, Star Dragon, just recently available in paperback from Tor, features a voyage to the cataclysmic variable star system SS Cygni. My second novel, Spider Star, to appear early in 2006, takes place in and around a dark matter “planet” orbiting a neutron star. Both novels are “hard” science fiction, relying on accurate physics to inform the tales. It’s possible to bring to life abstract concepts like special relativity, and alien environments like accretion disks, by using science fiction. Novels are difficult to use in a science class, but short stories offer intriguing possibilities. I’m planning to edit an anthology of hard science fiction stories that contain accurate science and emphasize fundamental ideas in modern astronomy. The working title is Diamonds in the Sky. The collection will be a mix of original stories and reprints, highlighting challenging concepts covered in a typical introductory astronomy course. Larry Niven’s classic story, “Neutron Star,” is an excellent demonstration of extreme tidal forces in an astronomical context. Diamonds in the Sky will include forwards and afterwards to the stories, including discussion questions and mathematical formulas/examples as appropriate. I envision this project will be published electronically or through a print-on-demand publisher, providing long-term availability and keeping low cost. I encourage interested parties to suggest previously published stories, or to suggest which topics must be included.

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