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Books of Note Archives

Listed alphabetically by title.




























Clifford A. PickoverCalculus and Pizza
Calculus and Pizza: A Cookbook for the Hungry Mind
Wiley, 2003, ISBN: 0-471-26987-5, $16.95 (paperback)

Setting up residence in a pizza parlor, Clifford Pickover focuses on procedures for solving problems, offering short, easy-to-digest chapters that allow you to quickly get the essence of a technique or question. From exponentials and logarithms to derivatives and multiple integrals, the book utilizes pepperoni, meatballs, and more to make complex topics fun to learn emphasizing basic, practical principles to help you calculate the speed of tossed pizza dough or the rising cost of eggplant parmigiana.

Edward M. Reingold & Nachum DershowitzCalendrial Calculations
Calendrial Calculations: The Millennium Edition
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-77167-6/0-521-7772-6, $100/$37.95

Frames the calendars of the world in a unified, completely algorithmic form, giving a description of 25 calendars and how they relate to one another, including various forms of the Gregorian, ISO, Egyptian, Julian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Islamic, Modern Persian, Baha’i, Hebrew, Mayan, Balinese, Pawukon, French Revolutionary, Chinese, and Hindu. Conversion among these calendars is a by-product of this approach, as is the determination of secular and religious holidays. Algorithms included on the accompanying CD and updates are available on the web.

Edward M. Reinbold & Nachum DershowitzCalendrical Tabulations
Calendrical Tabulations: 1900-2200
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-78253-8, $120

This comprehensive collection of calendars could only have been assembled by the authors of the definitive text on calendar algorithms, Calendrical Calculations. Using the algorithms outlined in their earlier book, Reingold and Dershowitz have achieved the near impossible task of simultaneously displaying the date on thirteen different calendars over a three-hundred year period. Represented here are the Gregorian, ISO, Hebrew, Chinese, Coptic, Ethiopic, Persian, Hindu lunar, Hindu solar, and Islamic calendars; another three are easily obtained from the tables with minimal arithmetic (JD, R.D., and Julian). The tables also include of the moon, dates of solstices and equinoxes, and religious and other special holidays for all the calendars shown.

Mark Williamson
The Cambridge Dictionary of Space Technology
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-66077-7, $39.95

A comprehensive source of reference to the most important aspects of this fast-developing field, from basic concepts to advanced applications. With some 2300 entries, it lists fundamental terms that will remain in common usage for the foreseeable future and includes a selection of historical and highly specific entries adding context and depth. Related entries are highlighted in the text and other important entries are cross-referenced.

Michael E. BakichCambridge Encyclopedia of Amateur Astronomy
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Amateur Astronomy
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-81298-4, $50

This complete reference provides a wealth of practical information covering all aspects of amateur astronomy. Organized thematically for ease of use, it covers observing techniques, telescopes and observatories, internet resources, and the objects that can be studied. Those new to the field will find tips, techniques and plans how to begin their quest, and more advanced observers will find useful advice to advance their observing skills.

O. Richard NortonThe Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-62143-7, $50

Meteorites are our only contact with materials from beyond the Earth-Moon system. Using well-known petrologic techniques, this book reveals in vivid color their extraordinary external and internal structures. Looking deeper still, right to the atomic level, they begin to tell of the environment within the solar nebula that existed before the planets accreted. Beautifully illustrated with over 150 full color images. Includes detailed descriptions of every meteorite type, terrestrial impact crater sites, tables of recent fall and find data, and details of important meteorite collections.

Fernand Verger, et al.The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Space
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Space: Missions, Applications and Exploration
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-77300-8, $50

Since the lift-off of Sputnik in 1957, over 8,000 satellites and spacecraft have been launched from over thirty countries, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. While only about 350 people have made the incredible journey beyond our atmosphere, we all benefit in countless ways from the missions. An authoritative and accessible source that collects information on man's quest to explore the Universe, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Space, provides a global perspective of our occupation and use of space, whether for scientific, industrial, commercial, technical, or military purposes. The authors set the stage by describing the space environment, orbits and ground tracks, launchers and launch sites. Subsequently, they discuss the main space applications (telecommunications, navigation and Earth observation, military), science missions, planetary exploration, and space stations. Extensively illustrated with more than 300 illustrations, maps, and graphs.

James B. KalerThe Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stars
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-81803-6, $60

This unique encyclopedia by ASP President-elect James Kaler provides a fascinating and fully comprehensive description of stars and their natures and is filled with beautiful color images. The book begins by telling the story of astronomy, from ancient constellations and star names to the modern coordinate system. Further chapters explain magnitudes, distances, star motions and the Galaxy at large. Double stars, clusters and variables are introduced and once the different kinds of stars are in place, later chapters examine stellar evolution, beginning with the interstellar medium and star formation, proceeding to our Sun and its characteristics and then the ageing process of solar-type and high mass stars. The book ends by showing how this information can be combined into a grand synthesis. Detailed cross-referencing enables the reader to explore topics in depth and makes this an invaluable work both for beginners and those with a more advanced interest in stars and stellar evolution. Supplemented by the author's extensive STARS website, hosting star tables, constellation photographs and links to essential star websites (http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~kaler/sow/sow.html).

Kenneth R. LangCambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-78093-4, Price unavailable

One of the world's leading solar scientists, Kenneth Lang provides a fundamental, up-to-date reference source of information about Earth's nearest and most familiar star, covering everything from basic facts to detailed concepts. Liberally illustrated with many stunning photographs of solar phenomena such as flares, views of the corona, and auroras as seen near the Earth's poles. While there is much technical and mathematical explanation, most of this is extracted into 'focus' panels, keeping the main text easily readable for students or amateur astronomers. There is also enough depth to ensure that The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun will be an indispensable reference for professionals and more advanced academic astronomers and physicists.

Kenneth R. LangThe Cambridge Guide to the Solar System
The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-81306-9, $60

Provides a comprehensive and up-to-date description of the planets and their moons, beginning with a short introduction to the history of planetary observation and discovery. The major planets and their moons are then introduced by presenting common properties, processes, and themes. This is followed by chapters which focus on individual planets and other solar system objects, including an comprehensive treatment of the various space missions—from the Apollo missions to the Moon, to recent missions to Jupiter and Mars. Illustrated throughout and supported by a website located at http://ase.tufts.edu/cosmos/ that contains all the images in the book together with their legends and brief explanatory text.

F. W. TaylorThe Cambridge Photographic Guide to the Planets
The Cambridge Photographic Guide to the Planets
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-78183-3, $50

Contains a selection of the latest and most interesting images of the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system. The book begins with a general introduction to the planetary system, its origin and its evolution. Each subsequent chapter is devoted to a different planet or solar system body, and contains a comprehensive introduction to the planet, and its moons and rings where relevant. This is followed by a selection of images from planetary missions, with explanatory captions.

Joel AchenbachCaptured by Aliens
Captured By Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe
New York: Simon & Schuster, November 1999, 0-684-84856-2, $25 (cloth)

The great minds of the human race, employing ever more fabulous technology, have peered into the depths of space and discovered that we exist on a tiny speck in a universe that is mostly rocks and gas and dust and empty space. But there is one thing we have yet to discover: a single scrap of extraterrestrial life. Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach puts the ET debate into the context of the space program, discoveries in astronomy, and the hunger for meaning in an era when science doesn’t always provide the answers. He finds that the topic of extraterrestrial life is poisoned by wishful thinking, but he also finds some fascinating, admirable and maddening characters who have pursued the truth about extraterrestrial life.

Keay DavidsonCarl Sagan: A Life
Carl Sagan: A Life
John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1999, ISBN: 0-471-25286-7, $30

Whether he was seeking life on Mars or visiting Timothy Leary in prison; listening for radio messages from a distant galaxy or bantering with Johnny Carson, Carl Sagan was always fascinating. Science journalist Keay Davidson draws on a wealth of interviews with Sagan’s family members, friends, colleagues, admirers and detractors, as well as from a vast archive of unpublished writings and intimate personal papers to present an insightful and evenhanded account of the complex man behind the visionary legend. Notes and extensive bibliography.

Michael Hoskin
Caroline Herschel's AutobiographiesCaroline Herschel's Autobiographies
Science History Publications Ltd. (www.shpltd.co.uk), 2003, ISBN: 0-905193-05-9, $40 + $10 airmail

A complete and annotated edition of two sources fundamental for the understanding of the Herschel partnership.

Halton ArpCatalogue of Discordant Redshift Associations
Catalogue of Discordant Redshift Associations
Apeiron, 2003, ISBN: 0-9683-6899-9, $45

High redshift quasars, low redshift ejecting galaxies, aligned X-ray clusters, gamma ray bursters, supposed gravitational lenses, quantized intrinsic redshifts—this book presents examples of empirical patterns of associations that repeat from region to region in the sky, suggesting evolutionary sequences and new fundamental physics. Each catalogue entry furnishes critical objects for further investigations.

Michael A. CovingtonCelestial Objects for Modern Telescopes
Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes: Practical Amateur Astronomy, Volume 2
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-52419-9, $30 (paperback)

Based on field notes made by Michael Covington throughout his career as an amateur astronomer, this guide covers both the traditional and novel approaches to studying the night sky. In addition to the more standard techniques, it discusses the latest modern resources available to today's astronomer, such as personal computers, the internet, and computerized telescopes.

Covington includes practical advice on site selection and weather; detailed instructions for observing the Sun, Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects; and newer specialties such as satellite observing and the use of astronomical databases.

Marc Lachièze-Rey and Jean-Pierre LuminetCelestial Treasury
Celestial Treasury: From the Music of the Spheres to the Conquest of Space
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-80040-4, $59.95

Images of the universe often convey more than physical information because they can have an emotional and aesthetic effect on the viewer. Celestial Treasury balances science and beauty by showing how the development of our present understanding of the universe was inspired by literature, the fine arts, and philosophy. Four main topics unify the presentation: the different mechanical schemes for understanding planetary motion; representation of the sky and the universe through maps and globes; creation traditions; and mythological traditions. Heavily illustrated (380 full-color), large format.

Allan SandageCentennial History I
Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Volume I: The Mount Wilson Observatory
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-83078-8, $80

Perched atop a mountain wilderness, the two mammoth solar tower telescopes and the 60- and 100-inch behemoth night-time reflectors of the Mount Wilson Observatory were the largest in the world, and at the center of the development of astrophysics. This book brings together the science and personal stories of those involved in the development of modern theories of stellar evolution and cosmology at the Mount Wilson Observatory. It is fully illustrated with contemporary photographs of people and instruments.

Louis BrownCentennial History II
Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Volume II: The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-83079-6, $80

This second volume in a series of five histories of the Carnegie Institution describes he people and events, the challenges and successes that the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism has witnessed over the last century. Contemporary photographs illustrate some of the remarkable expeditions and instruments developed in pursuit of scientific understanding, from sailing ships to nuclear particle accelerators, and radio telescopes to mass spectrometers.

Oded RegevChaos and Complexity in Astrophysics
Chaos and Complexity in Astrophysics
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85534-9, $80

The discipline of nonlinear dynamics has developed explosively in all areas of physics over the last two decades. This comprehensive primer summarizes the main developments in the mathematical theory of dynamical systems, chaos, pattern formation and complexity. An introduction to mathematical concepts and techniques is given in the first part of the book, before being applied to stellar, interstellar, galactic and large scale complex phenomena in the Universe. Oded Regev demonstrates the possible application of ideas including strange attractors, Poincaré sections, fractals, bifurcations, and complex spatial patterns, to specific astrophysical problems.

Daniel R. AltschulerChildren of the
Children of the Stars: Our Origin, Evolution, and Destiny
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0521812127,  $30, Hardback.

Are we alone in the Universe? What is our place in it? How did we get here? In this beautifully illustrated book, Daniel Altschuler provides the readers with the elements to understand these questions and their answers as far as we know them. He explores subjects from physics and astronomy to geology and palaeontology. Along the way he touches on topics of great popular appeal such as the search for life on other worlds and the hazards of asteroid impacts.

Ben Bussey & Paul SpudisThe Clementine Atlas of the Moon
The Clementine Atlas of the Moon
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-81528-2, $80

The highly successful Clementine mission to the Moon in 1994 gave scientists their first global look at the Moon, and both the near and far side were mapped. This atlas is based on the data collected by the Clementine mission. It covers the entire Moon in 144 Lunar Aeronautical Charts (LACs), and represents the most complete lunar nomenclature database in existence, listing virtually all named craters and other features. This is the first atlas to show the entire lunar surface in uniform scale and format. A section of color plates shows lunar composition and physical properties.

Chet RaymoClimbing Brandon
Climbing Brandon: Science & Faith on Ireland's Holy Mountain
Walker & Company, 2004, ISBN: 0-8027-1433-1, $23

Also from Chet Raymo: the acclaimed science writer celebrates an enduring symbol of Ireland's Celtic past, Christian tradition, and love of nature

Mount Brandon is one of several holy mountains in Ireland that attract scores of believers and secular trekkers from around the world. For thirty-two years, Chet Raymo has lived part of each year on the Dingle Peninsula, near the foot of the mountain, and he has climbed it perhaps a hundred times, exploring paths that have been used for centuries by pilgrims in search of spiritual enlightenment. But the history and geography of Mount Brandon are what drew Raymo to it and offered him a lens through which to view the modern conflicts between science and religion.

When Ireland converted from paganism, it became home to a kind of Christianity that was unique in Europe—intensely intellectual yet attuned to nature, skeptical yet celebratory, grounded in the here-and-now yet open to infinity. In this rich celebration of Mount Brandon, Raymo weaves together myth and science, folklore and natural history, spiritual and physical geographies. He takes us to a time on the wave-lashed edge of the Western world when Mediterranean Christianity ran up against Celtic nature worship and the Irish—with their fondness for ambiguity, double meanings, puns and riddles—forged a fusion of knowledge and faith that sustains us today.

Robert ChurchouseCodes and Ciphers
Codes and Ciphers: Julius Caesar, the Enigma, and the Internet
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-00890-5, $20 (paperback)

The design of code and cipher systems has undergone major changes in modern times. Powerful personal computers have resulted in an explosion of e-banking, e-commerce, and e-mail, and as a consequence the encryption of communications to ensure security has become a matter of public interest and importance. This book describes and analyses many cipher systems ranging from the earliest and most elementary to the most recent and sophisticated such as RSA and DES, as well as wartime machines such as the Enigma and Hagelin, and ciphers used by spies. Security issues and possible methods of attack and discussed and illustrated by examples. The design of many systems involves advanced mathematical concepts and these are explained in detail in a major appendix.

Peter Carruthers Stephen Stich and Micheal Siegal (Editors)The Cognitive Basis of Science
The Cognitive Basis of Science
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0521011779, $25

The Cognitive Basis of Science is a collection of essays by philosophers, psychologists, and others in the social and cognitive sciences that address the question "What makes science possible?" The volume is an interdisciplinary approach to accessing the features of the human mind and of human culture and cognitive development that permit and facilitate the conduct of science; contributing authors explore the cognitive, social, and motivational underpinnings of scientific reasoning in children and laypersons as well as in professional scientists. The Cognitive Basis of Science will be a valuable resource to readers studying the philosophy and psychology of scientific reasoning, as well as, more generally, those interested in the nature of the human mind.

Ludwik Liszka
Cognitive Information Processing in Space Physics and Astrophysics
Pachart Astronomy & Astrophysics Series Volume 13
Pachart Publishing House, 2004, ISBN; 0-88126-090-8, $58 (paperback)

Discusses various information processing techniques that are particularly useful when studying complex, multivariate processes in nature.  The first example are the different types of neural networks; secondly, wavelets techniques; and thirdly, causal modeling.  Introduction of these techniques into the area of space physics and astrophysics opens new possibilities for understanding the vast amount of information collected in space experiments.

David K. Lynch and William Livingston
Color and Light in Nature, 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-77284-2/0-521-77504-3, $85.00/$29.95

Color and Light in Nature provides clear explanations of all naturally occurring optical phenomena seen with the naked eye, including shadows, halos, water optics, mirages, and a host of other spectacles. Separating myth from reality, David Lynch and William Livingston outline the basic principles involved, and support them with many figures and references. Rare and spectacular photographs, many in full color, illustrate the phenomena throughout. In this new edition the authors have added over 50 new color images and provide new material on experiments readers can conduct themselves, such as how to photograph geostationary satellites with your own camera.

Philip ChienColumbia-Final Voyage
Columbia–Final Voyage: The Last Flight of NASA's First Space Shuttle
Copernicus Books, 2006, ISBN: 0-387-27148-1, $27.50

In Columbia: Final Voyage aerospace writer Philip Chien, who has over 20 years' experience covering the US space program, provides a unique insight into the crew members who lost their lives in the Columbia disaster. Chien interviewed all seven crewmembers several times and got to know them as individuals. He reviews in detail their training, their scientific work and other activities during their successful 16-day flight, the background of the accident itself and a detailed first-hand account of what happened that fateful day in February 2003. The author provides a comprehensive and personal look at both the Columbia astronauts and the STS-107 mission, together with a behind-the-scenes account of other people involved in the mission and their personal reactions to the accident.

Gary W. KronkCometography
Cometography, Volume 2: 1800-1899
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-58505-8, $185

A four-volume catalog of every comet observed throughout history. This second volume provides a complete discussion of the comets seen during the 19th century, including details of discovery, closest approaches to the Sun and Earth, path across the sky, physical descriptions, orbital information, and final observations. Detailed observer descriptions of every comet seen from 1800 to1899; calculated details of every well-observed comet; the unconfirmed comets (those never confirmed by a second observer, or those not observed long enough for an orbit to be calculated).

Michael C. Festou, H. Uwe Keller & Harold A. Weaver, eds.Comets II
Comets II
University of Arizona Press, 2005, ISBN:0816524505, $85

The study of comets is a field that has seen tremendous advances in recent years, far surpassing the knowledge reflected in the original Comets volume published as part of the Space Science Series in 1982. This new volume, with more than seventy contributing authors, represents the first complete overview of comet science in more than a decade and contains the most extensive collection of knowledge yet assembled in the field. Comets II situates comet science in the global context of astrophysics for the first time by beginning with a series of chapters that describe the connection between stars and planets. It continues with a presentation of the formation and evolution of planetary systems, enabling the reader to clearly see the key role played in our own solar system by the icy planetesimals that were the seeds of the giant planets and transneptunian objects. The book presents the key results obtained during the 1990s, in particular those collected during the apparition of the exceptional comets C/Hyakutake and C/Hale-Bopp in 1996-1997. The latest results obtained from the in situ exploration of comets P/Borrelly and P/Wild 2 are also discussed in detail.

John ManComets, Meteors and Asteroids
Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids
DK Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7894-8159-X, $12.95

From a new series on space by DK Publishing in conjunction with the BBC. Comets, Meteors and Asteroids profiles the smaller, free-ranging bodies that circle our Sun, describing how these mysterious objects form, evolve and die. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Matt Tweed The Compact Cosmos
The Compact Cosmos: A Journey Through Space and Time
The Latest Addition to the Wooden Books Series
Walker & Company, 2005, ISBN: 0802714552, $10

Exploring the macrocosm from colossal galactic superclusters to quiet backwater planets, Matt Tweed offers a primer on the cosmos. A guided tour through the universe goes past quasars, jets, and galaxies to land on a curious world and examine an array of ideas about space and time. Tweed traces the evolution of stars and formation of planets, describing our “light bubble” and why we can’t see any farther than we do. For a concise and accessible description of extra-solar planetary systems, black holes, pulsars, nebulae, great walls, dark matter, red shifts, and much more, The Compact Cosmos is an indispensable guide. Data tables, lists of cosmological constants, and distances from Earth to other bodies in space form a useful appendix.

“Wooden Books” is a series of concise, accessible introductions to timeless sciences and vanishing arts. Recreating the essence of medieval texts through elegant designs and writing, they are invaluable sources of information and inspiration.

Walter G.H. Lewin & Michiel van der KlisCompact Stellar X-Ray Sources
Compact Stellar X-Ray Sources
Cambridge Astrophysics Series 39
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-82659-4, $175

X-ray astronomy is the prime available window on astrophysical compact objects: black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. In the last ten years new observational opportunities have led to an explosion of knowledge in this field. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the astrophysics of compact objects that emit X-rays. Sixteen chapters written by the foremost experts in the field cover the observations and the astrophysical interpretation of these objects. Topics covered include binary systems, gamma ray burst sources, soft gamma ray repeaters, anomalous X-ray pulsars, super-soft sources, and enigmatic fast X-ray transients.

Jay PasachoffThe Complete Idiot's Guide to the Sun
The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Sun
Alpha, 2003, ISBN: 1592570747, $18.85 (paperback)

"Dear Reader, Solar storms. Floods of neutrinos. Particles rushing by spacecraft and zapping astronauts. The Sun is the benign presence that makes life on Earth possible, but it has its crazy moments. I have had the pleasure of studying the Sun in many ways, and I am glad to have this chance to tell you about my favorite star....After you read this book, I hope that you will agree with me that the Sun is the most fascinating object in the universe. The Sun is there for all of us, but let us each make it his or her own." Jay Pasachoff.

The author is known around the world as a premier astronomy and solar scientist, chair of the Working Group of Solar Eclipses of the IAU, and recipient of the 2003 Education Prize of the AAS.

James R. VoelkelThe Composition of Kepler’s Astronomia nova
The Composition of Kepler’s Astronomia nova
Princeton University Press, 2001, 0-691-00738-1, $49.50

Drawing extensively on Kepler's correspondence and manuscripts, James Voelkel posits that the strikingly unusual style of Kepler's magnum opus, Astronomia nova (1609), has been traditionally misinterpreted. Kepler laid forth the first two of his three laws of planetary motion in this work. Instead of a straightforward presentation of his results, however, he led readers on a wild goose chase, recounting the many errors and false starts he had experienced. This had long been deemed a ''confessional'' mirror of the daunting technical obstacles Kepler faced. As Voelkel attempts to demonstrate, it is not.

Voelkel argues that Kepler's style can be understood only in the context of the circumstances in which the book was written. Starting with Kepler's earliest writings, he traces the development of the astronomer's ideas of how the planets were moved by a force from the sun and how this could be expressed mathematically. And he shows how Kepler's once broader research program was diverted to a detailed examination of the motion of Mars. Above all, Voelkel shows that Kepler was well aware of the harsh reception his work would receive--both from Tycho Brahe's heirs and from contemporary astronomers; and how this led him to an avowedly rhetorical pseudo-historical presentation of his results.

In treating Kepler as a figure in time and not as independent of it, this work will be welcomed by historians of science, astronomers, and historians.

Victor J. StengerThe Comprehensible Cosmos
The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come from?
Prometheus Books, 2006, ISBN: 1-59102-424-2, $28

"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." – Albert Einstein In a series of remarkable developments in the 20th century and continuing into the 21st, elementary particle physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists have removed much of the mystery that surrounds our understanding of the physical universe. We now have mathematical models that are consistent with all observational data, including measurements of incredible precision, and we have a good understanding of why those models take the form they do.

But the question arises: Where do the "laws" revealed by the mathematical models come from? Some conjecture that they represent a set of restraints on the behavior of matter that are built into the structure of the universe, either by God or some other ubiquitous governing principle. Physicist Victor Stenger disputes this notion. Instead, he argues that physical laws are simply restrictions on the ways physicists may draw the models they use to represent the behavior of matter if they wish to do so objectively. Since mathematical descriptions of data must be independent of any specific point of view, that is, they must possess "point-of-view invariance" (maximum objectivity), they naturally conform to certain fundamental laws that insure that objectivity, such as the great conservation principles of energy and momentum. The laws of physics, however, are not simply an arbitrary set of rules since the observed data beautifully demonstrate their accuracy.

Jean-Louis Tassoul & Monique TassoulA Concise HIstory of Solar and Stellar Physics
A Concise History of Solar and Stellar Physics
Princeton University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-691-11711-X, $39.95

A comprehensive overview of the history of ideas about the sun and the stars, from antiquity to modern times. Two theoretical astrophysicists who have been active in the field since the early 1960s tell the story in fluent prose. About half of the book covers most of the theoretical research done from 1940 to the close of the twentieth century, a large body of work that has to date been little explored by historians.

The first chapter, which outlines the period from about 3000 B.C. to 1700 A.D., shows that at every stage in history human beings have had a particular understanding of the sun and stars, and that this has continually evolved over the centuries. Next the authors systematically address the immense mass of observations astronomy accumulated from the early seventeenth century to the early twentieth. The remaining four chapters examine the history of the field from the physicists perspective, the emphasis being on theoretical work from the mid-1840s to the late 1990s--from thermodynamics to quantum mechanics, from nuclear physics and magnetohydrodynamics to the remarkable advances through to the late 1960s, and finally, to more recent theoretical work.

James TobinTo Conquer the Air
To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
Free Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-684-85688-3, $28

"For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man. My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life."

So wrote a quiet young Ohioan in 1900, one in an ancient line of men who had wanted to fly—men who wanted it passionately, fecklessly, hopelessly. But now, at the turn of the twentieth century, Wilbur Wright and a scattered handful of other adventurers conceived a conviction that the dream lay at last within reach, and in a headlong race across ten years and two continents, they competed to conquer the air. For years Wright and his younger brother, Orville, experimented in utter obscurity, supported only by their exceptional family. Meanwhile, the world watched as the imperious Samuel Langley, armed with a rich contract from the U.S. War Department and all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution, sought to scale up his unmanned models to create the first manned flying machine. But while Langley became with flight as a problem of power, the Wrights grappled with it as a problem of balance. Thus their machines took two very different paths—his toward oblivion, theirs toward the heavens.

John D. BarrowThe Constants of Nature
The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega — The Numbers that Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe
Pantheon, 2003, ISBN: 0-375-42221-8, $26

The constants of nature are the fundamental laws of physics that apply throughout the universe: gravity, velocity of light, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. They encode the deepest secrets of the universe, and express at once our greatest knowledge and our greatest ignorance about the cosmos.

Their existence has taught us the profound truth that nature abounds with unseen regularities. Yet while we have become skilled at measuring the values of these constants, our frustrating inability to explain or predict their values shows how much we have still to learn about inner workings of the universe.

What is the ultimate status of these constants of nature? Are they truly constant? And are there other universes where they are different? The Constants of Nature grapples with these and other issues, looking back to the impact their discovery had on scientists like Einstein, and forward to new theories on the higher dimensions of space. It also delves into tantalizing new astronomical discoveries that suggest some constants may have been different when the universe was younger.

Edward Teller, with Wendy Teller & Wilson TalleyConversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics
Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics
Perseus Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 0-7382-0765-9, $16 (paperback)

From the Prologue:

"I want to warn you -- I will say quite a few things that everybody understands and I will say a few things that nobody understands and even some things that nobody can understand.  I take this liberty because it is an actual picture of what sciences do."

In Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics, Teller returns to the fundamentals of physics to share with readers his unbridled enthusiasm for the of physical reality -- from the nature of molecules to quantum mechanics and superconductors, from the elementary laws of thermodynamics to how planets, asteroids, and comets develop their orbits.

Sun KwokCosmic Butterflies
Cosmic Butterflies: The Colorful Mysteries of Planetary Nebulae
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-79135-9, $29.95

A star does not live forever. Brilliant in its youth, the average star is even more spectacular as it approaches death. During the last 10,000 years of a star's life, it undergoes a glorious stage called the "planetary nebula" phase. In Cosmic Butterflies, Sun Kwok captures the incredible beauty of this phase and details the discovery process of the creation of planetary nebulae and of the future of the Earth's sun. Using more than 100 Hubble images, this visual presentation reveals how the mystery begins when the dying star wraps itself in a cocoon by spilling out gas and dust; sometime later a butterfly-like nebula emerges and develops into a planetary nebula, hovering in the gossamer of delicate streamers of glowing gases.

Malcolm LongairThe Cosmic Century
The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology
Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 0-521-47436-1, $60

Provides a historical introduction to modern relativistic cosmology and traces its historical roots and evolution from antiquity to Einstein. The topics are presented in a non-mathematical manner, with the emphasis on the ideas that underlie each theory rather than their detailed quantitative consequences. A significant part of the book focuses on the Special and General theories of relativity. The tests and experimental evidence supporting the theories are explained together with their predictions and their confirmation. Other topics include a discussion of modern relativistic cosmology, the consequences of Hubble's observations leading to the Big Bang hypothesis, and an overview of the most exciting research topics in relativistic cosmology.

Seth Shostak & Alex Barnett Cosmic Company
Cosmic Company: The Search for Life in the Universe
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82233-5, $29

In Cosmic Company, Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, and Alex Barnett, Programme Director at the National Space Centre, ponder the possibility of aliens visiting the Earth, as well as the consequences of receiving a signal from the cosmos proving we're neither alone, nor the most intelligent life forms. They explain why scientists think life might exist on other worlds, and how we might contact it. Containing a thorough overview of the science and technology behind the search for life in the universe, the book highlights current and future space missions and research. Contents: 1. Habitats for life; 2. What might the aliens be like; 3. Intelligent life; 4. Visitors from afar; 5. How might we get in touch?; 6. The Drake Equation; 7. The future. Colorfully illustrated throughout.

Jeff Kanipe The Cosmic Connection
The Cosmic Connection: How Astronomical Events Impact Life on Earth
Promethus, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-59102-667-9, Hardcover $27.95

In this sweeping tour of the cosmos and our place within it, acclaimed science writer Jeff Kanipe shows the many ways we are connected to the vast universe we inhabit. Long before our apelike ancestors dropped from the trees and began playing with fire, even before the Sun emerged from its chrysalis of dust and irradiated its brood of planets, numberless and nameless astronomical events affected Earth and its emerging life-forms. Our chemical makeup-from the iron in our blood to the calcium in our bones-derives from the stars that lived and died hundreds of millions of years ago. Comets have showered organic molecules into our oceans, and asteroid impacts have wiped out predominant species that lived before.

David H. Levy, with Wendee Wallach-LevyCosmic Discoveries
Cosmic Discoveries
Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-57392-931-X, $28

"As I scanned the night sky, the centuries fell away, and I felt myself taking my place in line with other men and women who have done the same thing...Why do people search the sky? What’s in it for them? And more important, what’s in it for the rest of us?" David H. Levy

For many millennia the starry night sky has been a source of wonder and awe to men and women who have tried to unravel the mystery of the billion distant lights that fill the heavens after dark. The story of the great discoverers who succeeded in explaining part of the mystery is told here with the joy and infectious enthusiasm that only a fellow discoverer can convey. David Levy, codiscoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and ASP Board member, with his wife, Wendee Wallach-Levy, gives a glimpse of the enthralling adventure of cosmic discovery through stories of the most famous and brilliant astronomers. For example, Galileo's breathtaking discovery of the moons of Jupiter, new worlds that refused to orbit the sun, challenged the whole doctrine of the earth being the center of the universe. With the start of the 20th century, Shapley pushed back the envelope that had been opened by Galileo by proving that the center of our galaxy is very far beyond our own sun. And Hubble showed that even our galaxy is but a tiny part of a universe that is rapidly expanding. Beyond their personal accomplishments, these scientists expanded all of humanity's understanding of the universe and our place within it.

Eric Chaisson
Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature
Harvard University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-674-00987-8, paperback, $29.50

From the Preface: "Using astronomical telescopes and biological microscopes, among a virtual arsenal of other tools of high technology, modern scientists are weaving a thread of understanding spanning the origin, existence, and destiny of all things. Now emerging is a unified scenario of the cosmos, including ourselves as sentient beings, based on the time-honored concept of change. From galaxies to snowflakes, from stars and planets to life itself, we are beginning to identify an underlying, ubiquitous pattern penetrating the fabric of all the natural sciences — a sweepingly encompassing view of the order and structure of every known class of object is our richly endowed Universe. We call this subject "cosmic evolution."

Guided by notions of beauty and, by the search for simplicity and elegance, by the ambition to explain the widest range of phenomena with the fewest possible principles, Chaisson designs for us an expansive yet intricate model depicting the origin and evolution of all material structures. He shows us that neither new science nor appeals to nonscience are needed to understand the impressive hierarchy of the cosmic evolutionary story, from quark to quasar, from microbe to mind.

Peter Höflich, Pawan Kumar & J. Craig WheelerCosmic Explosions in Three Dimensions
Cosmic Explosions in Three Dimensions: Asymmetries in Supernovae & Gamma-Ray Bursts
Cambridge Contemporary Astrophysics
Cambridge University Press, 2004, 0-521-84286-7, $120

Supernovae and gamma-ray bursts are the strongest explosions in the universe. Recent observations have shown that rather than being symmetrical, they are driven by strong jets of energy and other asymmetrical effects that reveal previously unknown physical properties. These observations have demanded new theories and computations that challenge the biggest computers. This volume marks the transition to a new paradigm in the study of stellar explosions. It highlights the burgeoning era of routine supernova polarimetry and the new insights into core collapse and thermonuclear explosions.

Leonard SusskindThe Cosmic Landscape
The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design
Little Brown, December 2005, ISBN: 0-316-15579-9, $24.95

The beginning of the 21st century is a watershed in modern science, a time that will forever change our understanding of the universe, Leonard Susskind contends. Several decades ago, Susskind introduced the revolutionary concept of string theory to the world of physical science. In doing so, he inspired a generation of physicists who believed that the theory would uniquely predict the properties of our universe. Now, in his first book ever, Susskind argues that the very idea of such an “elegant theory” no longer suits our understanding of the universe, and that our narrow 20th-century view of a unique universe will have to give way to the much broader concept of a gigantic cosmic landscape—a megaverse, pregnant with new possibilities.

D. Bailin & A. Love
Cosmology in Gauge Field Theory and String Theory
Institute of Physics, Graduate Student Series in Physics, ISBN: 0-7503-0492-8, $55

This book is devoted to the cosmological implications of the gauge theories of particle physics and of string theory. It presumes some prior knowledge of these subjects, such as that provided in the authors' previous books Introduction to Gauge Field Theory and Supersymmetric Gauge Field Theory and String Theory, but it is self-contained.

As it cooled after the hot big bang, it is likely that the universe passed through a series of phase transitions in which the successive gauge symmetries of the higher-temperature phase were spontaneously broken. The survival to the present of relics of these phase transitions is discussed, as is that of more generic relics (baryons, neutrinos, axions) and supersymmetric particles (neutralinos and gravitinos). Recent observations confirm that the universe is very flat and extremely homogeneous. The most plausible explanation of this is that the universe passed through an inflationary era. The constraints on the presumed underlying field theory are studied and the possibility of satisfying these in a supersymmetric theory or in supergravity theory is discussed. Finally, black hole solutions of the supergravity theory that approximates string theory at low energies are considered, and the insight that string theory affords into the microscopic origin of the Bekenstein—Hawking entropy is discussed.

Cosmology in Gauge Field Theory and String Theory will provide a modern introduction to these important problems from a particle physicist's perspective.

Sylvia Arditi & Marc Lachieze-ReyCosmos
Firefly Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-55297-932-6, $39.95

A dramatic photographic tour of the universe. The observable universe contains some hundred billion galaxies—each one made up of as many stars. Of the vast billions of stars, only a scant 5,000 are actually visible from Earth with the naked eye. Over the last twenty years, space probes and space-based telescopes have released us from the confines of Earth and catapulted us into the open reaches of space to capture worlds beyond our own.

Cosmos showcases magnificent celestial objects of unparalleled beauty, gathering the most dramatic images of the night sky—from close planets and our sun to the most remote galaxies. It features the latest images from space from sources including Hubble, NASA and the European Space Agency. Organized into the following chapters: Solar System, Scattered Nebulae and Stellar Births, Star Clusters, Planetary Nebulas, Decline and Death of Giant Stars, and Galaxies as Far as the Eye Can See.

Alan Boss The Crowded Universe
The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets
Basic Books 2009, ISBN: 978-0-465-00936-7, Hardcover $26.00

In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Alan Boss argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably alive. Life is not only possible elsewhere in the universe, Boss argues -- it is common.

Boss describes how our ideas about planetary formation have changed radically in the past decade and brings readers up to date on discoveries of bizarre inhabitants of various solar systems, including our own. America must stay in this new space race, Boss contends, or risk being left out of one of the most profoundly important discoveries of all time: the first confirmed finding of extraterrestrial life.

Jean-Claude Pecker & Jayant NarlikarCurrent Issues in Cosmology
Current Issues in Cosmology
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85898-4, $110

What are the current ideas describing the largescale structure of the universe? How do they relate to the observed facts? This book looks at both the strengths and weaknesses of the current big bang model in explaining certain puzzling data. It arises from an international conference held at the College de France, Paris in June 2004, which brought together many of the world's leading players in cosmology. In addition to presenting individual talks, the proceedings of the resulting discussions are also recorded.

Michael C. LoPrestoCycles in the Sky
Cycles in the Sky, 2/e
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2004, ISBN: 0-7575-1053-1, $45.95 (spiral bound paperback)

LoPresto has taught introductory astronomy at Henry Ford CC since 1990 and found that traditional textbooks "list the steps of the scientific method like cookbook instructions then gloss over the sky's motions and history on the way to 'more important' material....Cycles is designed to stand alone as a more in-depth look at the motions in the sky...first describing the observable motions of the stars, the Sun, the Moon and the planets and developing possible explanations for them, then, by using the history of astronomy, showing how these theories evolved...this provides not only a lesson in the process of science, but it also shows how the scientific method was developed."



J. M. Overduin and P. S. WessonDark Sky, Dark Matter
Dark Sky, Dark Matter
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 0-7503-0684-X, $125

We wish to understand why the night sky is dark and the nature of the dark matter in the universe. These topics are intimately related. The darkness of the night sky is due to the age of the universe, its rate of expansion and its content of luminous matter in the form of stars and galaxies. However, the latter have motions, which imply the existence of large amounts of non-luminous material, probably in the form of particles. These slowly decay, producing photons. So while intergalactic space is dark, it is not completely black. Understanding the relation between the dark sky and dark matter is comparable to a modern version of Olber's paradox.

The approach of the authors is to compare the best observational data from large telescopes with the best cosmological theory based on general relativity and particle physics. This gives us a more accurate picture of the universe and the exotic material believed to constitute dark matter.

Contents: The dark night sky; The modern resolution and energy; The modern resolution spectra; The dark matter; The vacuum; Axions; Neutrinos; Supersymmetric weakly interacting particles; Black holes; Conclusions; Appendices: Bolometric intensity integrals; Dynamics with a decaying vacuum; Absorption by galactic hydrogen.

Mario Livio, ed.The Dark Universe
The Dark Universe: Matter, Energy, and Gravity
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82227-0, $90

This timely volume presents specially written articles by world experts at an international conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute. The goal of the meeting was to assemble physicists and astronomers working on all aspects of dark matter and theories of gravity. Topics covered include Nucleosynthesis, Hot Gas in Clusters, MACHOs, WIMPs, Rotation Curves, Gravitational Lensing Neutrinos, Large Scale Flows, Dwarf Spheroidals, Cosmological Parameters from Supernovae, the Cosmic Microwave Background, the Cosmological Constant, and Theories of Gravity.

Contributors: Vera Rubin, Kailash Sahu, Harvey Richer, Megan Donahue, Gary Steigman, Bob Sanders, Ruth Daly, Eric Guerra, Neta Bahcall, John Peacock, Adam Riess, Chris Kochanek, Marc Kamionkowski, Andrew Jaffe, Alex Vilenkin, Michael Dine.

David LevyDavid Levy's Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets
David Levy's Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-826560-X/0-521-52051-7, $48/$17

David Levy has held a lifelong passion for comets, and is one of the most successful comet discoverers in history. In this book he describes the observing techniques that have been developed over the years - from visual observations and searching, to photography, through to electronic charge-coupled devices (CCDs). He combines the history of comet hunting with the latest techniques, showing how our understanding of comets has evolved over time. This practical handbook is suitable for amateur astronomers, from those who are casually interested in comets and how to observe them, to those who want to begin and expand an observing program of their own. Drawing widely from his own extensive experience, Levy describes how enthusiastic amateurs can observe comets and try to make new discoveries themselves.

David H. LevyGuide to the Night Sky
David Levy’s Guide to the Night Sky
Cambridge University Press, 2001, 0-521-79753-5, $24.95 (paperback)

More than a decade ago, David Levy, award-winning astronomer and Society board member, wrote The Sky: A User’s Guide, a book that has since seen four printings in two languages.

Fully updated, the new edition includes: A new section on the computer-controlled telescopes and how to use this new technology; one new chapter on how charge-coupled devices (CCDs) have revolutionized the art of astronomical observation; an explanation of how a new variable star is discovered and studied, based on Levy's personal experience.

Levy explores topics as diverse as the features of the Moon from night to night; how to observe constellations from both urban and rural observation sites; how best to view the stars, nebulae, and galaxies; how to find a new comet; how to buy or even make a telescope; what to see in a month of lunar observations or a year of stellar observations; and how to map the sky.

David H. LevyDavid Levy's Guide to Variable Stars, 2/e
David Levy's Guide to Variable Stars, 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-60860-0, $26

Found throughout the universe, variable stars are fascinating objects to observe. Their brightness changes over time and they can easily be seen with even the most basic equipment. ASP Board of Directors member David Levy explains how to begin electronic (or CCD) observing, as well as how to observe variable stars through a small telescope or binoculars. Featuring a section on Southern hemisphere stars, this book covers various types of objects that can be observed by amateur astronomers, including more exotic phenomena like gamma ray bursts, blazars, and polars.

Richard C. Klein with Blake EdgarThe Dawn of Human Culture
The Dawn of Human Culture: A Bold New Theory on What Sparked the "Big Bang" of Human Consciousness
John Wiley & Sons, 2002, ISBN: 0-471-25252-2, $27.95

For millions of years, human anatomy and human behavior evolved together. But only 50,000 years ago, anatomical evolution came to a near halt while behavioral evolution accelerated dramatically. This important shift became the dawn of what we now consider modern behavior and was the starting point of human culture. What sparked this incredible revolution is truly the greatest mystery of human evolution. Preeminent anthropologist Richard G. Klein reexamines the archaeological evidence and introduces the latest information on the study of the human brain and human genetics to present an absorbing account of the correlation between brain development and the earliest known origins of human consciousness.

Karen TaschekDeath Stars, Weird Galaxies, and a Quasar-Spangled Universe
Death Stars, Weird Galaxies, and a Quasar-Spangled Universe
University of New Mexico Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-8263-3211-0, $17.95

In 1931, Karl Jansky was hired by AT&T to search for sources of static that might interfere with radio waves for transatlantic communications. Jansky identified static from thunderstorms and random radio noise from devices on Earth, but he also found a radio hiss from the Milky Way galaxy. After World War II, astronomers constructed more radio telescopes with greater sensitivity to faint radio signals from space. In the 1970s, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory built the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, on the plains of San Agustin, New Mexico. The VLA is well equipped to hunt for strange objects and solve astronomical mysteries. The VLA receives radio signals from outer space. Most are so faint, a blastingly strong signal would be a cell phone ringing on the moon, 238,900 miles away from Earth. The VLA has shown ice on the burning-hot planet of Mercury, has discovered a burst of brand-new star formations, and has probed dying and exploding stars. Karen Taschek introduces young readers to the wonders revealed by the VLA. She begins with basic information on our solar system and our own Milky Way galaxy and then extends the discussion to galaxies billions of light-years from Earth.

William Dembski & Michael RuseDebating Design
Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82949-6, $45

William Dembski, Michael Ruse, and other prominent philosophers provide a comprehensive balanced overview of the debate concerning biological origins—a controversial dialectic since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. Invariably, the source of controversy has been "design." Is the appearance of design in organisms (as exhibited in their functional complexity) the result of purely natural forces acting without prevision or teleology? Or, does the appearance of design signify genuine prevision and teleology, and, if so, is that design empirically detectable and thus open to scientific inquiry? Four main positions have emerged in response to these questions: Darwinism, self-organization, theistic evolution, intelligent design. The contributors to this volume define their respective positions in an accessible style, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. Two introductory essays furnish a historical overview of the debate.

Mario Livio, Keith Noll & Massimo Stiavelli, eds.A Decade of Hubble Space Telescope Science
A Decade of Hubble Space Telescope Science
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82459-1, $90

Preface: The Space Telescope Science Institute Symposium on "A Decade of HST Science" took place during 11-14 April 2000.

There is no doubt that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in its first decade of operation has had a profound impact on astronomical research. But HST did much more than that. It literally brought a glimpse of the wonders of the universe into millions of homes worldwide, thereby inspiring an unprecedented public curiosity and interest in science.

HST has seen farther and sharper than any optical/UV/IR telescope before it. Unlike astronomical experiments that were dedicated to a single, very specific goal, HST's achievements are generally not of the type of singular discoveries. More often, HST has taken what were existing hints and suspicious from ground-based observatories and has turned them into certainty.

In other cases, the level of detail that HST has provided forced theorists to re-think previous broad-brush models, and to construct new ones that would be consistent with the superior emerging data. In a few instances, the availability of HST's razor-sharp vision at critical events provided unique insights into individual phenomena.

These proceedings represent a part of the invited talks that were presented at the symposium, in order of presentation.

Stephen James O'Meara Hidden Treasures
Deep-Sky Companions: Hidden Treasures
Cambridge University Press, 2007, ISBN: 0-521-83704-9, $45

Stephen O'Meara's new and exciting observing guide spotlights an original selection of 109 deep-sky objects that will appeal to sky-watchers worldwide. His 'hidden treasures' include a wonderful assortment of galaxies, open clusters, planetary nebulae and more, all of which have been carefully chosen based on their popularity and ease of observing. None of these objects are included in either the Messier or the Caldwell catalogs, and all are visible in a 4-inch telescope under dark skies. Stunning photographs and beautiful drawings accompany detailed visual descriptions of the objects, which include their rich histories and astrophysical significance. The author's original finder charts are designed to help observers get to their targets fast and efficiently.

Stephen James O'Meara
Deep Sky Companions: The Caldwell Objects
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82796-5, $40

For more than two centuries, amateur astronomers have earned their stripes by observing the 109 star clusters, nebulae, and cataloged by French comet hunter Charles Messier. Sir Moore has compiled a new list of 109 deep-sky delights, the Caldwell Catalog, which covers the entire celestial sphere. Stephen James O'Meara has observed all 109 Caldwell objects and Deep Sky Companions presents his beautiful sketches and detailed visual descriptions and discusses each object's rich history and astrophysical significance. The latest fundamental data on each object are tabulated, and the book's star charts will lead observers to each object's precise location.

David Levy Deep Sky Objects
Deep Sky Objects: The Best and Brightest from Four Decades of Comet Chasing
Prometheus Books, November 2005, ISBN: 1-59102-361-0, $20

As the discoverer or co-discoverer of twenty-one comets, including Shoemaker-Levy 9 that crashed into Jupiter in1994, David Levy has devoted many decades of experience to observing the night sky. Over the years he has located over 300 deep sky objects, of which more than 100 “best and brightest” are featured in this book. Light years beyond our solar system, deep sky objects include such intriguing phenomena as double and triple stars, nebulae, galaxies, and quasars. Levy offers a physical description and a discussion of each object’s history and beauty, as well as a star atlas to aid in finding the objects. Complete with both color and black-and-white photos, plus many helpful illustrations.

Neil Bone, with maps by Wil TirionDeep Sky Observer's Guide
Deep Sky Observer's Guide
Firefly Books, Ltd., 2005, ISBN: 1-55407-024-4, $14.95 (paperback)

From galaxies to globular and open clusters, from nebulae to double stars, the Deep Sky Observer's Guide introduces the basics of observing and explains what equipment is required. To view most of the objects described, binoculars and small telescopes are explained, along with accessories such as filters and mounts. Also includes descriptions of challenging deep sky objects and of the hardware with more powerful magnification necessary to view them.

Also available is "The Deep Sky Observer's Pack" ($24.95) which includes a copy of the Guide, three large-scale sky maps covering three hemispheres that show more than 200 deep sky objects, and a Deep Sky Calendar featuring 52 deep sky objects for each week of the year.

Mark WolvertonThe Depths of Space
The Depths of Space: The Pioneer Planetary Probes
Joseph Henry Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-309-09050-4, $24.95

The first spacecraft to explore the secrets of the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and the void beyond Pluto, the Pioneer space probes have been the trailblazers of the space age, truly going where no man has gone before.

Emblazoned with the nude figures of a man and a woman, etched representations of our human form, the Pioneer generation of probes were aptly named. Launched into the inky depths of space, they were more than mere machines, they were humanity's first emissaries into deep space. And the pictorial inscriptions that adorned the crafts embodied the hopes and dreams of everyone involved in the Pioneer program...our message in a bottle.

Perhaps the most efficient, reliable, and cost effective program to come out of NASA, the Pioneer missions are a shining example of how a small and talented group of people can, against all odds, pull something off that has never been done before. Indeed, more than thirty years after its launch in 1972, Pioneer 10 is still cruising into interstellar space, sending back data as it courses through the galaxy while Pioneer 6, in solar orbit, is more than 35 years old and humankind's oldest functioning spacecraft. But despite their enduring contributions, the Pioneer project remains a footnote in space history, little more than a humble prologue to its inheritors.

The Depths of Space recounts the long overdue history of Pioneer both as a scientific and technological achievement and as the story of the exceptional people who made the program possible. This tight narrative captures the black-coffee buzz of full-throttle, deadline-driven production, the sharp, intense thrill of discovery, the pang of anxiety that accompanies looming danger and ultimate loss, and the satisfaction and pride of creating an enduring legacy.

Alain Dupas, illustrated by Ron MillerDestination Mars
Destination Mars
Firefly Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-55297-934-2, $29.95

Destination Mars begins with the earliest references to Mars in the mythology of ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome, then discusses the origins of the scientific revolution brought about by men like Newton, Kepler, Huygens and Galileo. After pausing for a quick look at Mars in literature and the movies, author Dupas moves to the development of rockets, the saga of space exploration and the search for life on Mars, including "The Extraordinary Revelations of Mariner 9," immense volcanoes, dry river beds, and gigantic canyons. The successes and failures of more recent craft are covered, as well as a section on astronauts and the future of humans in space. Finally, coupling the science of today with the best available theories about tomorrow, Destination Mars reports on future explorations as if they have already occurred. Includes never-before-seen photos, some of them in fold out three-and four-page spreads and evocative illustrations by Ron Miller.

Seymour SimonDestination: Space
Destination: Space
Smithsonian/HarperCollins, 2006, ISBN:0060877227, $16.99

Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon has teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution for new updated editions of his acclaimed long running series of photo-essays. Matching full-color, full- and double-page-spread-sized light and radio photographs of nebulas, galaxies, and sundry deep-space phenomena with two or three paragraphs of explanatory text.

Ian Ridpath
A Dictionary of Astronomy, revised edition
Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-19-860513-7, $15.95 (paperback)

This revised edition contains 4,000 up-to-date entries written by an expert team of contributors, under the editorship of Ian Ridpath. Covering the most recent space exploration missions and latest technological development, this authoritative dictionary covers everything from astrophysics to galaxies and time. World-wide coverage of observatories and telescopes, and major entries on supernova, Big Bang theory, and stellar evolution. Appendices include tables of Apollo lunar landing missions and the constellations. The entries are supported by numerous tables and diagrams, and the dictionary also features biographical entries on eminent astronomers.

Robert LaughlinA Different Universe
A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down
Basic Books, 2005, ISBN: 0-465-03828-X, $26

Laughlin proposes nothing less than a new way of understanding fundamental laws of science. In this age of superstring theories and Big-Bang cosmology, we're used to thinking of the unknown as being impossibly distant from our everyday lives. The edges of science, we're told, lie in the first nanofraction of a second of the Universe's existence, or else in realms so small that they can't be glimpsed even by the most sophisticated experimental techniques. But we haven't reached the end of science, Laughlin argues—only the end of reductionist thinking. If we consider the world of emergent properties instead, suddenly the deepest mysteries are as close as the nearest ice cube or grain of salt. And he goes farther: the most fundamental laws of physics—such as Newton's laws of motion and quantum mechanics—are in fact emergent. They are properties of large assemblages of matter, and when their exactness is examined too closely, it vanishes into nothing. A Different Universe takes us into a universe where the vacuum of space has to be considered a kind of solid matter, where sound has quantized particles just like those of light, where there are many phases of matter, not just three, and where metal resembles a liquid while superfluid helium is more like a solid. It is a universe teeming with natural phenomena still to be discovered.

David Ratledge, Ed.Digital Astrophotography
Digital Astrophotography: The State of the Art
Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy Series
Springer, 2005, ISBN: 1-85233-734-6, $34.95

The CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) has revolutionized optical astronomy during the past 20 years, and specialized astronomical CCD cameras are now even more affordable, color is standard, and they provide spectacular results. Digital Astrophotography: The State of the Art, provides some examples of the best images, and gives readers hints and tips about how to get the best out of this extraordinary technology. Experts in CCD astronomy from North America and Europe have contributed to this book, illustrating their help and advice with many beautiful color images – the book is in full color throughout. Techniques range from using simple webcams to highly technical aspects such as supernovae patrolling. Computer processing, stacking and image-enhancement are detailed, along with many hints and tips from the experts.

Thomas M. GeorgesDigital Soul
Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values
Westview Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-8133-4057-8, $26

If the day comes when intelligent machines not only make computations but also learn to think and experience emotions as much as humans do, how will we distinguish the "human" from the "machine"? In this introduction to artificial intelligence—and its potentially profound social, moral, and ethical implications—science writer Thomas Georges boldly explores fundamental issues such as: What is consciousness? Can computers be conscious? If machines can think and even feel, should they have "human" rights? Will machines and people merge into a biomechanical race? Should we worry that super-intelligent machines might take over the world? Even now, we continue to put increasingly sophisticated machines in control of critical aspects of our lives in ways that may hold unforeseen consequences for the human race.

Jean Lacroux, Christian Legrand, Translated by Christopher SutcliffeDiscover the Moon
Discover the Moon
Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 0-521-53555-7, $16.00 (paperback)

The Moon is accessible to everyone. Because it is easy to observe everywhere, even in big cities, it is a prime target for aspiring astronomers and for those who are merely curious about the night sky. This easy-to-use guide to discovering lunar sites takes the reader through fourteen observing sessions from New Moon to Full Moon. For each evening, the book shows which craters, mountains and other features can be seen, and how to find them. Each photograph shows what the observer actually sees through a telescope, solving the usual difficulties of orientation confronting beginners. Images are shown as they appear through both refracting and reflecting telescopes. Maps printed on the book's front and back flaps show the whole Moon with sites as seen through a refractor, through a Newtonian reflector, or, when turned upside-down, through binoculars. Jean Lacroux has been a columnist for the French astronomy magazine Ciel et Espace for 25 years. He has published four successful amateur astronomy books in French. Christian Legrand is an engineer and amateur astronomer, who has been a passionate lunar observer since the Apollo missions.

Cynthia Pratt Nicholson, illustrated by Bill Slavin

Discover Space
Kids Can Press, 2005,
ISBN: 1-55337-823-7, $14.95

Discover Space

Discover the Planets
Kids Can Press, 2005,
ISBN: 1-55337-825-3, $14.95

Discover the Planets

Two new entries in the series of books written especially for the beginning reader. Discover Space and Discover the Planets are at level 3 (kids can read alone).

Steven WeinbergThe Discovery of Subatomic Particles
The Discovery of Subatomic Particles, revised edition
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82351-X, $25

Provides an historical account of key events in the physics of the twentieth century that led to the discoveries of the electron, proton and neutron. Steven Weinberg introduces the fundamentals of classical physics that played crucial roles in these discoveries. Connections are shown throughout the book between the historic discoveries of subatomic particles and contemporary research at the frontiers of physics, including the most current discoveries of new elementary particles.

Bruce DormineyDistant Wanderers
Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System
Copernicus Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-387-95074-5, $29.95

After decades of high-tech searches, astronomers are just now beginning to reap the rewards of their hunt for "distant wanderers"—planets orbiting stars outside our own Solar System. Ten years ago, the number of planets definitively identified was exactly zero; in the last five years, planet-hunters have detected more than 60; and, by the end of this decade, they are likely to have identified hundreds, possibly even thousands.

In interviews with dozens of key astronomers, veteran science journalist Bruce Dorminey explains what’s already been found and what’s likely to be discovered. The early returns are amazing, and not just in terms of the number of finds. Planets, it turns out, come in all shapes and sizes. They are searingly hot and abysmally cold. Some have nearly circular stable orbits; others follow wildly elliptical paths. And some are so strange that they challenge the very definition of the word "planet" or seem to reverse our long-held notions of the roles of planet and star.

He invites us to speculate about what all these discoveries may tell us about extraterrestrial life, about the possibility of space colonization, and about the special place of our own planet and ourselves in the cosmos.

Peter BondDistant Worlds
Distant Worlds: Milestones in Planetary Exploration
Springer, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-387-40212-3, $32.50

In this overview of "where we stand today," Peter Bond describes the achievements of the astronomers, space scientists, and engineers who have made the exploration of our Solar System possible. A clearly written and compelling account of the Space Age, the book includes:

  • Dramatic accounts of the daring, resourcefulness, and ferocious competitive zeal of renowned as well as almost-forgotten space pioneers.

  • Clear explanations of the precursors to modern astronomy, including how ancient natural philosophers and observers first took the measure of the heavens.

  • More than a hundred informative photographs, maps, simulated scenarios, and technical illustrations--many of them in full color.

  • Information-dense appendices on the physical properties of our Solar System, as well as a comprehensive list of 50 years of Solar System missions.

Organized into twelve chapters focused on the objects of our exploration (the individual planets, our Moon, the asteroids and comets), Bond's text shows how the great human enterprise of space exploration may on occasion have faltered or wandered off the path, but taken as a whole amounts to one of the great triumphs of human civilization.

Alan E. RubinDisturbing the Solar System
Disturbing the Solar System: Impacts, Close Encounters, and Coming Attractions
Princeton University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-691-074747, $29.95

The solar system is not akin to a well-oiled machine whose parts move smartly along prescribed paths. It has always been — and continues to be — a messy place in which gravity wreaks havoc. Moons form, asteroids and comets crash into planets, ice ages commence, and dinosaurs disappear. By describing the dramatic consequences of such disturbances, this fascinating book reveals the fundamental interconnectedness of the solar system — and what it means for life on its most interesting planet.

After relating a brief history of the solar system, Alan Rubin describes how astronomers determined our location in the Milky Way. He provides succinct and up-to-date accounts of the energetic interactions among planetary bodies, the generation of the Earth's magnetic field, the effects of other solar-system objects on our climate, the moon's genesis, the heating of asteroids, and the origin of the mysterious tektites. Along the way, Rubin introduces us to the individual scientists — including the famous, the now obscure, and the newest generation of researchers — who have enhanced our understanding of the galactic neighborhood. He shows how scientific discoveries are made; he discusses the uncertainty that presides over the boundaries of knowledge as well as the occasional reluctance of scientists to change their minds even when confronted by compelling evidence. Journeying to the frontiers of knowledge, Rubin concludes with the exciting realm of astrobiology. He chronicles the history of the search for life on Mars and describes cutting-edge lines of astrobiological inquiry, including panspermia (the possible transfer of life from planet to planet), the likelihood of technologically advanced alien civilizations in our galaxy, our probable responses to alien contact.

Kenneth C. DavisDon't Know Much About the Universe
Don’t Know Much About the Universe: Everything You Need to Know About the Cosmos but Never Learned
HarperCollins Publishers, 2001, ISBN: 0-06-019459-6

"A word from Ken... When I was a teenager, I used to pose questions like this: 'Mom, can I borrow five bucks for a movie?' Or, 'May I get an extension on that term paper?' When Albert Einstein was a teenager, he asked, 'What would the world look like if I rode on a beam of light?' That's why Einstein rewrote the laws of physics and, thirty years after my school days, his question still leaves me scratching my head. The point is we all have questions—admittedly some are more interesting than others. That's why the Don't Know Much About series is built around quirky, offbeat and occasionally irreverent questions."

From the ancients who charted the stars, to Jules Verne and Flash Gordon, to The X-Files, Apollo 13, and Armageddon, subjects engaging the heavens and outer space have intrigued people through the ages. Davis sets his sights on a subject that has inspired the greatest of fascinations, produced many popular misconceptions, and ultimately helped shape the course of history.

Wyn Wachhorst, Foreword by Buzz AldrinThe Dream of Spaceflight
The Dream of Spaceflight: Essays on the Near Edge of Infinity
Basic Books, 2000, ISBN: 0-465-09057-5, $22

Lyrical essays on science and technology, each of which is a montage of images and reflections on the dream of spaceflight and its historical meaning. The first essay, a survey of major figures from Johannes Kepler to Werner von Braun, sees in the rise of spaceflight a metaphor of modern history as a recurrent story of transformation and rebirth. The second recalls the romantic vision of the decades before Sputnik. The third essay looks at the moon landing as the signature event of our century, while the fourth offers new perspectives on the nature of wonder. The final essay returns to the themes of transformation and rebirth.

D.C.B. WhittetDust in the Galactic Environment
Dust in the Galactic Environment, 2/e
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 0-750-30624-6, $49.99 (paperback)

Dust is a ubiquitous feature of the cosmos, impinging directly or indirectly on most fields of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Since the publication of the first edition of this popular graduate text, major advances have been made in our understanding of astrophysical dust, through observations and developments in laboratory astrophysics and theoretical modeling. The new, expanded edition highlights the latest results and provides a context for future research opportunities.