With its "How Science Works" theme, 21st Century Astronomy emphasizes the process of scientific thinking and the relevance of scientific observations. The authors showcase the excitement of contemporary astronomy and encourage readers to consider both the methods and the goals of scientific research. Each text is packaged with a 21st Century Astronomy CD-ROM featuring interactive software and supplemental resources.
Jeff Hester is professor of physics and astronomy at Arizona State University. He studies the interstellar medium in the Milky Way and external galaxies, the structure of the diffuse ISM, and supernova remnants.
Brad Smith is a retired professor of planetary science. He has served as an associate professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University, a professor of planetary sciences and astronomy at the University of Arizona, and as a research astronomer at the University of Hawaii. Through his interest in Solar System astronomy, he has participated as a team member or imaging team leader on several U.S. and international space missions, including Mars Mariners 6, 7, and 9; Viking; Voyagers 1 and 2; and the Soviet Vega and Phobos missions. He later turned his interest to extrasolar planetary systems, investigating circumstellar debris disks as a member of the Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS experiment team. Brad has four times been awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He is a member of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature and is Chair of the Task Group for Mars Nomenclature.
George Blumenthal is chancellor at the University of California–Santa Cruz, where he has been a professor of astronomy and astrophysics since 1972. He received his BS degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and his PhD in physics from the University of California–San Diego. As a theoretical astrophysicist, George’s research encompasses several broad areas, including the nature of the dark matter that constitutes most of the mass in the universe, the origin of galaxies and other large structures in the universe, the earliest moments in the universe, astrophysical radiation processes, and the structure of active galactic nuclei such as quasars. Besides teaching and conducting research, he has served as Chair of the UC–Santa Cruz Astronomy and Astrophysics Department, has chaired the Academic Senate for both the UC–Santa Cruz campus and the entire University of California system, and has served as the faculty representative to the UC Board of Regents.
Laura Kay is an Ann Whitney Olin professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College, where she has taught since 1991. She received a BS degree in physics from Stanford University, and MS and PhD degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California–Santa Cruz. She studies active galactic nuclei, using ground-based and space telescopes. She teaches courses in astronomy, astrobiology, women and science, and polar exploration.
Howard Voss is professor of physics emeritus at Arizona State University and has been active in the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.