Monday, July 14, 2014

Zoom: How Everything Moves by Bob Berman

Part Of The Synopsis From Back Cover:

If you sit as still as you can in a quiet room, you might be able to convince yourself that nothing is moving.  But air currents are still wafting around you.  Blood rushes through your veins.  The atoms in your chair jiggle furiously.  In fact, the planet you are sitting on it whizzing through space thirty-times faster than the speed of sound.

In almost five years, I've only reviewed two other science books, The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean and Animal Wise by Virginia Morell.  Given how much I enjoyed both of those books, I'm really not sure why I've tended to distance myself from science books, I'm not even sure if I've done it on purpose or not.  I do know that going forward, I'll be accepting them for review more often.  Science was always one of my favorite subjects in school, and I guess it still is.

In Zoom, Bob Berman makes Earth science fun again.  I know there is biology mixed up in here as well, but it's the Earth sciences that really get the author's attention. He doesn't make the material read as if you are in the middle of a boring lecture, being conducted by an even duller professor.  Instead he makes it feel as if you have gotten to go on a field trip to a local science museum, where you get to immerse yourself in hands on learning.  At the same time, he doesn't talk down to his readers, treating us as if we are in kindergarten, too dumb to understand hard concepts, or remember the names of scientists who really mattered.  It's a fine line for an author to walk, and Bob Berman not only managed to do it, he gives an Olympic level balancing act, worthy of Maria Olaru.

I'm not going to go into every fact and figure that the author shares with us.  But If you have ever wanted to know how blizzards works, get a definitive answer on what thunder is, how light really moves, or what causes the sap in a tree to move, this is the book for you.


bermudaonion said...

Ooh, I love books like that!

Unknown said...

I agree that making complicated concepts accessible without "dumbing it down" or making your audience feel its being talked down to is a difficult balance. I believe that is a talent in itself. I like Neil Degrasse Tyson, because he does that very well.

This book sounds great! I will add it to my list.

Alexia561 said...

Science was never a favorite subject in school, but I've been watching the new Cosmos series and am learning a little. Still don't understand half of what Neil Degrasse Tyson talks about, but it's usually fun!