Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe - Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall, author of Warped Passages, is a Harvard particle physicist, and the first half of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs (Ecco, $29.99) unfolds in space. From inner to outer, Big Bang to many light years later, Randall traces the development of ordinary matter—the 15% of the universe we can see—and the probable presence of dark matter (distinct from black holes), which is “oblivious” to light and may interact only with gravity. Though “we don’t know what dark matter is or is made of,” scientists believe it has been essential in forming and stabilizing galaxies. So what does that mean for us, here? The second half of the book loops back to Earth. Randall uses geology, paleobiology, and chemistry to follow a trail of iridium, microscopic diamonds, and shocked quartz from Italy to Montana to Russia, finally locating in the Gulf of Mexico the impact crater marking the moment 66-million years ago when a massive asteroid struck the planet. It’s a riveting investigation. Among the meteorite’s effects was the extinction of the dinosaurs, but what set that object in motion may have been dark matter. Randall theorizes that it caused a perturbation in the distant Oort cloud, sending an object Earthward. While admitting that this is speculative, Randall not only tells “one of the best stories in science,” but gives a spirited demonstration of science in action.

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe By Lisa Randall Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780062328472
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco - October 27th, 2015

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe By Lisa Randall Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062328502
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - October 18th, 2016

Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of Constellations - Susanna Hislop, Hannah Waldron

In “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” Walt Whitman reported that he “became tired and sick” at all the facts; worried that science would blunt his sense of wonder, he recovered only when he “Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars,” finding them as mesmerizing as ever. They mesmerize still, as Stories in the Stars (Penguin Press, $30), a beautiful synthesis of science and myth, word and image, shows us.  Written by lifelong star-gazer and actor Susanna Hislop, with images by Hannah Waldron, a versatile designer of textiles and works on paper, this is a grand tour of the universe. From the largest constellation, Hydra, to the smallest, the Southern Cross, the authors take us through each of the official eighty-eight constellations (as codified by the lnternational Astronomical Union in 1922). As diverse and surprising as the stars themselves, these entries retell ancient tales, make up new stories, present folklore from cultures around the world, and report what artists from Ovid to Picasso have made of the spectacle. Then there’s the science. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, La Caille, Hubble—the learn’d astronomers are here, with concise profiles of their lives and the work they did to establish orders of magnitude, measure light years, and determine that the largest single star among those discussed is R136a1, part of the Tarantula Nebula in the constellation Dorado. Whimsical, wise, informative, charming—make what you will of this atlas: it’s all in how you connect the dots.

Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of Constellations By Susanna Hislop, Hannah Waldron (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Susanna Hislop, Hannah Waldron (Illustrator)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780143128137
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - November 3rd, 2015