From the Scientists in the Field series

Stellar science teamwork in an unusual spotlight.

A journalist and photojournalist team up to follow a group of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who travel around the world to observe the sun’s corona in the fleeting moments of a total eclipse.

This entry in the long-running series follows solar physicist Shadia Habbal as she leads her team of “Solar Wind Sherpas” to observe the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017. Loomis begins by recounting two earlier attempts, a failure and a success. Then she introduces both the Syrian American scientist and the astronomical phenomenon and sets the stage in Mitchell, Oregon, in 2017. Backtracking, she describes an earlier scientific breakthrough in Libya in 2006, where the team observed some previously unexpected aspects of the sun’s corona. The last two chapters focus on the nervous hours before the actual eclipse and then the relief when, after a few minutes of totality, when the world has gone dark and their computer-activated cameras have done their jobs, they find they have good images to study until the next opportunity to view the eclipsed sun. The author’s clear explanations help readers understand what this scientific team is looking for and why they choose to do it this way. Interspersed breakout sections, diagrams, and maps add helpful information, including descriptions of two other observation sites. Large, clear photographs show Habbal and her diverse (but mostly white) team at work, their equipment, and the sun in various stages.

Stellar science teamwork in an unusual spotlight. (glossary, selected sources, photo credits, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-77096-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019


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



Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative.

This junior edition of Stewart’s lurid 2011 portrait gallery of the same name (though much less gleeful subtitle) loses none of its capacity for leaving readers squicked-out.

The author drops a few entries, notably the one on insect sexual practices, and rearranges toned-down versions of the rest into roughly topical sections. Beginning with the same cogent observation—“We are seriously outnumbered”—she follows general practice in thrillers of this ilk by defining “bug” broadly enough to include all-too-detailed descriptions of the life cycles and revolting or deadly effects of scorpions and spiders, ticks, lice, and, in a chapter evocatively titled “The Enemy Within,” such internal guests as guinea worms and tapeworms. Mosquitoes, bedbugs, the ubiquitous “Filth Fly,” and like usual suspects mingle with more-exotic threats, from the tongue-eating louse and a “yak-killer hornet” (just imagine) to the aggressive screw-worm fly that, in one cited case, flew up a man’s nose and laid hundreds of eggs…that…hatched. Morrow-Cribbs’ close-up full-color drawings don’t offer the visceral thrills of the photos in, for instance, Rebecca L. Johnson’s Zombie Makers (2012) but are accurate and finely detailed enough to please even the fussiest young entomologists.

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative. (index, glossary, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61620-755-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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