One of the important goals of Avetik Grigoryan's popular science book “From the Deep of Ages to the Universe” is to popularize science among young people and direct them towards science. Given today's inadequate attitude to science, the emergence of such books should be surely welcomed. Astronomy, as expected from the title of the book, has a special place in it. It is all the more commendable, as the Byurakan Observatory needs young specialists, who would like to continue the traditions of the Armenian astronomical school and keep its rate high in the world.
Being specialized in astronomy Avetik Grigoryan has rendered the chapter of astronomy accurately and correct vision of Universe as it becomes for a true specialist. He is known in Byurakan Observatory as a proficient astronomer, who for many years has taught astronomy, aviation and astronautics to inquisitive students in the Aerospace Club of Armenian Youth Aerospace Society, arranged scientific educational events, participated the astronomy schools arranged by Byurakan Observatory, as well as the Republican and International Astronomy Olympiads as jury member and leader of the Armenian team. Some of his students has chosen as a speciality astronomy, others physics, mathematics and other scientific, technological specialities and already has serious achievements in Armenia and abroad. This experience allowed him to select the stuff of the book and present it clearly, in a comprehensible and consistent order.
Unfortunately during the war time, actually hard years for our country, the author has to leave the Byurakan Observatory and start working in military-industrial complex to make his efforts in creation of defense means. On the other hand this change of speciality allowed the author to perform deep knowledge and proficiency even in such an unusual for Armenia area as rocket design.
It is especially valuable how the contribution of Armenian nation and its scientists to the world science, particularly, astronomy is presented. The author has never overstated and keeping clear from arrogation has presented properly the most deserving ones, who really shine next to the famous scientists of other nations. It will surely serve as a source of inspiration for our rising generation.
The book is also competently composed from the methodological perspective. For example, to cultivate interest to astronomy, the author intentionally focuses the reader’s attention to unclarified questions and unsolved problems. The parts related with physics are also interesting and instructive. I believe the other parts will be also highly rated by corresponding specialists.
It is important that the book presents not only the commonly known scientific and technological information, but also the latest news. Obviously, the author, even being not engaged in astronomy for many years, has kept his finger on the pulse of all recent developments and has correctly emphasized the current trends in the modern astrophysics.
I am sure that the publication of this book will be a pleasant and long expected surprise and an excellent gift for the readers interested in natural sciences.
Deputy Director of Byurakan Observatory of NAS RA,
Dr. Haik Harutyunian
Writing a popular science book is really a difficult task, especially when it is intended for young readers. Few authors can perform both enough proficiency in the described areas and the skill of explaining complicated things clearly, in a simple and visual manner, so that even the reader unaware of the fundamentals of natural sciences will not feel the complexity of the questions. I think the author of this book succeeded in this.
It is especially nice that the author has written a classical popular science book. Unfortunately, such books have become a rarity today. Everywhere just books of purely encyclopedic style are offered to the readers, with disordered fragments of information, which do not lead the reader from simple things to more complicated ones, do not get connected and merged into a systemized knowledge and vision of the world. As for Avetik Grigoryan’s book we see an entertaining holistic story about the cognizing race of mankind in aeronautics, aviation, astronomy and astronautics starting from ancient ages to our time. The fundamentals of physics, chemistry, biology and even informatics are also presented. It seems that such a various range of subjects interconnected with multitude of ties can be described in one book only in an encyclopedic style. However, the author managed to do an impossible thing, i.e. to merge all these into one sequence on the reader’s cognizing way, going from simplest and ordinary notions and concepts about the surrounding world to serious knowledge and deep understanding of that world. Due to the long-term experience of teaching the mentioned subjects the author has found the unique order of describing the subjects, which allowed giving any new information only on the basis of already explained material, without referring to the material described in the following pages. Given such a variety of subjects this is a serious methodological success.
The book is not a collection of fragments adopted from different sources, as it happens often with popular science publications. It is really an author’s book. The lively, entertaining rendering, flavoured sometimes with appropriate fun and sometimes with the author’s inspiration and admiration, witty titles, impressive epigraphs well selected or written by the author, together with colourful images and visual illustrations attract the reader and make him to go on reading. The author continuously puts forward intriguing questions about the secrets of the mysterious extraterrestrial world, about the problems related with the flying and exploring tools, provoking the reader to think over and come to different ideas, hypotheses and technological solutions. It awakes in the reader inquisitiveness and develops creative approach in studying natural sciences and technology.
The notions of “scientific fact” and “scientific hypothesis”, the measures of truth in science and particularly in astronomy are clearly stated in the book. By the way, scientific accuracy of the information presented in the book has not suffered at all from the exoteric and artistic style of narration. A matter of another importance is the fact that the book presents the contribution of Armenian nation and its famous scientists in the mentioned areas of science and technology along with other nations and world-known scientists. By this their contribution is seen weightier then it would seem in case of presenting only the scientific and technological achievements of Armenians.
All in all, the book “From the Deep of Ages to the Universe” is a brilliant success; it is hard to recall such a voluminous popular science book written in Armenian by an Armenian author. It can serve as an excellent auxiliary literature for students and teachers, and be an engaging book for inquisitive readers of any age. In the hands of a young reader it can even predefine his interests and professional choice, and generally his course of life. Just books like this are needed for scientific and technological revival of Armenia.
Astrophysicist, Dr. Sci., Professor,
Principal research associate of
corr. member of NAS RA
Avetik Grigoryan's book “From the Deep of Ages to the Universe” was a nice surprise for me. Truly, “new things are in fact the well forgotten old ones”. This book reminded me those popular science books of our adolescence that we were reading with great pleasure and inspiration, and which were provoking serious interests towards the science intensive areas, as well as creating the environment which was nourishing and growing dedicated, highly professional specialists.
This book is quite voluminous and comprehensive, able to make a young reader an inquisitive person, provoke dreams and goals, that is to give all those features, which are necessary for becoming a researcher in science and technology and a creative person with its vision of the world. Just the specialists of such origin are able to promote the science significantly by their revolutionary approaches. Surely the book will be useful and interesting for students and teachers. Even persons of different ages not related directly with natural sciences, but being interested generally in the outer world will read it with pleasure. It means that the book can have a great significance for education and popularization of science intensive areas. Today it's very important for Armenia, as it has mainly lost its former scientific and technological potential and values.
I think the success of this book is predefined by:
- the interesting subjects providently selected by the author, related with mysterious space phenomena and unusual technologies,
- simple and artistic rendering,
- presenting all the information by a holistic story with textbook consistency, due to which the author succeeds in giving systematized knowledge and world view.
The author’s high proficiency in various areas is impressive. It seems that he could shine only in his original speciality, i.e. astronomy and perhaps in physics. However, while reading carefully the chapters of aeronautics, aviation and astronautics one can see that these are not written by adopting fragments from various sources. The author has described all this by himself, professionally correct and realistic, without misinterpretations and journalistic overstatements specific for amateurish level. Perhaps, due to his interests that he had already in his school age and the experience obtained during the years of teaching in his extracurricular study group for secondary school students he has become in those areas a truly self-educated specialist. Moreover, after the Byurakan Observatory he has worked in military-industrial complex, particularly in rocket production and together with the group he was leading created a whole package of computer applications for developing uncontrolled missiles, participated in their creation and tests. So, it is quite natural that the professional level of the book is equally high in all its parts.
It should be mentioned that the author managed to take into account the psychology and linguistic level of the young readers and render the information in a fascinating way, with a simple and clear language, avoiding needless academic complexities. All the explanations are full-fledged. They lead the reader to deep understanding of phenomena by clear sequential steps, without any jump. In some places the author has made separate explanatory additions with small font, actually sometimes a little bit deviating from the subject, but really necessary add-ins. They make the narrative interesting even for a proficient reader.
So, in all respects the book is a success, and it can make a significant contribution to secondary and higher education.
Physicist, Dr. Sci., Professor,
corr. member of NAS RA