October 2, 2014

Mathematical Curiosities by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann

On sale now.

Today, we’ll delve into the exciting and exhilarating world of mathematics. Wait, wait, come back…

This week we’ll be looking at Mathematical Curiosities: A Treasure Trove of Unexpected Entertainments out from Prometheus Books by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann. [Read more...]

Review: The Cosmic Cocktail by Katherine Freese

A stellar recipe!

It’s the hottest topic in modern astrophysics. What exactly is dark matter and dark energy? It is kind of amazing to think that astrophysicists do not yet completely understand just what most of the universe is made of. [Read more...]

Review: Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon

On sale now.

Quick, what was the most pivotal breakthrough of the 19th century? And no, it wasn’t “steampunk”… it was our understanding of electromagnetism, a breakthrough that fundamentally altered our civilization. Electric lights, refrigerators, hi-fis and blogging wouldn’t exist without it. This week’s review looks at the lives and times of two inventors and scientists whose insights made the modern miracle of electricity possible. [Read more...]

Review: Five Billion Years of Solitude by Lee Billings

On sale now!

Where did we come from as a species, and where is the party headed? What’s the expiration date for life on Earth, and just how common — or rare — are we? Those are the big questions in modern day science. This week’s review tackles the latest thinking concerning all of these weighty subjects and more. Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by science journalist Lee Billings is a fascinating look at the state of the field. We’re talking astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence, a truly interdisciplinary endeavor that encompasses all of modern science from physics and astronomy to biology and psychology. [Read more...]

Review: A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton

On sale now.

So, you think you know maps? Author and historian Jerry Brotton will show you otherwise. This week’s review takes us through a fascinating trip back through history from an unusual perspective. A History of the World in 12 Maps looks at how we’ve perceived the surface of this planet we inhabit throughout the ages, and how we’ve grappled with depicting it over the millenia. [Read more...]

Review: Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin

On sale now!

America’s premier space pioneer has a vision for space exploration.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been there. A veteran of Gemini 12 and Apollo 11, Aldrin was the second man to walk on the Moon after Neil Armstrong and has since been a vocal proponent of manned space exploration.

And it shows, in his breathtaking new proposal for man in space entitled Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration. [Read more...]

Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield

On sale now!

By now, you’ve seen the video.

Last year, astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity went viral on YouTube. This capped a hugely successful stint for Hadfield aboard the International Space Station for the Canadian Space Agency astronaut, and a great ad hoc publicity campaign via social media. [Read more...]

Review: Life at the Speed of Light by J. Craig Venter

On sale now!

Genetic engineering may well be the next big revolution of our age. Sparked with the discovery of the DNA double-helix by Watson and Crick in 1953, we may just now be on the edge of being able to custom tailor life.

And no one has been farther out on the cutting edge of that revolution than geneticist J. Craig Venter. This week, we take a look at Mr. Venter’s latest book, Life at the Speed of Light: from the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life out from Viking Press. Mr. Venter is the author of a Life Decoded and the CEO and founder of Synthetic Genomics Inc. [Read more...]

Review: From Dust to Life by John Chambers & Jacqueline Mitton

On sale now!

How did “we” come to be? How did lowly hydrogen atoms congregate together to eventually build laptops and blog about the cosmos? The formation of our solar system is a key to this mystery, a riddle that we just now may finally have the hard data to solve. This week, we take a look at From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of the Solar System by John Chambers and Jacqueline Mitton out from Princeton University Press. [Read more...]

Review: The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View by Aaron Adair

A great holiday read!

By now, the seasonal discussion will once again have reached a fevered pitch. Just what was the Star of Bethlehem? Mentioned only in the Book of Matthew in the New Testament of the Bible, this astronomical allusion has tantalized astronomers and historians for centuries. And in the modern Internet age, the controversy now comes back around every Christmas season. Is there anything to the parable from an astronomical perspective? Or is the tale simple flourish and allegory, a Jewish midrash told to flesh out the story of the birth of Jesus? [Read more...]

Review: The Star of Bethlehem by Michael R. Molnar

On sale now.

It’s a biblical tale of astronomical intrigue that comes around every Christmas.

Just what was the Star of Bethlehem? Mentioned only in the Book of Matthew, many have tried over the years to link the Star that led the Magi to Bethlehem to astronomical phenomena. As Christmas draws near, planetariums will once again present their yearly shows on “The Star,” and science bloggers will dust off and recycle their posts on the subject. Heck, even we couldn’t resist doing a post on the controversy as a fledgling blogger, oh so long ago. [Read more...]

Review: Beyond the God Particle by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill

On sale now!

What’s the ‘next big thing’ in particle physics?

In early July 2012, the announcement came out of Geneva Switzerland that the Higgs boson, a.k.a. the “God Particle” had been caught in the act by researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider. [Read more...]

Review: Dreams of Other Worlds by Chris Impey and Holly Henry

On sale now!

Robotic space exploration has finally come of age. Recent successes, such as the pioneering landing via sky crane of the Mars Rover Curiosity by NASA have demonstrated a capability to triumph after a hard-won history often marked by failure.

This week’s review titled Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration by Chris Impey and Holly Henry chronicles the often overlooked history of robotic exploration of the solar system. Robots can go more cheaply and effectively where humans can’t, and don’t demand a return ticket. Out from Princeton University Press, Dreams of Other Worlds is a timely snapshot of the state of unmanned space exploration. [Read more...]

Astro-Vid Of the Week- The Weekly Space Hangout

A Stellar Show!

Interested in space? One of the great things we love about the modern Web-based world is the way that we can streamline our information flow. Back in the “olden days” (i.e., just over a decade ago), we were all forced to sit through a mind-numbing drone of sports and entertainment stories masquerading as “news” to catch a brief glimpse of what’s going on in science and space. [Read more...]

Review: Magnificent Principia by Colin Pask

On sale now!

Thank Newton for orbital mechanics. This week, we’ll take a look at the masterpiece that started all with Magnificent Principia by Colin Pask out from Prometheus Books. Sir Isaac published his Philosphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica on July 5th, 1687. And although every high school physics student is (or hopefully, should be) familiar with the three laws of motion that it advanced, few have ever actually read the original work. [Read more...]

Review Magnificent Mistakes in Mathematics by Alfred S. Posamentier & Ingmar Lehmann

On sale now!

We’ve all be there. Standing at the chalkboard, (remember chalkboards?) we’ve all forgotten to “carry the two,” or made the cardinal sin of mathematics by attempting to divide by zero. Hey, it happens to the best of us sometimes.

So it’s comforting to realize that the rock stars of mathematics are prone to slip up on occasion as well. Only in their case, their mistakes may be so monumental as to approach greatness.   [Read more...]

Review: Rocket Girl by George D. Morgan


On sale now!

The untold tales of the early Space Age are legion. Many of these were shrouded in secrecy, while others simply fell to the bureaucratic wayside. There’s no doubt some amazing stories are still left to tell in the piles of dusty documents and long lost archival footage in vaults that no one remembers… [Read more...]

Review: Signatures of Life by Edward Ashpole

Out in July!

Where are they? That’s the central question that Enrico Fermi asked in what has now become known as the Fermi Paradox. For the past half century, scientists have attempted to answer that question, scouring the skies for searches for extraterrestrial intelligence. [Read more...]