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[Book] The Stars, Like Dust - Isaac Asimov: Spherical Coordinate System 본문

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[Book] The Stars, Like Dust - Isaac Asimov: Spherical Coordinate System

꾸로 (gguro) 2016.07.15 10:07



[Book] The Stars, Like Dust - Isaac Asimov: Spherical Coordinate System




Title: The Stars, Like Dust

Author: Isaac Asimov

Year: 1951



1. Introduction


It seems like this book has been published just before the famous Foundation Trilogy which has commenced being published in 1951. Some of ideas used in The Stars, Like Dust are adopted into the Foundation Series in a more developed fashion.


It is basically a story of space travel involving dangerous challenges and adventures. Temporal background is far future when all the advanced technologies are developed. 



2. Summary


A young guy called Biron was framed to be forced to travel in space. He is a son of a Rancher (I don't know what it exactly means), and he was trained to operate a space ship. His father was believed to be killed by a Tyranni.


Biron happened to meet a girl called Artemesia on the way of his travel, and as you expect, they became in love. Then, she turned out to be the daughter of his father's murderer, at least for a moment. Eventually, they successfully completed the mission to find the rebellion world against Tyrannian regime, whose leader was the father of Artemesia.


Wait, what? So the leader of the rebellion world (considered as the good side) was the murderer of Biron's father (the bad side, of course)? Initially it was believed like that, but the one who killed Biron's father was not Artemesia's father but Jonti, the one who framed Biron to travel.


So finally, Biron, Artemesia, and Artemesia's father were in the winning side, and lived happily ever after (probably). 



3. Quotes


Personally, the most impressive parts of the book were actually when the spherical coordinate system was explained to describe how to navigate in space to reach a destination planet.




r (rho) was the distance from the Galactic Centre in parsec; q (theta), the angular separation, along the plane of the Galactic Lens from the Standard Galactic Baseline (the line, that is, which connects the Galactic Center and the sun of the planet Earth); f (phi), the angular separation from the Baseline in the plane perpendicular to that of the Galactic Lens, the two latter measurements being expressed in radians.



Compare the above description to the coordinate system depicted below (from Math Insight). The plane of the Galactic Lens is the xy-plane in the image, and the Baseline (which connects the Galactic Centre and the sun of the planet Earth) is the z-axis.








.. about 46 degrees r and 192 degrees f from the ship-planet line, if I've got the clockwise and ...and counterclockwise conventions straight. If I haven't, the figures are, respectively, 314 and 168 degrees."


This coordinate system appears one more time in the book. The above description simply means that 46 + 314 = 360 and 192 + 168 = 360, in the case the Biron read the coordinate with the other rotational direction. One mistake either Asimov or the publisher made is that they put 'r' in the place of 'q.' Apparently, it should be q because its unit is radian.




4. Conclusion


The story is fine, and there are some interesting points. Unfortunately, for me the most interesting part was not the story itself but the usage of the spherical coordinate system.


The most disappointing point of the book was its ending. 



Hinrik smiled. "I know the document by heart. Listen." ... "We the people of the United States, in order to form ... this Constitution for the United States of America...'"


This is how it ends. Seriously? 


I was pretty disappointed with the ending with the Constitution of United States of America. Well, I understand that it was written at the time of the cold war after the second world war. However, it is still hard to accept to put a political view such directly into a science fiction. 







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