Edit: see the infographic HERE
Why this, actually?
Once upon a time, I had an astrophysics exam. I took this book and put myself to work. I read the relevant chapters carefully, and crafted summaries and mindmaps for each block of content. In the end, I overstudied (!), since the exam ended up being far, far easier than I expected.
The book is truly excellent in content quality and clarity. Still, it was a long and daunting journey, and perhaps I’d have stopped before the end if I didn’t have that exam. In the end, I can say it was worth it, because astrophysics is a truly exciting topic by itself.
Often one can get a fair glimpse of this grand topic, which you can typically get by watching a well done documentary (some episodes of the new series Cosmos were very remarkable). However, the details become invisible by this approach. With my posts, I’d like to help you to get closer to the details, without asking you to spend long hours reading the book by Carrol and Ostlie. Still, if you find the time and have the passion, I HIGHLY encourage you to read that book, which could be almost considered as the bible of astrophysics.
One way of conveying the information is via mindmaps like the one above (also take a look at Toni’s Mindmap book).
Another (obvious) way is the good old classic blogpost, like any one from IFLS.
A third way that I find particularly attractive: the infographic. As a matter of fact, I am preparing an infographic about protostars formation, with content similar to the one above but much, much more detailed. You can find a bunch of science infrographics in pinterest (although I have more in mind the illustrations of awesome educational books that I had as a child).
Now a few things to say about the mindmap. In fact, you could only understand it by having previously permeated yourself with the topic. The mindmap’s goal is not to understand and learn, its goal is to connect and memorize information effectively.
The mindmap above is designed following a few key ideas:
- Information is tiered in 3 levels, from general to specific
- The upper tier is marked in blue and corresponds to the central topic
- The mid tier (subtopics within the main central topic) is indicated by red.
- The bottom tier (aspects of each subtopic) is indicated in green.
- Arrows indicate chronological order.
- Grey boxes show content which complements and expands the concept to which they are linked
- Black lines around boxes are meant so that a greyscale version of the mindmap is still usable. Notice that blue has all sides in black, red the upper and bottom sides, and green only the bottom one, respectively blackened.
Let me repeat: the mindmap is not meant to stand alone since it is not understood without a previous knowledge in the area. Additional content will come and I’ll link to it here and in the “Astrophysics” section, in the index.