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January 30th, 2011

Book turned in...

I have been living the past few months like pameladean 's character Gentian (who is not me at that age, but the me I would have liked to have been), obsessed and consumed by a project... and now it's over.

On Friday I took a train to Cambridge, walked from the station to Cambridge University Press, and handed over a DVD with the fourth edition of Turn Left at Orion. (The first edition was turned in 23 years ago, also in January... I carried all the papers and figures in a suitcase that I bought specifically for the task. Handing in a DVD was a lot easier, but somehow less satisfying. Incidentally, I had to compress a number of files to fit it all on a 4.7 gig DVD.)

It will probably be a year before it's out, and there are a lot of third editions out there in the pipeline to be sold, so I am somewhat reluctant to talk about the book except to say that this was a major undertaking, on the order of writing the first edition (actually, moreso) and one that has occupied my attention for more than a year... especially for these past two months.

Not just writing 125,000 words. But the research behind those words; including re-observing every object in the old book, and at least a hundred candidates for this new edition. Including two trips to Australia. Including doing half the images on my computer, and all of the layout of a very complex book. Not to mention, all the work that my co-author Dan has done, which easily matches everything I have done. 

And now I am in Tucson, about to give a major address at the University on Tuesday for which I have done virtually no preparation. Oh, and a talk on Monday, too. And one in Palo Alto on Friday. And in San Francisco a week from today. And another month of talks...

I expected that empty feeling you get when you suddenly have finished a huge project. (Finished, except for visiting CUP in March to fix all the mistakes we'll discover between now and then.) What is harder, is that I no longer have an excuse to put off all the stuff that's gone undone in the meanwhile...

Where is brotherguy speaking, February?

Monday, 31 January, 7:30 pm: Tucson, U of Arizona, Catholic chapel basement, Albert the Great Forum. "Almost right: how small errors in science can lead to large errors in philosophy"

Tuesday, 1 February, 7 pm: Tucson, U of Arizona Centennial Hall, College of Science Lecture Series. "Cosmology: Making Sense of the Universe"

Friday, 4 February, 7:30 pm, Palo Alto, California; Lucie Stern Community Center. "Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance"

Sunday, 6 February, 10:45 am, San Francisco, St. Ignatius Parish Sunday Morning with the Jesuits series. "God's Mechanics -- The Spiritual Life of Techies"

Tuesday, 8 February, 7 pm, Merced, California, U of Merced: tentative public lecture...

Friday - Sunday, 11-13 February: Chicago, Capricon. Five panels.

Monday, 14 February, 4 pm: Winona, Minnesota, U of M Winona Geosciences, "Pluto and Planets X"

Tuesday, 15 February, 7 pm, U of Minnesota Winona, Big Sky Event: "Astronomy, God and the Search for Elegance"

Thursday, 17 February, 7 pm, Houghton, Michigan: Michigan Tech Fisher Hall 135, "Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance"

Thursday, 24 February, 3 pm, Tucson, St. Peter Paul Parish, Vatican Observatory public seminars. "The World in a Grain of Sand: What Meteorites Tell Us About the Origin of the Solar System"

Tuesday, 1 March, TBA, Boone, NC: Appalachian State University. Evening public talk

Friday, 4 March, TBA, Charlotte, NC: U of NC at Charlotte, public talk?

Sunday, 6 March, 7 pm, St. Patrick Church, Bellafonte, Ohio: "God's Mechanics -- The Spiritual Life of Techies"

These are the talks open to the public. There are a bunch of class presentations and a retreat series in the UK later in the month...

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