HEAVENLY KNOWLEDGE: An Astrophysicist Seeks Wisdom in the Stars by Fiorella Terenzi

HEAVENLY KNOWLEDGE: An Astrophysicist Seeks Wisdom in the Stars

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A Renaissance woman equates the Big Bang of interstellar expansion with the bang of sexual explosion. Terenzi's credentials as an astrophysicist (she has a doctorate from the University of Milan) seem to be solid, as does the interest in music nurtured from her childhood. Terenzi has gone on to use computers to translate galactic radio waves into music, creating so-called acoustic astronomy. She has made galactic music CDs and videos and developed an attention-getting lecture series, an ""academic striptease."" She enters the lecture hall in her white lab coat, ""faux reading glasses,"" hair in a bun. A lecture on galaxies begins in staid fashion but gradually veers in other directions. She pulls on a ""shoulder strap keyboard"" and accompanies herself as she sings songs she has composed in celebration of the cosmos. She sheds her glasses, hairpins, and lab coat, emerging in a sexy silver suit, demonstrating her transformation into the ""real me--Divadoc,"" and encouraging those in the audience ""to reinvent themselves just as I have reinvented myself."" Silver suit aside, Terenzi's main point is that hearing is as important as seeing. If radio waves can be turned into visuals, she asks, why can't they be turned into aurals? Whether or not her connections with the stars give readers true insight into the universe is problematic: ""[The constellation] Orion is looking back at me. . . . His fiery explosions of passion make my body tremble."" This book intersperses such personal experiences with cool scientific definitions of such astral phenomena as quasars and black holes. The author also playfully renames her favorite stars and draws lessons in life from astronomical forces. The music of the spheres reinterpreted to a New Age beat--with a short course in astronomy thrown in.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Avon