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Seven Wonders of the Universe That You Probably Took for Granted

Paperback
, 256 pages

45 halftones

ISBN:
9780801897986
December 2010
$25.00

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Seven Wonders of the Universe That You Probably Took for Granted

Time. Gravity. Night. So much of what surrounds us feels familiar and mundane. But each is a wonder that reveals profound insights into the world around us.

C. Renée James's whimsical tour of seven everyday experiences—night, light, stuff, gravity, time, home, and wonder—opens the Universe to fantastical contemplation. Light? Although we need it to see, there's much more to it than meets the eye. Stuff? When it comes down to it, things are almost entirely empty space—99.9% nothing—especially when you get to the atomic level. Home? James's contemplation of our place in the Universe shows that it's not just a place to hang your hat—and that there’s really nothing else like it.

James introduces each of these seven wonders with a simple question that appears to be easily answered. The questions are deceptive, though—as is James's casual, light-hearted style. Underneath lie such concepts as relativity, matter and antimatter, and the electromagnetic spectrum. Her accessible discussion uses common analogies and entertaining illustrations to provide a bundle of detail on historical discoveries and to provoke serious pondering.

Fun and edifying, Seven Wonders of the Universe That You Probably Took for Granted is an inviting introduction to secret knowledge of our everyday world. This book may be 99.9% nothing, but the thoughts it will inspire are massive.

C. Renée James is an associate professor of physics at Sam Houston State University. An accomplished scholarly writer, her popular science essays have been published in Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Current Science, and Mercury.

"[James'] conversational and at times humourous approach attempts to re-inspire the audience to look more closely at everything around them... If you’d like to understand more about how science affects the world around you without complicated scientific jargon that goes with it, this book is for you. It’s an informative and accessible read that’ll make you rethink whether taking the rubbish out is as boring as you previously thought."

"James provides a satisfying and entertaining read for those of us who have a latent curiosity, for those who watch Nova or listen to Stephen Hawking and are still left scratching our heads, for those with curious children who demand more than 'just because' in answer to their questions, and for science teachers looking for student-friendly explanations... she doesn't claim to have the mathematical intelligence of Einstein, but she has something he didn't: the ability to explain esoteric scientific theories and concepts so that you understand them."

"Professor James's enthusiasm for our Universe has made me quite ashamed that I've so long pined for a parallel one."

"It is no small wonder that Renee James's small book is wonderful. Even readers with sciophobia (fear of science) will find this a fun read, as well as faithful and accurate. The writing shows that the author is wise in psychology, philosophy, and literature as well as science."

"I strongly recommend picking up Seven Wonders of the Universe That You Probably Took for Granted. You’ll never look at the cosmos the same way again."

"A lighthearted tour of everyday phenomena like light, time and gravity that also explores what makes Earth special and the evolution of life."

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