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Books of Note Archives

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M

Cathy CobbMagick, Mayhem, and MavericksIn Association with Amazon.com
Magick, Mayhem, and Mavericks: The Spirited History of Physical Chemistry
Prometheus Books, 2002, ISBN: 1-57392-976-X, $29

Her tale is about the colorful varieties of human character as well as the struggles to understand the workings of the material world. Through true stories of rebels, recluses, heroes, and rogues, she helps the reader to discover how one idea built upon another and how an elegant discipline arose out of centuries of difficult trial and error.

Starting with the ancient Greeks, Cobb takes the reader on a sweeping tour of history. She shows how an understanding of basic chemical properties gradually arose out of ancient Greeks mathematics, Muslim science, medieval "magick," and the healing arts. Her tour continues through the scientific revolution, the emergence of physical chemistry as an independent discipline, and up to the present. Today, physical chemists contribute to the fields of chemical physiology, chemical oscillations and waves, quantum mechanics, and the curious and promising field of nanotechnology.

Jack RepcheckThe Man Who Found TimeIn Association with Amazon.com
The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton and the Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity
Perseus Publishing, June 2003, ISBN: 073820692X, $26

There are three men whose contributions helped free science from the straitjacket of theology. Two of the three — Nicolaus Copernicus and Charles — are widely known and heralded for their breakthroughs. The third, James Hutton, never received the same recognition, yet he profoundly changed our understanding of the earth and its dynamic forces. Hutton proved that the earth was likely millions of years old rather than the biblically determined six thousand, and that it was continuously being shaped and re-shaped by myriad everyday forces rather than one cataclysmic event. In this expertly crafted narrative, Jack Repcheck tells the remarkable story of this Scottish gentleman farmer and how his simple observations on his small tract of land led him to a theory that was in direct confrontation with the Bible and that also provided the scientific proof that would spark Darwin's theory of evolution. It is also the story of Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment, which brought together some of the greatest thinkers of the age, from David Hume and Adam Smith to James Watt and Erasmus Darwin. Finally, it is a story about the power of the written word. Repcheck argues that Hutton's work was lost to history because he could not describe his findings in graceful and readable prose. (Unlike Darwin's Origin of the Species, Hutton's one and only book was impenetrable.) A marvelous narrative about a little-known man and the science he founded, The Man Who Found Time is also a parable about the power of books to shape the history of ideas.

Arthur UpgrenMany SkiesIn Association with Amazon.com
Many Skies: Alternative Histories of the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars
Rutgers University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-8135-3512-3, $24.95

What if Earth had several moons or massive rings like Saturn? What if the Sun were but one star in a double-star or triple-star system. What if Earth were the only planet circling the Sun? These and other imaginative scenarios are the subject of Many Skies. As well as examining the changes in science that these alternative solar, stellar, and galactic arrangements would have brought, the author also explores the different theologies, astrologies, and methods of tracking time that would have developed to reflect them. Our perception of our surroundings, the number of gods we worship, the symbols we use in art and literature, even the way we form nations and empires are all closely tied to our particular (and accidental) placement in the universe.

Oliver MortonMapping MarsIn Association with Amazon.com
Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World
Picador USA, 2002, ISBN: 0-312-24551-3, $30

Who are the extraordinary individuals that will take us on the next great space race, the next great human endeavor, our exploration and colonization of the planet Mars? And more importantly, how are they doing it? Acclaimed science writer Oliver Morton explores the peculiar and fascinating world of the new generation of explorers: geologists, scientists, astrophysicists and dreamers. Morton shows us the complex and beguiling role that mapping will play in our understanding of the red planet, and more deeply, what it means for humans to envision such heroic landscapes. Charting a path from the 19th century visionaries to the spy-satellite pioneers to the science fiction writers and the arctic explorers—till now, to the people are taking us there—Morton unveils the central place that Mars has occupied in the human imagination, and what it will mean to realize these dreams. A pioneering work of journalism and drama, Mapping Mars gives us our first exciting glimpses of the world to come and the curious, bizarre, and amazing people who will take us there.

Henry Albers, Ed.Maria MitchellIn Association with Amazon.com
Maria Mitchell: A Life in Journals and Letters
College Avenue Press (e-mail: CollegeAvePress@aol.com), October 2001, ISBN: 1-883551-89-7, $27.95

From the Foreword: "Nineteenth century America was filled with pioneers whose lives revolved around exploration and discovery…(Maria Mitchell’s) territory was the heavens, and her exploration made her a leader in the advancement of women in science…." America’s first woman astronomer was born in 1818 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where women were largely self-sufficient since Nantucket men were gone to sea for long periods. She became well-versed in the operation of key navigational devices such as the sextant and telescope and taught herself the fundamentals of calculus and higher-level mathematics while serving as librarian at the Nantucket Antheneum library. Twenty years later, now internationally renowned, she was a welcome guest in salons of the world’s leading scientists and literary figures and served for more than two decades at the first Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College. Featuring extensive excerpts from Maria Mitchell’s diaries and journals, this richly illustrated book was edited by Henry Albers, astronomy professor for 22 years at Vassar College and the fifth director of the Vassar College Observatory.

Edward HarrisonMasks of the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos, 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-77351-2, $30

To the ancient Greeks the universe consisted of earth, air, fire and water. To Saint Augustine it was the Word of God. To many modern scientists it is the interaction of atoms and waves, and in years to come it may be different again. What then is the real universe? History shows that in every age society constructs its own universe, believing it to be the real and final one. Yet these are only models, or masks covering what is not understood and not known. This book brings together fundamental scientific, philosophical, and religious issues in cosmology, raising thought provoking questions. In every age people have pitied the universes of their ancestors, convinced that they have at last discovered the full truth. Do we now stand at the threshold of knowing everything, or will our latest model also be rejected by our descendants?

This new edition has been completely rewritten and includes new chapters on the nature of time, and of perception.  It broadens the popular treatment of cosmology, and includes topics such as the containment riddle, the creation and design of the universe, and the meaning of consciousness.

John CastiMathematical MountaintopsIn Association with Amazon.com
Mathematical Mountaintops: The Five Most Famous Problems of All Time
Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-19-514171-7, $27.50

In this journey through the "Himalayas of mathematics," the author recreates the solutions to the five greatest mathematical problems of all time: The Four-Color Map Problem, Fermat’s Last Theorem, The Continuum Hypothesis, Kepler’s Conjecture, and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. In retelling the story of Hilbert's Tenth Problem, for instance, he sweeps from Britain to New York to Leningrad and introduces us to such luminaries as Alan Turing, before turning to the young Soviet researcher who credited his breakthrough to a 700-year-old Italian problem about rabbits. He describes how Fermat's Last Theorem tantalized generations of scientists, who tried for three centuries to answer it, and relates how the final solution was greeted with the unprecedented front-page headlines, prize money, and international celebration--before a flaw (soon resolved) turned up. Casti's account of the struggle to solve Kepler's Conjecture wittily reveals how the "proof of the obvious" sometimes eludes us for centuries. And his discussion of The Continuum Hypothesis movingly portrays the tragic figure of Georg Cantor, the troubled genius who created the first truly original mathematics since the Greeks, yet died insane in an institution. Casti closes with a preview of the "Magnificent Seven" - the greatest unsolved mathematical mysteries, each of which carries a million-dollar bounty from the Clay Mathematics Institute -including the Poincare Conjecture, the Yang-Mills Existence and Mass Gap (why physicists can't isolate quarks), and the Reimann Hypothesis ("the granddaddy of all mathematical mysteries").

Jeffrey Bennett, with illustrations by Alan Okamoto

Max Goes to the Moon
Big Kid Science, 2003,
ISBN: 0-972-1819-03, $16.95

In Association with Amazon.com Max Goes to the Moon

Max Goes to Mars
Big Kid Science, 2005,
ISBN: 0-972-1819-11, $16.95

In Association with Amazon.com Max Goes to Mars

Max goes to the Moon combines a lavishly illustrated picture book format with fundamental science concepts. In this adventure, Max the Dog and his young human friend Tori undertake a quest to make the first trip to the Moon since the Apollo era. Their trip inspires the nations of the world to join together to build a Moon colony. The engaging story encourages children to learn, dream, and explore, while offering the message that we live on a precious planet. Everything that happens in the story corresponds to scientific principles which are clearly explained in "Big Kid Boxes" that appear on each page. At the end of the book there is a simple science-based activity that children and parents can enjoy together.

Just published, Max Goes to Mars finds Max the dog is ready for his next adventure — the first human mission to Mars. But the trip is too long for his human friend Tori to make, so she helps Max prepare for the journey. On the red planet, Max sniffs out many mysteries — and makes one of the most important discoveries of all time. This engaging story fuels young readers' interest in space travel, while explaining difficult scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.

Ken AlderThe Measure of All ThingsIn Association with Amazon.com
The Measure Of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World
Free Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-743-21675-X, $27.00

From the Prologue: In June 1792—in the dying days of the French monarchy, as the world began to revolve around a new promise of Revolutionary equality—two astronomers set out in opposite directions on an extraordinary quest. The erudite and cosmopolitan Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre made his way north from Paris, while the cautious and scrupulous Pierre-François-André Méchain made his way south. Each man left the capital in a customized carriage stocked with the most advanced scientific instruments of the day and accompanied by a skilled assistant. Their mission was to measure the world, or at least that piece of the meridian arc, which ran from Dunkerque through Paris to Barcelona. Their hope was that all the world's peoples would henceforth use the globe as their common standard of measure. Their task was to establish this new measure—"the meter"—as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator.

The meter would be eternal because it had been taken from the earth, which was itself eternal. And the meter would belong equally to all the people of the world, just as the earth belonged equally to them all. In the words of their Revolutionary colleague Condorcet—the founder of mathematical social science and history's great optimist—the metric system was to be "for all people, for all time."

Martin GorstMeasuring EternityIn Association with Amazon.com
Measuring Eternity: The Search for the Beginning of Time
Broadway Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-7679-0827-9, $23.95

The untold story of the religious figures, philosophers, astronomers, geologists, physicists, and mathematicians who, for more than four hundred years, have pursued the answer to a fundamental question at the intersection of science and religion: When did the universe begin? From the story of Bishop James Ussher who asserted the world and time began at 6 PM on Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC to the Hubble Space Telescope’s current estimate of 13.4 billion years.

David H. Clark & Matthew D. H. ClarkMeasuring the CosmosIn Association with Amazon.com
Measuring the Cosmos: How Scientists Discovered the Dimensions of the Universe
Rutgers University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-8135-3404-6, $22.95

Humans have always viewed the heavens with wonder and awe. The skies have inspired reflection on the vastness of space, the wonder of creation, and humankind's role in the universe. In just over one hundred years, science has moved from almost total ignorance about the actual distances to the stars and earth's place in the galaxy to our present knowledge about the enormous size, mass, and age of the universe. We are reaching the limits of observation, and therefore the limits of human understanding. Beyond lies only our imagination, seeded by the theories of physics. In Measuring the Cosmos, science writers David and Matthew Clark tell the stories of both the well-known and the unsung heroes who played key roles in these discoveries. These true accounts reveal ambitions, conflicts, failures, as well as successes, as the astonishing scale and age of the universe were finally established. Few areas of scientific research have witnessed such drama in the form of ego clashes, priority claims, or failed (or even falsified) theories as that resulting from attempts to measure the universe. Besides giving credit where long overdue, Measuring the Cosmos explains the science behind these achievements.

Edward Teller, with Judith ShooleryMemoirsIn Association with Amazon.com
Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics
Perseus Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7382-0532-X, $35

From the Introduction: "How should the twentieth century, during which I lived more than nine decades be described? Its culture was science and technology; its course was unpredictable changes; its fate was to suffer two major wars and a confrontation between two visions of mankind that threatened to lead to a third. My own life has been shaped by each of these forces, and I have been a bystander and also a participant in many of the events connected with these major upheavals. My dreams were of other stuff, but some of my directions were present from the time of my earliest youth. Science was my earliest passion. I cannot divorce any of the major events in my life from the way of thinking that the study of science imposes. Such thought is not necessarily straightforward logic, but it never permits one to ignore facts or to substitute authority for self-conviction."

Dante S. Lauretta & Harry Y. McSweenMeteoritesIn Association with Amazon.com
Meteorites and the Early Solar System II
Space Science Series
University of Arizona Press, 2006, ISBN: 0816525625, $90

They range in size from microscopic particles to masses of many tons. The geologic diversity of asteroids and other rocky bodies of the solar system are displayed in the enormous variety of textures and mineralogies observed in meteorites. The composition, chemistry, and mineralogy of primitive meteorites collectively provide evidence for a wide variety of chemical and physical processes. This book synthesizes our current understanding of the early solar system, summarizing information about processes that occurred before its formation.

William A. CassidyMeteorites, Ice, and AntarcticaIn Association with Amazon.com
Meteorites, Ice, and Antarctica: A Personal Account
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-25872-3, $30

Bill Cassidy led meteorite recovery expeditions in the Antarctic for fifteen years and his searches have resulted in the collection of thousands of meteorite specimens from the ice. This personal account of his field experiences on the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites Project reveals the influence the work has had on our understanding of the moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. Cassidy describes the hardships and dangers of fieldwork in a hostile environment, as well as the appreciation he developed for its beauty. He initiated the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) project and led meteorite recovery expeditions in Antarctica in1976. His name is found attached to a mineral (cassidyite), on the map of Antarctica (Cassidy Glacier), and in the Catalog of Asteroids (3382 Cassidy).

Edmond Murad and Iwan P. WilliamsMeteors in the Earth's AtmosphereIn Association with Amazon.com
Meteors in the Earth’s Atmosphere: Meteoroids and Cosmic Dust and Their Interactions with the Earth’s Upper Atmosphere
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-80431-0, $80

A huge amount of extraterrestrial matter enters the Earth’s atmosphere every year and eventually settles on the ground. The two main sources of this matter are cosmic dust and meteoroid streams. Meteorites form only a very small fraction of the total mass that is captured by the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the mater is in the form of very fine dust particles. Because of the temperatures reached during entry, a large proportion of these particles evaporates at high altitudes, giving rise to radar signatures and the visual phenomenon of shooting stars.

This book integrates astronomical observations and theories with geophysical studies to present a comprehensive overview of the extraterrestrial matter that falls to Earth from space. Meteoroids are the main topic of the book, although cosmic dust, interplanetary matter, and meteorites are also discussed.

Peter JenniskensMeteor Showers and their Parent CometsIn Association with Amazon.com
Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85349-4, $150

Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets is a unique handbook for astronomers interested in observing meteor storms and outbursts. Spectacular displays of 'shooting stars' are created when the Earth's orbit crosses a meteoroid stream, as each meteoroid causes a bright light when it enters our atmosphere at high speed. Jenniskens, an active meteor storm chaser, explains how meteoroid streams originate from the decay of meteoroids, comets and asteroids, and how they cause meteor showers on Earth. He includes the findings of recent space missions to comets and asteroids, the risk of meteor impacts on Earth, and how meteor showers may have seeded the Earth with ingredients that made life possible. All known meteor showers are identified, accompanied by fascinating details on the most important showers and their parent comets. The book predicts when exceptional meteor showers will occur over the next 50 years, making it a valuable resource for both amateur and professional astronomers.

George JohnsonMiss Leavitt's StarsIn Association with Amazon.com
Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe
W.W. Norton/Atlas Books, 2005/2006, ISBN: 0-393-05128-5/0-393-32856-2, $22.95/$13.95 (cloth & paper)

At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists argued over the size of the universe: was it, as the astronomer Harlow Shapley argued, the size of the Milky Way, or was there more truth to Edwin Hubble's claim that our own galaxy is just one among billions? The answer to the controversy–a "yardstick" suitable for measuring the cosmos–was discovered by Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who was employed by the Harvard Observatory as a number cruncher, at a wage not dissimilar from that of workers in the nearby textile mills. Miss Leavitt's Stars uncovers her neglected history, and brings a fascinating and turbulent period of astronomical history to life.

Daniel FischerMission JupiterIn Association with Amazon.com
Mission Jupiter: The Spectacular Journey of the Galileo Space Probe
Copernicus Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-387-98764-9, $32.00

We are at the dawning of a new era in the study of space, thanks in no small part to the Galileo space probe. Mission Jupiter tells the full story of Galileo: a revealing look at its difficult course from idea to reality; its launch; the problems it encountered early on and how these were resolved; and finally, what will become of the probe. Along the way, the author describes what we've learned about Jupiter, including what the Jovian atmosphere is really like, and the peculiar reality of the planet's magnetic field. The story of the journey to Jupiter concludes with a look to the future, closing on the Cassini probe to Saturn, launched just last year. Illustrated with more than 40 images in full color, Mission Jupiter shows space exploration at its best and conveys the essential science clearly and vividly.

Michael J. FeuerModerating the DebateIn Association with Amazon.com
Moderating the Debate: Rationality and the Promise of American Education
Harvard Education Press, 2006, ISBN: 1-891792-69-5, $24.95 (paper)

Examines the complex –- and often problematic -– relations between education research, policy, and practice, and proposes ways to improve those relationships in the interest of meaningful education reform. Based on the Burton and Inglis Lectures, which Michael Feuer delivered at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004 and 2005, the book begins with an examination of how recent developments in cognitive science have fundamentally changed the way we understand human decisionmaking and rational judgment. It then proceeds to a consideration of how the lessons of cognitive science might inform a more rational–and reasonable–approach to education research, policy, and reform.

Charles A. WoodThe Modern MoonIn Association with Amazon.com
The Modern Moon: A Personal View
Sky Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-933346-99-9, $44.95

Charles Wood's "Lunar Notebook" column in Sky & Telescope has been delighting readers for years. Now Wood brings his insightful and clear prose about our closest celestial neighbor to you in this new book. Drawing on both traditional telescopic observations of the Moon and the modern explorations of the Apollo, Clementine, and Lunar Prospector missions, The Modern Moon: A Personal View is an authoritative guidebook that tells readers both what to look for and why to look. Set up your telescope and let Wood unravel the Moon's complex past as you gaze at lunar vistas.

Ian TattersallThe Monkey in the MirrorIn Association with Amazon.com
The Monkey in the Mirror: Essays on the Science of What Makes Us Human
Harcourt, 2003, ISBN: 0-15-602706-2, $13 (now in paperback)

Ian Tattersall is widely regarded as one of the rare eminent scientists who is also a graceful and engaging writer. In this new work he attempts to answer the most controversial questions on human origins: What makes us so different? How did we get this way? How do we know? Guiding readers around the world and far into the past, Tattersall examines and explores evolutionary theory, a science based not on a finite set of conclusions drawn from overwhelming evidence, but rather our evolving effort to make sense out of a handful of incomplete fossil remains.

Steve Tomecek, illustrated by Liisa Chauncy GuidaMoonIn Association with Amazon.com
Moon
National Geographic Books, 2005, ISBN: 0-7922-5123-7, $16.95

A cat and his firefly pal take young readers on a delightful romp to learn all about the Earth's moon. Through the use of simple yet engaging text and exuberant artwork, the book shows children how the moon interacts with the sun, how it seems to change shape in the sky, and how it glows. During their colorful, guided tour, kids also will learn about humans' first trip to the moon and what we found there. An experiment at the end of the book shows young scientists how to make craters and understand more clearly how they formed on the moon. Full-color photographs throughout.

Thomas J. KellyMoon LanderIn Association with Amazon.com
Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module
Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight Series
Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001, 1-56098-998-X, $27.95

In 1961, only a few weeks after Alan Shepherd completed the first American suborbital flight, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. The next year, NASA awarded the right to meet the extraordinary challenge of building a lunar excursion module to a small aircraft company called Grumman in Long Island, New York.

Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a first-hand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. The account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule.

Reginald Turnill, Foreword by Buzz AldrinThe MoonlandingsIn Association with Amazon.com
The Moonlandings: An Eyewitness Account
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0521815959, $27.00

The Soviet-American race to land the first man on the Moon was a technical challenge unlike anything in modern human history. BBC Aerospace Correspondent Reginald Turnill covered the story, and his reports were heard and seen by millions worldwide. With unparalleled access to the politicians, scientists, and technicians involved in the race to the Moon, Turnill knew all the early astronauts—Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin—as they pioneered the techniques that made the Moon landings possible. He became a friend of Dr. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket pioneer and mastermind behind the technology, disclosing his master plans for manned bases on the Moon and Mars. By drawing on his correspondences with every key figure involved, Turnill delivers a unique insider's account of one of the most thrilling adventures of the 20th century.

Kristin Leutwyler, Afterword by John R. Casani (original NASA Project Manager for the Galileo Mission)The Moons of JupiterIn Association with Amazon.com
The Moons of Jupiter
W. W. Norton, 2003, ISBN: 0-393-05060-2, $39.95

Announced in 1977, built by 1983, and launched in 1989, Project Galileo is NASA's most ambitious interplanetary mission to date. Over the roughly thirteen years that the Galileo probe has been in orbit, it has transmitted over 6,000 images of Jupiter and its many moons. The Moons of Jupiter draws on this treasure trove of images as well as images from the Voyager and Cassini missions and the Hubble Telescope. The spectacular visual tour encompasses the four main moons: the volcanic Io, the most active volcanic body in the solar system; the cratered Callisto, the most distant moon; the giant Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system that pulsates with its own magnetic field; the mysterious Europa, beneath whose ice-covered surface may exist oceans teeming with extraterrestrial life; as well as Jupiter's churning Great Red Spot and the minor moons of the Jovian solar system—some forty moons in all.

Peter GregoMoon Observer's GuideIn Association with Amazon.com
Moon Observer's Guide
Firefly Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-55297-888-5, $14.95 (paperback)

In clear language and with full color photographs and illustrations throughout, Moon Observer's Guide offers practical guidance to amateur astronomers viewing Earth's only natural satellite. There is valuable advice for observing the Moon with the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. Central to this book is a detailed 28-day guide to lunar features. Lunar geology and the various causes of physical features, such as craters and volcanoes, are described.

Also included are: guidelines for choosing binoculars and telescopes; ways of recording observations; digital and conventional photography; using Internet resources, personal computers and lunar software programs; safety tips for observing the moon during solar and lunar eclipses; detailed moon maps.

Andrew SmithMoondustIn Association with Amazon.com
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth
4th Estate, 2005, ISBN: 0-00715-541-7, $26.95

What does one do for their second act when their first was walking on the Moon? When Andrew Smith set out to answer that question, even NASA didn’t know what had become of each of the nine surviving members of the Apollo Moon program. Some buckled. Some thrived. Two became beer distributors. One became an artist, addressing the question, “What did the moon look like up close?” Another immersed himself in studying faith healing and paranormal phenomena at his New Age institute. Others cheerfully peddle autographs at Star Trek conventions. Their stories are full of twists and turns, doubts and reinventions and in his lively first-person account of his encounters with each of the Moonwalkers, Smith reveals how one extraordinary act in the lives of these complex, hyper-competitive men triggered a spectrum of consequences they had never anticipated.

Peter GregoMoonwatchAstroShop
Moonwatch
Firefly Books, Ltd., 2004, ISBN: 1-55297-997-0, $24.95

Moonwatch is the convenient combination of three useful items for observing the Moon. These include: Moon Observer's Guide ; highly detailed map of the Moon's near side and photographic poster showing the Lunar phases.

The Moon Observer's Guide is a highly illustrated, practical introduction to moon-watching. It is organized with a twenty-eight day observing diary, and features tips on recording observations and helpful advice on Lunar photography. The Moon Map (40" x 27") is a highly detailed look at the Moon's near side. Hundreds of physical features—all of which can be seen with binoculars or a telescope—are labeled and indexed, including the locations of Lunar landings. The sidebar text offers practical guidance on moonwatching and highlights spectacular features. A smaller map of the far side completes this comprehensive depiction of the Lunar surface. The Moon poster (34 1/2" x 23") is a photograph showing all the Lunar phases. The poster is double-sided, showing how the Moon is seen from both the southern and northern hemispheres.

Gregory L. MatloffMore Telescope PowerIn Association with Amazon.com
More Telescope Power: Activities & Projects for Young Astronomers
John Wiley & Sons, 2002, ISBN: 0-471-40985-5, $12.95

Want to explore Mars? Observe Jupiter’s cloud bands? Visit a galaxy that’s almost 2 million light years away? With More Telescope Power, you can do all of that and more! Under the guidance of experienced astronomer Gregory Matloff, you’ll uncover the full potential of your telescope as you take a fascinating tour of the universe. Along the way you’ll learn plenty of new observation techniques, including: using various eyepieces and filters; tracking satellites; observing comets and meteors; using sunspots to determine solar rotation; and much, much more. Filled with dozens of all-new stargazing projects and observing activities, this detailed guide also contains plenty of helpful illustrations such as finder charts, lunar and solar eclipse tables, diagrams, and photos.

Yip Chee-kuen, Chief Curator, Hong Kong Science MuseumMoving Stars Changing Scenes
Moving Stars Changing Scenes: Gems of the Ancient Chinese Astronomy Relics
Hong Kong Science Museum, 2006, ISBN: 9-627-79705-7

The Ancient Chinese Astronomy Exhibition took place at the Hong Kong Science Museum between 15 November 2001 and 7 April 2002. To mark the occasion, Curator Yip regrouped some forty pieces of the exhibits by their nature and compiled this beautifully conceived large format book. The first chapter introduces starmaps and records related to the Chinese sky. The second details instruments for observation in Ancient China. The third focuses on ancient legends and relics related to astronomy. The fourth mainly introduces how ancient Chinese made use of the Sun, Moon, stars, clepsydras and joss sticks to tell time.

From the Foreword: The Chinese Poet Want Bo had written in his poem "Tower of the Prince of Teng," "But things change, constellations move - how many autumns gone by? And where today is the Prince of the tower?" Astronomical instruments that were once exclusively used by emperors and a handful of ministers have witnessed the rise and fall of regimes and endured turmoil precipitated from power struggles and wars. Today they travel around the world as cultural ambassadors. They show visitors from all walks of life the beauty and elegance of science and art in the ancient world. And this echoes the meaning of the title of this book "Moving Stars, Changing Scenes."

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Leon Golub and Jay M. PasachoffNearest StarIn Association with Amazon.com
Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun
Harvard University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-674-01006-X, $16.95 (now in paperback)

Unlike the myriad points of light we gaze at in the night sky, our nearest star allows us to study the wonders of stellar workings at blindingly close range—from a mere 93 million miles away. And what do we see? In this book, two of the world's leading solar scientists unfold all that history and science—from the first cursory observations to the measurements obtained by the latest state-of-the-art instruments on the ground and in space—have revealed about the Sun. Following the path of science from the very center of this 380,000,000,000,000,000,000-megawatt furnace to its explosive surface, Nearest Star invites readers into an open-ended narrative of discovery about what we know about the Sun and how we have learned it.

How did the Sun evolve, and what will it become? What is the origin of its light and heat? How does solar activity affect the atmospheric conditions that make life on earth possible? These are the questions at the heart of solar physics, and at the center of this book. Having made optical solar observations with many solar telescopes and in the rockets and satellites, the authors bring their extensive personal experience to this story of how astronomers study the Sun, and what they have discovered about phenomena from eclipses to neutrinos, space weather, and global warming. Richly illustrated with an assortment of pictures from the latest solar missions and the newest telescopes.

Tom StandageThe Neptune FileIn Association with Amazon.com
The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry & the Pioneers of Planet Hunting
Walker & Company, October 2000, ISBN: 0802713637, $25

The first full account of the dramatic events surrounding the eighth planet’s discovery, and the story of two remarkable men who were able to "see" on papers what astronomers looking through telescopes for more than 200 years had never seen. Neptune’s discovery heralded the beginning of a new era of planet detection and marked the genesis of astronomers using mathematics, instead of telescopes, to locate new planets — a method that has led to an extraordinary series of discoveries.

Axel Mellinger & Susanne M. HoffmannThe New Atlas of the Stars In Association with Amazon.com
The New Atlas of the Stars: Constellations, Stars and Celestial Objects
Firefly Books Ltd., 2005, ISBN: 1-55407-102-X, $59.95

This comprehensive, full-color star atlas is the successor to Firefly’s previous book, The Great Atlas of the Stars, with a significant difference. In addition to the galaxies of the Northern Hemisphere, The New Atlas of the Stars includes the Southern Hemisphere and the Equatorial Region. As well, thirty sky charts, each with a clear plastic overlay, feature the important stars and constellations. Features the superb images of world-renowned astrophotographer, Axel Mellinger.

New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration StrategyNew Frontiers in the Solar System
Request a copy (http://www.nap.edu) or read on-line

Solar system exploration is that grand human endeavor which reaches out through interplanetary space to discover the nature and origins of the system of planets in which we live and to learn whether life exists beyond Earth. It is an international enterprise involving scientists, engineers, managers, politicians, and others, sometimes working together and sometimes in competition, to open new frontiers of knowledge. It has a proud past, a productive present, and an auspicious future. This survey was requested by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to determine the contemporary nature of solar system exploration and why it remains a compelling activity today. A broad survey of the state of knowledge was requested. In addition NASA asked for the identification of the top-level scientific questions to guide its ongoing program and a prioritized list of the most promising avenues for flight investigations and supporting ground-based activities.

Gordon Fraser, ed.The New Physics for the Twenty-First CenturyIn Association with Amazon.com
The New Physics for the Twenty-First Century
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-81600-9, $60

Fifteen years on from the highly praised The New Physics, new scientific advances have led to a dramatic reappraisal of our understanding of the world around us, and made a significant impact on our lifestyle. Underpinning all the other branches of science, physics affects the way we live our lives and ultimately how life itself functions. This fully rewritten new edition investigates key frontiers in modern physics. Exploring our universe, from the particles within atoms to the stars making up galaxies, it reveals the vital role invisible mechanisms play in the world around us, and explains new techniques, from nano-engineering and brain research to the latest advances in high-speed data networks and custom-built materials. Written by leading international experts, each of the nineteen self-contained chapters will fascinate scientists of all disciplines, and anyone wanting to know more about the world of physics.

Tony Hey and Patrick WaltersThe New Quantum UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
The New Quantum Universe
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-56457-3, $85/$35

The principles of quantum mechanics are the basis of everything in the physical world—from atoms to stars, from nuclei to lasers. Quantum paradoxes and the eventful life of Schroedinger's Cat are explained, along with the Many Universe explanation of quantum measurement in this newly revised edition of The Quantum Universe (1987). Updated throughout, the book also looks ahead to the nanotechnology revolution and describes quantum cryptography, computing and teleportation science fiction.

George Gamow and Russell Stannard, Illustrated by Mike EdwardsIn Association with Amazon.com
The New World of Mr. Tompkins: George Gamow's Classic Mr. Tompkins in Paperback Fully Revised and Updated by Russell Stannard
Cambridge University Press, 2001, 0-521-63992-1, $16.95 (paper)

Mr. Tompkins is back! The mild-mannered bank clerk with the short attention span and vivid imagination has inspired, charmed and informed since the publication of Mr. Tompkins in Paperback in 1965. Completely revised and updated, this new version retains the original British charm while introducing Mr. Tompkins to some of the most important developments that have taken place in recent years, including Einstein's relativity and bizarre effects near the speed of light, the birth and death of the universe, blackholes, quarks, space warps and antimatter, the fuzzy world of the quantum and the ultimate demolition derby of atom smashers.

Michael Mayor and Pierre-Yves Frei, translated by Boud RoukemaNew Worlds in the CosmosIn Association with Amazon.com
New Worlds in the Cosmos: The Discovery of Exoplanets
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-81207-0, $30

Winner of the "Best French Astronomy Book 2001" and written from the perspective of one of the pioneers of this scientific adventure, New Worlds in the Cosmos describes the development of the modern observing technique that has enabled astronomers to find so many planets orbiting around other stars. It reveals the wealth of new planets that have now been discovered outside our solar system, and the meaning of this finding as it concerns other life in the Universe. Michel Mayor is Director of the Observatory of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1995, together with Didier Queloz, he discovered the extrasolar planet (51 Peg b) around a main sequence star, and has discovered many more since.

Robin Scagell, with maps by Wil TirionNight Sky AtlasIn Association with Amazon.com
Night Sky Atlas: The Moon, Planets, Stars, and Deep Sky Objects
Firefly Books Ltd., 2005, ISBN: 1-55407-026-0, $29.95 (paperback)

Night Sky Atlas combines clear, accurate star maps with reliable and informative text. Sturdy binding makes it suitable for outdoor use. Cover flaps can be used as page-markers, and the sewn binding allows the atlas to be opened flat. The star maps are drawn with black stars on a white background, allowing observers to pencil in their own observations (the high quality paper can withstand repeated use of an eraser!). The book begins by presenting the whole sky in a series of six maps, showing stars down to magnitude 5.5–all visible with binoculars or a small telescope. Opposite each map is a photo-realistic image that shows how the same portion of sky looks to the naked eye, allowing less-experienced observers to quickly find specific objects of interest. Other features include: forty large scale constellation charts; a full set of seasonal charts; maps of the Moon and the planets; deep sky maps identifying double stars, nebula and more.

Jean-Louis HeudierThe Night Sky Month-By-MonthIn Association with Amazon.com
The Night Sky Month-By-Month: January-December 2004
Firefly Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-55297-816-8, $24.95

This book is a down-to-earth guide for finding astronomical features in the Northern Hemisphere without the aid of expensive telescopes or complicated sky maps. Organized chronologically, a simple color photo of the night sky shows which direction to face and where to look for such planets as Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. Chapters are divided into months and include the Moon's phases, dates of planetary and star positions, and specific times to watch. Includes historical details and phenomena such as lunar and solar eclipses, constellations, and comets, as well as historical tidbits and useful tips.

Terence DickinsonNightwatchBuy it at the AstroShop
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, 4/e
Firefly Books Ltd., 2006, ISBN: 1-55407-147-X, $35
Thoroughly revised, updated and expanded.

The first three editions of NightWatch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of thorough revisions and additional new material. The fourth edition has revisions in every chapter, including:

  • The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars

  • A complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopes

  • An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope

  • The tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2018.

This edition includes for the first time star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.

James A. Van Allen924 Elementary Problems and Answers in Solar System AstronomyIn Association with Amazon.com
924 Elementary Problems and Answers in Solar System Astronomy
University of Iowa Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-87745-434-5, $14.95 (paperback)

This challenging collection of problems is organized into seven carefully crafted, thoughtful chapters on the Sun and the nature of the solar system; the motion of the planets; the Sun, Earth, and Moon; the sky as observed from the rotating, revolving Earth; other planets, their satellites, their rings; asteroids, comets, and meteoroids; and the radiations and telescopes. From question 1, "List characteristics of the solar system that are major clues in devising a hypothesis of its origin and evolution," through question 924, "Give a brief list of the contributions of radio and radar technologies in lunar and planetary astronomy," the problems range in difficulty from ones requiring only simple knowledge to ones requiring significant understanding and analysis. Many of the answers, in turn, illuminate the questions by providing basic explanations of the concepts involved. Regent Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa and a "founding father" of the space age, Van Allen formally retired from teaching in 1985. He recently celebrated his 90th birthday and remains an active researcher, arriving at his office daily to examine data from space-based instruments of his own design on board Pioneer 10 and earlier spacecraft.

Mauro DardoNobel Laureates & 20th Century PhysicsIn Association with Amazon.com
Nobel Laureates & 20th Century Physics
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-83247-0/0-521-54008-9. $110/$39.99

Using an original approach, Mauro Dardo recounts the major achievements of 20th century physics--including relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, the invention of the transistor and the laser, superconductivity, binary pulsars, and the Bose-Einstein condensate--as each emerged. His year-by-year chronicle, biographies and revealing personal anecdotes help bring to life the main events since the first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901. The work of the most famous physicists of the twentieth century--including the Curies, Bohr, Heisenberg, Einstein, Fermi, Feynman, Gell-Mann, Rutherford, and Schrödinger--is presented, often in the words and imagery of the prize-winners themselves.

Henning GenzNothingnessIn Association with Amazon.com
Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space
Perseus Publishing, 2001, 0-7382-0610-5, $20 (now available in paperback)

Noted physicist Henning Genz tells a history of emptiness as explored in physics and philosophy for the nonscientist, using stories, illustrations, and analyses to elucidate complex ideas. Some of the great–and not so great–thinkers of history were inspired by the debate over empty space. In the 17th century, Evalgelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo’s, proved space without air is possible, thus opening the floodgates for research into what could possibly be present in place of air. In the wake of Torricelli’s discovery came various attempts to create totally empty space, most of them humorous in their wild creativity and in their very public failure. Other investigations resulted in some of the fundamentals of modern physics, from Einstein’s insistence that there can be no space without matter to quantum physicist Werner Heisenberger’s "uncertainty principle."

Genz also moves behind the stories to explain how the study of nothingness has both contributed to and benefited from major scientific discoveries, including Big Bang cosmology, and also explores space time, ur-matter, the Higgs field, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

Ray Mackintosh, Jim Al-Khalili, Bjørn Jonson & Teresa PeñaNucleusIn Association with Amazon.com
Nucleus: A Trip Into the Heart of Matter
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, 0-8018-6860-2, $29.95

At the core of the atom, enshrouded by electrons, lies the nucleus. The discovery of the nucleus transformed the past century and will revolutionize this one. Though many persons associate nuclear physics with weapons of mass destruction, it is an exciting, cutting-edge science that has helped to save lives through innovative medical technologies, such as the MRI. In nuclear astrophysics, state-of-the-art theoretical and computer models help to explain the powerful stellar known as supernovas, to account for how stars shine, and to describe how the chemical in the universe were formed.

Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter tells the story of the nucleus from the early experimental work of the quiet New Zealander Lord Rutherford to the huge atom-smashing machines of today and beyond. Nucleus tells of the protons and neutrons of which the nucleus is made, why some nuclei crumble and are radioactive, and how scientists came up with the "standard model," which shows the nucleus composed of quarks held together by gluons. It is also the tale of the people behind the struggle to understand this fascinating subject more fully, and of how a research community uses the power of the nucleus to probe unanswered scientific questions others seek to harness the nucleus as a tool of twenty-first-century medicine.

Large format and heavily illustrated.

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D. Scott Birney, et al.Observational AstronomyIn Association with Amazon.com
Observational Astronomy 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85370-2, $50

The long-awaited second edition of this well-received textbook gives a thorough introduction to observational astronomy. Starting with the basics of positional astronomy and systems of time, it continues with charts and catalogs covering both historically important publications and modern electronic databases. The book builds on a fundamental discussion of the basics of light and the effects of the atmosphere on astronomical observations. Chapters include discussions of optical telescopes, detectors, photometry, variable stars, astrometry, spectroscopy, and solar observations. This edition contains new discussions of measurements with CCDs and appendices give basic statistical methods, useful astronomical software and websites, and sources of accurate time-calibration signals. Examples based on real astronomical data are placed throughout the text. Each of the well-illustrated chapters is supported by a set of graduated problems and suggestions for further reading.

Rajiv Gupta, ed.In Association with Amazon.com
Observer's Handbook 2004
RASC, 2003, ISBN: 0-9689141-4-4, $23.95

In its 96th year of publication, the Handbook is a concise, high-density compilation of information that is of interest to observers. Each year, some 12,000 copies are distributed to amateur and professional astronomers, educators, observatories, libraries and planetaria. Since the first edition in 1907, the various editors, assistants and contributors have voluntarily contributed their time and expertise and the Handbook is hence the main source of income for the RASC. Among the many other updated sections in this edition are: Comets in 2004, Natural Satellites of the Planets, the Nearest Stars, and an expanded Index.

Patrick Kelly, Ed.In Association with Amazon.com
Observer's Handbook 2007
RASC, 2006, ISBN: 0-9738109-3-9, $25.95

A perennial favorite, the Observer's Handbook gathers the expertise of more than 40 astronomers to detail times of sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, where to find the planets -- major and minor, the movements of the major moons of Jupiter and Saturn, variable star cycles and countless other celestial events. Published since 1907 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the renowned Observer's Handbook is the astronomy hobbyist's standard reference for astronomical data for North America.

Don MachholzObserving Guide to the Messier MarathonIn Association with Amazon.com
Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-80386-1, $25

The Messier Catalogue is a list of one hundred and ten galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, and includes many of the brightest and best-known objects in the sky. Amateur astronomers who find all the objects on the list in one night have successfully completed the Messier Marathon. The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon contains over 90 easy-to-use star maps to guide the observer from one object to the next, and provides tips for a successful night of observing. Don Machholz also tells the story of the eighteenth-century astronomer, Charles Messier, and how he came to compile his extensive catalogue. This complete guide to the Messier Marathon will help the amateur astronomer to observe the Messier Objects throughout the year, using a small telescope or a pair of binoculars.

Stephen James O'MearaObserving the Night Sky with BinocularsIn Association with Amazon.com
Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars: A Simple Guide to the Heavens
Cambridge 2008, ISBN: 978-0-521-72170-7, Paperback $34.99

This useful guide for amateur astronomers takes readers on a celestial journey to many of the most prominent stars and constellations visible from mid-northern latitudes. A great first-time reference, this book will help beginning stargazers become familiar with the stars and constellations visible from their backyards through inexpensive, handheld binoculars.

Andrew J. Norton, ed.Observing the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Observing the Universe: An Introduction to Observational Astronomy and Planetary Science
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-60393-5, $34.99 (paperback)

Introducing a range of useful techniques and skills for those wishing to undertake observational work in astronomy and planetary science, this book covers the principles of telescopes and detectors, photometry and spectroscopy and microscopy techniques for analyzing samples. Contents:

1. Introduction; Part I. Techniques: 2. The night sky - positional astronomy; 3. Telescopes; 4. Spectrographs; 5. Astronomical detectors; 6. Reducing CCD data; 7. Photometry; 8. Spectroscopy; 9. Microscopes and microscopy techniques; 10. Interpreting images of planetary surfaces; Part II. Skills: 11. Team working; 12. Preparing for practical work in astronomy and planetary science; 13. Keeping records; 14. Experimental uncertainties; 15. Analyzing experimental data; 16.Making use of graphs; 17. Using calculators and computers; 18. Communicating your results.

Gerald NorthObserving Variable Stars, Novae & SupernovaeIn Association with Amazon.com
Observing Variable Stars, Novae & Supernovae
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82047-2, $45

Gerald North's complete practical guide and resource package instructs amateur astronomers in observing and monitoring variable stars and other objects of variable brightness. Descriptions of the objects are accompanied by explanations of the background astrophysics, providing readers with real insight into what they are observing at the telescope. The main instrumental requirements for observing and estimating the brightness of objects by visual means and by CCD photometry are detailed, and there is advice on the selection of equipment. The book contains a CD-ROM packed with resources, including hundreds of light-curves and over 600 printable finder charts. Containing extensive practical advice, this comprehensive guide is an invaluable resource for amateur astronomers of all levels, from novices to more advanced observers.

Phyllis David, illustrations by Glenn Wolff
On a Clear Night
Fidjus Press (fidjuspress@myexcel.com), 2002, 0-9719640-4, $11.95 (paperback)

Illustrations of the seasonal locations of the major constellations, accompanied by the author’s poems based on Greek myth.

Joseph SilkOn the Shores of the UnknownIn Association with Amazon.com
On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-83627-1, $35

Astronomer Joseph Silk explores the Universe from its beginnings to its ultimate fate. He demonstrates how cosmologists study cosmic fossils and relics from the distant past to construct theories of the birth, evolution and future of the Universe. Stars, galaxies, dark matter and dark energy are described, as successive chapters detail the evolution of the Universe from a fraction of a microsecond after the Big Bang. Silk describes how physicists apply theories of subatomic particles to recreate the first moments of the Big Bang, and how astronomers chart the vast depths of space to glimpse how the most distant galaxies formed. He gives an account of the search for dark matter and the dark energy that will determine the ultimate fate of the Universe.

John Robert ChristiansonOn Tycho's IslandIn Association with Amazon.com
On Tycho’s Island: Tycho Brahe and His Assistants, 1570-1601
Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN: 0 521 65081 X, $34.95 (cloth)

From the Introduction: "This book is about power. It shows how one man, Tycho Brahe, used his powerful position to bend the lives of hundreds of others toward a goal that he deemed important: a new understanding of the cosmos. It shows how he established a new role for the astronomer as large-scale organizer, active reformer, and natural philosopher." From his private island in Denmark, Tycho Brahe used patronage, printing, friendship, and marriage to incorporate men and women skilled in science, technology and the fine arts into his program of cosmic reform. This pioneering study includes capsule biographies of over a hundred individuals, all of whom helped shape the culture of the Scientific Revolution.

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.

Michael Light100 SunsIn Association with Amazon.com
100 Suns: 1945-1962
Alfred A. Knopf, 2003, ISBN: 1-4000-4113-9, $45

From www.100suns.com: Between July 1945 and November 1962 the United States is known to have conducted 216 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests. After the Limited Test Ban Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1963, nuclear testing went underground. It became literally invisible—but more frequent: the United States conducted a further 723 underground tests until 1992. 100 Suns documents the era of visible nuclear testing, the atmospheric era, with 100 photographs drawn by Michael Light from the archives at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S.National Archives in Maryland. It includes previously classified material from the clandestine Lookout Mountain Air Force Station based in Hollywood, whose film directors, cameramen, and still photographers were sworn to secrecy. The title, 100 Suns, refers to the response by J.Robert Oppenheimer to the world's first nuclear explosion in New Mexico when he quoted a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, the classic Vedic text, "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." 100 Suns forms an awesome sequel to Michael Light's Full Moon, which he constructed from the archives of NASA.

Tyson, Liu & Irion, Eds.One UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos
Joseph Henry Press, 1999, ISBN: 0 309 06488 0, $40 (cloth).

Featuring glorious photographs, original illustrations and clear prose in a large format, One Universe explores the physical principles of motion, matter and energy that govern the workings of our own world so that we can appreciate how they operate in the cosmos around us. Bands of color in a sunlit crystal and the spectrum of starlight in giant telescopes; the arc of a hard-hit baseball and the orbit of the moon; traffic patterns on a freeway and the spiral arms in a galaxy full of stars—all tied together in grand and simple ways.

A.E. RoyIn Association with Amazon.com
Orbital Motion, 4/e
IOP Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 0-7503-1015-4, $65 (paperback)

A comprehensive mathematically detailed textbook on classical celestial mechanics, including numerical methods, astrodynamics of artificial satellites and interplanetary craft. This revised edition involves updates to all chapters and the addition of a new chapter on The Caledonian Symmetrical N-Body Problem, explaining the principles and applications from first principles. This will be the first time this new method has appeared in a textbook. The contents have been reorganized and extended to encompass new methods and teaching demands and to cover more modern applied

Derek SearsThe Origin of Chondrules and ChondritesIn Association with Amazon.com
The Origin of Chondrules and Chondrites
Cambridge Planetary Series
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-83603-4, $110

Chondrites are the largest group of meteorites. They can provide unique insights into the origins and early evolution of our solar system, and even into the relationships between our solar system and other stars in the vicinity of our sun. The largest structural components of most chondrites are the glass-bearing chondrules, and there are numerous theories for their origin. Sears summarizes the ideas surrounding the origin and history of chondrules and chondrites, drawing on research from the various scientific disciplines involved. With citations to every known published paper on the topic and extensive illustrations.

Fred AdamsOrigins of ExistenceIn Association with Amazon.com
Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe
The Free Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-7432-1262-2, $25

In Origins of Existence astrophysicist Fred Adams takes a radically different approach from the long tradition of biologists and spiritual leaders who have tried to explain how the universe supports the development of life. He argues that life followed naturally from the laws of physics -- which were established as the universe burst into existence at the big bang. Those elegant laws drove the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets -- including some like our Earth. That chain of creation produced all the tiny chemical structures and vast celestial landscapes required for life.

Ultimately, physical laws and the complexity they generate define the kind of biospheres that are possible -- from an Amazon rain forest to a frigid ocean beneath an ice sheet on a Jovian moon.

Paul F. LurquinThe Origins of Life and the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
The Origins of Life and the Universe
Columbia University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-231-12654-9, $59.50

This is a book about the beginning of things—of the universe, matter, stars, and planetary systems, and finally, of life itself.  After surveying prescientific accounts of the origins of life, Lurquin examines the concepts of modern physics and cosmology, in particular the two pillars of modern physics, relativity and quantum theory, and how they can be applied to the Big Bang model of the creation of the universe. The book then considers the role of genetics and DNA and ultimately examines how "protocells" may have started a kind of integrated metabolism and how horizontal gene transfer may have speeded up evolution. Finally, Lurquin examines the possibilities of the end of life and the destruction of the universe, either by nuclear war or natural means.

Robert Jastrow & Michael RampinoOrigins of Life in the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Origins of Life in the Universe
Cambridge 2008, ISBN: 978-0-521-53283-9, Paperback $50.00

This concise and beautifully illustrated book traces the evolution of the Cosmos from the Big Bang to the development of intelligent life on Earth, conveying clear science in an engaging narrative. By mapping the history of the Universe for introductory science and astrobiology course for non-science majors, this book explores many of the most fascinating questions in science. What is the origin of the Universe? How do stars and planets form? How does life begin? How did intelligence arise? Are we alone in the Cosmos? Physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and geology are combined to create a chronicle of events in which the swirling vapors in the primordial cloud of the Universe evolved over billions of years into conscious life.

C. Robert O'DellThe Orion NebulaIn Association with Amazon.com
The Orion Nebula: Where Stars Are Born
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, October 2003, ISBN: 0-674-01183-X, $27.95

The glowing cloud in Orion's sword, the Orion Nebula is a thing of beauty in the night sky; it is also the closest center of massive star formation — a stellar nursery that reproduces the conditions in which our own Sun formed some 4.5 billion years ago. The study of the Orion Nebula, focused upon by ever more powerful telescopes from Galileo's time to our own, clarifies how stars are formed, and how we have come to understand the process. C. Robert O'Dell has spent a lifetime studying Orion, and in this book he explains what the Nebula is, how it shines, its role in giving birth to stars, and the insights it affords into how common (or rare) planet formation might be.

An account of astronomy's extended engagement with one remarkable celestial object, this book also tells the story of astronomy over the last four centuries. To help readers appreciate the Nebula and its secrets, O'Dell unfolds his tale chronologically, as astrophysical knowledge developed, and our knowledge of the Nebula and the night sky improved.

Because he served as chief scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, O'Dell conveys a sense of continuity with his professional ancestors as he describes the construction of the world's most powerful observatory. The result is a rare insider's view of this observatory — and, from that unique perspective, an intimate observer's understanding of one of the sky's most instructive and magnificent objects.

Martin ReesOur Cosmic HabitatIn Association with Amazon.com
Our Cosmic Habitat
Princeton University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-691-08926-4, $22.50

Our universe seems strangely "biophilic," or hospitable to life. Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's famous remark: "What interests me most is whether God could have made the world differently." This highly engaging book explores the fascinating consequences of the answer being ''yes.'' Rees explores the notion that our universe is just a part of a vast "multiverse," or ensemble of universes, in which most of the other universes are lifeless. What we call the laws of nature would then be no more than local bylaws, imposed in the aftermath of our own Big Bang. In this scenario, our cosmic habitat would be a special, possibly unique universe where the prevailing laws of physics allowed life to emerge.

Rees begins by exploring the nature of our solar system and examining a range of related issues such as whether our universe is or isn't infinite. He asks, for example: How likely is life? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Rees then peers into the long-range cosmic future before tracing the causal chain backward to the beginning. He concludes by trying to untangle the paradoxical notion that our entire universe, stretching 10 billion light-years in all directions, emerged from an infinitesimal speck.

Martin ReesOur Final HourIn Association with Amazon.com
Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century — On Earth and Beyond
Basic Books, 2003, ISBN: 0-465-06862-6, $25

A scientist known for unraveling the complexities of the universe over millions of years, Sir Martin Rees now warns that humankind is potentially the maker of its own demise--and that of the cosmos. Though the twenty-first century could be the critical era in which life on Earth spreads beyond our solar system, it is just as likely that we have endangered the future of the entire universe. With clarity and precision, Rees maps out the ways technology could destroy our species and thereby foreclose the potential of a living universe whose evolution has just begun. Rees boldly forecasts the startling risks that stem from our accelerating rate of technological advances. We could be wiped out by lethal "engineered" airborne viruses, or by rogue nano-machines that replicate catastrophically. Experiments that crash together atomic nuclei could start a chain reaction that erodes all atoms of Earth, or could even tear the fabric of space itself. Through malign intent or by mistake, a single event could trigger global disaster. Though we can never completely safeguard our future, increased regulation and inspection can help us to prevent catastrophe.

Rees's vision of the infinite future that we have put at risk — a cosmos more vast and diverse than any of us has ever imagined — both a work of scientific originality and a humanistic call on behalf of the future of life.

S. Alan SternIn Association with Amazon.com
Our Universe: The Thrill of Extragalactic Exploration As Told by Leading Experts
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-78907-9, $19.95 (paper)

The Universe in which we live is unimaginably vast and ancient, with countless star-systems, galaxies and extraordinary phenomena. This collection of essays and highly personal accounts by some of the world’s foremost astrophysicists on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology at the dawn of the 21st century reveals much more than the wonders and achievements of modern astronomy, more than just its techniques and state of knowledge. Our Universe also gives unique perspectives on what drives these extraordinary, talented scientists and how their careers and very lives have been shaped by a burning desire to understand our Universe.

John NaylorOut of the BlueIn Association with Amazon.com
Out of the Blue: A 24-Hour Skywatcher's Guide
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-80925-8, $35

Skywatcher John Naylor offers practical advice about where and when you can expect to see natural phenomena, what you will see and how to improve your chances of seeing it. He takes in both the night and the day sky, and deals only with what can be seen with the naked eye. Drawing on science, history, literature and mythology, and assuming only basic scientific knowledge, Out of the Blue is for everyone who enjoys being outdoors and who feel curious or puzzled about things optical and astronomical. Contents:1. Daylight, 2. Shadows, 3. Mirages, 4. Sunset and sunrise, 5. The rainbow, 6. Coronae and glories, 7. Atmospheric halos, 8. The night sky, 9. The moon, 10. Eclipses, 11. Planets, 12. Stars, and 13. Comets and meteors.

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Chet RaymoThe PathIn Association with Amazon.com
The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe
Walker & Company, 2003, ISBN: 0802714021, $21

For almost forty years, Chet Raymo has walked a one-mile path from his house in North Easton, Massachusetts, to Stonehill College where he has taught physics and astronomy. The woods, fields, and stream he passes are as familiar as his own backyard, yet he admits, "There has never been a day I have walked the path without seeing something noteworthy. . . . Every pebble and wildflower has a story to tell."

With each step, the landscape he traverses becomes richer and more multidimensional, opening door after door into astronomy, geology, biology, history, and literature, making the path universal in scope. "The flake of granite in the path was once at the core of towering mountains pushed up across New England when continents collided," he writes. "The purple loosestrife beside the stream emigrated from Europe in the 1800s as a garden ornamental, then went wantonly native in a land of wild frontiers. The light from the star Arcturus I see reflected in the brook beneath the bridge at night has been traveling across space for forty years before entering my eye. I have attended to all of these stories and tried to hear what the landscape has to say. . . . Scratch a name in a landscape and history bubbles up like a spring."

Borrowing the words of the early-twentieth-century naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger, Raymo urges us all to walk "with reverent feet, stopping often, watching closely, listening carefully."

John R. StrandIn Association with Amazon.com
Pathways to the Planets: Memoirs of an Astrophysicist
Authorhouse, 2004, ISBN: 1-4184-9683-9

From pictures of the planets on every school house wall to global positioning and continental drift, this is a history of the personal accomplishments of a small handful of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As a leading mathematician and computer programmer involved with these projects, Strand paints a picture of a complex technology with its inter-woven successes and frustrations.

Sten F. OdenwaldPatterns in the VoidIn Association with Amazon.com
Patterns in the Void: Why Nothing Is Important
Westview Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-8133-3938-3, $27

Patterns in the Void examines the great dark matter and dark regions that pervade the universe, from elementary particles to the immense areas of "vacuum" that make up most of deep space, and everything that is – or is not. Like the void itself, the book ranges in temporal and spatial scales—from our human world, down to the molecular and subatomic world, and up into the farthest reaches of the expanding universe. Building upon the great theories that broke through physics and biophysics in the twentieth century, Patterns in the Void weaves the human element into understanding modern science, telling stories of ancient sacrifices, paranormal experiences, purported alien abductions, and more—all part of the human dilemma to make sense about the vast unknown.

V. Martínez Pillet, A. Aparicio, and F. Sánchez, eds.Payload and Mission Definition in Space SciencesIn Association with Amazon.com
Payload and Mission Definition in Space Sciences
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85802-X, $130

The processes that space science missions follow, from proposal to a space agency, to successful mission completion, are numerous. This book contains contributions from experts involved in today's space missions at various levels. Chapters cover mission phases and implementation, launchers and cruise strategies, including gravity assist maneuvers and different thrust scenarios. The payload needed for remote sensing of the universe at various wavelengths and for in-situ measurements is described in detail, and particular attention is paid to the most recent planetary landers. Although the book concentrates on the ESA program Cosmic Visions, its content is relevant to space science missions at all space agencies.

William C. BurgerPerfect Planet, Clever SpeciesIn Association with Amazon.com
Perfect Planet, Clever Species: How Unique Are We?
Prometheus Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-59102-016-6, $29

For many years the federal government funded the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Though in actuality SETI never did make contact with signals from an alien civilization, the search continues to this day through privately funded endeavors. How likely is it that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe? This is the intriguing question that has prompted William Burger's illuminating and absorbing exploration of the unusual circumstances surrounding life on earth.

Examining the critical episodes in our planet's early history and the peculiar trajectory of life on our world, Burger shows that the long odyssey of planet Earth may be utterly unique in our galaxy. For example, he describes features of the sun that are far from average. By some estimates, 95 percent of the other stars in the Milky Way galaxy are smaller, and it is unlikely that any of them could supply the energy requirements for a life-sustaining planet such as our own. Earth, as the third planet from the sun, sits within the "Goldilocks" orbit: it is in the perfect position to receive not too much heat (like Mercury and Venus) and not too little (like more distant planets of the solar system) but just the right amount to foster the development of life.

Turning to the evolution of life itself, Burger points out a host of accidents (for example, the extinction of dinosaurs and the proliferation of flowering plants) that make the steps along the way to Homo sapiens seem like very rare events indeed. He also calls attention to the curious fact that the early hominid brain tripled in size over the relatively short time period leading to the appearance of modern human beings. Finally, he notes aspects of humanity's cultural evolution that seem unlikely to have been duplicated anywhere else.

Michelle Feynman, Ed., with a Foreword by Timothy FerrisPerfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard FeynmanIn Association with Amazon.com
Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard Feynman
Basic Books, 2005, ISBN: 0-7382-0636-9, $26

Spanning over 40 years, these collected letters offer an unprecedented look at the writer and thinker whose genius for science and life made him a legend in his own time. With missives to and from luminaries as Victory Weisskopf, Stephen Wolfram, James Watson, and Edward Teller, alongside a remarkable selection of letters to and from fans, students, family, and people from around the world eager for Feynman's advice and counsel. Edited and with additional commentary from his daughter Michelle.

Trevor PalmerPerilous Planet EarthIn Association with Amazon.com
Perilous Planet Earth: Catastrophes and Catastrophism Through the Ages
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0521-81928-8, $75

Perilous Planet Earth places the present concern about the threat to Earth from asteroids and comets within an historical context, looking at the evidence for past events within the geological and historical records. Two particular historical aspects are considered. First, the author looks at the way in which prevailing views about modes of global change have evolved dramatically over the years. The move away from support for change through relatively rare catastrophic events, toward theories of uniformity and incremental change is charted. The author then discusses how modern theories consider both catastrophic and gradual change to be important forces in shaping the world around us. The second theme considers the way in which catastrophic events are now seen to have influenced the course of evolution in the distant past, as well as the rise and fall of civilizations in more recent times. Also reviewed are the host of myths and legends that may have had their origin in actual catastrophic events, making a case for more research on the frequency and causes of natural catastrophes in order to prepare for future events.

S.M. Chong, Albert C.H. Lim, & P.S. AngPhotographic Atlas of the MoonIn Association with Amazon.com
Photographic Atlas of the Moon
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-81392-1, $50

The Photographic Atlas of the Moon is a daily photographic guide to observing the features of the Moon through a 40cm telescope and high-resolution, low-speed film. Whole Moon images are provided for each day of the 29-day lunar cycle, with labeled features and descriptive text. Selected lunar features are shown at high magnification to highlight and clearly illustrate certain regions. All lunar features are labeled using current IAU terminology. A comprehensive set of appendices detail the phases of the Moon, give a chronology of its lunar selenography and index all lunar features named in the text. 

Viatcheslav MukhanovPhysical Foundations of CosmologyIn Association with Amazon.com
Physical Foundations of Cosmology
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-56398-4, $70

Inflationary cosmology has been developed over the last twenty years to remedy serious shortcomings in the standard hot big bang model of the universe. Taking an original approach, this textbook explains the basis of modern cosmology and shows where the theoretical results come from. The book is divided into two parts; the first deals with the homogeneous and isotropic model of the Universe, the second part discusses how inhomogeneities can explain its structure. Established material such as the inflation and quantum cosmological perturbation are presented in great detail.

Alexander TielensThe Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar MediumIn Association with Amazon.com
The Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-82634-9, $85

Provides a comprehensive overview of the current theoretical and observational understanding of the interstellar medium of galaxies. With emphasis on the microscopic physical and chemical processes in space, and their influence on the macroscopic structure of the interstellar medium of galaxies, the book includes the latest developments in this area of molecular astrophysics. The various heating, cooling, and chemical processes relevant for the rarefied gas and submicron-sized dust grains that constitute the interstellar medium are discussed in detail. The physical and chemical properties of large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules and their role in the interstellar medium are highlighted and the physics and chemistry of warm and dense photodissociation regions are discussed.

Sun KwokPhysics and Chemistry of the Interstellar MediumIn Association with Amazon.com
Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium
University Science Books, 2006, ISBN:978-1891389467

A graduate-level text covering the fundamental physics and chemistry required for a modern understanding of the interstellar medium. Radiation mechanisms are comprehensively presented, and extensive examples are drawn from observations in the X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, mm/sub mm, and radio observations. This book goes beyond a phenomenological study of the interstellar medium to give a detailed quantitative treatment of the radiative and dynamical interactions between stars and the interstellar medium, with an emphasis on a physical understanding of these processes.

Pavel D. Naselsky, et al.The Physics of the Cosmic Microwave BackgroundIn Association with Amazon.com
The Physics of the Cosmic Microwave Background
Cambridge Astrophysics Series #41
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85550-0, $125

Spectacular observational breakthroughs by recent experiments, and particularly the WMAP satellite, have heralded a new epoch of CMB science forty years after its original discovery. Taking a physical approach, the authors probe the problem of the 'darkness' of the Universe: the origin and evolution of dark energy and matter in the cosmos. Starting with the observational background of modern cosmology, they provide an up-to-date and accessible review of this fascinating yet complex subject. Topics discussed include the kinetics of the electromagnetic radiation in the Universe, the ionization history of cosmic plasmas, the origin of primordial perturbations in light of the inflation paradigm, and the formation of anisotropy and polarization of the CMB.

David S. De YoungIn Association with Amazon.com
The Physics of Extragalactic Radio Sources
University of Chicago Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-226-14415-1, $45

Extragalactic radio sources are among the most unusual and spectacular objects in the universe, with sizes in excess of millions of light years, radiated energies over ten times those of normal galaxies, and a unique morphology. They reveal some of the most dramatic physical events ever seen and provide essential clues to the basic evolutionary tracks followed by all galaxies and groups of galaxies.

In The Physics of Extragalactic Radio Sources, David De Young provides a clearly written overview of what is currently known about these objects. A unique feature of the book is De Young's emphasis on the physical processes associated with extragalactic radio sources: their evolution, their environment, and their use as probes to solve other astrophysical problems. He also makes extensive use of the large amount of data now available from observations at x-ray, optical, and radio wavelengths to illustrate his main points.

John F. MoffittPicturing ExtraterrestrialsIn Association with Amazon.com
Picturing Extraterrestrials: Alien Images in Modern Mass Culture
Prometheus Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-57392-990-5, $30

Art historian John Moffitt discusses the popular iconography depicting alleged extraterrestrial (ET) visitors and the widespread appeal of this New Age craze as a mass cultural phenomenon. A thorough skeptic, Moffitt is interested in kitschy ET portraiture, not as evidence of aliens among us, but for what this imagery reveals about contemporary culture. By placing the present cultural moment in historical context, he demonstrates how typical portrayals of aliens reflect long-running (even ancient) cultural motifs.

Hubert Klahr & Wolfgang BrandnerPlanet FormationIn Association with Amazon.com
Planet Formation: Theory, Observations & Experiments
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-86015-6, $120

It is just over ten years since the first planet outside our solar system was detected. Since then, much work has focused on understanding how extrasolar planets may form, and discovering the frequency of potentially habitable Earth-like planets. This volume addresses fundamental questions concerning the formation of planetary systems in general, and of our solar system in particular. Drawing from recent advances in observational, experimental, and theoretical research, it summarizes our current understanding of the planet formation processes, and addresses major open questions and research issues. Chapters are written by leading experts in the field of planet formation and extrasolar planet studies. The book is based on a meeting held at Ringberg Castle in Bavaria.

Larry EspositoPlanetary RingsIn Association with Amazon.com
Planetary Rings
Cambridge Planetary Science
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-36222-9, $110

Including results from the Cassini space mission to Saturn, this summary of current knowledge of planetary rings covers all aspects of the subject with particular emphasis on ring history and evolution. Basic physical processes and simple mathematical approaches are supported by many images and diagrams that display the spectacular phenomena seen in these fascinating structures. Highlighted topics include Saturn's F ring, Neptune's rings, Jupiter's rings, stochastic models, ring age and evolution, and Cassini results. The text is supported by a glossary of terms and an extensive bibliography.

George H.A. Cole and Michael M. WoolfsonIn Association with Amazon.com
Planetary Science: The Science of Planets Around Stars
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 075030815X, 1st edition, $55

This book is a comprehensive overview of planetary science, covering different disciplinary approaches to the study of the structures of planets, the stars they orbit, and the interactions between them.  With the discovery of over 100 extra-solar planets and our increasing desire to understand the formation of planetary systems and the prospect of life on other worlds, the text is particularly pertinent now. It is only through a detailed understanding of the bodies in our solar system that we can begin to understand the many planetary systems other than our own that we are discovering.

Covering a wide range of subjects in planetary science, including astronomy, astrophysics, geophysics, geology, and mineralogy, this text is suitable for readers of different levels and scientific backgrounds, including those studying planetary science for the first time. Twelve descriptive chapters cover the diverse bodies of our solar system including satellites, planetary rings, asteroids, comets, meteorites, and interstellar dust. Accompanying these chapters are 42 detailed topics that discuss specialized subjects quantitatively. These subjects include mineralogy, stellar formation and evolution, solar system dynamics, atmospheric physics, planetary interiors, thermodynamics, planetary astrophysics and exobiology. Problem sets and answers are also included.

Dava Sobel The PlanetsIn Association with Amazon.com
The Planets
Viking, 2005, ISBN: 0-670-03446-0, $24.95

Dava Sobel explores the planets’ origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. Whether revealing what lies behind Venus’s cocoon of acid clouds or capturing the excitement at JPL when pictures from Cassini at Saturn are beamed to Earth, The Planets is a distinctive view of our place in the Universe. Beautifully designed and printed two-color throughout.

Mario Livio & Stefano CasertanoPlanets to CosmologyIn Association with Amazon.com
Planets to Cosmology: Essential Science in the Final Years of the Hubble Space Telescope
Space Telescope Science Institute Symposium Series 18
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-84758-3, $120

With the Hubble Space Telescope's next servicing mission still uncertain, identifying the most crucial science to be performed by this superb telescope has become of paramount importance. With this goal in mind, this book presents a review of some of the most important open questions in astronomy today. World experts examine topics ranging from extrasolar planets and star formation to supermassive black holes and the reionization of the universe. Special emphasis is placed on what astronomical observations should be carried out during the next few years to enable breakthroughs in our understanding of a complex and dynamic universe. In particular, the reviewers attempt to identify those topics to which the Hubble Space Telescope can uniquely contribute.

Leon M. Lederman & Judith Scheppler, Eds.Portraits of Great American ScientistsIn Association with Amazon.com
Portraits of Great American Scientists
Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-57392-932-8, $28

These fifteen biographies, written by students from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, reveal the human factors that influenced the lives of successful scientists: how they chose their individual career paths, what obstacles they had to overcome along the way, and where they think science will lead society in the future. The various biographies cover a wide range of fascinating personalities and their disciplines, among them: Story Musgrave and Sally Ride, Vera Rubin, George Smoot, Edward Witten, and Charles Townes.

Carolyn AbrahamPossessing GeniusIn Association with Amazon.com
Possessing Genius: The True Account of the Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain
St. Martin's Griffin, 2003, ISBN: 0-312-30304-1, $15.95 (paperback)

For nearly half a century the pickled brain of Albert Einstein has roamed the worldin Tupperware containers, courier packages, and, most famously, car trunks. In Possessing Genius, award-winning journalist Carolyn Abraham presents the whole story — the mysteries, myths, and almost unbelievable facts — of the brain's postmortem odyssey.

The story begins with in April 1955, when Thomas Stolz Harvey, chief pathologist at Princeton Hospital, found himself in charge of dissecting the cadaver of the greatest scientist of his age, perhaps of any age. He seized the opportunity to do something "noble." Using an electric saw Harvey sliced through the skull and gingerly removed the organ that would both define and haunt the rest of his life. Harvey struck a controversial deal with Einstein's family to keep the brain, swearing to safeguard it from souvenir hunters and publicity seekers, and to make it available only for serious scientific inquiry. Not a neuroscientist himself, he became the unlikely custodian of this object of intense curiosity and speculation, and the self-styled bulwark against the relentless power of Einstein's growing celebrity.

Bridging the post-war era and the new millennium, Possessing Genius is the first comprehensive account of the circuitous path the brain took with Harvey during the decades it remained in his possession. Harvey permitted Einstein's gray matter to be sliced, diced, probed, prodded, and weighed by those hoping to solve the enigma, and locate the source, of genius itself. Einstein's brain was more than a subject of scientific investigation but a kind of holy relic; the history of its perambulations since 1955 reflects the vicissitudes and vanities underpinning what we believe makes us human. Abraham has gathered together all fascinating details and documents of the brain's saga-including previously unpublished correspondence between Harvey and Otto Nathan, the executor of Einstein's estate.

Storm DunlopPractical AstronomyIn Association with Amazon.com
Practical Astronomy
Firefly Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-55297-825-7, $14.95 (paperback)

A concise, illustrated guidebook for amateur astronomers. With straightforward text and color illustrations, Practical Astronomy covers all the basics amateur astronomers need to know. Astronomer Storm Dunlop explains how to observe the night sky using the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope. Aspiring astronomers will learn how to find constellations and visible planets before locating more challenging phenomena. The book also includes: coverage of comets, planets, major stars, constellations, nebulae, the Milky Way and other galaxies; the latest star charts; instructions for using star maps and planispheres; color images and maps by celestial cartographer, Wil Tirion; directions for recording observations with photography and drawings; the latest images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

J. V. Wall & C. R. JenkinsPractical Statistics for AstronomersIn Association with Amazon.com
Practical Statistics for Astronomers
(Cambridge Observing Handbooks for Research Astronomers)
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-45416-6 & 0-521-45616-9, $85 & $35

Astronomy, like any experimental subject, needs statistical methods to interpret data reliably. This practical handbook presents the most relevant statistical and probabilistic machinery for use in observational astronomy. Classical parametric and non-parametric methods are covered, but there is a strong emphasis on Bayesian solutions and the importance of probability in experimental inference. Chapters cover basic probability, correlation analysis, hypothesis testing, Bayesian modeling, time series analysis, luminosity functions, and clustering. Contains many worked examples, and problems that make use of databases which are available on the Web.

Robert P. CreaseThe Prism and the PendulumIn Association with Amazon.com
The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science
Random House, 2003, ISBN: 1-4000-6131-8, $23.95

Is science beautiful? Yes, argues acclaimed philosopher and historian of science Robert P. Crease in this exploration of history's most beautiful experiments, an engrossing journey through nearly 2,500 years of scientific innovation: the first measurement of the earth's circumference, accomplished in the third century B.C. by Eratosthenes using sticks, shadows, and simple geometry; Foucault's mesmerizing pendulum, a cannonball suspended from the dome of the Panthéon in Paris that allows us to see the rotation of the earth on its axis; Galileo—the only scientist with two experiments in the top ten—brilliantly drawing on his musical training to measure the speed of falling bodies; and the quantum world, in the most beautiful experiment of all.

Stephanie NolenPromised the MoonIn Association with Amazon.com
Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race
Four Walls Eight Windows, September 2003, ISBN: 1-56858-275-7, $22.95

The world wasn't ready. Or at least the U.S. wasn't. In the early 1960s, thirteen American women were invited to take the same battery of tests the male astronauts known as the Mercury 7 took. They were experienced pilots, ready to serve their country, and they all passed — sometimes outdoing their male counterparts. They assumed, with good reason, that they were being considered by NASA for the space program.

Thanks to political maneuverings on the highest level and a pre-feminist society, astrophysicist Sally Ride would be the first American woman in space in 1983 and Eileen Collins would be the first to take the controls of an American spacecraft in 1994 — some twenty and thirty years after the "Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees" had all but abandoned their dreams of spaceflight.

Stephanie Nolan, a foreign correspondent for The Globe and Mail, interviewed the eleven surviving "FLAT"s and vividly tells their stories, putting the events in a cultural and political context and detailing the women's struggles at home and on the job.

Andrew Lyne & Francis Graham-Smith
Pulsar Astronomy, 3/ePulsar Astronomy, 3/eIn Association with Amazon.com
Prepared Jointly by The Nautical Almanac Office/US Navy Cambridge Astrophysics Series 38
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-83954-8, $150

Since their discovery in 1967, pulsars have assumed a central role in astronomy and astrophysics by offering an opportunity to explore theoretical physics under extreme conditions. Thoroughly revised for its third edition, Pulsar Astronomy covers research over wavelengths ranging from radio through optical and x-ray to gamma-rays. Topics range from the physics of neutron star interiors to the astrophysics of binary stars and the recent tests of general relativity.

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