Timely, important, appropriately focused and interesting.

THE NEXT WAVE

THE QUEST TO HARNESS THE POWER OF THE OCEANS

From the Scientists in the Field series

Scientists and engineers from around the world work to harness the power of ocean waves, testing their ideas in an Oregon research lab and the stormy seas off the Oregon coast.

Here’s another well-written science title from an author whose previous contributions to the Scientists in the Field series introduced researchers studying volcanic eruptions on Earth and exploring Mars. After explaining the world’s need for renewable energy sources and the force of ocean power, Rusch focuses on three different approaches to harnessing this power that were underway at the time of her writing. She draws in young readers by introducing two engineers as young tinkerers, following their work through college to the development of a company testing an energy-capture device that sits on the ocean floor. An Oregon State University faculty member has equipped a testing ground offshore to monitor different approaches; some of her students are now building a device that uses the up-and-down motion of the waves. A third company has created working wave-powered buoys using a different design. A center spread describes other approaches from around the world. Lively design, clear explanations, text boxes, photographs and diagrams all contribute to an informative look at how people are working right now to find ways to use a previously inaccessible energy source.

Timely, important, appropriately focused and interesting. (extensive chapter notes, sources, suggestions, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-09999-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge.

BILL NYE'S GREAT BIG WORLD OF SCIENCE

With an amped-up sense of wonder, the Science Guy surveys the natural universe.

Starting from first principles like the scientific method, Nye and his co-author marvel at the “Amazing Machine” that is the human body then go on to talk up animals, plants, evolution, physics and chemistry, the quantum realm, geophysics, and climate change. They next venture out into the solar system and beyond. Along with tallying select aspects and discoveries in each chapter, the authors gather up “Massively Important” central concepts, send shoutouts to underrecognized women scientists like oceanographer Marie Tharp, and slip in directions for homespun experiments and demonstrations. They also challenge readers to ponder still-unsolved scientific posers and intersperse rousing quotes from working scientists about how exciting and wide open their respective fields are. If a few of those fields, like the fungal kingdom, get short shrift (one spare paragraph notwithstanding), readers are urged often enough to go look things up for themselves to kindle a compensatory habit. Aside from posed photos of Nye and a few more of children (mostly presenting as White) doing science-y things, the full-color graphic and photographic images not only reflect the overall “get this!” tone but consistently enrich the flow of facts and reflections. “Our universe is a strange and surprising place,” Nye writes. “Stay curious.” Words to live by.

Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge. (contributors, art credits, selected bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4676-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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ISAAC NEWTON

From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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