It is often difficult to find good nonfiction science books for young adults. By the time readers reach their teen years, if they are interested in science they are often forced to resort to reading books written for adults. That is why at Growing With Science blog we were excited to find Our Universe Revealed: A Cosmic Exploration by E. L. Strauss, which targets this under-served age group.
Our understanding of the universe is changing rapidly. Strauss guides the reader through a thorough introduction by relating unfamiliar and complex topics to more familiar ones. For example, how do scientists study the history of space? Strauss explains that the processes of uncovering clues are similar to those used here on Earth in the field of archeology, and then gives specific examples.
Do you know what a magnetar is? What about degenerate matter or population III stars? If these terms are unfamiliar, this book will introduce you to them. Strauss, however, doesn’t just string together vocabulary words. The author also explains how the concepts fit in the bigger picture. As a case in point, Strauss shows how our ability to create better technology to explore the universe has greatly increased our body of knowledge.
The illustrations in the book are amazing. They include a selection of photographs and artist’s renditions of that are wondrous to behold, as well as numerous detailed charts and tables. Instead of a simple illustration of the Scientific Method, Strauss gives a much more complex and realistic “Process of Investigation” flow chart. What scientist hasn’t wandered “down a few dark alleys” as Strauss explains?
Although – as the book summary states – Our Universe Revealed is “aimed at bright, gifted, curious and creative teens,” it is also likely to appeal to adults who want a clear understanding of some of the most cutting-edge concepts in astronomy today. Nothing expands your mind like exploring the cosmos and this book is a wonderful way to start.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
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