Straightforward, fascinating, broad-ranging, and timely; this effort will fully engage budding archaeologists.

DIGGING DEEP

HOW SCIENCE UNEARTHS PUZZLES FROM THE PAST

Exploring six different archaeological explorations, Scandiffio sheds new light on intriguing puzzles from the past.

A variety of explorations is used to highlight the use of remarkable new techniques for revealing the secrets of the past: Ötzi the Iceman; the use of poison in hunting by African hunters and gatherers; the lost city of Angkor in Cambodia; the search for Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin’s lost ships, HMS Erebus and Terror; the unearthing of the grave of Richard III; and the discovery of Stone Age paintings in the French cave of Chauvet. Each new technique is carefully explained, from lidar (light detection and ranging), which reveals in remarkable detail the vast city of Angkor even though little remains of its mostly wooden construction, to the combined use of mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to detect traces of plant-based poisons on Egyptian arrowheads. Each chapter begins with a brief, fictional narrative that describes the origin of the object of archaeological interest. Annoyingly, these tales are generally undated, although a few pages later, each chapter includes a timeline that does offer a date for the original event. Helpful text boxes, numerous illustrations, and maps for each chapter extend the narrative, and very good backmatter contributes to the all-around solid presentation.

Straightforward, fascinating, broad-ranging, and timely; this effort will fully engage budding archaeologists. (maps, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77321-239-5

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive.

THE FIRST DINOSAUR

HOW SCIENCE SOLVED THE GREATEST MYSTERY ON EARTH

How does a new, truly revolutionary idea become established scientific fact?

Lendler spins his account of how the awesome age and significance of fossils came to be understood into a grand yarn that begins 168 million years ago. He fast-forwards to 1676 and the first recorded fossil fragment of what was later named Megalosaurus and builds on the premise of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to trace the ensuing, incremental accretion of stunning evidence over the next two centuries that the Earth is far older than the Bible seems to suggest and was once populated by creatures that no longer exist. It’s a story that abounds in smart, colorful characters including Mary Anning, Richard Owen (a brilliant scholar but “a horrible human being”), and Gideon Mantell, “a dude who really, really loved fossils.” Along the way the author fills readers in on coprolites (“the proof was in the pooing”), highlights the importance of recording discoveries, and explains how the tentative suggestion that certain fossils might have come from members of the “Lizard Tribe” morphed into the settled concept of “dinosaur.” Though he tells a Eurocentric tale, the author incorporates references to sexism and class preconceptions into his picture of scientific progress. Butzer’s illustrations add decorative and, sometimes, comical notes to sheaves of side notes, quotations, charts, maps, and period portraits and images.

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2700-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more