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Science Books

December 22, 2005

Robert Dinwiddie, Philip Eales, David Hughes, Ian Nicholson, Ian Ridpath, Giles Sparrow, Pam Spence, Carole Stott, Kevin Tildsley, Martin Rees (2005)
ISBN: 0756613647

Let the experts take you on a tour of our Solar System and beyond in this beautifully illustrated guide to the Universe, suitable for the academic library or general science reader. Universe looks fantastic and is of the same high quality as previous DK publications, such as Animal and Earth. Astronomers and science writers regularly dealing with the most topical of cosmological concepts contribute anything from a paragraph to several pages on their area of expertise to accompany Universe's jaw-dropping illustrations. The guided tour is broken down into three parts, the first of which introduces readers to some fundamental concepts about the nature of the Universe, how it began and how it is likely to end. The next part delves more deeply, looking closely at our very own corner of the Universe; the Solar System and everything it contains. The account of the Solar System is far from standard fair, with comprehensive explanations of individual planets, asteroids and comets. In addition to the outstanding illustrations and commentary, Universe provides detailed star maps to accompany the section entitled "The Night Sky." In this section the 88 constellations receive the same engaging commentary from experts in the field, along with monthly sky guides for amateur astronomers. The layout of the book adds yet another level of involvement, knowledge and enjoyment for the reader. Each section of Universe contains a separate anecdote, breakthrough, exploration, invention or myth related to the main topic being discussed. With its high number of expert contributions accompanying some of the most brilliant photographs and illustrations, Universe is, as the admen say, a great addition to any library.

Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character
Richard P. Feynman (Foreword), Ralph Leighton, Freeman Dyson (Editor) (2005)
ISBN: 0393061329

It would be an understatement to say that Nobel award winning Richard Feynman has had a colorful life, and the multitudes of people that have read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? are no doubt grateful for this fact. Ralph Leighton, a long time friend and collaborator of Richard Feynman, has compiled the essays from these two great texts into a chronological biography. This collection of highly entertaining stories presents an opportunity for old fans to reacquaint themselves with Feynman's often bizarre lifestyle, and for new readers to be totally amazed. If you have always assumed that the life of a physicist is a stuffy and somber one, think again. When the volatile Feynman wasn't deep in discussion about some complex aspect of physics that would send lesser mortals fleeing in terror, you may have found him playing the bongo drums or cracking a safe or two. Another attraction to this release is that you get to listen to the man himself, as a CD of one of his most famous lectures is also included. Aside from the celebration of Feynman's genius and quirks, the way the book has been compiled shows a man who used ideas, language and freedom of speech as weapons against ignorance and authority. "Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look at what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, 'Is it reasonable?' This is where all science should start." Classic Feynman comes highly recommended.

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