________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 1 . . . . September 1, 2006

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Black Holes and Other Bizarre Space Objects. (Science Frontiers).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.86 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 0-7787-2870-6 (pbk), ISBN 0-7787-2856-6 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Black holes (Astronomy)-Juvenile literatures.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Green Power: Eco-Energy Without Pollution. (Science Frontiers).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.86 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 0-7787-2871-4 (pbk), ISBN 0-7787-2857-9 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Energy development- Environmental aspects-Juvenile literature.
Renewable energy resources-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

   
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Micro Machines: Ultra-Small World of Nanotechnology. (Science Frontiers).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.86 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 0-7787-2873-0 (pbk), ISBN 0-7787-2859-5 (RLB.).

Subject Heading:
Nanotechnology.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

   
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Extreme Structures: Mega-Construction of the 21st Century. (Science Frontiers).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.86 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 0-7787-2872-2 (pbk), ISBN 0-7787-2858-0 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Structural engineering-Juvenile literature.
Buildings-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

excerpt:

One method of making nanoparticles uses carbon dioxide stored under heat and pressure in a special tank. A material, such as Teflon, is dissolved in the tank. The dissolved material and carbon dioxide are sprayed through a nozzle at one end of the tank. The carbon dioxide evaporates instantly as a gas, and the material squirts out as a spray of nanoparticles that are collected, ready for use. Many materials can be used to make different kinds of nanoparticles. Teflon nanoparticles are used to coat medical equipment used in heart operations.(From Micro Machines.)

 

The new four-volume “Science Frontiers” series introduces readers to a variety of topics, tracing their history and pondering future developments. Each book is comprised of 12 chapters and a detailed timeline, along with a table of contents, an index, a glossary and a short list of web sites for further study. Though all of the titles are written by the same author, the degree of complexity, in terms both of the concepts and the reading level, varies between books. For example, the title about micro machines and nanotechnology contains far more difficult concepts than the one about extreme structures and would certainly not be appropriate for the lower range of the publisher’s suggested target audience. Abundant, excellent illustrations, consisting of colour photographs, drawings and diagrams, are suitably labeled and reinforce the concepts.

     A black hole is the last stage in the life of a star when all the fuel is gone. The star’s core collapses, then becomes smaller and denser until it becomes a black hole from which light cannot escape. Black Holes describes the birth of a star, how black holes work, different types of galaxies and the various kinds of telescopes that cruise far above earth’s atmosphere to take photos of planets and stars. Other topics include gamma-ray busts (GRBs), the danger of meteorites and space debris, and speculation about black holes being portals to other points in space and time. The discovery timeline at the back of the book begins in 1608 with the design of the first telescope and ends with discovery of the solar system’s tenth planet in 2005.

     Green Power features information about the greenhouse effect and the need for green power, energy that creates little or no pollution. Jefferis discusses the pros and cons of hydroelectricity and explains how energy is created by harnessing the power of ocean tides and waves, the sun, wind, nuclear energy, geothermal energy and biofuels (made from plants and the wastes of animals, some examples of biofuels being wood, straw and manure). There are tips for ways to “go green” and mention of a town in England where city planners have designed the street layout to allow for more walking and cycling and less automobile use. Finally, the future of alternative energy is highlighted.

     In Micro Machines, the focus is on nanotechnology, an advanced type of engineering that deals with miniature structures too small to be seen by the human eye. Most of nanotech engineering is done at sizes about 200 times less than the width of a human hair. Some of nanotechnology’s many practical uses include sensors, gears, sunscreen, ski wax and tennis rackets. Nanoparticles are added to cotton fabric to make it wrinkle resistant, while a nanofilm coating on a ship makes it glide more smoothly and quickly through the water. In the medical field, nanotechnology has been used to detect cancer cells and to help the flow of oxygen through the bloodstream. Looking to the future, nanotechnology might allow space exploration vehicles to be made smaller and cheaper and buildings to have highly unusual shapes due to the strength of nanotubes. Humans breathe in nanoparticles in smoke, vehicle exhaust and pollutants every day. However, scientists have concerns that the effects of breathing in new nanoparticles are not yet known. Of interest to readers will be the fact that the first large-scale use of the word “nano” in a consumer product occurred when the Apple computer company introduced its iPod Nano music player.

     From the earliest pyramids and cathedrals to the geodesic domes and skyscrapers of the present day, extreme structures have a long history. Today, computer aided design (CAD) programs, allow architects and engineers to quickly correct problems in a building’s design, thus saving time and money. In Extreme Structures, readers will find out about “green” buildings, luxury hotels around the world, theme parks and rides, bridges, underground railway tunnels, airports and spaceports built on artificial islands, and gigantic radio telescopes to study distant stars or to detect space particles. Future designs include a bionic tower- a self-contained city for 100,000 people- in Shanghai, China, and soon-to-be the world’s largest suspension bridge (3300 m), connecting Italy to the Island of Sicily, and scheduled to be completed in 2012.

     This new series will certainly whet the appetites of science buffs.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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