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The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes. (Scientists in the Field)

by Ellen Jackson

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2008
60 pages
ISBN: 978-0-618-56325-8

Ages 9-14

Podcast featuring this book

Another great entry in the scientists in the field series follows astronomy professor Alex Filippenko, whose specialty is dark matter and dark energy. We see him at work at UC-Berkeley, where he has been voted “Best Professor on Campus” five times (and when you see the Black Hole costume he wears on Halloween, you'll know why). We follow him and a graduate student to Hawaii to observe a supernova in the Keck Observatory. It's fascinating to see the inner workings of a high-tech observatory, and to get a glimpse of the sort of work astronomers do. The book includes a scene where the technology malfunctions one night, and we get to see what Alex does instead (he seeks permission to use a different spectrograph, and whittles down the list of objects they planned to observe.) Accompanying the narrative that describes Alex and his work, there is a second narrative that explains a lot of the scientific concepts he mentions, such as supernovae, black holes, the Big Bang theory, the expansion of the universe, red shift, blue shift, etc., all in clear, concise terms, and in the context of Alex's work. Nic Bishops crisp color photographs are augmented by breathtaking NASA photos.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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