Staff Pick

An award-winning science writer with an advanced degree in physics, Marcia Bartusiak has the knowledge and the enthusiasm to make even complex principles of quantum theory accessible and fascinating to non-scientists. In these thirty-three brief, elegant essays, she gives a thorough grounding in the history of astronomy, tracing its many revolutions from heliocentrism to the discoveries of double stars, supernovae, spiral galaxies, quasars, black holes, dark matter, and the whole expanding universe. Each discussion traces the science as well as the impact of the ideas themselves, showing how our evolving understanding of physical phenomena affected our sense of our place in the universe—and in turn led to our next foray into the unknown. As she traces the evolution of cosmology, Bartusiak chronicles the major questions scientists asked and how they answered them, details the necessary technological advances, summarizes the debates surrounding revelations that were often as unsettling as they were thrilling, and profiles the key thinkers involved. This parade of giants includes many iconic names—Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Hubble, Hawking—as well as many that will be new to most readers, though their achievements may be familiar. Cecilia Helena Payne, for instance, proved that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, a discovery with far-reaching implications, and Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars, though the Nobel for this breakthrough went to two male scientists. And so on, for Beatrice Tinsley, Vera Rubin, Margaret Burbidge, and Henrietta Swann Leavitt, all brilliant, dedicated women whose contributions to science have been overlooked for too long. They’ve found an eloquent and spirited advocate in Bartusiak.

Dispatches from Planet 3: Thirty-Two (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300235746
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - September 18th, 2018

Staff Pick

Like many other former 7-year-olds, I was once a dinosaur obsessive. With Jurassic Park roosting in the VCR, I would give any grown-up in earshot a rundown of my favorite dinosaurs (this changed daily) and what periods they lived in. If you're anything like me, a page or two into Steve Brusatte's prehistoric masterpiece will be enough to bring back the kid in you. Brusatte presents the Mesozoic in vivid detail and with an immediacy not often reserved for a period that ended 65 million years ago. From spindly, cat-sized lizards at the beginning of the Triassic to thundering giants at the end of the Cretaceous, dinosaurs were a highly diverse, sophisticated species whose millions of years of earthly dominance help put our world and lives in far greater perspective.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062490421
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - April 24th, 2018

Staff Pick

On the next clear night, gaze into the sky. Why haven't we heard from anyone out there? In his astonishing book, astrophysicist Adam Frank explores this question with startling results. He combines the history of scientific thought with modern research to illuminate the nature of planet spanning civilizations. He demonstrates that in all likelihood extraterrestrial civilizations have existed and will again. Ultimately, we may not have heard from anyone because civilizations, as a rule, may not last that long. This book will explode your understanding of our past, present, and future.

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393609011
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 12th, 2018