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Wishlist-worthy books for young readers

GABY D’ALESSANDRO

From cryptic ciphers and wall-climbing robots to dinosaur digs and visits to the planetarium, this year’s finalists for the Science Books and Films (SB&F) Prizes for Excellence in Science Books are packed with fun facts, easy-to-do experiments, and plenty of creepy-crawly creatures. Sponsored by Subaru and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science), the SB&F competition celebrates high-quality science books for young readers. Read on for reviews of the finalists, written by the staff of the Science family of journals, with help from a few friends.


CHILDREN’S SCIENCE PICTURE BOOK


Follow That Bee!

Follow That Bee! A First Book of Bees in the City

Scot Ritchie
Kids Can Press
2019
32 pp.
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Follow That Bee! introduces kids to bees and urban beekeeping. The book describes an afternoon that five friends—Martin, Nick, Yulee, Sally, and Pedro—spend with Mr. Cardinal, an urban beekeeper. Mr. Cardinal starts by telling the kids that bees like to eat both nectar and pollen from flowers and explains how to set up a bee-friendly garden. The kids learn fun facts about bees and the importance of bees as pollinators. (My favorite factoid was that bees cannot see the color red and thus prefer purple, blue, and yellow flowers.)

Mr. Cardinal then introduces the kids to the roles of different bees in a hive and how they talk to each other. When they learn that bees communicate with each other by dancing, the children start dancing too.

Later on, a bee stings Nick’s foot. Mr. Cardinal, pulling out the stinger and cleaning the wound, uses this as an opportunity to remind the kids that they should be very careful around bees. Toward the end of the visit, he shows the kids how he uses smoke to calm the bees when he collects honey from their hives, and they help him bottle the honey.

Ritchie’s book contains some superb illustrations of bees and the hives they live in. It also does an excellent job of explaining the importance of urban beekeeping and offers tips for how both kids and adults can give bees a helping hand, such as by limiting the use of pesticides and by setting up baths for bees to drink water from in our gardens.

About the author

The reviewer is an associate editor at Science Immunology.


When Sue Found Sue

When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex

Toni Buzzeo, Illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Abrams
2019
32 pp.
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For children who constantly fill their pockets with treasures, there is the story of Sue Hendrickson. A child who loved to find things, Hendrickson grew up to discover a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

In When Sue Found Sue, we learn that Hendrickson, who was shy and isolated in her early years, had little formal schooling but lots of curiosity. The story briefly touches on Hendrickson’s early career diving for lost ships and mining for amber before turning to her work digging for dinosaur fossils in South Dakota. There, she and a team of paleontologists—all driven by a passion for finding things—faced intense heat and spartan accommodations.

One day, Hendrickson ventured off alone and spotted bones she knew belonged to a T. rex. The team named the T. rex “Sue” in her honor. It is now displayed in a museum Hendrickson frequented as a child.

Quotes from Hendrickson give the tale an added boost of realism, but the text, in staying true to Hendrickson’s life, might occasionally leave young readers confused. (References to Dominican amber mines and “a long dispute about ownership” of the T. rex, for example, go unexplained.) Nonetheless, children will relate to Hendrickson’s joy in discoveries big and small, highlighted by splashes of yellow in the vibrant watercolor illustrations.

Hendrickson’s transition from a solitary outsider to an integral part of a team gives the story another note of optimism. One way to read the book’s title is as a straightforward description of the climactic moment when Sue the scientist found Sue the T. rex. But perhaps as Sue raced back to share her findings with the group of like-minded treasure hunters, she also found herself.

About the author

The reviewer is the letters editor at Science.


Moth

Moth: An Evolution Story

Isabel Thomas, Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Bloomsbury
209
48 pp.
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Moth is a storybook illustration of a textbook tale of environmental degradation, then rehabilitation, and the natural selection driven by both. The tale is vividly brought to life in spellbinding watercolor collage renderings of swirling Geometridae and landscapes caked in soot.

We learn that peppered moths (Biston betularia) in the United Kingdom had a liking for trees covered in lichen, their light-and-dark speckled wing and body coloring camouflaging them as they rested. The more charcoal-colored among them were, as any hungry bird would have told you, more conspicuous and thus extremely rare.

But the Industrial Revolution turned the world upside down, literally turning white to black. Coal-fired factories drowned the sky and everything under it with soot. Trees blackened, lichen succumbed to sulfur dioxide, and the charcoal-colored moths became less conspicuous than their lighter relatives. Again, the birds noticed, and the once-prominent speckled moths became far less common than their charcoal-colored kin.

Eventually, we began to recognize the myriad ills of pollution. The air got cleaner. The trees and lichen recovered. And once again the lighter-speckled moths became more successful at blending in and survived.

Evolution is not always so tidy. But together, Thomas’s words and Egnéus’s illustrations introduce the contours and landmarks of this story in an elegant and engaging fashion. Moth also conveys broader lessons to guide young readers on a journey into a life in science, or just a life well lived: “Scramble through a forest…Be silent. Be still. Look closely…and hope.”

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.


Butterflies in Room 6

Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow

Caroline Arnold
Charlesbridge
2019
40 pp.
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Metamorphosis—of ugly ducklings into swans, of jellylike spawn into frogs, of caterpillars into butterflies—always seems miraculous. In this book on insect metamorphosis, Caroline Arnold tells the story of Mrs. Best, a kindergarten teacher who brings a tiny vial of butterfly eggs into her classroom. Her students supply a vivarium with special caterpillar food so they can watch the metamorphosis of the eggs into caterpillars, then pupae, and finally glorious adult painted ladies. The book takes the reader through the course of the children’s project, with a series of fine photographs showing the details of each stage in the life cycle of the butterflies. The exciting anticipation of each transformation is summarized in carefully considered text and culminates, of course, with the day the exquisite adults emerge from the pupal case, unfurl, and stiffen their patterned wings. Beautiful close-up images let the readers examine details of the insects’ anatomy and learn about butterfly biology.

Finally, a warm day arrives, and it is time to release the butterflies. The dazed insects first walk onto the children’s hands before lifting off to disappear over the horizon. Fortunately, some hang around to appreciate the school garden’s flowers.

It would have been good for Butterflies in Room 6 to say a little more about why insects are having such a tough time now, as well as more about their role in pollination and human food security. Still, it is an excellent book, sure to generate discussion and flights of imagination among humans who are similarly poised for big changes.

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.


MIDDLE GRADES SCIENCE BOOK


Planetarium

Planetarium

Raman Prinja, Illustrated by Chris Wormell
Big Picture Press
2019
112 pp.
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Planetarium is designed to replicate the experience of walking through a museum exhibition. It succeeds in this goal, capturing the residual wonder that one feels when stepping out of a quiet planetarium into the bright light of day. Raman Prinja takes readers on a tour of space, starting from our own Solar System. We stop at the Sun and every planet along the way, then travel through asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets, before moving on to exoplanets, other stars, our Galaxy, and finally our Universe. Each page is accompanied by Chris Wormell’s beautiful illustrations, which make the book feel truly timeless.

Like any good museum display, each page is bite-sized and accessible to its target age group (8- to 12-year-olds). Prinja makes liberal and clever use of analogies to convey just how big (or small, or difficult) things are. He answers questions before the reader can even ask them, often with a nice touch of humor: How do we find other planets? What would it be like to stand on Venus? Who decided on the constellations we use today? What holds the arms of a spiral galaxy together?

The book concludes with theories of how our Universe will end, which range from “The Big Split,” where the Universe’s growth accelerates until it tears itself apart; to “The Big Crunch,” a contraction of the Universe down to nearly nothing; to “The Big Chill,” the continual expansion of the Universe until it slowly cools and dies. This should feel more grim than it does, but Prinja cuts the tension with wonder at the mysteries that are left to uncover and a persistent sense that we are on the cusp of knowing more.

About the author

The reviewer is a publications assistant at Science.


Eye Spy

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World

Guillaume Duprat
What on Earth Books
2018
36 pp
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The table in my hallway is blue. My son swears it’s green. My nephew says it’s brown. Vision helps us interpret the world around us, but what if we each see the same thing differently? Eye Spy, a child’s lift-the-flap book, gives readers a glimpse into the lives of animals whose views of the world are even more divergent than my family’s.

The woodcock has eyes on the sides of its head that deliver a full-circle view. The chameleon, disorienting to look at, has an equally disorienting view of its own world, with eyes that can work together or roll around independently, as needed. The book is filled with fun facts and relates field of view, color perception, and sharpness of focus to an animal’s place in the pecking order: predator, prey, vegetarian, frugivore. The lift-the-flap approach brings an element of surprise for a child looking through the eyes of the animals drawn on the page, although the detailed factual summaries inside the flaps might require a bit of adult interpretation for the younger child.

In the end, I was reassured to learn that my perpetual nearsightedness, although perhaps not normal for humans, is how most chimpanzees see the world. (Maybe that’s why I like fruit so much?)

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.


Kid Scientists

Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars

David Stabler, Illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Quirk Books
2018
207 pp.
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Kid Scientists by David Stabler is a biography about the childhoods of famous scientists. The featured scientists—including Jane Goodall, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking—are presented at around the same age as the target audience, making it easier for readers to identify with them. The book’s main goal, which is admirably achieved, appears to be supporting young people’s interest in science.

Each story starts with that particular scientist’s early inspiration and is accompanied by simple activities that any child can do, such as stargazing. An essay on Katherine Johnson, for example, describes her predilection for counting household items, such as dishes, long before she became a professional mathematician.

Stabler carefully avoids favoring any one group of people, achieving an even balance between scientists of different races and genders, which makes it easier for children of various backgrounds to find role models who look like them. Although the author’s efforts to emphasize the stories of women and people of color appear obvious to an adult reader, children are unlikely to notice this as a deliberate choice on the author’s part. (Children may likewise fail to notice when the book glosses over important details, such as the influence of the World Wars on the scientific enterprise.) Occasionally, the book’s attempts to communicate the barriers faced by women and minorities in science lack subtlety and can come across as heavy-handed (e.g., “because of her gender, [Rosalind Franklin] was never given proper credit for her discoveries”), but, overall, the stories read well.

In the end, Kid Scientists is an interesting collection of anecdotes, with stories about Benjamin Franklin’s swimming fins, Ada Lovelace’s obsession with flying horses, and other fun facts that most readers are unlikely to have encountered before. As such, most children should enjoy reading it, without noticing how much they are learning, as they internalize the idea that they, too, can grow up to be scientists.

About the author

Ucko is an 8th-grade student at Takoma Park Middle School, Silver Spring, MD 20912, USA. Nusinovich is a senior editor at Science Translational Medicine.


Owling

Owling: Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night

Mark Wilson
Storey Publishing
2019
120 pp.
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Birds are some of the most accessible wild animals. Observing them requires no special equipment. Although we may hear owls outside as we prepare to slumber, however, few of us see them regularly.

Focusing on the biology of these predatory birds, this book is broken into four chapters that are accessible to most ages, although younger children will probably want to focus on the many fascinating owl pictures. Fun facts are tucked among the pages, often with photographic illustrations. Did you know, for example, that owls have feathered eyelids?

Author Mark Wilson is a wildlife photojournalist who also cares for owls that cannot live in the wild. This access lends itself to stunning images of the species discussed in the book, which include photographs of their habitat and identifying marks, as well as many images of nestlings.

The book discusses some avian commonalities, as well as how owls differ from other birds. One section specifically introduces the 19 owl species of North America, including how and where to find and identify them. Noting that owls are probably closer than one might think and that many are active during the day, one of the highlights of the book is the discussion of how to study one’s surroundings to identify the likely presence and location of a nearby owl. (Hint: Look for their excrement and remains of their meals, known as owl pellets.)

Owling presents several case studies of people who work with owls, providing role models and offering potential future careers for its younger readers. Anyone interested in identifying and learning about the owls with which we share the world will likely enjoy paging through this book, all the more so if it is used as an owl guide.

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.


HANDS-ON SCIENCE BOOK


Plantology

Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants

Michael Elsohn Ross
Chicago Review Press
2019
116 pp.
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Go outside and look around. Unless your surroundings are buried in snow, you will likely see green leaves, budding flowers, and tough weeds. But have you ever stopped to compare leaf shapes, count the number of petals, or see if a taproot is hidden underground? Such activities are just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce!) when it comes to the experiments and observations suggested in Plantology.

Starting with the simple question “what is a plant?” this book delves into the vast and often surprising diversity of the kingdom Plantae. Each chapter covers an aspect of plant structure and function, laying out general principles but also offering surprising examples of when things get weird. Did you know that some orchids trap bees inside their flowers in order to glue pollen to them? Or that some plants do not have leaves at all and instead extract energy from fungi through their roots? These facts collectively emphasize that every plant is worth a careful look, as millions of years of adaptation have left nearly every evolutionary route explored and few rules unbroken.

Aside from the information conveyed in the diagrams and (quite complex) descriptions and anecdotes, this book offers a simple imperative for budding naturalists: Go outside and document everything you see. Colored pencils, a nature journal, and a hand lens would make great accompaniments for this book, as they are needed for many of the activities. Most of the exercises require little more than this equipment, time, and attention, although there are a few ideas for those with access to a garden plot and a kitchen. The final chapter offers a brief introduction to how humans use plants as crops and, if young readers are hooked on plants by then, some career advice.

About the author

The reviewer is an associate editor at Science.


Science in a Jar

Science in a Jar: 35+ Experiments in Biology, Chemistry, Weather, the Environment, and More!

Julia Garstecki
Quarto
2019
128 pp.
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Do you have a surplus of glass jars clogging your cupboards and children who are curious and excited about the world? If so, Julia Garstecki’s collection of more than 35 household experiments may be a great addition to your library. This book is divided into chapters on life science, chemistry, earth science, physical science, and environmental science. Similar to Jonathan Adolph’s 2018 book Mason Jar Science, the premise is that all of these experiments are to be conducted using glass jars of varying sizes. Although the aim is to use common household materials (stock up on food coloring—you’ll need it!), experiments occasionally call for items that are unlikely to be lying around (e.g., iron filings and a dual-probe thermometer).

For each experiment, the central concepts being tested are artfully conveyed using bright, inviting photos and accessibly written introductions, followed by a materials list and clear step-by-step instructions. Each experiment closes with an “Observations” section, which provides explanations and further questions. Fun facts on tangential topics—from earthworm poop to the autonomous sensory meridian response—make an occasional appearance.

Many classic household experiments—such as dissolving eggs in acid, synthesizing slime, and generating explosions of vinegar and baking soda—can be found among the book’s 120+ pages. Although most of the experiments listed are meant to be conducted indoors, several encourage children to go outside and explore the natural world. Where Science in a Jar really shines is with its simplest experiments, which manage to explain broadly interesting concepts—such as why puppies snuggle when they sleep and how clouds form—in a fun and accessible way.

About the author

The reviewer is an associate editor at Science.


Can You Crack the Code?

Can You Crack the Code? A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography

Ella Schwartz, Illustrated by Lily Williams
Bloomsbury
2019
128 pp.
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Readers who think it would be fun to send secret messages—i.e., practically all of them—will enjoy this book, which is both a brief history of encryption and a beginner’s how-to manual. Ella Schwartz, a cybersecurity expert, uses a breezy style that itself is never cryptic, and Lily Williams’s illustrations make the concepts readily accessible.

The book begins with a simple substitution cipher, used by Julius Caesar, in which every letter of the alphabet is signified by another letter a specific number of spots away. It then works through more-complicated substitution ciphers, symbolic ciphers, and ciphers in which a message is spelled out in the first letters of specific words in a specific book. Schwartz poses puzzles so the reader can try the schemes. She describes Enigma, the complex cipher used by the Germans, and cracked by the British, during World War II, and the basic idea behind internet encryption.

Along the way, Schwartz provides fascinating examples of codes that have long defied decryption. For example, in 1990 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency installed at its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, a sculpture in which artist Jim Sanborn encrypted a message. Even the agency’s cryptographers have yet to completely decipher it.

The book might have gone a tad deeper and explained how digital messages consist of binary numbers and how one can be encrypted, for example, using a string of random zeros and ones that only the sender and the receiver share. Such a discussion might have set up the chapter on internet encryption more concretely.

But that’s a quibble. The book should inspire students who enjoy puzzles to invent their own ciphers. As Caesar might have put it, vjku dqqm ku c nqv qh hwp!

About the author

The reviewer is a news reporter at Science.


George Washington Carver for Kids

George Washington Carver for Kids: His Life and Discoveries with 21 Activities

Peggy Thomas
Chicago Review Press
2019
144 pp.
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Most people remember George Washington Carver as a Black inventor who created close to 300 peanut products. Peggy Thomas’s book moves beyond that one-dimensional view as she guides the reader through Carver’s life story. Born in the early 1860s to enslaved parents, Carver overcame poverty and segregation to devote his life to improving the livelihood of impoverished Black farmers. Combining his early love of nature and painting, Carver became a naturalist, an ecologist, and a conservationist long before these were valued disciplines.

Sprinkled through the book are 21 activities related to Carter’s life experiences and the challenges he faced. Some of these easy-to-follow activities encourage readers to act like a naturalist by, for example, making their own herbarium. Others allow readers to experience tasks required for daily survival: turning a gourd into a bowl, cooking with weeds, and making blocks like those Carver used to construct a sod home.

As the first Black student to attend Iowa Agricultural College (IAC; now Iowa State University), Carver faced segregation and isolation until an act of solidarity helped break the ice with the other students and faculty. The activity associated with this event encourages readers to form a welcoming committee for new students. Another activity focuses on learning to deliver a speech, a skill that Carver developed at IAC and later used to teach farmers, politicians, and leaders of industry about plants, soils, and the potential of natural products.

Clearly, the knowledge Carver shared in the early 1900s still resonates today. Hopefully, young readers will be inspired by his resilience, thirst for learning, and passion for improving lives.

About the author

The reviewer is the executive editor of Science.


YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE BOOK


How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls

How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future

David L. Hu
Princeton University Press
2019
238 pp.
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At the intersection of fluid, solid, and gaseous flow; animal motion and mechanics; applied mathematics; and robotics lies the research of David Hu. Through stories about researchers he has interacted with over the course of his career and a biographical view of his own projects, Hu shows readers that we still have a lot to learn about animal locomotion.

As humans, we are capable of traversing a range of terrain, including mud, sand, and rocky ground. We can move through water or air. There are many animals, however, that excel in environments where we struggle. The indestructible cockroach, for example, not only can survive being squashed to a quarter of its original height, it will alter the shape of its legs so that it can continue to move forward. It also has antennae that it can move at full speed even when surrounded by obstacles. These abilities are reasons why the cockroach is used as a model organism for the development of inexpensive robots that might one day be used in search-and-rescue missions in hazardous environments.

The combination of fluid mechanics and animal physiology helps explain the optimal length of eyelashes for filtering out debris, flying snakes that glide efficiently with no wing or web structure, and how ants form robust collective rafts. However, the study of motion goes beyond the movement itself. Animals such as lamprey reveal how motion can be controlled, not by a brain but by a series of central pattern generators that are sets of small interacting periodic motions. This allows a salamander to change from a walking motion to a swimming one just by altering the speed of the lead oscillations.

Studying animal motion in fine detail may seem wasteful to many, but as Hu convincingly shows, a detailed understanding of the interaction between biology and fluid mechanics is interesting in its own right and a rich source of design and engineering ideas.

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science.


Superheavy

Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table

Kit Chapman
Bloomsbury Sigma
2019
304 pp.
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Kit Chapman begins his story of the early hunt for so-called “superheavy” elements with Enrico Fermi, the scrappy Italian physicist who claimed, erroneously, to have discovered elements 93 and 94. As the first scientist to develop a technique for a phenomenon called neutron capture, Fermi paved the way for a number of element discoveries to come. From Rome, we travel to Berlin for the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938 and then on to Berkeley, California, where scientists began the search for the transuranic elements (elements heavier than uranium) in 1939.

Chapman does an admirable job of bringing to the forefront the incredible contributions of women scientists to this endeavor. One such story is that of nuclear chemist Darleane Hoffman, who was told repeatedly that she should set her sights on becoming a chemistry teacher. Instead, she would go on to hold appointments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos, and the University of California, Berkeley, and earn her place in history by confirming the existence of seaborgium (element 106).

In the final third of the book, Chapman takes readers on a tour of the modern world of element discovery. Tales from RIKEN in Japan, GSI in Germany, and other international laboratories complement stories from the early post–Cold War period, including anecdotes about collaborations between researchers at Berkeley and those in Dubna, Russia.

Although some transuranic elements have proven useful in medical science and other applications, the elements beyond 118 are very unstable. Practical use of these materials, then, is not the point. Even the honor of choosing the names of newly discovered elements—a topic into which Chapman dives perhaps too deeply—is not the point. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the drive to expand our understanding of the world, that many would say is the purpose of such an endeavor.

***

For a full-length review of Superheavy, see “Our autumn reading list,” Science 365, 972 (2019).

About the author

The reviewer is at Accenture Federal Services, Arlington, VA 22203, USA.


Never Home Alone

Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

Rob Dunn
Basic Books
2018
278 pp.
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Although you may encounter reminders of life that flourishes outdoors inside your home—the occasional spider in the bath, the mold that sometimes sprouts on food—by and large, the only living beings you will consciously encounter in this space will be the other people in your life and your pets. After reading this book, you will probably see things quite differently.

Our homes are teeming with life. A microbial analysis of household dust samples from just 40 homes in North Carolina yielded nearly 8000 different microbial taxa, for example. Household microbial communities vary by habitat: As Rob Dunn writes, “…samples from pillowcases and toilet seats are different from each other, but perhaps not as different as you might hope.”

Larger creatures are often hiding in plain sight as well. Dunn describes surveys of the arthropod communities in homes around the world. His own house was home to at least 100 arthropod species—mainly flies and spiders—and worldwide, the numbers of species stretch into the thousands.

Dunn considers how human history (and prehistory) may have shaped the microbial communities that have evolved to share our lives. He delves into research that enumerates the health benefits to humans of closer contact with natural biodiversity and, conversely, the problems that arise through the evolution of pathogens resistant to control measures. Perhaps above all, this book is a vehicle for conveying the story of how science is done—the quirks and collaborations that lead from one discovery to another, and the role of citizen science in advancing knowledge.

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editorial fellow at Science.


The Ice at the End of the World

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

Jon Gertner
Random House
2019
445 pp.
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Although Greenland occasionally figures into news stories and debates about rising sea level and a warming Earth, the relevant historical background rarely enters into such discussions. Consequently, many fascinating elements of the island’s story that could capture the interest and attention of the public have lain dormant. Jon Gertner’s compelling book, The Ice at the End of the World, addresses this paucity with intelligence and insight.
The book is divided into two parts.

Part 1, “Explorations,” describes expeditions that took place near the turn of the 20th century. Gertner conveys the psychological and physical struggles these individuals suffered through, as well as their exhilarating successes, with a realism that acknowledges the emotional and physical toll of these endeavors. In Part 2, “Investigations,” Gertner chronicles the evolution of scientific studies of the Greenland ice sheet between 1949 and 2018. Detailed here are the challenges that were surmounted to obtain continuous ice cores suitable for establishing a chronological record and that would provide material for laboratory analyses.

Gertner also describes the evolution of technology that expanded our knowledge of the physical properties of Greenland’s ice and enhanced our understanding of its dynamics. He communicates the importance of these accomplishments through candid observations from those involved.

Without judgment or comment, Gertner provides details worthy of philosophical reflection about the influence that military pursuits have had on the ability to conduct research in remote settings and how we value science. In the book’s closing chapters, he discusses global warming, describing the controversy of whether rapid climate change has ever happened or even could happen. He also articulates its staggering implications.

Greenland and its ice will remain a place rich with opportunities for research and investigation, and Gertner’s excellent book is a must-read for those who are curious about the history of exploration and the pursuit of science there.

***
For a full-length review of The Ice at the End of the World, see “A remote region, revealed,” Science 364, 1241 (2019).

About the author

The reviewer is at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA, and the Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark.