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Science Books

February 16, 2006

Chasing Hubble's Shadows: The Search for Galaxies at the Edge of Time
Jeff Kanipe (2006)
ISBN: 0809034069

Independent science journalist Jeff Kanipe shares with us his enthusiasm for astronomy, cosmology, and planetary science in this awe-inspiring book on the wonder that is the Hubble Telescope. Kanipe hardly seems to draw breath as he dives headlong into the latest cutting-edge research on the universe's outer limits. With the aid of the Hubble Space Telescope, Kanipe explains how astrophysicists are slowly but surely uncovering many of the mysteries surrounding the universe's so called "dark age." By looking ever deeper into the universe and viewing the barely-visible cosmic objects on display, scientists are actually looking back in time. "How deep is the universe? Such a question has the most profound implications, because in this case, deep implies more than size and distance on the grandest of scales - it implies age as well," writes Kanipe. Indeed, the unique cosmic perspective achieved by using Hubble may one day lead scientists to definitive answers in regard to dark energy and how the universe began. In the process of wowing us with these truly amazing advances in astrophysics, Kanipe details the fascinating history of deep space astronomy. This history runs parallel to many of his own experiences with astronomy, from the time he first set foot in a planetarium in 1968, right up to observing galaxies from the 10-meter telescopes at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Kanipe's easy writing style together with fascinating color images make Chasing Hubble's Shadows perfect for either the cosmologist or general reader.

The Dance of Molecules: How Nanotechnology is Changing Our Lives
Ted Sargent (2006)
ISBN: 1560258098

You may not realize it, but there's a quiet revolution occurring right under your very nose: the nanotechnology revolution. Ted Sargent, visiting professor of nanotechnology at MIT, argues with aplomb that nanotechnology will fundamentally change all science related disciplines forever. Yep, within the realms of technology, tiny is the new black. Sargent points out that we are already witnessing a convergence between such things as medicine and microchips and that this convergence is only going to increase in the coming years. Quite apart from the horror stories of merciless, unstoppable nano-bots that inhabit all good sci-fi novels, Sargent claims that nanotechnology could not be a more natural process. In fact, says Sargent, nanotechnology takes nature's lead in regard to its inherent building systems. Sargent's refreshingly optimistic outlook for nanotechnology seems to know no bounds, as he relates a staggering list of applications for the emerging technology. Perhaps directly feeding your thoughts to your computer is your kind of thing, or maybe you consider mending spinal cord injuries or curing cancer as being more worthy applications for nanotech. For those not up to speed on how Sargent has arrived at these seemingly impossible ideas, he also provides some background to explain his passion for a nanotech future. During the 1980s, Sargent tells how the evolution of nanotech followed on from him creating a new and stable carbon molecule called the buckyball. In an amusing and witty fashion, Sargent continues with his account of how nanotech has gradually emerged into existence at the hands of a number of high profile scientists who obviously share the same belief in a utopian future.

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