Friday, August 06, 2010

Blogging from Malaysia: Science books addendum

Yes, the blog is still alive and I'm still in Malaysia. It has been a fascinating trip so far and I will post a bit more about my experience here tomorrow. In the mean time, here is an addendum to my earlier post on the lack of science books in local bookstores. I still stand behind my previous concerns as small stores are more reflective of the general interest. Nevertheless, following the advice of our radio astronomer, Kevin, I did go to Kinokuniya at Suria KLCC - and check this out:

Very cool and it definitely puts to shame many of the large bookstores in the US. Yup - all of the panels in the picture - as far as the eye can see - are filed under Popular Science (I think you can almost detect the curvature of the Earth in this picture...). Unpopular sciences, like biology, zoology, chemistry, physics, have all separate sections here. seems that astronomy is unequivocally popular.

But not just that, the right opposite to it, there is a Discovery Science Center - and it clearly looks like that science is hot in there.

The center looked pretty good, but I couldn't check it. It had already closed for the day. However, from the gift shop, I did buy the memoir of Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor - Malaysia's first astronaut (check out an earlier post about his mission and on related religion here). And talking about space, in the same mall, I found a life-sized model of the new NASA's shuttle replacement - and its new booster.

And no, I don't think this is part of NASA's outreach to the Muslim world. At least, I hope not :)

And finally, it is not just science that is popular here. Even philosophy shows up prominently in the mall:

Sorry Laura. It seems that philosophy is still only for men. Okay - will give another update soon. But did I mention that the Petronas Twin Towers look quite spectacular at night? Wiki tells me that the cross-section of the towers is based on Rub el Hizb - an Islamic symbol with two overlapping squares. Here is a picture of the towers:

This is it for now...


Akbar Hussain said...

A few days back, I visited Leeds Central Library. I spent hours looking for some astronomy stuff. the catch of the day was just a handful of old stuff, less than a dozen, with only a few newer than 90s. I had the same disappointment in Manchester Central Library a year ago.
When you go to any used book sale in Karachi, you don't have to spend more than a few seconds to get a sight of some astronomy stuff. Here in UK, if you stand in front of the magazine section of any shop, the astronomy magazines are there of course, but you have to get your kids busy in some other section of the store before you can fish out something. (I dont have kids yet...just an anticipation!)

Kevin said...

You mean radio astronomer wanna-be? :)

I haven't been to the Petronas Science Centre actually, shame on me!

But astronomy does seem to be a good way to inspire people to like science, maybe due to all the nice, pretty pictures!

Kevin said...

Oh, and by the way, there's still a large debate among the general population in malaysia about whether Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was the first malaysian astronaut/cosmonaut or space tourist. :)