Monday, January 26, 2009

Nonfiction Monday: The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, dark energy, and black holes by Ellen Jackson, Illustrated by Nic Bishop

This next installment (not particularly chronological, just next that I bought for our library) in the amazing Scientists in the Field series does a good job of explaning a somewhat confusing and dense subject. The subtitle, "Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes" is pretty much what the book covers as far as facts.

However, the flow of the narrative is focused on the career of astronomer Alex Filippenko. Ellen Jackson's style is simple and uses many analogies to make vast concepts accessible; every word counts and she packs a multitude of ideas and theories into 58 pages. I was especially interested to see how she explained theories versus scientific fact, and how and why scientists support different theories. Her unbiased approach to a sometimes touchy subject gives this book a broad appeal to a variety of readers.

Nic Bishop's photography and illustrations are, as always, amazing. They perfectly complement the text and help make some of the more difficult concepts clear.

Verdict: While The Mysterious Universe is more difficult to grasp than Science Warriors, it's well-worth the effort and students interested in space, astronomy, physics, or just science will find themselves engrossed in its fascinating pages.

ISBN: 978-0618563258; Published May 2008 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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