John Gribbin Space: Our Final Frontier

ISBN 13: 9780563537137

Space: Our Final Frontier

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9780563537137: Space: Our Final Frontier
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The story of the exploration of deep space that has largely taken place in the final decades of the 20th century. Space probes have now visited all of the major planets of our Solar System. However, beyond the Solar System, across the final frontier of space, astronomers are now able to explore the Universe by proxy, using evidence form light, radio waves, X-rays and other information gathered by telescopes and satellites. "Space" provides an insight into the way that astronomers work, explaining how they make the discoveries that make headlines, as well as the stories behind those headlines. John Gribbin puts deep space into perspective with the aid of specially commissioned illustrations and photographs from astronomical telescopes.

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Review:

The BBC documentary series Space is sure to inspire purchases of the accompanying coffee-table book. Some will buy it for the pictures--and they won't be disappointed. Young stars eject gas and dust in pearl-coloured billows that wrinkle up under their own weight until they resemble morel. Radiation sculpts a molecular cloud into fingers clustered with rings of newborn suns.

Those who buy Space for its account of the Cosmos, however, are in for the biggest treat. The author, John Gribbin, is a scientist of some reputation, having helped calculate the best current estimate of the age of the universe. But it is in the rarely celebrated role of popular educator that Gribbin excels. He is a most prolific science writer (not least thanks to his wife Mary, a science writer in her own right and John's frequent and adept collaborator).

In Space, Gribbin's task is to cover everything cosmological. In the first few pages, we learn that the Sun is a star. By the end, we're slipping comfortably and entertainingly through mini essays on quantum fluctuations, the negativity of gravity and how to create your own universe. And this in a book of only 230 pages, many filled by pictures.

This book would inspire a budding astronomer--if only her dad wouldn't keep nicking it. The design is lively and not too fussy. "Topic guides" in the margins relate articles together in themed reading plans; they look naff, but are genuinely useful. The bibliography is a bit short--but who wouldn't be left wanting more after such an exhilarating introduction? --Simon Ings

Review:

Mention space and the outer reaches of the galaxy to people not interested in the subject and their first thought will be Star Trek. It's refreshing to report that John Gribbin's Space has dropped its hackneyed original title (Final Frontier), which gives an indication of the more science-oriented approach of this fascinating book. Gribbin has long been one of the most accessible and involving of guides to scientific subjects, but even he has never before taken part in such an ambitious endeavour. Stunning photo-graphs and images constructed utilising the latest graphic techniques are used to illustrate a fascinating space odyssey. The huge technological advances of recent years have expanded our knowledge at an amazing pace and this book - tied in to a six-part BBC TV series - vividly brings to life up-to-the-minute astronomical findings: How scientists map the universe; a star's life from birth to sun to supernova; other earths (the possibility of life elsewhere) and a cogent examination of the Big Bang theory of our expanding, accelerating universe. As a one-volume guide to a mind-bending subject, this will take some beating - and it's supplemented by three satellite books: Ian Nicholson's Stars and Supernovas, Paul Parsons' The Big Bang and John Man's Comets, Meteors and Asteroids.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780563488934: Space: Our Final Frontier

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ISBN 10:  056348893X ISBN 13:  9780563488934
Publisher: BBC Books, 2003
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