Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth
Light of the Stars
Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth
Paperback      ISBN: 0393357066

Light of the Stars tells the story of humanity's coming of age as we realize we might not be alone in this universe. Astrophysicist Adam Frank traces the question of alien life from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers, and he demonstrates that recognizing the possibility of its existence might be the key to save us from climate change. With clarity and conviction, Light of the Stars asks the consequential question: What can the likely presence of life on other planets tell us about our own fate?

The Hunt for Vulcan: And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
The Hunt for Vulcan
And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
Hardcover      ISBN: 0812998987
The captivating, all-but-forgotten story of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the search for a planet that never existed

For more than fifty years, the world's top scientists searched for the "missing" planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton's theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era's most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it.

There was just one problem: It was never there.

In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the story of the phantom planet, starting with Isaac Newton, who in 1687 provided an explanation for all matter in motion throughout the universe, leading to Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who almost two centuries later built on Newton's theories and discovered Neptune, becoming the most famous scientist in the world. Le Verrier attempted to surpass that triumph by predicting the existence of yet another planet in our solar system, Vulcan.

It took Albert Einstein to discern that the mystery of the missing planet was a problem not of measurements or math but of Newton's theory of gravity itself. Einstein's general theory of relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist, and that the search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the "discovery" of Vulcan in the nineteenth century set the stage for Einstein's monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the twentieth century.

A dramatic human story of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan offers insight into how science really advances (as opposed to the way we're taught about it in school) and how the best work of the greatest scientists reveals an artist's sensibility. Opening a new window onto our world, Levenson illuminates some of our most iconic ideas as he recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of science.

Praise for The Hunt for Vulcan

"Delightful . . . a charming tale about an all-but-forgotten episode in science history."--The Wall Street Journal

"Engaging . . . At heart, this is a story about how science advances, one insight at a time. But the immediacy, almost romance, of Levenson's writing makes it almost novelistic."--The Washington Post

"Captures the drama of the tireless search for this celestial object."--Science

"A well-structured, fast-paced example of exemplary science writing."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A short, beautifully produced book that tells a cautionary tale . . . Levenson is a breezy writer who renders complex ideas in down-to-earth language."--The Boston Globe

"An inspiring tale about the quest for discovery."--Walter Isaacson

"Equal to the best science writing I've read anywhere, by any author. Beautifully composed, rich in historical context, deeply researched, it is, above all, great storytelling."--Alan Lightman, author of The Accidental Universe

"Levenson tells us where Vulcan came from, how it vanished, and why its spirit lurks today. Along the way, we learn more than a bit of just how science works--when it succeeds as well as when it fails."--Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Science writing at its best. This book is not just learned, passionate, and witty--it is profoundly wise."--Junot Diaz
The Physics of Star Trek
The Physics of Star Trek
Paperback      ISBN: 0465002048
How does the Star Trek universe stack up against the real universe?
What warps when you're traveling at warp speed? What is the difference between a wormhole and a black hole? Are time loops really possible, and can I kill my grandmother before I am born? Anyone who has ever wondered "could this really happen?" will gain useful insights into the Star Trek universe (and, incidentally, the real world of physics) in this charming and accessible guide. Lawrence M. Krauss boldly goes where Star Trek has gone-and beyond. From Newton to Hawking, from Einstein to Feynman, from Kirk to Picard, Krauss leads readers on a voyage to the world of physics as we now know it and as it might one day be.
The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist
The Sky Is Not the Limit
Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist
Paperback      ISBN: 159102188x

From the author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and the host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a memoir about growing up and a young man's budding scientific curiosity. This is the absorbing story of Neil deGrasse Tyson's lifelong fascination with the night sky, a restless wonder that began some thirty years ago on the roof of his Bronx apartment building and eventually led him to become the director of the Hayden Planetarium. A unique chronicle of a young man who at one time was both nerd and jock, Tyson's memoir could well inspire other similarly curious youngsters to pursue their dreams. Like many athletic kids he played baseball, won medals in track and swimming, and was captain of his high school wrestling team. But at the same time he was setting up a telescope on winter nights, taking an advanced astronomy course at the Hayden Planetarium, and spending a summer vacation at an astronomy camp in the Mojave Desert. Eventually, his scientific curiosity prevailed, and he went on to graduate in physics from Harvard and to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia. There followed postdoctoral research at Princeton. In 1996, he became the director of the Hayden Planetarium, where some twenty-five years earlier he had been awed by the spectacular vista in the sky theater. Tyson pays tribute to the key teachers and mentors who recognized his precocious interests and abilities, and helped him succeed. He intersperses personal reminiscences with thoughts on scientific literacy, careful science vs. media hype, the possibility that a meteor could someday hit the Earth, dealing with society's racial stereotypes, what science can and cannot say about the existence of God, and many other interesting insights about science, society, and the nature of the universe. Now available in paperback with a new preface and other additions, this engaging memoir will enlighten and inspire an appreciation of astronomy and the wonders of our universe.

The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission
The Interstellar Age
The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission
Paperback      ISBN: 1101983892
The story of the men and women who drove NASA's Voyager spacecraft mission--the farthest-flung emissaries of planet Earth--told by a scientist who was there from the beginning.

Voyager 1 left our solar system in 2012; its sister craft, Voyager 2, did so in 2018. The fantastic journey began in 1977, before the first episode of Cosmos aired. The mission was planned as a grand tour beyond the moon; beyond Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; and maybe even into interstellar space. The fact that it actually happened makes this humanity's greatest space mission.

In The Interstellar Age, award-winning planetary scientist Jim Bell reveals what drove and continues to drive the members of this extraordinary team, including Ed Stone, Voyager's chief scientist and the one-time head of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; Charley Kohlhase, an orbital dynamics engineer who helped to design many of the critical slingshot maneuvers around planets that enabled the Voyagers to travel so far; and the geologist whose Earth-bound experience would prove of little help in interpreting the strange new landscapes revealed in the Voyagers' astoundingly clear images of moons and planets.

Speeding through space at a mind-bending eleven miles a second, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are now beyond our solar system's planets, the first man-made objects to go interstellar. By the time Voyager passes its first star in about 40,000 years, the gold record on the spacecraft, containing various music and images including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," will still be playable.

*An ALA Notable Book of 2015*
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393609391

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There's no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
Brief Answers to the Big Questions
Hardcover      ISBN: 1984819194
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind.

"Hawking's parting gift to humanity . . . a book every thinking person worried about humanity's future should read."--NPR


Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues.

Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe's greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet--including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence--he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us.

Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? ​​These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking's daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.

Praise for Brief Answers to the Big Questions

" Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind."--The Washington Post

"Hawking's final message to readers . . . is a hopeful one."--CNN

"Brisk, lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity."--The Wall Street Journal

"Hawking pulls no punches on subjects like machines taking over, the biggest threat to Earth, and the possibilities of intelligent life in space."--Quartz

"Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and--where it matters--witty."--The Guardian

"This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above."--The Telegraph
The Physics of Star Wars: The Science Behind a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The Physics of Star Wars
The Science Behind a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Paperback      ISBN: 1507203306

Explore the physics behind the world of Star Wars, with engaging topics and accessible information that shows how we're closer than ever before to creating technology from the galaxy far, far away--perfect for every Star Wars fan

Ever wish you could have your very own lightsaber like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Or that you could fly through space at the speed of light like Han Solo and Poe Dameron?

Well, those ideas aren't as outlandish as you think.

In The Physics of Star Wars, you'll explore the mystical power of the Force using quantum mechanics, find out how much energy it would take for the Death Star or Starkiller Base to destroy a planet, and discover how we can potentially create our very own lightsabers. The fantastical world of Star Wars may become a reality
Destination Mars: The Story of Our Quest to Conquer the Red Planet
Destination Mars
The Story of Our Quest to Conquer the Red Planet
Paperback      ISBN: 1785782258

Mars is back. Suddenly everyone - from Elon Musk to Ridley Scott to Donald Trump - is talking about going to the Red Planet. When the Apollo astronauts walked on the Moon in 1969, many people imagined Mars would be next. However, NASA's Viking 1, which landed in 1976, was just a robot. The much-anticipated crewed mission failed to materialise, defeated by a combination of technological and political challenges. Four decades after Viking and almost half a century after Apollo, technology has improved beyond recognition - and politics has changed just as much. As private ventures like SpaceX seize centre stage from NASA, Mars has undergone a seismic shift - no longer just about science, it's become the prime destination for future human expansion and colonisation. But what's it really like on Mars, and why should anyone want to go there? How do you get there and what are the risks? Astrophysicist and science writer Andrew May answers all these questions and more, as he traces the history of our fascination with the Red Planet.

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs
The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Paperback      ISBN: 0062328506

"A cracking read, combining storytelling of the highest order with a trove of information. . . . What's remarkable is that it all fits together."--Wall Street Journal

"Successful science writing tells a complete story of the 'how'--the methodical marvel building up to the 'why'--and Randall does just that."--New York Times Book Review

" Randall] is a lucid explainer, street-wise and informal. Without jargon or mathematics, she steers us through centuries of sometimes tortuous astronomical history."--The Guardian

In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Professor Lisa Randall, one of today's most influential theoretical physicists, takes readers on an intellectual adventure through the history of the cosmos, showing how events in the farthest reaches of the Universe created the conditions for life--and death--on our planet.

Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city crashed into Earth, killing off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the planet's species. Challenging the usual assumptions about the simple makeup of the unseen material that constitutes 85% of the matter in the Universe, Randall explains how a disk of dark matter in the Milky Way plane might have triggered the cataclysm.

But Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs does more than present a radical idea. With clarity and wit, it explains the nature of the Universe, dark matter, the Milky Way galaxy, comets, asteroids, and impacts. This breathtaking synthesis, illuminated by pop culture references and social and political viewpoints, reveals the deep relationships among the small and the large, the visible and the hidden, as well as the astonishing beauty of the connections that surround us. It's impossible to read this book and look at either the Earth or the sky again in the same way.