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Astronomy

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  1. 7.4 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    With the enthralling style that made Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter international best-sellers, Dava Sobel paints an unforgettable portrait of the Copernican Revolution. Encouraged by his German protege, Polish cleric Nicolaus Copernicus published his heliocentric model of the universe, tantalizing 16th-century mathematicians and scientists-and triggering a groundswell of opposition.

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    A More Perfect Heaven

    7.4 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 9.8 hrs • 4/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Stephen Hawking’s protégé and cowriter lifts the veil on the mysteries of our universe in a style that is wonderfully direct. Quantum physics, black holes, string theory, the big bang, dark matter, dark energy, parallel universes: even if we are interested in these fundamental concepts of our world, their language is the language of math. Which means that despite our best intentions of finally grasping, say, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, most of us are quickly brought up short by a snarl of nasty equations or an incomprehensible graph. Christophe Galfard’s mission in life is to spread modern scientific ideas to the general public in entertaining ways. Using his considerable skills as a brilliant theoretical physicist and successful young-adult author, The Universe in Your Hand employs the immediacy of simple, direct language to show us, not explain to us, the theories that underpin everything we know about our universe. To understand what happens to a dying star, we are asked to picture ourselves floating in space in front of it. To get acquainted with the quantum world, we are shrunk to the size of an atom and then taken on a journey. Employing everyday similes and metaphors, addressing the listener directly, and writing stories rather than equations renders these astoundingly complex ideas in an immediate and visceral way. Utterly captivating and entirely unique, The Universe in Your Hand will find its place among other classics in the field.

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    The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard

    The Universe in Your Hand

    9.8 hrs • 4/19/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    12.3 hrs • 12/22/2015 • Unabridged

    A brilliant new Discworld story from Terry Pratchett combined with cutting-edge science and philosophy from Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. This time the trio take on the really big questions— God, the Universe and, frankly, everything else. The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with the really big questions, Terry Pratchett’s brilliant new Discworld story Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy. Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job—and indeed the truth of words—very seriously. She doesn’t know it, but her world and ours—Roundworld—is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing. The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards’ god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion. As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle—and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on—Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair. As God, the Universe and, frankly, everything else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems—and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.

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    Judgement Day

    12.3 hrs • 12/22/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 2.2 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2034. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable. It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen. The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters—from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes—all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take three hundred years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years. In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.

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    How We’ll Live on Mars

    2.2 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    6.2 hrs • 4/28/2015 • Unabridged

    For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers engaged in heated dispute over the possibility of black holes in the universe. The weirdly alien notion of a space-time abyss from which nothing escapes—not even light—seemed to confound all logic. This engrossing book tells the story of the fierce black hole debates and the contributions of Einstein, Hawking, and other leading thinkers who completely altered our view of the universe. Renowned science writer Marcia Bartusiak shows how the black hole helped revive Einstein’s greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity, after decades during which it had been pushed into the shadows. Not until astronomers discovered such surprising new phenomena as neutron stars and black holes did the once-sedate universe transform into an Einsteinian cosmos, filled with sources of titanic energy that can be understood only in the light of relativity. Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of general relativity, Black Hole uncovers how the black hole really got its name and recounts the scientists’ frustrating, exhilarating, and at times humorous battles over the acceptance of one of history’s most dazzling ideas.

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    Black Hole

    6.2 hrs • 4/28/15 • Unabridged
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    7.7 hrs • 2/24/2015 • Unabridged

    The story of the men and women who drove the Voyager spacecraft mission— told by a scientist who was there from the beginning Voyager 1 left the solar system in 2012; its sister craft, Voyager 2, will do so in 2015. The fantastic journey began in 1977, before the first episode of Cosmos aired. The mission was planned as a grand tour beyond the moon; beyond Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; and maybe even into interstellar space. The fact that it actually happened makes this humanity’s greatest space mission. In The Interstellar Age, award-winning planetary scientist Jim Bell reveals what drove and continues to drive the members of this extraordinary team, including Ed Stone, Voyager’s chief scientist and the one-time head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab; Charley Kohlhase, an orbital dynamics engineer who helped to design many of the critical slingshot maneuvers around planets that enabled the Voyagers to travel so far; and the geologist whose Earth-bound experience would prove of little help in interpreting the strange new landscapes revealed in the Voyagers’ astoundingly clear images of moons and planets. Speeding through space at a mind-bending eleven miles a second, Voyager 1 is now beyond our solar system’s planets. It carries with it artifacts of human civilization. By the time Voyager passes its first star in about 40,000 years, the gold record on the spacecraft, containing various music and images including Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” will still be playable.

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    The Interstellar Age

    Read by Jim Bell
    7.7 hrs • 2/24/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.8 hrs • 9/24/2014 • Unabridged

    John Brockman brings together the world’s best-known physicists and science writers—including Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Martin Rees—to explain the universe in all wondrous splendor. In The Universe, today’s most influential science writers explain the science behind our evolving understanding of the universe and everything in it, including the cutting edge research and discoveries that are shaping our knowledge. Lee Smolin reveals how math and cosmology are helping us create a theory of the whole universe. Benoit Mandelbrot looks back on a career devoted to fractal geometry. Neil Turok analyzes the fundamental laws of nature, what came before the big bang, and the possibility of a unified theory. Seth Lloyd investigates the impact of computational revolutions and the informational revolution. Lawrence Krauss provides fresh insight into gravity, dark matter, and the energy of empty space. Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson illuminate the genius who revolutionized modern science: Albert Einstein. And much more. Explore the universe with some of today’s greatest minds: what it is, how it came into being, and what may happen next.

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    The Universe

    12.8 hrs • 9/24/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.0 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared to go against the establishment by proposing that Earth rotates around the sun. Having demoted Earth from its unique position in the cosmos to one of mediocrity, Copernicus set in motion a revolution in scientific thought. This perspective has influenced our thinking for centuries. However, recent evidence challenges the Copernican Principle, hinting that we do in fact live in a special place, at a special time, as the product of a chain of unlikely events. But can we be significant if the sun is still just one of a billion trillion stars in the observable universe? And what if our universe is just one of a multitude of others—a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities? In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. As Scharf explains, we do occupy an unusual time in a fourteen-billion-year-old universe, in a somewhat unusual type of solar system surrounded by an ocean of unimaginable planetary diversity: hot Jupiters with orbits of less than a day, planet-size rocks spinning around dead stars, and a wealth of alien super-Earths. Yet life here is built from the most common chemistry in the universe, and we are a snapshot taken from billions of years of biological evolution. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision. With characteristic verve, Scharf uses the latest scientific findings to reconsider where we stand in the balance between cosmic significance and mediocrity, order and chaos. Presenting a compelling and bold view of our true status, The Copernicus Complex proposes a way forward in the ultimate quest: determining life’s abundance, not just across this universe but across all realities.

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    The Copernicus Complex

    9.0 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    8.7 hrs • 9/2/2014 • Unabridged

    A thrilling and accessible tour of the cosmos Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit rover’s exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter’s moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.

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    Origins by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Donald Goldsmith

    Origins

    8.7 hrs • 9/2/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  10. 10.3 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    A deeply panoramic tour of the night, from its brightest spots to the darkest skies we have left. A starry night is one of nature’s most magical wonders. Yet in our artificially lit world, three-quarters of Americans’ eyes never switch to night vision and most of us no longer experience true darkness. In The End of Night, Paul Bogard restores our awareness of the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky and how it has influenced the human experience across everything from science to art. From Las Vegas’ Luxor Beam—the brightest single spot on this planet—to nights so starlit the sky looks like snow, Bogard blends nature, science, and history to shed light on the importance of darkness—what we’ve lost, what we still have, and what we might regain—and the simple ways we can reduce the brightness of our nights tonight.

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    The End of Night

    10.3 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 6.6 hrs • 3/1/2014 • Unabridged

    In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets—and alien life—beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars—thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings, including his own, that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light on the origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals how technology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-like gas giants and super-Earths—rocky planets with several times the mass of our own planet—and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on other worlds. Strange New Worlds provides an insider’s look at the cutting-edge science of today’s planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research.

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    Strange New Worlds by Ray Jayawardhana

    Strange New Worlds

    6.6 hrs • 3/1/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 4.3 hrs • 1/1/2014 • Unabridged

    One of Kenyon College’s most honored professors, Timothy B. Shutt is widely renowned as a gifted polymath and lecturer. The night sky was the ancient world’s cinema, and storytellers have used this panorama to weave fascinating tales since the earliest days of mankind. This captivating series of lectures explores the mythological sagas found in the night sky and the history behind the names of the great constellations.

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  13. 6.0 hrs • 12/10/2013 • Unabridged

    Detective thriller meets astrophysics in this adventure into neutrinos and the scientists who pursue them. For more than eighty years, brilliant and eccentric scientists around the world have been searching for the incredibly small bits of matter we call neutrinos. Trillions of these ghostly particles pass through our bodies every second, but they are so pathologically shy that neutrino hunters have to use Olympic-size pools deep underground and a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice to catch just a handful. Neutrinos may hold the secrets to the nature of antimatter and what the universe was like just seconds after the big bang, but they are extremely elusive and difficult to pin down—much like the adventurous scientists who doggedly pursue them. In Neutrino Hunters, renowned astrophysicist and award-winning author Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who chase them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications—interweaving the tales of the irascible Casanova Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana, who disappeared without a trace; and Bruno Pontecorvo, whose defection to the Soviet Union caused a Cold War ruckus. Ultimately, Jayawardhana reveals just how significant these fast-moving particles are to the world we live in and why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.

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    Neutrino Hunters by Ray Jayawardhana

    Neutrino Hunters

    6.0 hrs • 12/10/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.7 hrs • 10/3/2013 • Unabridged

    From science writer Lee Billings, an intimate history of Earth and the quest for life beyond the solar system. Since its formation nearly five billion years ago, our planet has been the sole living world in a vast and silent universe. Now Earth’s isolation is coming to an end. Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of “exoplanets” orbiting other stars, including some that could be similar to our own world. Studying those distant planets for signs of life will be crucial to understanding life’s intricate mysteries right here on Earth. In a firsthand account of this unfolding revolution, Lee Billings draws on interviews with top researchers. He reveals how the search for other Earthlike planets is not only a scientific pursuit but also a reflection of our culture’s timeless hopes, dreams, and fears. This is a compelling story of the pioneers seeking the meaning of life in the infinite depths of space.

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    Five Billion Years of Solitude

    9.7 hrs • 10/3/13 • Unabridged
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  15. 8.1 hrs • 5/1/2012 • Unabridged

    On June 6, 1761, the world paused to observe a momentous occasion: the first transit of Venus between the earth and the sun in more than a century. Through that observation, astronomers could calculate the size of the solar system, but only if they could compile data from many different points of the globe, all recorded during the short period of the transit. Overcoming incredible odds and political strife, astronomers from Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and the American colonies set up observatories in remote corners of the world, only to have their efforts thwarted by unpredictable weather and warring armies. Fortunately, transits of Venus occur in pairs: eight years later, the scientists would have another opportunity to succeed. Chasing Venus brings to life the personalities of the eighteenth-century astronomers who embarked upon this complex and essential scientific venture, painting a vivid portrait of the collaborations, the rivalries, and the volatile international politics that hindered them at every turn. In the end, what they accomplished would change our conception of the universe and would forever alter the nature of scientific research.

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    Chasing Venus

    8.1 hrs • 5/1/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 12.7 hrs • 4/23/2012 • Unabridged

    In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang. What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept―“look-back time”―to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe. The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote: we travel from the Moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy. Impey gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history. His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind-bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes. A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its readers with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.

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    How It Began

    12.7 hrs • 4/23/12 • Unabridged
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