As I was rewatching the 1985 über-nerd flick Real Genius for the Nth time recently, my eyes were drawn to a thick book that the young protagonist was studying (ok, actually he had fallen asleep with his head on it while cramming for final exams). I peered at the screen ... I wondered ... I suspected ... and finally when the slumbering scholar woke and picked it up, I knew. It was Gravitation, the 1200+ page tome by Charles Misner, Kip Thorne, and John Archibald Wheeler.

Whoa! As an undergraduate in 1973 I saved my pennies and bought a hardback copy of that Big Black Book when it first came out. I began studying it before I went to Caltech and joined Professor Thorne's research group there. It taught me huge amounts of applied math, astrophysics, and general relativity. It's one of the finest textbooks ever written. For some years it was a major part of my life. Today it rests in a place of honor on the mantel.

Almost every identifiable object in a film nowadays is put there for advertising purposes, as a paid product placement. Imagine what might happen if great books—classics of literature, science, the arts—were surreptitiously planted in the backgrounds of popular movies ...

(see also BooksToConsider (16 Apr 1999), KipTheDragon (25 Mar 2000), CollegeCollage3 (29 Sep 2001), RealGenius (23 Jan 2003), ...)

TopicEntertainment - TopicScience - TopicLiterature - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicHumor - 2005-04-27

(correlates: BooksToConsider, TwentyPercentLonger, PureCoincidence, ...)