Christopher De Pree, Professor of Astronomy, is passionate about his field of study and works hard to engage his students into the world of science. He is the author of several scholarly works, but also enjoys writing for non-scientists. If you want to gain a basic understanding of astronomy to enrich your viewing of the Leonid meteor shower tonight, you may want to check out one of his publications from McCain Library: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy (eBook | Print) and Recent Advances and Issues in Astronomy. He also is the editor of Van Nostrand’s Concise Encyclopedia of Science, which is a shortened version of a classic science reference text.
Since we are profiling FYS instructors this semester, we sent him our reading habits questionnaire. Despite his many responsibilities, he was one of the first to reply.
Do you enjoy reading? How would you describe yourself as a reader?
Yes. I am a regular reader, and read whenever I have the time. Often during the semester, I am reading for courses I am teaching so don’t have time for much other reading.
What kind of books do you read for pleasure/entertainment?
I enjoy science fiction, and historical fiction.
Have you read anything recently that you would recommend? Who do you think would like it?
I have read a couple of interesting science fiction novels recently, both by Robert Sawyer: Rollback and Calculating God. I am teaching Calculating God as part of my First Year Seminar. I also love the book In Ruins by Christopher Woodward. This last book is a non-fiction book, and a reflection on our fascination with ruins.
Do you have any memorable stories about reading that you can share? For instance, was there a book that changed the way you read or did you struggle with reading as a child.
In high school, I was a big Kurt Vonnegut fan, and read pretty much everything that he wrote. In graduate school, I had a chance to see him speak at UNC Chapel Hill. Then as a faculty member here at ASC, I had the chance of a lifetime, which was that I got to speak with him for a few minutes, one on one, as we waited to walk in for graduation the year he was a speaker. He was standing alone, and I walked up and introduced myself. That was a thrill.
Where do you get your books from? Bookstore, public library, Agnes Scott Library, download to an eReader, etc.
I mostly get the books I read from the bookstore, or from the ASC library. I still like reading a paper book, and am not completely comfortable with an eReader (which I do not have – other than an iPad).