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Astrophysics


The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed

The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed Lowest new price: $8.96
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Author: Scott Parazynski

“Scott Parazynski’s drive, curiosity, inventiveness, and great humor shine through the pages of The Sky Below and will certainly inspire future generations to pursue their dreams with every fiber in their being.” —John Glenn, NASA astronaut

An epic memoir from a man whose life is defined by exploration and innovation, The Sky Below re-creates some of the most unforgettable adventures of our time. From dramatic, high-risk spacewalks to author Scott Parazynski’s death-defying quest to summit Mount Everest—his body ravaged by a career in space—readers will experience the life of an elite athlete, physician, and explorer.

This intimate, compelling account offers a rare portrait of space exploration from the inside. A global nomad raised in the shadow of NASA’s Apollo missions, Parazynski never lost sight of his childhood dream to one day don a spacesuit and float outside the airlock. With deep passion, unbridled creativity, resilience, humility, and self-deprecation, Parazynski chases his dream of the ultimate adventure experience, again and again and again. In an era that transitioned from moon shots to the Space Shuttle, space station, and Mars research, Parazynski flies with John Glenn, tests jet packs, trains in Russia to become a cosmonaut, and flies five missions to outer space (including seven spacewalks) in his seventeen-year NASA career.

An unparalleled, visceral opportunity to understand what it’s like to train for—and deploy to—a home in zero gravity, The Sky Below also portrays an astronaut’s engagement with the challenges of his life on Earth, including raising a beautiful autistic daughter and finding true love.

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The Universe in a Nutshell

The Universe in a Nutshell Lowest new price: $11.80
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Author: Stephen William Hawking
Brand: Baker and Taylor

Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.

Stephen Hawking, science's first real rock star, may be the least-read bestselling author in history--it's no secret that many people who own A Brief History of Time have never finished it. Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell aims to remedy the situation, with a plethora of friendly illustrations to help readers grok some of the most brain-bending ideas ever conceived.

Does it succeed? Yes and no. While Hawking offers genuinely accessible context for such complexities as string theory and the nature of time, it's when he must translate equations to sentences that the limits of language get in the way. But Hawking has simplified the origin of the universe, the nature of space and time, and what holds it all together to an unprecedented degree, inviting nonscientists to share his obvious awe and love of the unseen forces that shape it all.

Yes, it's difficult reading, but it's worth it. Hawking is one of the great geniuses of our time, a man whose life has been devoted to thinking in the abstract about the universe. With his help, and pictures--lots of pictures--we can seek to understand a bit more of the cosmos. --Therese Littleton

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Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension Lowest new price: $5.50
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Author: Michio Kaku
Brand: Michio Kaku

The first book-length exploration of the most exciting development in modern physics, the theory of 10-dimensional space. The theory of hyperspace, which Michio Kaku pioneered, may be the leading candidate for the Theory of Everything that Einstein spent the remaining years of his life searching for.

How many dimensions do you live in? Three? Maybe that's all your commonsense sense perception perceives, but there is growing and compelling evidence to suggest that we actually live in a universe of ten real dimensions. Kaku has written an extraordinarily lucid and thought-provoking exploration of the theoretical and empirical bases of a ten-dimensional universe and even goes so far as to discuss possible practical implications--such as being able to escape the collapse of the universe. Yikes. Highly Recommended.

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A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts Lowest new price: $13.67
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Author: Andrew Chaikin
Brand: Andrew L Chaikin

This acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity captures a watershed moment in human history. The astronauts themselves have called it the definitive account of their missions. On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Based on in-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail.

A decade in the making, this book is based on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with each of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who contributed their brain power, training and teamwork on Earth. In his preface Chaikin writes, "We touched the face of another world and became a people without limits."

What follows are thrilling accounts of such remarkable experiences as the rush of a liftoff, the heart-stopping touchdown on the moon, the final hurdle of re-entry, competition for a seat on a moon flight, the tragic spacecraft fire, and the search for clues to the origin of the solar system on the slopes of lunar mountains. --Therese Littleton

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How Apollo Flew to the Moon (Springer Praxis Books)

How Apollo Flew to the Moon (Springer Praxis Books) Lowest new price: $27.18
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Author: W. David Woods
Brand: W David Woods

Stung by the pioneering space successes of the Soviet Union - in particular, Gagarin being the first man in space, the United States gathered the best of its engineers and set itself the goal of reaching the Moon within a decade. In an expanding 2nd edition of How Apollo Flew to the Moon, David Woods tells the exciting story of how the resulting Apollo flights were conducted by following a virtual flight to the Moon and its exploration of the surface. From launch to splashdown, he hitches a ride in the incredible spaceships that took men to another world, exploring each step of the journey and detailing the enormous range of disciplines, techniques, and procedures the Apollo crews had to master. While describing the tremendous technological accomplishment involved, he adds the human dimension by calling on the testimony of the people who were there at the time. He provides a wealth of fascinating and accessible material: the role of the powerful Saturn V, the reasoning behind trajectories, the day-to-day concerns of human and spacecraft health between two worlds, the exploration of the lunar surface and the sheer daring involved in traveling to the Moon and the mid-twentieth century. Given the tremendous success of the original edition of How Apollo Flew to the Moon, the second edition will have a new chapter on surface activities, inspired by reader's comment on Amazon.com. There will also be additional detail in the existing chapters to incorporate all the feedback from the original edition, and will include larger illustrations.

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Welcome to the Universe: The Problem Book

Welcome to the Universe: The Problem Book Lowest new price: $27.97
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Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Here is the essential companion to Welcome to the Universe, a New York Times bestseller that was inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course for non science majors that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton. This problem book features more than one hundred problems and exercises used in the original course―ideal for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the original material and to learn to think like an astrophysicist.

Whether you’re a student or teacher, citizen scientist or science enthusiast, your guided tour of the cosmos just got even more hands-on with Welcome to the Universe: The Problem Book.

  • The essential companion book to the acclaimed bestseller
  • Features the problems used in the original introductory astronomy course for non science majors at Princeton University
  • Organized according to the structure of Welcome to the Universe, empowering readers to explore real astrophysical problems that are conceptually introduced in each chapter
  • Problems are designed to stimulate physical insight into the frontier of astrophysics
  • Problems develop quantitative skills, yet use math no more advanced than high school algebra
  • Problems are often multipart, building critical thinking and quantitative skills and developing readers’ insight into what astrophysicists do
  • Ideal for course use―either in tandem with Welcome to the Universe or as a supplement to courses using standard astronomy textbooks―or self-study
  • Tested in the classroom over numerous semesters for more than a decade
  • Prefaced with a review of relevant concepts and equations
  • Full solutions and explanations are provided, allowing students and other readers to check their own understanding

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Astronomy 101: From the Sun and Moon to Wormholes and Warp Drive, Key Theories, Discoveries, and Facts about the Universe

Astronomy 101: From the Sun and Moon to Wormholes and Warp Drive, Key Theories, Discoveries, and Facts about the Universe Lowest new price: $9.93
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Author: Carolyn Collins Petersen
Brand: Adams Media Corporation

Explore the curiosities of the cosmos in this engaging book! 

Too often, textbooks go into more detail than readers have in mind when they want to learn a little something about astronomy. This is where Astronomy 101 comes in. It takes you out to the stars and planets and galaxies and discusses some of the latest Big Astronomy discoveries while presenting the basic facts about astronomy and space.

From the Big Bang and nebulae to the Milky Way and Sir Isaac Newton, this celestial primer is packed with hundreds of fascinating and entertaining astronomy charts and photographs selected to guide you through the universe.
Whether you're looking to unravel the mystery behind black holes, or just want to learn more about your favorite planets, Astronomy 101 has a LOT of answers--even the ones you didn't know you were looking for.

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Out of This World Modeling

Out of This World Modeling Lowest new price: $17.80
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List price: $24.99
Author: Aaron Skinner

FineScale Modeler's Aaron Skinner explores science fiction and fantasy with various other modeling experts in the new book, Out of This World Modeling.

This project-oriented book features:
Models from "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Batman," Anime, and other popular science fiction and fantasy sources.
Detailed how-to information on modeling techniques, painting and weathering, airbrushing, scratchbuilding, and lighting effects.
6 photo-driven, step-by-step projects featuring spacecraft, vehicles, robots, and figures.
And much more!

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Calculating the Cosmos: How Mathematics Unveils the Universe

Calculating the Cosmos: How Mathematics Unveils the Universe Lowest new price: $9.84
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Author: Ian Stewart
Brand: Stewart Ian

A prize-winning popular science writer uses mathematical modeling to explain the cosmos.

In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.

Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos: How Kepler's laws of planetary motion led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. How, two centuries later, tiny irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein to devise his general theory of relativity. How, eighty years ago, the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the development of the Big Bang theory of its origins. How single-point origin and expansion led cosmologists to theorize new components of the universe, such as inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. But does inflation explain the structure of today's universe? Does dark matter actually exist? Could a scientific revolution that will challenge the long-held scientific orthodoxy and once again transform our understanding of the universe be on the way? In an exciting and engaging style, Calculating the Cosmos is a mathematical quest through the intricate realms of astronomy and cosmology.

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The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe Lowest new price: $15.47
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Author: Roger Penrose
Brand: Brand: Vintage

Roger Penrose, one of the most accomplished scientists of our time, presents the only comprehensive and comprehensible account of the physics of the universe. From the very first attempts by the Greeks to grapple with the complexities of our known world to the latest application of infinity in physics, The Road to Reality carefully explores the movement of the smallest atomic particles and reaches into the vastness of intergalactic space. Here, Penrose examines the mathematical foundations of the physical universe, exposing the underlying beauty of physics and giving us one the most important works in modern science writing.

If Albert Einstein were alive, he would have a copy of The Road to Reality on his bookshelf. So would Isaac Newton. This may be the most complete mathematical explanation of the universe yet published, and Roger Penrose richly deserves the accolades he will receive for it. That said, let us be perfectly clear: this is not an easy book to read. The number of people in the world who can understand everything in it could probably take a taxi together to Penrose's next lecture. Still, math-friendly readers looking for a substantial and possibly even thrillingly difficult intellectual experience should pick up a copy (carefully--it's over a thousand pages long and weighs nearly 4 pounds) and start at the beginning, where Penrose sets out his purpose: to describe "the search for the underlying principles that govern the behavior of our universe." Beginning with the deceptively simple geometry of Pythagoras and the Greeks, Penrose guides readers through the fundamentals--the incontrovertible bricks that hold up the fanciful mathematical structures of later chapters. From such theoretical delights as complex-number calculus, Riemann surfaces, and Clifford bundles, the tour takes us quickly on to the nature of spacetime. The bulk of the book is then devoted to quantum physics, cosmological theories (including Penrose's favored ideas about string theory and universal inflation), and what we know about how the universe is held together. For physicists, mathematicians, and advanced students, The Road to Reality is an essential field guide to the universe. For enthusiastic amateurs, the book is a project to tackle a bit at a time, one with unimaginable intellectual rewards. --Therese Littleton

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