Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet By Bill McKibben (Times Books)
Climate change is already here, McKibben says. We live on a planet much different from the one that saw the birth of human civilization—one with more storms and giant fires, less ice, and corrosive oceans. We must embrace a slower, more stable existence, he argues, or we will perish.
The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence by Paul Davies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
For 50 years a dedicated group of scientists have listened for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations—and heard not a peep. Now what? Cosmologist Davies makes a strong case for searching higher frequencies and seeking chemical or physical anomalies that could point to life.
What if the Earth Had Two Moons? by Neil F. Comins (St. Martin’s press)
In his second book of what-ifs, Comins playfully imagines our planet with two satellites, two suns, and other scenarios. The joy lies in the details: He sees the extra light of two moons accelerating animals’ evolution of camouflage, or a backward-orbiting moon slowing Earth’s rotation to a halt before it starts in the opposite direction.
Science Storms, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, opened March 18
If you’ve ever yearned to cast your own giant rainbow, unleash an avalanche, or generate high-voltage lightning bolts, then this is the place for you. Science Storms, a new permanent exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, allows visitors to control seven types of natural phenomena.
In one of the most compelling interactive simulations, museumgoers adjust the size and speed of a 40-foot tornado and then stand inside the vortex. At the fire exhibit they can ignite a high flame and simultaneously activate overhead sprinklers. Then comes the real fun: shooting a laser though the resulting mist to see how convection works. Each station is accompanied by thoughtful videos featuring researchers from organizations like NASA and NOAA explaining the connections to real-life science.