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Ch. 8: On Being Round 
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 Ch. 8: On Being Round
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ch. 8: On Being Round


Please use this thread to discuss this chapter.



Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 8: On Being Round
While living with the Inuit in Canada's far North I was fascinated with their frequent use of the sphere and circle. Their igloos or snow houses are always built in the round, ancient rock structures were usually round and many communities have modern structures built this way.

Tyson's chapter 8, On Being Round may have provided me an answer. The Inuit are simply following a naturally occurring force. He tell us that more spheres are found in the universe than any other form. The reason being that physical laws generally favor spheres. Surface tension will reduce the size of spherical objects in all directions. In large cosmic objects like the Earth and other planets, the combination of gravity and energy combine to reduce matter in all directions and create spherical objects. In fact, the greatest sphere is the universe itself which continues to expand in all directions.



Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:39 am
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Post Re: Ch. 8: On Being Round
LevV, I enjoyed your account of living with the Inuit. Sounds like there might be a book there.

As I read this chapter, when I came to the sentence, "With a diameter-to-thickness ratio of one hundred to one, our galaxy is flatter than the flattest flapjack ever made.", I couldn't help but think "The flat-earthers will have a field day with this." But, of course, there is a big difference in a galaxy and a star or planet. Alas poor earthers, a sphere, even an oblate one, rules the day.

The smoothness of the earth is also fascinating. Mount Everest is the merest pimple of Mother Earth's skin. while the Marianas Trench barely qualifies as a wrinkle. Tyson's analogy to a cue ball is correct. I also once read the if you rolled a cue ball through a puddle of water, the amount that adhered to it would be roughly comparable to all the water in the earth's oceans, rivers and lakes.


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Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:47 pm
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