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Books of Note Archives

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Q

Burkhard PolsterQED: Beauty on Mathematical ProofIn Association with Amazon.com
Q.E.D.: Beauty in Mathematical Proof
Walker & Company, 2004, ISBN: 0-8027-1431-5, $10

The latest in a series of small books about big ideas. Originally published in the UK, Wooden Books is a series of concise, accessible introductions to timeless sciences and vanishing arts, recreating the essence of medieval texts through elegant designs and writing. Q.E.D. presents some of the most famous mathematical proofs for nonmathematicians and math experts alike. Grasp why Pythagoras's theorem must be correct. Follow the ancient Chinese proof of the volume formula for the frustrating frustum, and Archimedes' method for finding the volume of a sphere. Discover the secrets of pi and why, contrary to popular belief, squaring the circle really is possible. Study the subtle art of mathematical domino tumbling, and find out how slicing cones helped save a city and put a man on the Moon.

Frederick Hess, Andrew Rotherham & Kate Walsh, eds.A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom?In Association with Amazon.com
A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom? Appraising Old Answers and New Ideas
Harvard Education Press, 2004, ISBN: 1-891792-20-2, $22.95 (paper)

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, states will have to ensure that every public school classroom is staffed by a highly qualified teacher. This mandate--and the fact that many children, especially low-income and minority students, are taught by underqualified teachers ill-equipped for the challenges ahead--gives new urgency to debates over teacher recruitment, preparation, and induction. For several years, these debates have been dominated by competing groups of partisans. One denies that teaching requires a professional base of knowledge and skill, while the other tries to promote professionalism by ensuring that traditional programs retain their control over licensure and formal certification. The conflict confuses policymakers, frustrates educators, and stifles potentially promising solutions.

In this volume, eleven contributors with rich experience in policy and teaching take a fresh look at a number of issues, including:

Johnjoe McFaddenQuantum EvolutionIn Association with Amazon.com
Quantum Evolution: How Physics’ Weirdest Theory Explains Life’s Biggest Mystery
W. W. Norton & Company, 2002, ISBN: 0-393-32310-2, $16.95

Four billion years ago, the molten earth cooled and formed a crust. Even as a particularly harsh period of meteoric bombardment tapered out, carbon-fixing life quickly sprung from the primordial soup. Considering the mind-boggling odds against the formation of the chemicals needed to start terrestrial life, how did the inanimate amino acids, indeed very abundant in the primordial soup, defeat the axioms of thermodynamics and leap from the chaotic soup into ordered life? McFadden maintains that life started too fast, and has been too successful, for the blind chance of classical mechanics to explain. Quantum mechanics has some powerful explanations.

Barry ParkerQuantum LegacyIn Association with Amazon.com
Quantum Legacy: The Discovery That Changed Our Universe
Prometheus Books, 2002, ISBN: 157392993X, $29

Today we all take for granted the many technological marvels that have sprung from quantum physics without ever appreciating the radical paradigm shift that led to these discoveries. The story of the physicists who made the quantum leaps that have so altered ours is a provocative and intriguing one.

Parker introduces us to all the major players in this history, offering interesting biographical details that shed light on their important discoveries: Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Paul Dirac, Richard Feynman, and Julian Schwinger. Parker also discusses Einstein's objections to quantum theory ("God does not play dice with the universe."), philosophical implications and "quantum weirdness," as well as the seemingly miraculous practical applications of quantum theory — in lasers, transistors, integrated circuits, computer technology, nuclear energy, and genetics.

Andrew WatsonThe Quantum QuarkIn Association with Amazon.com
The Quantum Quark
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-82907-0, $30

The world you can feel and touch is built of atoms, the smallest identifiable chunks of matter. Yet the heart of each atom is itself a whole new world, a world populated by quarks: indivisible, vanishingly small, the ultimate building blocks of our Universe. This inner world where quarks reign is subject to new and unfamiliar rules, the rules of the quantum world. Colossal particle accelerators enable physicists to bring this inner world into focus, and have helped them to shape a theory respectful of quantum rules that explains how quarks feel one another's presence. The Quantum Quark is the story of that theory: quantum chromodynamics.

Roland OmnèsQuantum PhilosophyIn Association with Amazon.com
Quantum Philosophy: Understanding and Interpreting Contemporary Science
Princeton University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-691-09551-5, $16.95 (paperback)

One of the world's leading quantum physicists, Omnès reviews the history and recent development of mathematics, logic, and the physical sciences to show that current work in quantum theory offers new answers to questions that have puzzled philosophers for centuries: Is the world ultimately intelligible? Are all events caused? Do objects have definitive locations? Omnès addresses these profound questions with vigorous arguments and clear, colorful writing, aiming not just to advance scholarship but to enlighten readers with no background in science or philosophy.

Jonathan AlldayIn Association with Amazon.com
Quarks, Leptons and the Big Bang, 2/e
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 0 7503 0806 0, $25

From the Preface to the First Edition: "This is a book about particle physics (the strange world of objects and forces that exists at length scales much smaller than the size of an atom) and cosmology (the study of the origin of the universe). It is quite extraordinary that these two extremes of scale can be drawn together in one book. Yet the advances of the past couple of decades have shown that there is an intimate relationship between the world of the very large and the very small." The second edition incorporates results established over the last few years, especially in the cosmology sections that give more balance to the two aspects of the book.

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Peter Ward and Donald BrownleeRare EarthIn Association with Amazon.com
Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe
Copernicus Books, 2000, ISBN: 0-387-98701-0, $27.50

Maybe we really are alone. That's the thought-provoking conclusion of Rare Earth, a book that is certain to have far-reaching impact in the consideration of our place in the cosmos. While it is widely believed that complex life is common, even widespread, throughout the billions of stars and galaxies of our Universe, astrobiologists Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee argue that advanced life may, in fact, be very rare, perhaps even unique.

Ever since Carl Sagan and Frank Drake announced that extraterrestrial civilizations must number in the millions, the search for life in our galaxy has accelerated. But in this brilliant and carefully argued book, Ward and Brownlee question underlying assumptions of Sagan and Drake's model, and take us on a search for life that reaches from volcanic hot springs on our ocean floors to the frosty face of Europa, Jupiter's icy moon. In the process, we learn that while microbial life may well be more prevalent throughout the Universe than previously believed, the conditions necessary for the evolution and survival of higher life — and here the consider everything from DNA to plate tectonics to the role of our Moon — are so complex and precarious that they are unlikely to arise in many other places, if at all.

Jessica HelfandReinventing the WheelIn Association with Amazon.com
Reinventing the Wheel
Princeton Architectural Press, 2002, ISBN: 1-56898-338-7, $24.95

As inventive as instructive, information wheels — or volvelles — have been used since the fourteenth century to measure, record, predict, and calculate everything form time and space to military history and recipes. In this fascinating book, designer and critic Jessica Helfand offers and in-depth look at these unique artifacts, which are not only clever and amusing — where else could you dial-in ingredients to concoct "Creamed Oysters and Celery"? — but, Helfand argues, relevant as a model for modern interactive design.

From circular mathematical slide rules to Captain Marvel phonetic decoders; from nuclear bomb blast calculators to gestational breeding planners; and from astronomical planispheres to presidential trivia plotters, Reinventing the Wheel demonstrates the astonishing range and remarkable utility of these ingenious "interactive" tools.

Martin BeechRejuvenating the Sun and Avoiding Other Global CatastrophesIn Association with Amazon.com
Rejuvenating the Sun and Avoiding Other Global Catastrophes
Springer 2007, ISBN: 0387681280, $29.95

This book investigates the idea that the distant future evolution of our Sun might be 'controlled' (literally, asteroengineered) so that it maintains its present-day energy output rather than becoming a highly luminous and bloated red giant star –- a process that, if allowed to develop, will destroy all life on Earth. The text outlines how asteroengineering might work in principle and it describes what the future solar system could look like. It also addresses the idea of asteroengineering as a galaxy-wide imperative, explaining why the Earth has never been visited by extraterrestrial travellers in the past.

Ross S. Kraemer, William Cassidy & Susan L. SchwartzReligions of Star TrekIn Association with Amazon.com
Religions of Star Trek
Westview Press (Perseus Books Group), January 2002, ISBN: 0-8133-6708-5, $22

Is there a God? What evil lurks beyond the stars? Can science save one's soul? Profound questions like these have consumed human thought over the ages; they also inspired the original creators of the Star Trek canon of TV series and films. Religions of Star Trek tackles these challenging questions head-on and examines in detail the humanistic vision of creator Gene Roddenberry. Analyzing more than three decades of screen adventure, the authors depict a Star Trek transformed, corresponding to the resurgence of religion in American public discourse. The authors analyze Star Trek's many religious characters, tracing the roots of scientific humanism to more contemporary aspects of religion and spirituality. Through it all, the creators' visionary outlook remains constant: a humanistic faith in free will and the nature of dispassionate scientific inquiry. (This book was not prepared, licensed, approved, or endorsed by any entity involved in creating or producing the Star Trek television series or films.)

Ioan JamesRemarkable PhysicistsIn Association with Amazon.com
Remarkable Physicists: From Galileo to Yukawa
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-01706-8/0-521-81687-4, $85/$30

The 250 years from the second half of the 17th century saw the birth of modern physics and its growth into one of the most successful of the sciences. All of the fifty-five physicists profiled have made important contributions to physics, through their ideas and teaching, or in other ways. The biographies are arranged chronologically by the physicists' dates of birth, so that, when read in sequence, they convey how physics developed over time. However, the book emphasizes their varied life stories, not the details of their achievements.

Chris MooneyThe Republican War on ScienceIn Association with Amazon.com
The Republican War on Science
Basic Books, September 2005, ISBN: 0-46504-674-4, $24.95

Science has never been more crucial to understanding the political issues facing the country and responding to them successfully; yet science and scientists have less influence with the federal government than at any time since the Eisenhower administration. From stem-cell research to the “intelligent design” debate to global warming, the rift between the Republican leadership and the scientific community grows steadily wider. Chris Mooney ties together the disparate strands of the attack on science into a compelling account of our government's increasing unwillingness to distinguish between legitimate research and ideologically driven pseudoscience.

Rebecca Elson
A Responsibility to Awe
Carcanet Press (www.carcanet.co.uk), 2001, 1-903039-54-1

Rebecca Elson was an astronomer. Her research involved dark matter–hidden mass which can be inferred only from its influence on observable objects: "As if, from fireflies, one could infer the field." Her poems, too, make inferences and speculate; they set out always from meticulous observation and are not deterred by a knowledge of how little we can know of the universe. A Responsibility to Awe collects her best poetry, along with extracts from her notebooks. In 1991, following time in Princeton and the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, she returned to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge where she worked on the first Hubble data. She died in Cambridge in 1999, at the age of 39.

Aberration
(The Hubble Space Telescope before repair)

 

The way they tell it
All the stars have wings
The sky so full of wings
There is no sky
And just for a moment
You forget
The error and the crimped
Paths of light
And you see it
The immense migration
And you hear the rush
The beating

 

B. A. Steves and A. J. MaciejewskiIn Association with Amazon.com
The Restless Universe: Applications of Gravitational N-Body Dynamics to Planetary, Stellar and Galactic Systems (Scottish Graduate Textbook Series)
Institute of Physics Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7503-0-8222, $49.99 (paperback)

Contents: Solar systems dynamics. Stellar kinematics and dynamics. Galatic dynamics. Cosmology - Large scale structure dynamics. General dynamics

The aim of The Restless Universe is to stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas, methods and applications between the different communities who work in the gravitational N-body problem arena, across diverse fields of astrophysics. The chapters and topics cover three broad themes: the dynamics of the solar system, the dynamics of galaxies and star clusters, and the large scale structure of the Universe.

Eric SchlegelThe Restless UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
The Restless Universe: Understanding X-ray Astronomy in the Age of Chandra and Newton
Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-19-514847-9, $30

Carl Sagan once noted that there is only one generation that gets to see things for the first time. We are in the midst of such a time right now, standing on the threshold of discovery in the young and remarkable field of X-ray astronomy. In The Restless Universe, astronomer Eric Schlegel offers readers an informative survey of this cutting-edge science.

Two major space observatories launched in the last few years--NASA's Chandra and the European Newton--are now orbiting the Earth, sending back a gold mine of data on the X-ray universe. Schlegel, who has worked on the Chandra project for seven years, describes the building and launching of this space-based X-ray observatory. But the book goes far beyond the story of Chandra. What Schlegel provides here is the background a nonscientist would need to grasp the present and follow the future of X-ray astronomy. He looks at the relatively brief history of the field, the hardware used to detect X-rays, the satellites--past, present, and future--that have been or will be flown to collect the data, the way astronomers interpret this data, and, perhaps most important, the insights we have already learned as well as speculations about what we may soon discover. And throughout the book, Schlegel conveys the excitement of looking at the universe from the perspective brought by these new observatories and the sharper view they deliver.

Robert Godwin, Ed.Rocket & Space Corporation EnergiaIn Association with Amazon.com
Rocket & Space Corporation Energia
Apogee Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-896522-81-5, $19.95

A small metal sphere weighing slightly more than 83 kilograms was placed into an elliptical orbit by the mighty R-7 rocket. The date was 4 October 1957 and the sphere was called Sputnik. Published for the first time completely in English, this volume contains a pictorial record encompassing the entire history of the Russian space program, from its inception at the end of World Was II to the present day. Includes rare pictures and diagrams of Sputnik, Yuri Gagarian Vostok capsule, the world's first Space Stations, the lunar rocket N1, interplanetary probes, and the Buran shuttle.

Marina BenjaminRocket DreamsIn Association with Amazon.com
Rocket Dreams: How the Space Age Shaped Our Vision of a World Beyond
Free Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-7432-3343-3, $24 (ISBN: 0-7432-5534-8, $14, paperback)

Beginning in 1958, tens of millions of people were enraptured—first, by the U.S.-Soviet race to the moon, and finally by Project Apollo. It is now more than three since the last man walked on the moon...more time than between the first moonwalk and the beginning of World War II. Apollo did not, as had been promised by a generation of visionaries, herald the beginning of the Space Age, but its end.

Or did it? Project Apollo, like a cannonball, reached its apogee and returned to earth, but the trajectory of that return was complex. America's atmosphere—its economic, scientific, and cultural atmosphere—made for a very complicated reentry that produced many solutions to the trajectory problem. Rocket Dreams is about those solutions...about the places where the space program landed.

In the vernacular, the third law of motion states that what goes up must come down. Thus the tremendous motive force that energized the space program didn't just vanish; it was conserved and transformed, making bestsellers out of fantasy literature, spawning Gaia, and giving symbolism to the environmental movement. Everything from the pop cultural boom in ufology to the worldwide Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) feeds on the energy given off by America's leap toward space.

Rocket Dreams tours this Apollo-scarred landscape. It is also an introduction to some of the most fascinating characters imaginable: Some long dead, like the crackpot visionary Alfred Lawson, who saw in space flight a new stage of human evolution ("Alti-Man"), or Robert Goddard, the father of rocketry, whose workshop in Roswell stands only half a mile from shops selling posters of alien visitors. Others are very much alive—like Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog and partner with Gerard O'Neill in the drive to build free-floating space colonies, and SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, who has spent decades listening to the skies, hoping for the first contact with another intelligent species.

Karl T. PflockRoswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to BelieveIn Association with Amazon.com
Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe
Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-57392-894-1, $25

For over 50 years, an incident near Roswell, New Mexico, has sparked the imaginations of UFO enthusiasts. In this definitive study, a longtime UFO researcher--who is convinced that some UFO reports are real alien sightings--concludes that no alien craft or bodies were ever found at Roswell. Using formerly classified records, witness affidavits and the entire Pratt-Marcel interview transcript, he shows that the U.S. government has absolutely no physical evidence of aliens, shows how critical weather data completely refute key claims of Roswell believers, and explains why the case now rises and falls on the testimony of just one witness, who cleverly manipulated leading investigators and continues to do so today.

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John R. Ball & Charles H. Evans, Eds.Safe PassageIn Association with Amazon.com
Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions
National Academy Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-309-07585-8, $80

Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions sets forth a vision for space medicine as it applies to deep space voyage. As missions increase in duration from months to years and extend well beyond Earth's orbit, so will the attendant risks of working in these extreme and isolated environmental conditions. Hazards to astronaut health range from greater radiation exposure and loss of bone and muscle density to intensified psychological stress from living with others in a confined space. Going beyond the body of biomedical research, the report examines existing space medicine clinical and behavioral research and health care data and the policies attendant to them. It describes why not enough is known today about the dangers of prolonged travel to enable humans to venture into deep space in a safe and sane manner. The report makes a number of recommendations concerning NASA's structure for clinical and behavioral research, on the need for a comprehensive astronaut health care system and on an approach to communicating health and safety risks to astronauts, their families, and the public.

Jon Balchin100 Scientists Who Changed the WorldIn Association with Amazon.com
Science: 100 Scientists Who Changed the World
Enchanted Lion Books, 2003, ISBN: 1592700179, $18.95

Ranging across the spectrum of scientific endeavor, from the cosmology of Copernicus and Galileo, through the medical revolutions of Hippocrates and Galen, it includes the fields of physics, biology, chemistry and genetics. Biographical detail and clear descriptions of scientific discoveries.

John D. Barrow, et al., eds.Science and Ultimate RealityIn Association with Amazon.com
Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology and Complexity
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-83113-X, $55

This preview of the future of physics comprises contributions from recognized authorities inspired by the pioneering work of John Wheeler. Quantum theory represents a unifying theme within the book, as it relates to the topics of the nature of physical reality, cosmic inflation, the arrow of time, models of the universe, superstrings, quantum gravity and cosmology. Attempts to formulate a final unification theory of physics are also considered, along with the existence of hidden dimensions of space, hidden cosmic matter, and the strange world of quantum technology. John Archibald Wheeler is one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. His extraordinary career has spanned momentous advances in physics, from the birth of the nuclear age to the conception of the quantum computer. Famous for coining the term "black hole," Professor Wheeler helped lay the foundations for the rebirth of gravitation as a mainstream branch of science, triggering the explosive growth in astrophysics and cosmology that followed. His early contributions to physics include the S matrix, the theory of nuclear rotation (with Edward Teller), the theory of nuclear fission (with Niels Bohr), action-at-a-distance electrodynamics (with Richard Feynman), positrons as backward-in-time electrons, the universal Fermi interaction (with Jayme Tiomno), muonic atoms, and the collective model of the nucleus. His inimitable style of thinking, quirky wit, and love of the bizarre have inspired generations of physicists.

Michael G. Gibbs, Marni Berendsen, and Martin Storksdieck, edsScience Educators Under the StarsBuy it at the AstroShop
Science Educators Under the Stars: Amateur Astronomers Engaged in Education and Public Outreach
Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2007, 978-1-58381-315-7 paperback $10

The first comprehensive treatise of the amateur astronomer's role in communicating knowledge and passion about astronomy to the public. The book reviews the topic from many angles: it characterizes the nature of education and public engagement with astronomy that amateur astronomers are currently doing; it features projects and organizations that support and aid these practices; it discusses the potential impact on the public and on astronomy and amateur astronomers; and it embeds these pieces into a larger framework of astronomy education as a whole. The book also provides a summary of research conducted on amateur astronomers engaging in education and public outreach along with presenting new research findings on women in astronomy.

Ernest VolkmanScience Goes to WarIn Association with Amazon.com
Science Goes to War: The Search for the Ultimate Weapon from Greek Fire to Star Wars
John Wiley & Sons, 2002, ISBN: 0-471-41007-1, $24.95

"It was a thing blameworthy, shameful and barbarous, worthy of severe punishment before God and Man, to wish to bring to perfection an art damageable to one’s neighbors and destructive to the human race." This anguished statement from the 15th century Italian mathematician known as Tartaglia, who created the science of ballistics, might have come from any one of thousands of brilliant scientists who, throughout history, have applied their genius to the art of war. Every advance in weaponry from the bronze sword to the stealth bomber has been the product of science, and it is likely that without the pressure of war, science as we know it would not exist.

Science Goes to War examines the moral dilemmas, knotty technological problems, and pragmatic necessities that have punctuated the inseparable histories of science and warfare. This comprehensive volume recounts the 4,000 year quest for the ultimate weapon and reveals how this eternal arms race has both exploited and contributed to "pure" science.

Ivan Amato, ed.Science Pathways of DiscoveryIn Association with Amazon.com

Science Pathways of Discovery
John Wiley & Sons, 2002, 0-471-05660-X, $27.95

Originally published as a year-long series in Science magazine, these twelve essays provide both historical and personal perspectives on the landmark innovations of the past five centuries and their connections to our understanding of the universe. From black holes to the Internet, from the invention of concrete to the cloning of sheep, the book traces the varied pathways of scientific investigation. Highlights include: Stephen Jay Gould on the so-called science wars; David Stevenson on the discovery of extra-solar planets; Eric Lander and Robert Weinberg on the sequencing of the human genome; and Martin Rees on the history and possible future of the universe.

Bruce JakoskyScience, Society, and the Search for Life in the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Science, Society, and the Search for Life in the Universe
The University of Arizona Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-8165-2613-3, $17.95 (paperback)

Are we alone in the universe? As humans, are we unique or are we part of a greater cosmic existence? What is life's future on Earth and beyond? How does life begin and develop? These are age-old questions that have inspired wonder and controversy ever since the first people looked up into the sky. With today's technology, however, we are closer than ever to finding the answers. Astrobiology is the relatively new, but fast growing scientific discipline that involves trying to understand the origin, evolution, and distribution of life within the universe. It is also one of the few scientific disciplines that attracts the public's intense curiosity and attention. In this broadly accessible introduction to the field, Bruce Jakosky looks at the search for life in the universe not only from a scientific perspective, but also from a distinctly social one. He addresses topics including the contradiction between the public's fascination and the meager dialogue that exists between those within the scientific community and those outside of it, and what has become some of the most impassioned political wrangling ever seen in government science funding.

 

Douglas GoughThe Scientific Legacy of Fred HoyleIn Association with Amazon.com
The Scientific Legacy of Fred Hoyle
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-82448-6, $75

Fred Hoyle was a remarkable scientist, and made an immense contribution to many important problems in astronomy. Several of his obituaries commented that he had made more influence on the course of astrophysics and cosmology in the second half of the twentieth century than any other person. This book is based on a memorial meeting that was held in Cambridge, where Hoyle was based for three decades, and contains chapters by many of Hoyle’s scientific collaborators. Each chapter reviews an aspect of Fred Hoyle’s work; many of the subjects he tackled are still areas of hot debate and active research. With contributions by leading astronomers, the book concentrates on Hoyle’s scientific legacy, and examines the influence his research has had on others and on advances in astronomy and cosmology.

Hugh G. Gauch, Jr.Scientific Method in PracticeIn Association with Amazon.com
Scientific Method in Practice
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-01708-4, $44 (paperback)

This book is the first synthesis of the practice and the philosophy of the scientific method. It offers scientists a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of the scientific method, thereby leading to more productive research and experimentation. It also provides a greater perspective on the rationality of the scientific approach and its role in society. Topics relevant to a variety of disciplines are treated, and clarifying figures, case studies, and chapter summaries enhance the pedagogy.

Donald Goldsmith and Tobias OwenIn Association with Amazon.com
Search for Life in the Universe, 3/e
University Science Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-891389-16-5, $60

Long recognized as the premier text for courses dealing with astrobiology, this completely revised and updated Third Edition engages students by presenting a great, unsolved mystery: How likely is life beyond Earth, and how can we find it if it exists? The text covers the fundamentals of astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science, including the discovery of more than 55 planets around other stars, and also provides an overview of biology, geology, evolution, and the possibilities of interstellar travel and communication. Includes 24 color insert pages and illustrations by Jon Lomberg.

Barbara B. Poppe with Kristen P. JordenSentinels of the SunIn Association with Amazon.com
Sentinels of the Sun: Forecasting Space Weather
Big Earth Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 1-55566-379-6, $22.50

The Halloween Storms of late 2003, one of the largest series of solar storms in history, caused power failures, the rerouting of airline flights, satellite and space-station problems, and the failure of multimillion-dollar instruments on the Mars Odyssey orbiter and the ADEOS-2 spacecraft. The dramatic activity underscored the limitations of our understanding of the Sun. The analogy between space weather and terrestrial weather can be misleading–though both involve storms, forecasts, and warnings, space weather isn't rain and lightning, sunburn or flooding. Although the Sun drives all of these meteorological phenomena on Earth, it also drives the more subtle system of solar flares with their bursts of high-energy particles, X-rays, magnetic fields, and tremendous solar winds. Sentinels of the Sun takes a look at space weather and the Space Environment Center, an agency devoted to the study of the Sun that has brought this science to the forefront of space physics and solar forecasting.

Jim LonguskiThe Seven Secrets of How to Think Like a Rocket ScientistIn Association with Amazon.com
The Seven Secrets of How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist
Copernicus Books, 2007, ISBN: 0-387-30876-8, $25

This book translates "thinking like a rocket scientist" into every day thinking so it can be used by anyone. It's short and snappy and written by a rocket scientist. The book illustrates the methods (the 7 secrets) with anecdotes, quotations and biographical sketches of famous scientists, personal stories and insights, and occasionally some space history. The author reveals that rocket science is just common sense applied to the extraordinarily uncommon environment of outer space and that rocket scientists are people, too. It is intended for "armchair" scientists, and for those interested in popular psychology, space history, and science fiction films.

James W. Moseley & Kal T. PflockShockingly Close to the TruthIn Association with Amazon.com
Shockingly Close to the Truth: Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist
Prometheus Books, 2002, ISBN: 1-57392-991-3, $25

Shockingly Close to the Truth! is a comprehensive tell-all history of ufology from two men who have been at the center of this cultlike movement for close to a century. James W. Moseley conveys the fun he has had over the years pursuing tall tales and purported evidence of visitors from outer space. As the creator of the newsletter Saucer Smear — the source on the follies, foibles, fads, and feuds of ufology — Moseley has the inside scoop on the amazing world of serious UFO sleuths and "saucer fiends." His co-author, Karl T. Pflock, has been tracking reports of unidentified flying objects for close to half a century.

David H. LevyShoemaker by LevyIn Association with Amazon.com
Shoemaker by Levy: The Man Who Made an Impact
Princeton University Press, 2000, ISBN: 0 691 00225 8, $24.95

In the early 1980s David Levy—writer, amateur astronomer and Society board member—joined Eugene Shoemaker and his wife, Carolyn, to search for comets from an observation post on Palomar Mountain in Southern California. Their collaboration would lead to the 1993 discovery of Shoemaker-Levy 9, with its several nuclei, five tails, and two sheets of debris spread out in its orbit plane. A year later, Levy would be by the Shoemakers' side again when their comet collided with Jupiter. Not only did this collision revolutionize our understanding of the history of the solar system, but it also offered a spectacular confirmation of one scientist's life work. As a close friend and colleague of Shoemaker (who died in 1997 at the age of 69), Levy offers a uniquely insightful account of his life and the way it has shaped our thinking about the universe.

Bill BrysonA Short History of Nearly EverythingIn Association with Amazon.com
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Broadway Books (Random House), 2003, ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1, $27.50

In chapters like "How to Build a Universe" and "Muster Mark's Quarks," Bryson reveals what he learned from the world's foremost experts in the fields of archaeology, paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, math, chemistry and other demanding disciplines. After countless hours spent in their offices, labs, and field camps, he had absorbed more than enough information for a "wry-yet-lyrical" history of this intriguing place we call home. From the Big Bang theory to the rise of man, it's a look at how curious thinkers of the past and present have come to understand Earth and its place in a vast universe.

Gavin WeightmanSignor Marconi's Magic BoxIn Association with Amazon.com
Signor Marconi's Magic Box: The Most remarkable Invention of the 19th Century & the Amateur Inventor Whose Genius Sparked a Revolution
Da Capo Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-306-81275-4, $25

The world at the turn of the twentieth century was in the throes of "Marconi-mania" — brought on by an incredible invention that no one could quite explain, and by a dapper and eccentric figure (who would one day win the newly minted Nobel Prize) at the center of it all. At a time when the telephone, telegraph, and electricity made the whole world wonder just what science would think of next, the startling answer had in 1896 in the form of two mysterious wooden boxes containing a device one Guglielmo Marconi had rigged up to transmit messages "through the ether." It was the birth of the radio, and no scientist in or America, not even Marconi himself, could at first explain how it worked...it just did. And no one knew how far these radio waves could travel, until 1903, when a message from President Theodore Roosevelt to the king of England flashed from Cape Cod to Cornwall clear across the Atlantic. Here is a rich portrait of the man and his era-and a captivating tale of science and scientists, business and businessmen. There are stories of British blowhards, American con artists-and Marconi himself: a character par excellence, who eventually winds up a virtual prisoner of his worldwide fame and fortune.

Anton VamplewSimple StargazingIn Association with Amazon.com
Simple Stargazing: A First-time Skywatcher's Guide
HarperCollins (in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution), 2006, ISBN: 0-06-084994-0, $16.95

The book begins with a getting-started section and then moves through the northern and southern hemispheres. Full-color illustrations and clear, informative text. Sources for further reading and a glossary of terms.

Richard WolfsonSimply EinsteinIn Association with Amazon.com
Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified
W. W. Norton & Company, 2002, ISBN: 0-393-05154-4, $24.95

Physicist Richard Wolfson explores the ideas at the heart of relativity and shows how they lead to such seeming absurdities as time travel, curved space, black holes, and new meaning for the idea of past and future. Drawing from years of teaching modern physics to nonscientists, Wolfson explains in a lively, conversational style the simple principles underlying Einstein's theory. Relativity, Wolfson shows, gave us a new view of space and time, opening the door to questions about their flexible nature: Is the universe finite or infinite? Will it expand forever or eventually collapse in a "big crunch"? Is time travel possible? What goes on inside a black hole? How does gravity really work? These questions at the forefront of twenty-first-century physics are all rooted in the profound and sweeping vision of Albert Einstein's early twentieth-century theory. Wolfson leads his readers on an intellectual journey that culminates in a universe made almost unimaginably rich by the principles that Einstein first discovered.

Paul Kurtz, Ed.Skeptical OdysseysIn Association with Amazon.com
Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World’s Leading Paranormal Inquirers
Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-57392-884-4, $27

Issued on the 25th anniversary of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) this book brings together personal statements by the leading skeptics of the world. CSICOP, the first major organization of skeptics on the contemporary scene, is worldwide in scope and all of the articles are original and written especially for this collection. Contributors include Martin Gardner, Jean-Claude Pecker, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye.

Steven J. DickSky and Ocean JoinedIn Association with Amazon.com
Sky and Ocean Joined: The U.S. Naval Observatory 1830-2000
Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81599-1, $130

As one of the oldest scientific institutions in the United States, the U.S. Naval Observatory has a rich and colorful history.  It was initially founded as the Depot of Charts and Instruments in 1830, and in 1944 it became the first national observatory of the United States, analogous to the famous observatories at Greenwich and Paris.  It remained the only U.S. national observatory until the 1950s.

This volume is, first and foremost, a story of the relations between space, time and navigation, from the rise of the chronometer in the U.S. to the Global Positioning System of satellites, for which the Naval Observatory provides the time to a billionth of a second per day. It is a story of the history of technology, in the form of telescopes, lenses, detectors, calculators, clocks and computers over 170 years. It describes how one scientific institution under government and military patronage has contributed, through all the vagaries of history, to almost two centuries of unparalleled progress in astronomy.

Neil de Grasse TysonIn Association with Amazon.com
The Sky Is Not the Limit
Prometheus Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-59102-188-X, $18 (paperback edition)

From Chapter 1: "It was a dark and starry night...I felt as though I could see forever. Too numerous to count, the stars of the autumn sky, and the constellations they trace, were rising slowly in the east while the waxing crescent moon was descending into the western horizon....Forty-five minutes of my suspended disbelief swiftly passed when the house lights came back on in the planetarium sky theater....I had been called. The study of the universe would be my career, and no force on Earth would stop me. I was just nine years old, but I now had an answer for that perennially annoying question all adults ask: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' although I could barely pronounce the word, I would tell them, 'I want to be an astrophysicist.'" The Sky Is Not the Limit, now available in paperback with a new preface and other additions, is the story of Neil de Grasse Tyson's lifelong fascination with the night sky that eventually led him to become the director of the Hayden Planetarium.

Norman Davidson, Foreword by E. C. KruppSky PhenomenaIn Association with Amazon.com
Sky Phenomena: A Guide to Naked-Eye Observation of the Stars
Lindisfarne Books, 2005, ISBN: 1-58420-026-X, $25 (paperback)

Sky Phenomena leads readers from the stars as seen from Earth, through the Sun, Moon, and various planets to the Copernican revolution, to comets and meteors, and to the sky of the Southern Hemisphere.

The text includes mythological and historical aspects of the subject and has numerous exercises for the student. The final chapter is a unique collection of poetry related to the stars from ancient India to modern times. Appendices include future astronomical events, technical data, materials and publications, and a comprehensive glossary of astronomical terms.

Vivian White, ASP Astronomy EducatorSlooh Kids Activity Book
Slooh Kids Activity Book, Volume 2
Blue Storm Productions 2008, $19.95,
http://www.slooh.com/kids_gifts.php

Each Slooh Kids activity book includes 14 celestial objects located in the Northern and/or Southern Hemisphere. It’s easy to launch, explore, and learn with the whole family. Learn about space then go see it LIVE using your Slooh mission card. All you need is Internet access to connect to three observatory site locations. Learn how to plan missions and remotely control the telescopes. Take pictures, print out, and paste in your book. Take mission notes. Explore space day & night. Listen to Live SkyGuide Audio. Great educational product for kids!

Joseph M. BoyceThe Smithsonian Book of MarsIn Association with Amazon.com
The Smithsonian Book of Mars
Smithsonian Institution Press, November 2002, ISBN: 1-58834-074-0, $34.95

From 1985 to 2000 Joseph Boyce provided scientific leadership to NASA as its Mars exploration program scientist. Beginning with Mariner 4 in 1965 and continuing through the 2001 Mars Odyssey probe, each spacecraft sent to Mars yielded fascinating new discoveries (how did those "canals" come to be?) and occasionally overturned earlier findings — especially when trying to answer NASA's ultimate question, "Are we alone?" The search for life on Mars seemed to be over after the 1976 Viking mission, but in 1997 scientists announced that they had found possible traces of ancient life in the ALH84001 Martian Meteorite, sparking furious debates in scientific journals. That controversy is precisely why Boyce finds Mars so endlessly fascinating — you just never know.

Joseph M. Boyce served as NASA's program scientist on fourteen flight programs. In recognition of his scientific contributions to space exploration, the asteroid 1978 VQ5 was named Boyce in his honor.

Nigel HeySolar SystemIn Association with Amazon.com
Solar System
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, distributed by Sterling Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 0-304-35994-7, $24.95

New information from robot probes and telescopes has exploded old ideas about our celestial Neighborhood -- and these recently verified facts are now illustrated in amazing photos. Look at rainfalls of diamonds on Neptune; dust storms stirred by 6000-mph winds on Jupiter; or Saturn's 30 moons. View everyday occurrences on Venus that would be life-ending catastrophes on earth, and close-ups of long-ago river systems on Mars. Each planet appears in realistic paintings, with introductions by leading scientists.

Giovanni CapraraThe Solar SystemIn Association with Amazon.com
The Solar System
Firefly Books, 2003, ISBN: 1-55297-679-3, $24.95

This comprehensive reference explains the origin of stars and the sun and extensively covers each planet. Illustrated with spectacular photographs and meticulous color diagrams. Key sections cover: The solar system and the sun; Inner Planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars; Outer Planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto; and Minor Bodies: comets, asteroids and meteorites. A detailed directory of web sites direct readers to relevant sources of information.

Peter GregoSolar System Observer's GuideIn Association with Amazon.com
Solar System Observer's Guide
Firefly Books Ltd., 2006, ISBN: 1-55407-132-1, $17.95

A practical introduction to our "corner" of the universe. Aimed at users of binoculars and small to medium telescopes, Solar System Observer's Guide describes how to observe not only the planets but also the moon, sun, comets, meteors, asteroids, and all other celestial objects found within our Solar System. Each chapter is devoted to a different object and explains how and when to find the object, how to observe it, what to expect to see, and how to record observations. Photographs, sketches, and digital images by both amateur and professional astronomers illustrate the book's pages. Suitable for use in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Serge Brunier
Solar System Voyage
Solar System VoyageIn Association with Amazon.com
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0521807247, $40

In the last few decades, the exploration of our solar system has revealed fascinating details about the worlds that lie beyond our Earth. This lavishly illustrated book invites the reader on a journey through the solar system. After locating our planetary system in the Universe, Brunier describes the Sun and its planets, the large satellites, asteroids, and comets. Photographs and information taken from the latest space missions allow readers to experience the lunar plains scarred by asteroid impacts; the frozen deserts of Mars and Europa; the continuously erupting volcanoes of Io and the giant geysers of Triton; the rings of Saturn and the clouds of Venus and Titan; and the powerful crash of the comet Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter. Serge Brunier is chief editor of the journal "Ciel et Espace" and a photojournalist. His previous books include Space Odyssey (Cambridge, 2002), Glorious Eclipses with Jean-Pierre Luminet (Cambridge, 2000), and Majestic Universe (Cambridge, 1999).

David Ellyard & Wil Tirion The Southern Sky Guide In Association with Amazon.com
The Southern Sky Guide
Cambridge 2008, ISBN: 978-0-521-71405-1, Paperback $27.99

This unique and accessible book provides a handy reference to the skies visible from the countries of the southern hemisphere for both amateur astronomers and casual observers. World famous astronomical cartographer Wil Tirion has teamed up with television astronomer David Ellyard to provide detailed charts of the southern sky throughout the year and clear explanatory text. For this new edition, the text has been thoroughly revised and new charts created to illustrate the legends behind the main constellations of the southern sky. Planet positions are provided up to 2010.

Valerie Wyatt and Matthew FernandesIn Association with Amazon.com
Space: Frequently Asked Questions
Kids Can Press, 2002, ISBN: 1550749730,  $6.95, Paperback.

How did the universe form? What would it be like to walk on the moon? Is there life on other planets? Find the answers to these questions and many more in this creative and amusingly illustrated kids' guide to the universe. Featuring the popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) format often used on the Internet, along with out-of-this-world activities and a great many amazing facts, this book provides curious kids with all the information they need to fill in the blanks about space.

Giancarlo Genta and Michael RycroftSpace, The Final Frontier?In Association with Amazon.com
Space, The Final Frontier?
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-81403-0, $29

What future possibilities for space travel are the most likely to succeed? What are the greatest challenges and advantages of space travel for humankind? What are the potential moral and ethical implications of our space explorations? Space, the Final Frontier? imaginatively illustrates the possibilities that the exploration and subsequent exploitation of space opens up for humankind. Giancarlo Genta and Michael Rycroft delve into the factors that encourage space travel and speculate on the future of human expansion into space, including: the value and importance of having humans in space; the human exploration and colonization of our solar system; robotic exploration of the outer planets, their satellites and asteroids; the future possibility that humans may leave our solar system; the prospects and implications of our meeting other intelligent beings in space; the likelihood, consequences, and benefits of future space technologies.

Serge BrunierSpace OdysseyIn Association with Amazon.com
Space Odyssey: The First Forty Years of Space Exploration
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0521813565,  $40, Hardback.

In only forty years space exploration has become one of humanity's preeminent achievements. Space Odyssey: The First Forty Years of Space Exploration follows the greatest moments of this saga and tells the tale of the four hundred men and women who have been into space.

The journey begins with the pioneers of life in space, those first humans sent into Earth orbit and the legendary crews of the Apollo missions. It continues abroad the Mir space station, where we are invited to share the intimate life of its Russian, American, and French inhabitants as they walk on the ceiling and sleep on the walls. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the adventure advances with the International Space Station.

This approximately 10"x14" edition is filled with beautiful photographs, many taken by the astronauts themselves.

Steve KortenkampSpace ProbesIn Association with Amazon.com
Space Probes
Capstone Press, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-4296-0063-7, $15.95

For the very youngest readers. An overview of space probes past, present and future.

Philip S. HarringtonThe Space ShuttleIn Association with Amazon.com
The Space Shuttle: A Photographic History
Browntrout Publishers, 2003, ISBN: 0-7631-7063-1, $19.95

From the Introduction: "...The Earth was created from a cloud of interstellar gas and dust over four billion years ago. Everything we know, everything we see, and everyone who has ever lived is made from material that was first formed inside ancient stars billions of years ago. Perhaps that is why our drive to explore space is so strong, for in a sense, each of our astronauts is leading our way home." The Space Shuttle captures the visual history of the 110 missions aboard six different shuttles.

Robert Godwin, Ed.Space ShuttleIn Association with Amazon.com
Space Shuttle: STS Flights 1-5 (The NASA Mission Reports)
Apogee Books, 2001, ISBN: 1-896522-69-6, $21.95

On 12 April 1961, a Russian missile had propelled 10, 395 pounds into space using 1.1 million pounds of thrust. Gagarin flew 25,000 miles in 108 minutes. Twenty years later, on the same day, two astronauts climbed aboard the fully fueled and integrated Space Transportation System. On this day 180,000 pounds would ride atop 7.7 million pounds of thrust. However, this crew would be landing on a runway after travelling over a million miles in a little over 54 hours. This book explores the Space Shuttle through the test flight stage and on to its first operational flight. Comprising rare NASA documents and a CD-Rom with documentary footage of the first five Space Shuttle Flights.

Michel van PeltSpace TourismIn Association with Amazon.com
Space Tourism: Adventures in Earth Orbit and Beyond
Cambridge Planetary Series
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-521-83603-4, $110

The face of space travel is changing rapidly. A growing number of well-funded and technologically savvy organizations are privately developing and testing new kinds of space vehicles. Aside from the issues of passenger safety and comfort, even relatively modest flights to the edge of space will require a lot more investigation and testing–of reusable spacecraft, of efficient and safe propulsion and guidance systems, and of training and conditioning regimens for potential space travelers. Still, the development of a viable space tourism industry is already happening. The book includes a brief history of human space flight, highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by astronauts and cosmonauts over the last forty years. From the front lines of industry and government research centers, it reports in technical detail on experiments in space flight that are currently underway and also discusses the attitudes of governments and key NGO organizations toward private space travel.

Jose WudkaSpace-Time, Relativity, and CosmologyIn Association with Amazon.com
Space-Time, Relativity, and Cosmology
Cambridge University Press, 2006, 0-521-82280-7, $55

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

J. S. BellSpeakable and Unspeakable in Quantum MechanicsIn Association with Amazon.com
Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, 2/e
Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0521818621/0-521-52338-9, $75/$34.99

One of the leading expositors and interpreters of modern quantum theory, John Bell is particularly famous for his discovery of the crucial difference between the predictions of conventional quantum mechanics and the implications of local causality, a concept insisted on by Einstein. Bell's work has played a major role in the development of our current understanding of the profound nature of quantum concepts and of the fundamental limitations they impose on the applicability of the classical ideas of space, time, and locality. This book includes all of John Bell's published and unpublished papers on the conceptual and philosophical problems of quantum mechanics, including two papers that appeared after the first edition was published. All the papers have been reset, the references put in order, and minor corrections made. Includes a short preface by the author for the first edition and also an introduction by Alain Aspect that puts into context John Bell's enormous contribution to the quantum philosophy debate.

Paul DicksonSputnikIn Association with Amazon.com
Sputnik: The Shock of the Century
Walker & Company, 2001, ISBN: 0-8027-1365-3, $28

On October 4, 1957, as "Leave It to Beaver" premiered on American television, the Soviet Union launched the space age. Sputnik, all of 184 pounds with only a radio transmitter inside its highly polished shell, became the first man-made object in space; while it immediately shocked the world, its long-term impact was even greater, for it profoundly changed the shape of the twentieth century. Washington journalist Paul Dickson chronicles the dramatic events and developments leading up to and emanating from Sputnik's launch. Supported by original research and many recently declassified documents, Sputnik offers a fascinating profile of the early American and Soviet space programs and a strikingly revised picture of the politics and personalities behind America's fledgling efforts to get into space. Read an excerpt from this book in the Mercury E-zine.

Roger E. BilsteinvStages to SaturnIn Association with Amazon.com
Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles
University Press of Florida, 2003, ISBN: 0-8130-2691-1, $39.95

A classic study of the development of the Saturn launch vehicle that took Americans to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s. The Saturn rocket was developed as a means of accomplishing John F. Kennedy's 1961 commitment to reach the Moon before the end of the decade. Without the Saturn V rocket, with its capability to send as payload the Apollo Command and Lunar Modules—along with support equipment and three astronauts—more than a quarter of a million miles from Earth, Kennedy's goal would have been unrealizable. Stages to Saturn not only tells the important story of the research and development of the Saturn rockets and the people who designed them but also recounts the stirring exploits of their operations from orbital missions round the Earth testing Apollo equipment to their journeys to the Moon and back.

William Tyler OlcottStar LoreIn Association with Amazon.com
Star Lore: Myths, Legends & Facts
Dover Publications, 2004, ISBN: 0-486-43581-4, $21.95

Originally published in 1911, the same year William Tyler Olcott helped found the AAVSO, Star Lore recounts the origins and histories of star groups, as well as the stories of individual constellations: Pegasus, the winged horse; Ursa Major, the Greater Bear; the seven daughters of Atlas known as the Pleiades; the signs of the Zodiac; and minor constellations such as the ship Argo, the Giraffe, and the Unicorn. Fifty-eight black-and-white images include classic photographs of the actual stars as well as scenes from their related myths as portrayed by Rubens, Watts and other artists. This edition features a new Introduction by Fred Schaaf, an extensive Appendix and Index.

Philip HarringtonStar WareIn Association with Amazon.com
Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories, 3/e
Wiley, 2002, ISBN: 0-471-41806-4, $19.95 (paperback)

In this revised and updated edition of Star Ware, the essential guide to buying astronomical equipment, award-winning astronomy writer Philip Harrington analyzes and explores today's astronomy market, offering point-by-point comparisons of everything you need. Whether you're an experienced amateur astronomer or just getting started, Star Ware, 3/e will prepare you to explore the farthest reaches of space with:

Extensive, expanded reviews of leading models and accessories, dozens of new products, to help you buy smart; a clear, step-by-step guide to all aspects of purchasing everything from telescopes and binoculars to filters, mounts, lenses, cameras, film, star charts, guides and references, and much more; eleven new do-it-yourself projects for making unique astronomical equipment at home; easy tips on maintenance, photography, and star-mapping to help you get the most out of your telescope; lists of where to find everything astronomical, including Internet sites and Web resources; distributors, dealers, and conventions; and corporate listings for products and services.

Fred WatsonStargazerIn Association with Amazon.com
Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope
Da Capo Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-306-81432-3, $24.95

The history of the telescope is a rich story of human ingenuity and perseverance involving some of the most colorful figures of the scientific world – Galileo, Johnnes Kepler, Isaac Newton, William Herschel, George Ellery Hale, and Edwin Hubble. Stargazer, written by one of the world's top astronomers, brings to life the story of these brilliant, if sometimes quirky, scientists as they turned their eyes and ideas beyond what anyone thought possible. It lucidly and compellingly reveals the science and technology behind the telescope and its enormous impact in unveiling the mysteries of the universe.

Robin ScagallStargazing with a TelescopeIn Association with Amazon.com
Stargazing with a Telescope, revised edition
Firefly Books Ltd., 2005, ISBN: 1-55407-027-0, $14.95 (paperback)

Stargazing With a Telescope is a practical guide that demystifies the process of buying a telescope. The features and benefits of the different types of viewing instruments are evaluated in straightforward terms, and the color illustrations help to clarify the choices. Equipment covered includes:

  • Binoculars: a range of choices for astronomers at any level

  • Refractors: classic telescopes that are easy to use and maintain

  • Reflectors: sophisticated instruments that allow night sky photography

  • Catadioptrics: compact telescopes that are gaining popularity.

The book provides brand names and model numbers and the general advice applies to all brands, not just those covered. Lens size, focal lengths, focal ratios and much more is explained with clear diagrams and non-scientific text. Also covered are suitable accessories such as eyepieces, filters, mounts and supports, and suggestions for photography through the telescope, and choice of camera and film types. Useful tips are provided on setting up and using any telescope as well as a review of objects to look at with different sizes of telescope. There is also valuable advice on how to instantly spot misleading labels on low-end telescopes and a dedicated website (http://www.stargazing.org.uk) to find out about new instruments on the market, more comments on those covered in this edition, and reader feedback.

Fred SchaafIn Association with Amazon.com
The Starry Room: Naked Eye Astronomy in the Intimate Universe
Dover Publications, 2002, ISBN: 0-486-42553-3, $12.95 (paperback reprint of the edition originally published by John Wiley & Sons, 1990)

This book, a collection of essays describing the features of the night sky, tells beginning sky-watchers how to find and where to look for these celestial objects. Possessing a keen knowledge of the optimum ways of viewing astronomical phenomena with the naked eye, author Fred Schaaf passes this information on to readers, describing such special sights as an eyelash-thin moon, a shooting star, streaking comets, and a lunar eclipse. Most of these observations require no telescopes or other equipment, not even perfect sky conditions or long periods of special training. The Starry Room explains when and where to look for constellations and planetary conjunctions, meteor showers, rainbows, and halos. No particular knowledge of astronomy is needed to understand the book and most technical terms are explained as they appear in the text. Foreword by Chet Raymo and a glossary at the end defines terms and concepts.

Seymour SimonStarsIn Association with Amazon.com
Stars
Smithsonian/HarperCollins, 2006, ISBN:0060890002, $16.99

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

Steve Tomecek, Illustrated by Sachiko YoshikawaStarsIn Association with Amazon.com
Stars
National Geographic "Jump into Science" Series, 2003, ISBN: 0-7922-6955-1, $16.95

What are stars made of? Where do they go in the daytime? How far away are they? A boy and his bike-riding dog take readers on a stellar journey to answer these and other intriguing questions. Along the way, children discover that our sun is a star and that stars of many sizes and colors twinkle throughout the universe. Simple text and whimsical art introduce the science of stars, explaining concepts such as brightness, distance, and why stars appear to move across the sky. Then patterns in the stars come to life dramatically in the form of lions, bulls, and people in the various constellations.

Iain NicolsonStars and SupernovasIn Association with Amazon.com
Stars and Supernovas
DK Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-8794-8160-X, $12.95

From a new series on space by DK Publishing in conjunction with the BBC. Stars and Supernovas traces the development of stars from their formation until their ultimate demise. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Clifford PickoverThe Stars of HeavenIn Association with Amazon.com
The Stars of Heaven
Oxford University Press, 2001, 0-19-514874-6, $27.50

The author of over 28 books on such diverse topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, and astronomy, to human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction, Clifford Pickover now tackles a range of topics from stellar evolution to the fundamental and awe-inspiring reasons why the universe permits life to flourish. In The Stars of Heaven, he leaps from black holes, red giants, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs and Cepheid variables, to neutron stars and pulsars through a fictional dialogue between futuristic humans and their alien peers.

Vincent J. Martinez and Enn SaarStatistics of the Galaxy DistributionIn Association with Amazon.com
Statistics of the Galaxy Distribution
Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2002, ISBN: 1-58488-084-8, $75

Over the past decade, statisticians have developed new statistical tools in the field of spatial point processes. At the same time, observational efforts have yielded a huge amount of new cosmological data to analyze. Although the main tools in astronomy for comparing theoretical results with observation are statistical, in recent years, cosmologists have not been generally aware of the developments in statistics and vice versa. Statistics of Galaxy Distribution describes both the available observational data on the distribution of galaxies and the applications of spatial statistics in cosmology. It gives a detailed derivation of the statistical methods used to study the galaxy distribution and the cosmological physics needed to formulate the statistical models.

Michel CasséStellar AlchemyIn Association with Amazon.com
Stellar Alchemy: The Celestial Origin of Atoms
Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-521-82182-7, $30

Why do the stars shine? What messages can we read in the light they send to us from the depths of the night? Nuclear astrophysics is a fascinating discipline, and enables connections to be made between atoms, stars, and human beings. Through modern astronomy, scientists have managed to unravel the full history of the chemical elements, and understand how they originated and evolved into all the elements that compose our surroundings today. The transformation of metals into gold, something once dreamed of by alchemists, is a process commonly occurring in the cores of massive stars. But the most exciting revelation is the intimate connection that humanity has with the debris of exploded stars.

Kristine LarsenStephen Hawkings: A BiographyIn Association with Amazon.com
Stephen Hawking: A Biography
Prometheus 2007, ISBN: 1591025745, Paperback $16.95

Stephen Hawking is arguably the most famous physicist since Albert Einstein. His decades-long struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), combined with his singular brilliance as a cosmologist, has fascinated both the public and his colleagues in science. In this engagingly written biography, Kristine Larsen, a physicist and astronomer herself, presents a candid and insightful portrait of Hawking's personal and professional life. Avoiding the hero-worship sometimes found in popular works on Hawking, Larsen emphasizes that Hawking is first and foremost a scientist whose work has made significant contributions to our understanding of the nature and origins of the universe. Writing in nontechnical language for the lay reader, Larsen clearly explains Hawking's complex scientific accomplishments, while telling the story of his challenging life.

Michael White & John GribbinStephen Hawking: A Life in ScienceIn Association with Amazon.com
Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science, 2/e
Joseph Henry Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-309-08410-5, paperback, $17.95

During his thirty-plus-year career, Hawking has arguably done more than anyone to break down the walls of our understanding of the origin and nature of the Universe. In Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science, White and Gribbin arrive at a greater understanding of the man himself. This second edition includes the very pressing and timely facts about Hawking's theories on time travel, which were not even introduced when the original edition came out. It also charts both the personal highs and lows experienced by the man referred to as "the most famous scientist since Isaac Newton."

John W. FreemanStorms in SpaceIn Association with Amazon.com
Storms in Space
Cambridge University Press, January 2002, ISBN: 0-521-66038-6, $27.95

The story of the mysterious region between Earth and the Sun where violent storms rage unseen by human eyes. The author discusses the similarities between storms on Earth and in space, and goes on to describe the causes and effects of space storms, and how they can be monitored by satellites and from observatories on earth. The forecasting of space storms is presented, along with prospects for improved models in the future and a unique interview with a professional space weather expert.

George PendleStrange AngelIn Association with Amazon.com
Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons
Harcourt, 2005, ISBN: 0-15-100997-X, $25

“Brilliant Rocket Scientist Killed in Explosion” screamed the front-page headline of the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 1952. John Parsons, a maverick rocketeer whose work had helped transform the rocket from a derided sci-fi plotline into a reality, was at first mourned as a tragically young victim of mishandled chemicals. But as reporters dug deeper a shocking story emerged––Parsons had been performing occult rites and summoning spirits as a follower of Aleister Crowley–and he was promptly written off as an embarrassment to science. George Pendle tells Parsons's extraordinary life story for the first time. Fueled from childhood by dreams of space flight, Parsons was a crucial innovator during rocketry's birth. But his visionary imagination also led him into the occult community thriving in 1930s Los Angeles, and when fantasy's pull became stronger than reality, he lost both his work and his wife. Parsons was just emerging from his personal underworld when he died at age thirty-seven. In Strange Angel, Pendle recovers a fascinating life and explores the unruly consequences of genius. h Horrock's achievements are marked by a memorial in Westminster Abbey, very few people know the sad but romantic story of his life.

Tom SiegfriedStrange MattersIn Association with Amazon.com
Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time
Joseph Henry Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-309-08407-5, $24.95

From mirror matter, super matter, and cosmic bubbles to branes, ghosts, and two-timing universes, Strange Matters is a guide to the prediscoveries of the 21st century, a series of visions dreamed by the most imaginative scientists of our time merged with the achievements of the past. All to answer the questions: "What is the universe made of?" and "How does the universe work?"

Joyce Henderson & Heather TomaselloWinning Science Fair ProjectsIn Association with Amazon.com
Strategies for Winning Science Fair Projects
John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0-471-41957-5, $12.95 (paperback)

Written by a science fair judge and an international science fair winner, this resource is packed with strategies and pointers for putting together a winning science fair project. From the fundamentals of the science fair process to the last-minute details of polishing the presentation, topics include: choosing the right project; doing research and taking notes, using the scientific method; writing up procedures, data, and conclusions; creating eye-catching backboards; and more.

J. L. HeilbronThe Sun in the ChurchIn Association with Amazon.com
The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories
Harvard University Press, 2000, ISBN: 0 674 85433 0, $35.00

Constructed initially to solve the pressing problem of providing an unquestionable date for Easter, the best solar observatories in the world for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, were found in Catholic churches. The Sun in the Church is a tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics; of astronomy, Church history and religious architecture; of complex measurements undertaken with limited mathematical tools but inspired determination; and of the many niches, protected and financed by the Catholic Church, in which science and mathematics thrived.

The Sun to the Earth — and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics
National Academies Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-309-08509-8, $30 (paperback)
PDF ($18.50) available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10477.html

From the Preface: The Sun to the Earth — and Beyond is the product of an 18-month effort that began in December 2000, when the National Research Council (NRC) approved a study to assess the current status and future directions of U.S. ground- and space-based programs in solar and space physics research. The NRC's Space Studies Board and its Committee on Solar and Space Physics organized the study, which was carried out by five ad hoc study panels and the 15-member Solar and Space Physics Survey Committee, chaired by Louis J. Lanzerotti, Lucent Technologies. The work of the panels and the committee was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

It draws on the findings and recommendations of the five study panels, as well as on the committee's own deliberations and on previous relevant NRC reports. The report identifies broad scientific challenges that define the focus and thrust of solar and space physics research for the decade 2003 through 2013, and it presents a prioritized set of missions, facilities, and programs designed to address those challenges.

Pam SpenceSun Observer's GuideIn Association with Amazon.com
Sun Observer's Guide
Firefly Books Ltd., 2004, ISBN: 1-55297-941-5, $14.95

The Sun Observer's Guide is a practical guide that explains how to safely observe the sun: what to look for and how to record and photograph solar images and eclipses. Expensive equipment is not essential to observe the Sun, and the necessary safety procedures are easy to follow. The book describes the equipment required to observe the Sun using visible light technologies such as telescopes, binoculars, and simple pin-hole cameras, as well as non-white light devices such as spectroscopes and hydrogen-alpha filters.

How to photograph the Sun is explained in detail and includes: descriptions of the equipment required; type of camera to choose; which lenses and filters to use; and recommended exposure times.

A chapter dedicated to solar eclipses explains why they occur, what can be seen and how to observe them safely. Dates of upcoming eclipses are provided. The interaction between the Sun and the Earth is explored in detail—from the obvious (climates and seasons) to the dramatic (magnetic storms and aurora). The Sun Observer's Guide concludes with a chapter on professional solar astronomy. Amateur astronomers will be fascinated to read about the research that is currently being undertaken and to discover the value placed by professional astronomers on observations made by amateurs. Beautiful images taken by solar spacecraft are displayed here.

J. B. ZirkerSunquakesIn Association with Amazon.com
Sunquakes: Probing the Interior of the Sun
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-8018-7419-X, $29.95

One of the most recent and exciting branches of astronomy, helioseismology—like its terrestrial counterpart—studies why the surface of the sun vibrates like a bell. Over the past three decades astronomers have gained spectacular insights into the structure and composition of the sun's interior, transforming the way we understand stellar matter. In Sunquakes, Jack B. Zirker tells the story of this new science and explains the physics behind these illuminating vibrations. Zirker recounts the discovery of solar oscillations in the early 1960s and international efforts throughout the rest of the decade to explain this phenomenon. By the mid-1970s, scientists working independently in France, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. had developed a new theoretical model of the sun that postulated the existence of trapped sound and gravity waves as the cause for the roiling of the sun's surface. Using solar oscillation data, scientists derived for the first time the thermal and dynamic properties of the solar interior and revealed its complicated rotation patterns; even such astronomical mysteries as the deficit of solar neutrinos were solved. The book concludes with an account of recent efforts to probe the interiors of stars far beyond our own solar system.

Ivan Amato, with a Foreword by Philip MorrisonSuper VisionIn Association with Amazon.com
Super Vision: A New View of Nature
Abrams, 2003, ISBN: 0-81094-545-2, $40

With 200 illustrations, including 170 plates in exquisite full color, this is at once a primer on the scientific worldview and a reminder of the awesome, multidimensional beauty of nature. The best in scientific imagery, made with microscopes and telescopes, magnetic field detectors and chemical mapping probes, each is accompanied by a explanation of the image and the underlying technology. From the Big European Bubble Chamber subatomic sightings to Cosmic Background Explorer's map of the ultra-low-relic radiation of the Big Bang.

Gordon KaneSupersymmetryIn Association with Amazon.com
Supersymmetry: Unveiling the Ultimate Laws of Nature
Perseus Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7382-0489-7, $16.00 (paperback)

Now available in a paperback version, Supersymmetry chronicles the quest to uncover a grand unified theory of how the universe works. In this groundbreaking work, renowned physicist Gordon Kane first gives the basics of the Standard Model, which describes the fundamental constituents and forces of nature. He then explains the next great leap in understanding: the theory of supersymmetry, which implies that each of the fundamental particles has a "superpartner" that can be detected at energies and intensities only now being achieved in the giant accelerators. If Kane and his colleagues are correct, these superpartners will also help solve many of the puzzles of modern physics-such as the existence of the Higgs boson-as well as one of the biggest mysteries in cosmology: the notorious "dark matter" of the universe.

Leon M. Lederman & Christopher T. HillSymmetry & the Beautiful UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Symmetry & the Beautiful Universe
Prometheus Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-59102-242-8, $29

When scientists peer through a telescope at the distant stars in outer space or use a particle-accelerator to analyze the smallest components of matter, they discover that the same laws of physics govern the whole universe at all times and all places. Physicists call the eternal, ubiquitous constancy of the laws of physics symmetry. Symmetry is the basic underlying principle that defines the laws of nature and hence controls the universe. This all-important insight is one of the great conceptual breakthroughs in modern physics and is the basis of contemporary efforts to discover a grand unified theory to explain all the laws of physics.

Nobel Laureate Leon M. Lederman and physicist Christopher T. Hill explain the supremely elegant concept of symmetry and all its profound ramifications to life on Earth and the universe at large in this accessible popular science book. They not only clearly describe concepts normally reserved only for physicists and mathematicians, but they also instill an appreciation for the profound beauty of the universe's inherent design.

Central to the story of symmetry is an obscure, unpretentious, but extremely gifted German mathematician named Emmy Noether. Though still little known to the world, she impressed no less a scientist than Albert Einstein, who praised her "penetrating mathematical thinking." In some of her earliest work she proved that the law of the conservation of energy was connected to the idea of symmetry and thus laid the mathematical groundwork for what may be the most important concept of modern physics.

Lederman and Hill reveal concepts about the universe, based on Noether's work, that are largely unknown to the public and have wide-reaching implications in connection with the Big Bang, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and many other areas of physics. Through ingenious analogies and illustrations, they bring these astounding notions to life.

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Donald A. BeattieTaking Science to the MoonIn Association with Amazon.com
Taking Science to the Moon: Lunar Experiments and the Apollo Program
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-8018-6599-9, $42.50

How did science get aboard the Apollo rockets, and what did scientists do with the space allotted to them? Taking Science to the Moon describes, from the perspective of NASA headquarters, the struggles that took place to include science payloads and lunar exploration as part of the Apollo program. Author Donald A. Beattie—who served at NASA from 1963 to 1973 in several management positions and finally as program manager, Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments—here supplies a detailed, insider's view of the events leading up to the acceptance of science activities on all the Apollo missions.

Jay Pasachoff & John Percy, eds.Effective Teaching and Learning of AstronomyIn Association with Amazon.com
Teaching and Learning Astronomy: Effective Strategies for Educators Worldwide
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-84262-X, $120

Based on papers and posters presented by experts at a Special Session of the International Astronomical Union, this volume highlights the many places for astronomy in the curriculum. It covers relevant education research and "best practice"; strategies for pre-service and in-service teacher education; the use of the Internet and other technologies; and the role that planetariums, observatories, science centers, and organizations can play. It concludes by addressing how the teaching and learning of astronomy can be improved worldwide.

David DarlingTeleportation In Association with Amazon.com
Teleportation: The Impossible Leap
Wiley, 2005, ISBN: 0-47147-095-3, $24.95

An authoritative, entertaining examination of the ultimate thrill ride. Until recently the stuff of sci-fi fiction and Star Trek reruns, teleportation has become a reality-for subatomic particles at least. In this eye-opening book, science author David Darling follows the remarkable evolution of teleportation, visiting the key labs that have cradled this cutting-edge science and relating the all-too-human stories behind its birth. He ties in the fast emerging fields of cryptography and quantum computing, tackles some thorny philosophical questions (for instance, can a soul be teleported?), and asks when and how humans may be able to "beam up."

Ken CroswellTen WorldsIn Association with Amazon.com
Ten Worlds: Everything that Orbits the Sun
Boyds Mills Press, 2006, ISBN: 1-590784-235, $19.95

With full-color images from NASA, astronomer Croswell introduces the newest version of our solar system. Double-page spreads, or more, are devoted to the general solar system, the Sun, each of the ten planets, comets, meteors, and the system's birth. The text includes a wealth of information, appropriate comparisons and good transitions; many words are defined in context. The backmatter includes charts comparing the ten planets, seven big moons, and first four asteroids, a list of planetary extremes, and an index but no glossary. The International Astronomical Union will not decide if 2003 UB313 is a planet until this summer; Croswell does mention the controversy, but, except for the book title, treats its acceptance as established fact.

T. PadmanabhanIn Association with Amazon.com
Theoretical Astrophysics: Volume III: Galaxies and Cosmology
Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-521-56630-4, $55 (paperback)

Provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of cosmology and extragalactic astronomy at an advanced level. Beginning with an overview of the key observational results and necessary terminology, it goes on to cover important topics including the theory of galactic structure and galactic dynamics, structure formation, cosmic microwave background radiation, formation of luminous galaxies in the universe, intergalactic medium, and active galactic nuclei. Can be used alone or in conjunction with the previous two accompanying volumes (Volume I: Astrophysical Processes, and Volume II: Stars and Stellar Systems).

Elizabeth WeilThey All Laughed at Christopher ColumbusIn Association with Amazon.com
They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus: An Incurable Dreamer Builds the First Civilian Spaceship
Bantam, 2003, ISBN: 0-553-38236-5, $13.95 (paperback)

Gary Hudson was seven years old when Sputnik flew, nineteen when Armstrong set foot on the moon, and all he ever wanted to do was to travel into space. Between 1970 and 1996, he founded and disbanded five separate rocket-building companies in pursuit of that dream. Then, in 1997, he launched Rotary Rocket. His goal was to develop and build the Roton, the world's first manned, single-state-to-orbit, fully reusable spaceship, capable of shuttling ordinary people into orbit and back in a single day. Journalist Elizabeth Weil followed Gary and his mismatched crew of engineers, technicians, and financiers for two years and brings to vivid life a seductively—perhaps delusionally—optimistic world where science and science fiction meld and fuse, and where imagination and invention collide.

Michael FriedlanderA Thin Cosmic RainIn Association with Amazon.com
A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles from Outer Space
Harvard University Press, 2000, 0 674 00288 1, $29.95

Describes the history of cosmic ray research, from the first pioneering balloon flight of Victor Hess in 1911 to the detection of neutrinos from supernova 1987A, and includes the latest discoveries. The study of cosmic rays has been a long-running detective story, first exploring the nature of cosmic rays and disentangling the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, then seeking to pursue the astrophysical aspects. This research ties in with radio, x and gamma ray astronomy, as well as parts of traditional optical astronomy, to form what we now call high energy astrophysics. Together, these observations provide a more complete picture of remarkable violence in the cosmos, and point to mysteries still waiting to be solved.

Mauri Valtonen & Hannu KarttunenThe Three-Body ProblemIn Association with Amazon.com
The Three-Body Problem
Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN: 0-521-85224-2, $80

How do three celestial bodies move under their mutual gravitational attraction? This problem has been studied by Isaac Newton and leading mathematicians over the last two centuries. Poincaré's conclusion, that the problem represents an example of chaos in nature, opens the new possibility of using a statistical approach. For the first time this book presents these methods in a systematic way, surveying statistical as well as more traditional methods.

Lee SmolinThree Roads to Quantum GravityIn Association with Amazon.com
Three Roads to Quantum Gravity
Basic Books, 2001, ISBN: 0-465-07835-4, $24.00

The search for a theory of "quantum gravity" is a search for a view of the universe that unites two seemingly opposing pillars of modern science: Einstein's theory of general relativity, which deals with large-scale phenomena (planets, solar systems and galaxies), and quantum theory, which deals with the world of the very small (molecules, atoms, electrons). In Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin, Professor of Physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Penn State, provides a first concise and accessible overview of current attempts to reconcile these two theories in a final "theory of everything."

J. Richard GottTime Travel in Einstein's UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time
Houghton Mifflin, 2001, ISBN: 0-395-95563-7, $25

Time travel in Newton’s universe was inconceivable, but in Einstein’s universe it has become a possibility. J. Richard Gott III, a Princeton astrophysicist and a leading researcher in the field, provides a guided tour of the potential of traveling through time. Although scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne have previously considered the topic, Gott goes light-years beyond them. He begins by describing how the finest science fiction about time travel has inspired some of today’s top scientific ideas on the subject. He goes on to explain how travel to the future is not only possible but has actually happened (astronauts have aged a bit less than we whose feet have stayed solidly on earth), and he examines whether travel to the past might also be possible, given certain physical conditions. He then offers up his most stunning material: the study of time travel can be used to discover whether the universe could have created itself. Finally, asserting that no book on time travel would be complete without a report from the future, Gott predicts the span of human existence, based on a scientific technique he has developed.

Dennis Schatz, with illustrations by Peter GeorgesonTotally AliensIn Association with Amazon.com
Totally Aliens
Silver Dolphin Books (Advantage Publishers Group), 2001, ISBN: 1-57145-542-6, $15.95

Explore the solar system, learn about life and conditions on other planets, and analyze examples of UFO sightings in this dynamic book by ASP Board member Dennis Schatz. Probes the outer limits of the universe and gives kids a close encounter with "extraterrestrial beings" as they are transported into spaceships descending into the atmosphere of three types of planets (high gravity, low gravity, and earth-like gravity) and create space creatures using mix-and-match parts included in the book. Totally Aliens lets children use their imagination to create five space creatures designed to live on four different planets or they can create their own. Includes 40 different sturdy plastic pieces to mix and match parts, as well as a 32-page book which discusses what scientists know about life in the universe.

Noreen GriceTouch the UniverseIn Association with Amazon.com
Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy
Joseph Henry Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-309-08332-X, $35

Touch the Universe is a unique and innovative astronomy book that will help visually impaired people "see" the wonders of our universe. Using a combination of Braille and large-print captions that face 14 pages of brilliant Hubble Space Telescope photos, it is embossed with shapes that represent various astronomical objects such as stars, gas clouds, and jets of matter streaming into space.

"Universally designed" for both the sighted and visually impaired reader, Touch the Universe takes readers on a voyage of discovery, starting at Earth, proceeding through the solar system, and ending with the most distant image taken by Hubble, the "Hubble Deep Field."

As the author puts it, "A visually impaired person can still touch and smell a flower, or a tree, or an animal, but he or she could only imagine what an astronomical object is like ... until now."

R. Pellinen & P. Raudsepp, Eds.
Towards Mars!
Oy Raud Publishing Ltd., 2002, ISBN: 952-9689-11-X, $50 + Postage
(email: Paul.Raudsepp@fmi.fi)

An international collection of 34 contributors describe the technical and scientific aspects of missions such as Pathfinder, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander and Mars Global Surveyor. Heavily illustrated with excellent reproductions of the Martian surface. The original 1993 Finnish edition has been updated for the English release.

Michael Maunder & Patrick MooreTransitIn Association with Amazon.com
Transit: When Planets Cross the Sun
Springer-Verlag, 2000, ISBN: 1 85233 621 8, $39.95

Transits are rare but interesting. No one alive has seen a transit of Venus since it last happened in 1882; the next will be in 2004. Much more commonly we can observe the moons or Jupiter and Saturn in transit, and accurate recording and imaging of these events are well within the scope of amateur astronomers. The book is in two parts. The first tells the story of the first scientific expeditions to observe transits, made in an attempt to use transit timing to accurately define the Astronomical Unit. The second part is for practical amateur observers, and explains how to observe transits of all sorts such as the rare transits of Mercury and Venus and transits of the moons of the major planets.

William Sheehan & John WestfallThe Transits of VenusIn Association with Amazon.com
The Transits of Venus
Prometheus Books, 2004, ISBN: 1-59102-175-8, $28

In this unique history of science, science writer William Sheehan and geographer John Westfall go back through the centuries to chronicle the intrepid explorations of scientists and adventurers who studied the transits of Venus in the quest for scientific understanding. From the first telescopically observable transit in 1639 to the upcoming 2004 and 2012 transits, this book will provide a history and a guide for the future on the beauty and meaning of experiencing a transit of Venus. Includes maps showing both historical and contemporary observation points, plus tables of visibility conditions for major cities.

Peter AughtonThe Transit of VenusIn Association with Amazon.com
The Transit of Venus: The Brief, Brilliant Life of Jeremiah Horrocks, Father of British Astronomy
Weidenfelt & Nicolson, 2005, ISBN: 0-297-84721-X, $35

There is a missing chapter in the history of astronomy. It lies between the work of Galileo and Newton, and it is a chapter that belongs to a brilliant young Englishman. Only the English Civil War has robbed him of a more prominent place in history—for a whole generation scientific progress was impeded by the turmoil of the times, and much work was lost or forgotten, But in the period before the war, Jeremiah Horrocks was the greatest astronomer in the kingdom. He knew the positions and motions of the planets more accurately than any person of his time. He was the first to appreciate the true scale of the solar system and to formulate a valid theory for the wandering of the moon. Yet he was a young man living in provincial obscurity, making independent observations which decades later would astonish the newly-formed Royal Society. Of these, his most memorable was of a rare celestial event, the transit of Venus, observed with a primitive telescope from his window in 1639. Although Horrock's achievements are marked by a memorial in Westminster Abbey, very few people know the sad but romantic story of his life.

Donald Kurtz, Ed.In Association with Amazon.com
Transits of Venus: New Views of the Solar System and Galaxy
IAU Colloquium 196
Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-521-84907-1, $90

On 24 November 1649 in the tiny Lancashire village of Much Hoole, Jeremiah Horrocks made the first observations of a transit of Venus. In the following century the great expeditions to observe the transits of Venus gave us the most colorful stories in astronomy. IAUC196 coincided with the 8 June 2004 transit of Venus, producing the eclectic mix that can be found in these proceedings: the amazing history of the English North-country astronomers of the 17th century; the AU at a precision of 1.4 m; the explanation for the infamous black drop effect’ a possible Mayan observation of a transit of Venus in the 13th century; a vexed question of leap seconds and time scales; history, distances, parallaxes, and future space missions that could revolutionize astronomy.

William K. HartmannA Traveler's Guide to MarsIn Association with Amazon.com
A Traveler's Guide to Mars
Workman, 2003, ISBN: 0-761-12606-6, $18.95 (paperback)

Conceived and created like a real Baedecker-factual, accessible, heavily illustrated, in a carry-around size—A Traveler's Guide To Mars brings together all the astonishing information scientists have recently learned about Mars, and conveys it in the engaging, lively style that made Dr. Hartmann the first-ever winner of the Carl Sagan Medal for public communication of planetary science. Taken around the planet like tourists, readers will discover mysterious dry riverbeds, the largest volcano in the solar system (three times higher than Mount Everest), a possible ancient sea floor, giant impact craters, the face on Mars, and other wonders.

Throughout is an Extraordinary selection of photographs, maps, and paintings, including images from Mariner 9 and the Viking explorations, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ongoing Mars Global Surveyor mission. Four gatefolds show the latest topographic maps of the entire Martian surface. Sidebars advise readers on what to wear and landing procedures. In addition, Hartmann's "My Martian Chronicles" spotlight his life and times as a planetary scientist.

Robin Le PoidevinTravels in Four DimensionsIn Association with Amazon.com
Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time
Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-19-875254-7, $28

The author gives a vivid sense of the difficulties raised by our ordinary ideas about space and time, but he also gives us the basis to think about these problems independently, avoiding large amounts of jargon and technicality. His book is an invitation to think philosophically rather than a sustained argument for particular conclusions, but Le Poidevin does advance and defend a number of controversial views.

Alan C. TribbleIn Association with Amazon.com
A Tribble’s Guide to Space: How to Get to Space and What to Do When You’re There
Princeton Paperbacks, 2002, ISBN: 0-691-02763-3, $16.95 (paperback)

Space--the final frontier. It's as little as fifty miles away, and yet it is considered one of the most dangerous and remote of places. Popular television shows such as "Star Trek" and movies such as "Apollo 13" and "October Sky" have fired the imaginations of would-be explorers. Alan Tribble has worked on the design and development of dozens of spacecraft, including the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. A Tribble's Guide to Space is a how-to book that is firmly grounded in the realities of current state-of-the-art space engineering while tapping into the power of imagination that drives us to explore.

Using examples from famous space missions, both factual and fictional, Tribble tackles fascinating real-world problems encountered in space exploration. Why do submarine hatches open inward and spacecraft hatches open outward? What do curveballs and satellites have in common? Why did Scotty, the chief engineer of the fictional USS Enterprise, always "need more power?" Why did the fire that destroyed Apollo I on the launch pad burn so furiously that no one could react fast enough to save the lives of the crew? In answering these questions, Tribble
examines getting to space, from the physics of motion to the practical implications of Einstein's theory of relativity. He explores the basics of spaceships and starships, from power usage to navigation—all from the viewpoint of a spacecraft designer.

H. Paul Shuch
Tune in the Universe: A Radio Amateur’s Guide to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
American Radio Relay League, 2001, 0-87259-854-3, $24.95 (Interactive Book on CD-ROM)

Created by the Executive Director of the SETI League, this interactive CD-ROM includes: a discussion of the nature of stars, planets, and their potential to harbor intelligent life; descriptions of current SETI theories, techniques and results; practical advice and resources that enable any ham operator to build a SETI monitoring station. CD is Macintosh, Linux and Windows compatible and can be ordered directly from the ARRL (www.arrl.org).

Mitch BegelmanTurn Right at OrionIn Association with Amazon.com
Turn Right at Orion: Travels Through the Cosmos
Perseus Publishing, 2001, ISBN: 0-7382-0517-6, $17 (now available in paperback)

Hard-science cosmology in a fictional travelogue, this is the account of an epic astronomical journey, a tale told by an early-twenty-first century human sailor among the stars. It is discovered, as an alien "translator's note" reveals, 60 million years in future—the product of one man's amazing, revelatory, and occasionally perilous space odyssey. Travel to the center of the Milky Way, witness the births and deaths of stars, the creation of planets, and the crushing forces at the perimeter of a black hole.

Robert EhrlichTurning the World Inside OutIn Association with Amazon.com
Turning the World Inside Out & 174 Other Simple Physics Demonstrations
Princeton University Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-691-02395-6, $17.95 (paper)

A collection of physics demonstrations costing very little to produce yet illustrating key concepts in amazingly simple and playful ways. Food coloring and glycerin swirled and then "unmixed" in a container demonstrate aspects of the entropy law; raw eggs thrown with full force at a sheet but not breaking illustrate Newton's second law (f=ma); and the reflection off a glass Christmas tree ball is the focus of an explanation on "turning the world inside out." Many of the demonstrations are either new or include innovative twists on old ideas, as in the author's simplified version of the classic "Monkey and Hunter" problem, which substitutes "diluted gravity" on an inclined plane for large apparatus. Each demonstration outlines the objective, the equipment needed, and the procedure. Throughout the book concrete examples are accompanied by enough theoretical background to enhance a reader's basic understanding of physical principles.

Peter Gnädig, Gyula Honyek & Ken RileyIn Association with Amazon.com
200 Puzzling Physics Problems, with Hints and Solutions
Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-521-77306-7/0-521-77480-2, $69.95/$24.95

Laws of physics applied to situations that are practical and to problems (chosen almost exclusively from classical, non-quantum physics) that yield more easily to intuitive insight than to brute-force methods and complex mathematics. Such as: "How high could the tallest mountain on Mars be?" "How much brighter is sunlight than moonlight?" "How quickly does a fire hose unroll?" "How long would it take to defrost an 8-ton Siberian mammoth?" "What perils face titanium-eating little green men who devour their own planet?"

Nan Dieter ConklinTwo Paths to Heaven's Gate
Two Paths to Heaven's Gate
NRAO, 2006, ISBN: 0-9700411-1-X, $10 + $3 shipping

Nan Conklin was a prominent figure in what was 50 years ago an entirely new science, radio astronomy -- the first American woman whose PhD dissertation used radio astronomy data and, in 1952, the first American woman to formally publish original research in the field. Over the course of her impressive career at Harvard and Berkeley, she pioneered studies of neutral hydrogen in nearby galaxies that are members of the local group and of the structure of the interstellar medium in the Milky Way and other galaxies. In her candid memoir she discusses the evolution of her scientific work and her interactions with the other senior scientists of her day, writing with continuing fascination of discoveries both accidental and painstakingly accomplished. The book is also a clear view of her personal life, from the considerable adversities she experienced to a celebration of her exuberant adventures in lifestyle and travel.

Kitty FergusonTycho & KeplerIn Association with Amazon.com
Tycho & Kepler: An Unlikely Partnership That Forever Changed Our Understanding of the Heavens
Walker & Company, 2003, ISBN: 0-8-027-1390-4, $28

On his deathbed in 1601, the greatest naked-eye astronomer, Tycho Brahe, told his young colleague, Johannes Kepler, "Let me not have lived in vain." For more than thirty years, Tycho had made meticulous observations of planetary movements and the positions of the stars, from which he developed his Tychonic system of the universe—a highly original, if incorrect, scheme that attempted to reconcile the ancient belief in an unmoving Earth with Copernicus's revolutionary re-arrangement of the solar system. Tycho knew that Kepler, the brilliant young mathematician he had engaged to interpret his findings, believed in Copernicus's formation, in which all the planets circled the Sun; and he was afraid his system—the product of a lifetime of effort to explain how the universe worked—would be abandoned.

In point of fact, it was. From his study of Tycho's observations came Kepler's stunning Three Laws of Planetary Motion—ever since the cornerstone of cosmology and our understanding of the heavens. Yet, as Kitty Ferguson reveals, neither of these giant figures would have his reputation today without the other; and the story of how their lives and talents were fatefully intertwined is one of the most memorable sagas in the long history of science.

Set in a turbulent and colorful era in European history, at the turning point when medieval gave way to modern, Tycho & Kepler is both a highly original dual biography and a masterful recreation of how science advances. From Tycho's fabulous Uraniborg Observatory on an island off the Danish coast, to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolph II, to the religious conflict of the Thirty Years' War that rocked all of Europe, to Kepler's extraordinary leaps of understanding, Ferguson recounts a fascinating interplay of science and religion, politics and personality.

Read Terrell Kent Holmes' review from Mercury Magazine.

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