Science & Technology Reviews | January 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Dickinson, Terence. Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images. Firefly. 2012. 300p. index. photogs. ISBN 9781770851078. $49.95. SCIENCE

Dickinson (NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe) details the Hubble Space Telescope’s contributions to science in both text and images. The book’s precise descriptions and captions brilliantly complement the nearly 300 full-color Hubble images that form the bulk of the work. Its ten chapters showcase a selection of Hubble’s most significant images with explanations of the discoveries they helped make. Especially fantastic are the images of solar wind stripping away large gas clouds that harbor stellar nurseries; images of Hubble’s deep field, revealing galaxy clusters from halfway across the universe; and sublime images of vast, colorful nebulas. The work also unfolds Hubble’s pictures of planets, close-ups of merging galaxies, and images of enormous, tightly-packed star clusters, some containing millions of stars. Dickinson explains how all the photographed objects fit into scientists’ understanding of cosmology, adding extra context to the pictures.  VERDICT Even if you only look at the pictures, this is an amazing book. The accompanying text and photo captions make the work outstanding.—Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado Denver Lib.

Piantadosi, Claude A. Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration.Columbia Univ. Jan. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780231162425. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780231531030. SCIENCE

Pianatadosi (pathology, Duke Univ.; The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments) specializes in studies of survival in extreme environments. Here he offers a brief history of human space exploration; a discussion of various strategies for extending human excursions to asteroids, the Moon (again), Mars, the outer planets of the Sun, and even targets beyond the solar system; and a rigorous examination of the very special and expensive conditions needed for human survival on such trips. The chapters on survival requirements are moderately technical but should be comprehensible even to space fans who lack advanced training in science, engineering, and/or medicine. Pianatadosi seems personally to favor a base on the Moon followed by visits to Mars, but he is against prioritizing asteroid visits. However, some readers may find the survival requirements so daunting that they end up opposing further human-staffed space trips. VERDICT Recommended for readers intrigued by the real-life requirements of space exploration.—Jack W. Weigel, formerly with Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor

Carroll, Sean. The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. Dutton. 2012. 243p. illus. ISBN 9780525953593. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101609705. SCIENCE

Even nonscientists have heard for decades about the theoretical Higgs boson, which the press often calls the “God particle.” Now that confirmation of its existence has been found, Carroll (physics, California Inst. of Technology;  From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time) sets himself the task of telling the subatomic ingredient’s story from start to finish, from the earliest papers predicting it to the massive hadron collider that hunted it down. Carroll’s previous book illuminated a complex scientific concept—the arrow of time—and used metaphors and step-by-step arguments in the best tradition of popular science. By contrast, this book is closer to long-form science journalism, describing the politics, personalities, and administrative details involved in the Higgs-hunting projects. Only a comparatively simplified sketch of the theory is included. VERDICT A readable and well-researched chronicle of this century’s biggest event in physics, with some explanation of the science itself.—J.J.S. Boyce, Manitoba Métis Federation

The following titles are reviewed in the January 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Dixon, Luke. Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities. Timber. 2012. 184p. photogs. ISBN 9781604692877. pap. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781604694499. AGRICULTURE


Cote, Richard N. In Search of Gentle Death: The Fight for Your Right to Die with Dignity. Corinthian. 2012. 465p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9781929175369. $29.95. MEDICINE

Taylor, Lynne P. & Others. Navigating Life with a Brain Tumor. Oxford Univ. (Neurology Now). 2012. 208p. illus. ISBN 9780199897797. $19.95. MEDICINE

Tourles, Stephanie. Hands-On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies. Storey. 2012. 320p. illus. ISBN 9781612120065; ebk. ISBN 9781603428774. HEALTH

Wen, Leana & Joshua Kosowsky. When Doctors Don’t Listen: How To Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. Thomas Dunne. Jan. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780312594916. $25.99. MEDICINE

Westheimer, Ruth K. Dr. Ruth’s Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregivers: How To Care for Your Loved One Without Getting Overwhelmed…and Without Doing It All Yourself. Quill Driver. 2012. 200p. ISBN 9781610351355. pap. $16.95. HEALTH

Home economics

Graham, Colleen. ¡Hola Tequila! Ninety Creative Cocktails & Inspired Shooters. Sellers. 2012. 128p. ISBN 9781416206910 pap. $15.95. Home Econ

Challoner, Jack. The Elements: The New Guide to the Building Blocks of Our Universe. Carlton. 2012. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781780971254. $34.95. SCIENCE

Simons, Craig. The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780312581763. $27.99. SCIENCE