RaveThe Washington PostGiven the title of her memoir, a reader might expect to be immersed solely in a scientific story: how a geologist progressed over the years from hammering terrestrial rocks as a student to leading a deep-space mission. But this riveting book, beautifully written, is far more. With a brave candor, Elkins-Tanton examines all aspects of her experiences — personal and professional, the good and the bad — to plumb the very meaning of her life. She also offers novel approaches to education, tactics for handling sexual harassment cases in academia and new methods for team-building in scientific research that go beyond the \'hero model\' ... She delightfully recounts each step of her procedures like a chef lovingly describing her favorite recipe ... offers valuable lessons on successful scientific strategies ... The expressive descriptions of her field trips to Siberia are the most engaging sections of the book, providing a ringside seat to the discomforts and thrills of a geological expedition.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalFirst Light, a thoroughly engaging tale that allows us to see science in the making, chronicles current attempts to reveal this hidden era—what we know and what we don’t know. Ms. Chapman herself is in the thick of this endeavor and serves as a wonderful guide, whose voice is reminiscent of Carl Sagan’s , although with an extra and very welcome dollop of impish humor. I know of no other astronomy book that includes references to Doctor Who, Tutankhamen and cyanobacteria in its metaphors and analogies. From page to page, you get caught up in her excitement ... There are moments in First Light when the text might be more at home in an astrophysical journal, but even in those sections the book offers the reader insights on the intricate data and analysis required to reveal the universe’s mysteries. I eagerly await a second edition when the Cosmic Dawn is at last viewed in its full glory—perhaps using a future telescope array mounted on the far side of the Moon.
RaveThe Washington PostWith his clear and joyful voice, Wilczek succeeds very well, and for good reason: Your guide is a Nobel laureate who has solved several problems in modern physics, including how the strong nuclear force operates ... Wilczek talks about modern physics and cosmology from a more broad-brush and philosophical perspective, often linking their findings to the real world — how they affect us. In this age of rising skepticism, he wants his readers — whom he imagines to be lawyers, doctors, artists, parents or simply curious people — to be \'born again, in the way of science.\' ... Wilczek beautifully shows how physicists expanded this vision over the decades to cover the other forces of nature: gravity, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force ... But for the most part, the author strikes a nice Goldilocksian balance between simplicity and comprehension. While this book is aimed at novices, those familiar with modern physics can still enjoy reading how a theoretical physicist thinks about the basics.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal... a welcome addition to the astronomical literature ... a beautifully written and well-researched study. Handling the science with a light but deft touch, Mr. Moore primarily focuses on this astronomer’s personal life, the office politics and the struggles one woman of science faced in the first half of the 20th century.
John Johnson Jr.
MixedThe Wall Street Journal... insightful interviews ... Not a standard biography, Zwicky reads more like a stylish Sunday magazine profile, which is not surprising given Mr. Johnson’s many years as a science reporter for the Los Angeles Times. It’s a breezy and absorbing narrative, though at times it fails to provide the full background on the astronomy being discussed. In a brief paragraph, for example, Mr. Johnson seems to suggest that Zwicky was the first to imagine the existence of black holes, but it was J. Robert Oppenheimer and two of his graduate students who carried out the challenging theoretical physics to reach that conclusion, a fact unfortunately hidden away in an endnote ... Mr. Johnson provides a sympathetic reassessment of [Zwicky\'s] overall legacy.
Alan Stern and David Grinspoon
RaveThe Wall Street JournalThe \'Pluto Underground,\' as the planet’s scientific champions came to be known, campaigned for a resurrection ... Chasing New Horizons turns into a fascinating David versus Goliath story, with Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—the more experienced planetary probe maker with political weight—pitted against a relative newcomer, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ... Even though we know the final outcome, the story continues to be a nail-biter as the New Horizons mission is canceled twice more. The two authors, with their insider’s perspective, capture the arduous process with great narrative verve.
PositiveThe Washington Post...Endurance, astronaut Scott Kelly’s memoir (written with Margaret Lazarus Dean) of his record-setting year on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, offers Earthlings an informative and gripping look at both the adventures and day-by-day experiences of living in a metal container that is orbiting Earth at 17,500 mph ... brings our dreams crashing down to Earth, vividly reminding us of the many challenges — some mundane, others quite scary — of that cosmic frontier ...filled with minutiae on the ISS’s modules and equipment, which space aficionados will probably lap up, yet it remains a fascinating read ...language is earnest and straightforward, just the style one expects from an astronaut.