Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity
  • Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity
  • Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity

Spectrums: Our Mind-boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity

by David Blatner, Scott Citron
     
 

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In Spectrums, David Blatner blends narrative and illustration to illuminate the variety of spectrums that affect our lives every day: numbers, size, light, sound, heat, and time. There is actually very little in this universe that we can feel, touch, see, hear, or possibly even comprehend. It’s not an easy task to stretch the mind to encompass both

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Overview

In Spectrums, David Blatner blends narrative and illustration to illuminate the variety of spectrums that affect our lives every day: numbers, size, light, sound, heat, and time. There is actually very little in this universe that we can feel, touch, see, hear, or possibly even comprehend. It’s not an easy task to stretch the mind to encompass both billions of years and billionths of seconds; the distance to Jupiter and the size of a proton; the tiny waves of visible light and gargantuan but invisible gamma rays; or the freezing point of Helium and the heat generated by the blast of an atom bomb. Exploring these far-reaching spectrums gives us fascinating perspective on our small but not insignificant place in the universe. With easy-to-read, engaging, and insightful observations, illustrated by a wealth of photographs and diagrams, Blatner helps us “grok”—understand intuitively—six spectrums we encounter constantly, making our daily lives richer and more meaningful through greater appreciation of the bizarre and beautiful world in which we live.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Leavened with wit and colorful anecdotes, each section reveals a wealth of astonishing and quirky details about the world around us….Complete with illustrative charts, photos, and pithy quotes from celebrities as diverse as George Carlin and Max Planck, Blatner's work is one of those rare nonfiction gems that make learning about science eyeopening and fun.” —Booklist

“I found myself charmed and, yes, even amazed by some of Mr. Blatner's examples.” —Peter Pesic, The Wall Street Journal

Library Journal
Numbers, size, light, sound, heat, and time: these are the six spectrums we meet regularly in a world that's hard to comprehend, ranging as it does from the infinitesimally small proton to distances measured in light-years. The author of the popular and award-winning The Joy of Pi brings it all back home.
Kirkus Reviews
A cheerful, comprehensible and not-too-dumbed-down review of the material universe. Blatner (The Flying Book: Everything You've Ever Wondered About Flying on Airplanes, 2004, etc.) stresses that we view reality on our own human scale, ignoring the invisible, often bizarre worlds of the very small, very large and very fast. He proceeds to correct this in a thin volume packed with illustrations, diagrams, marginal quotes and innumerable, if often familiar, gee-whiz analogies--e.g., if the Universe begins on January 1, the Earth appears on September 1, humans in the last hour before New Year's Eve and all recorded history takes up the final 22 seconds of the year. Chapters on "numbers" and "size" demonstrate that the extremes defy common sense without a heavy dose of imagination. Imaginary numbers themselves (such as the square root of negative one) are essential in scientific calculations. Infinity is not a number but an idea. You can't reach it by counting, and adding any number to infinity equals infinity. As objects get smaller, they become impossible to picture. An electron has no size or specific location; there's only a probability that it's present anywhere in the universe. Physicists calculate that no object can be smaller than the "Planck length," which is extremely small, and no physical law forbids time to run backward, but it never does. Longtime readers of popular science will find much that is familiar, but this is a fine introduction for beginners.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802717702
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,392,810
Product dimensions:
7.28(w) x 8.14(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
3 Months to 5 Years

Meet the Author

David Blatner is known for his award-winning books, including The Joy of Pi, The Flying Book, and various books on computer science topics, such as InDesign, Quark XPress, and Photoshop. He lectures worldwide on electronic publishing. More than 500,000 copies of his books are in print in twelve languages. He and his wife and son live in Seattle, Washington.

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