Stellar science teamwork in an unusual spotlight.

ECLIPSE CHASER

SCIENCE IN THE MOON'S SHADOW

From the Scientists in the Field series

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. 8, 2019

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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