Mr. Lemonick covered science and the environment for TIME magazine for nearly 21 years, where he wrote more than 50 cover stories, and has also written for Discover, Scientific American, Wired, New Scientist and The Washington Post. Lemonick is the author of four books, and a cover story for TIME was featured in the anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007. He has taught science and environmental journalism at Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and New York Universities. He holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.
MIRROR EARTH: THE SEARCH FOR OUR PLANET’S TWIN
“The fast-moving story of the quest for a planet that resembles the Earth. By the end of this engaging book, the discovery of such a twin feels so close that you can almost taste the slightly alien water on the tip of your tongue.”
—Wall Street Journal
In the mid-1990s, astronomers made history when they detected three planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way. The planets were nothing like Earth, however: they were giant gas balls like Jupiter or Saturn. More than 500 planets have been found since then, yet none of them could support life.
Now, armed with more powerful technology, planet hunters are racing to find a true twin of Earth. Science writer Michael Lemonick has unique access to these exoplaneteers, as they call themselves, and MIRROR EARTH unveils their passionate quest.
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echo of the big bang
“Lemonick has written an exciting story of both science and personal politics."
A tight-knit, high-powered group of scientists and engineers spent eight years building a satellite designed, in effect, to read the genome of the universe. Launched in 2001, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) reported its first results two years later with a set of brilliant observations that added focus, detail, and insight to our formerly fuzzy view of the cosmos.
For more than a year, the WMAP satellite hovered in the cold of deep space, a million miles from Earth, in an effort to determine whether the science of cosmology–the study of the origin and evolution of the universe–has been on the right track for the past two decades. What WMAP was looking for was a barely perceptible pattern of hot and cold spots in the faint whisper of microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang, the event that almost 14 billion years ago gave birth to all of space, time, matter, and energy.
On February 11, 2003, the team of researchers went public with the results. Just some of their extraordinary findings: The universe is 13.7 billion years old. The first stars “turned on” when the universe was only 200 million years old, five times earlier than anyone had thought. It is now certain that a mysterious dark energy dominates the universe. Michael Lemonick, who had exclusive access to the researchers as WMAP gathered its data, here tells the full story of WMAP and its surprising revelations. This book is both a personal and a scientific tale of discovery. In its pages, readers will come to know the science of cosmology and the people who, seventy-five years after we first learned that the universe is expanding, deciphered some of its deepest mysteries in the patterns of its oldest light.
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THE GEORGIAN STAR: HOW WILLIAM AND CAROLINE HERSCHEL REVOLUTIONIZED OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE COSMOS
“[Lemonick has] an expansive joy in his subject and a deft hand at making his characters come to life.”
Trained as a musician, amateur scientist William Herschel found international fame after discovering the planet Uranus in 1781. Though he is still best known for this finding, his partnership with his sister Caroline yielded other groundbreaking work that affects how we see the world today. The Herschels made comprehensive surveys of the night sky, carefully categorizing every visible object in the void.
Caroline wrote an influential catalogue of nebulae, and William discovered infrared radiation. Veteran science writer Michael D. Lemonick guides readers through the depths of the solar system and into his subjects’ private lives: William developed bizarre theories about inhabitants of the sun; he procured an unheard-of salary for Caroline from King George III even as he hassled over the funding for an enormous, forty-foot telescope; and the siblings feuded over William’s marriage but eventually reconciled.
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OTHER WORLDS: THE SEARCH FOR LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
“Few would dispute the power of [Lemonick's] energetic work to carry readers to the frontier of scientific knowledge, technological creativity and human curiosity.”
In this tour de force of popular science writing, Michael D. Lemonick describes the fascinating search to discover the answer this intriguing question. Recent events — including speculation that life may have existed on Mars and the discovery that there are more planets outside our solar system than in it — continually spur new theories and new investigations.
OTHER WORLDS takes readers to Mauna Kea, where astronomers monitor the skies through powerful telescopes; to West Virginia, where radio antennas listen for alien broadcasts; and to meetings with NASA officials, who are forging new paths in the exploration of the cosmos. Featuring interviews with the scientists who are leading these breakthroughs, this astonishing book will captivate everyone from science-fiction buffs to serious science readers.