In the book, astronauts in a shuttle are in orbit around a planet or moon to monitor it in some sort of exploration. However, while they are in orbit, an alien species actually evolves from cellular level to space flight at a very greatly increased speed of evolution. I remember the planet having very high gravity, the aliens being almost mound shaped and mostly flat, and them telling the humans at the end that they wouldn't share what they had learned. That's all I can remember. Any ideas?
The book, you're looking for sounds like Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward.Possible duplicate question: tiny lifeforms on planetoid. Dragon's egg is a neutron star, with chemical reaction million of times than Earth's and a surface gravity billions of times larger than Earth's. The Cheela are the native life, their entire history taking place over an earth month. They're being observed by an orbiting expedition from Earth, whom the Cheela initially worship as gods. The humans start to communicate with the Cheela, transmitting scientific information. Many generations of Cheela pass, while only a few hours for the humans. The Chhela end up surpassing human science and decide that passing on that knowledge would be harmful to humanity.