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next. Nothing is fertile, too, as Barrow shows via a stunning trick that allows every number one can think of to be built out of nothing at all. But his book is about far more than mind games. Arguably, the most important discovery of 20th-century physics is that there is no such thing as nothing: even the tightest vacuum is teeming with subatomic particles popping in and out of existence, according to the dictates of quantum theory. Now, many astronomers suspect that such "vacuum effects" may have triggered the Big Bang itself, filling our universe with matter. Indeed, the very latest observations suggest that vacuum effects will dictate the ultimate fate of the universe. As an internationally respected cosmologist, Barrow does a fine job of explaining these new discoveries. The result is a book that is required reading for anyone who wants to understand why there will be much ado about Nothing among scientists in the years ahead.”


Celestial Treasury : From the Music of the Spheres to the Conquest of Space. By Marc Lachieze-Rey, et al.  (Cambridge, 210 pp, 2001) General audiences. This book “is an impressive coffee-table book surveying the history of man's exploration of the stars. The informative and engaging text is wonderfully enhanced with 380 full-color illustrations as the reader is treated to a full spectrum history of astronomy from antiquity down to the present day. Along the way such questions are addressed as how philosophers and scientists approach explaining the order that governs celestial motions; how geometers and artists measure and map the skies; when and how the Earth came into being; who inhabits the heaves; and more. Celestial Treasury is especially recommended as a ‘Memorial Gift’ acquisition for both academic and community library astronomy and history of science collections.”


First Light; The Search for the Edge of the Universe. By Richard Preston  (Random House, 275 pp,1987) GFB ****. General audiences. “First Light is first of all a love letter to the Palomar Observatory and to the astronomers and civilians who are using it to plumb a few of the details of our situation here in the universe. It is one of the finest accounts of scientists at work that I have read. Most writers say they want their books to read like a novel, but Preston actually delivers.”


A Guide to the End of the World: Everything You Never Wanted to Know. By Bill McGuire. (Oxford, 224 pp, 2002) General audiences. Describes the terrible catastrophes that could put an end to the world as we know it – a volcanic blast, global warming, or an asteroid impact.


Newton’s Clock; Chaos in the Solar System. By Ivars Peterson. (W.H. Freeman, 317 pp, 1993) GFBR***. Advanced HS-Adult. The author examines a mystery that has fascinated and tormented astronomers and mathematicians for centuries: are the orbits of planets and other bodies stable and predictable, or are there elements affecting the dynamics of the solar system that defy calculation? It is “an uncommonly readable new history… readers will find no more inviting introduction to a subject that asks some of the biggest questions of all.”


Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets; The Search for the Million Megaton Menace That Threatens Life on Earth. By Duncan Steel. (Wiley, 308 pp, 1995) General audience. “Could a giant asteroid or comet crash into Earth and destroy life as we know it? Many astronomers who once discredited the risks are now convinced. A chilling and utterly convincing account of a cosmic menace that must not be ignored any longer.”


Secrets of the Night Sky. The most amazing things in the universe you can see with the naked eye. By Bob Berman. (Morrow, 320 pp, 1996) GFBR *****. General audiences. “You don't need expensive instruments to appreciate the beauty of the night sky, as Bob Berman exuberantly demonstrates in Secrets of the Night Sky. Berman takes you on a tour of the night sky, pointing out its highlights and its history, along with a wealth of practical tips and tricks,

Science and Math Books You Can Read – page 2 out of 30

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