A superb composite of scientific knowledge that will no doubt inspire readers of all ages to learn more about our enigmatic...

THE ZOOMABLE UNIVERSE

AN EPIC TOUR THROUGH COSMIC SCALE, FROM ALMOST EVERYTHING TO NEARLY NOTHING

A beautifully illustrated survey of the universe and its constituent parts, from quarks to galaxies and beyond.

Billions of years ago, exploding stars and other events expelled atoms that became the building blocks of the universe as we know it. Today, these ancient atoms form everything on Earth, including our bodies. Scharf (The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Possibilities, 2014, etc.), the director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center, and Miller (Spaceships: An Illustrated History of the Real and the Imagined, 2016, etc.), a Hugo Award–winning illustrator and former art director of the National Air and Space Museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium, take readers on a spectacular journey, starting in the farthest reaches of the universe and ending in the deepest depths of the atom. Using the power of 10 to incrementally scale down, each chapter explains the physics powering the many systems that work together to form the universe. Miller’s stunning illustrations pair perfectly with Scharf’s compelling writing, which introduces complex ideas using everyday language and lucid metaphors. Complementary infographics are fun to read and help put massive numbers in perspective—e.g., consider that our solar system is a tiny speck in the Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. Though they make sure that every page is accessible to nonscientists, Scharf and Miller don’t skimp on the science, providing plenty of depth in their discussions of general relativity, the composition of planets, the bizarre behavior of particles in the quantum realm, and everything in between. The clever sequence of chapters makes the book enjoyable when read from start to finish, but each chapter tells its own story, and many chapters have two-page illustrations that are discrete tools as entertaining as they are educational.

A superb composite of scientific knowledge that will no doubt inspire readers of all ages to learn more about our enigmatic universe.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-71571-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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