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“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) returns to explore the irresistibly strange universe of life without gravity in this New York Times bestseller. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Describes the weirdness of space travel, answers questions about the long-term effects of living in zero gravity on the human body, and explains how space simulations on Earth can provide a preview to life in space.
This is the first history of phytotrons, huge climate-controlled laboratories that enabled plant scientists to experiment on the environmental causes of growth and development of living organisms. Made possible by computers and other modern technologies of the early Cold War, such as air conditioning and humidity control, phytotrons promised an end to global hunger and political instability, spreading around the world to thirty countries after World War II. The United States built nearly a dozen, including the first at Caltech in 1949. By the mid-1960s, as support and funding for basic science dwindled, phytotrons declined and ultimately disappeared—until, nearly thirty years later, the British built the Ecotron to study the impact of climate change on biological communities. By recalling the forgotten history of phytotrons, David P. D. Munns reminds us of the important role they can play in helping researchers unravel the complexities of natural ecosystems in the Anthropocene.
Landslides represent one of the most destructive natural catastrophes. They can reach extremely long distances and velocities, and are capable of wiping out human communities and settlements. Yet landslides have a creative facet as they contribute to the modification of the landscape. They are the consequence of the gravity pull jointly with the tectonic disturbance of our living planet. Landslides are most often studied within a geotechnical and geomorphological perspective. Engineering calculations are traditionally applied to the stability of terrains. In this book, landslides are viewed as a physical phenomenon. A physical understanding of landslides is a basis for modeling and mitigation and for understanding their flow behavior and dynamics. We still know relatively little about many aspects of landslide physics. It is only recently that the field of landslide dynamics is approaching a more mature stage. This is testified by the release of modelling tools for the simulation of landslides and debris flows. In this book the emphasis is placed on the problems at the frontier of landslide research. Each chapter is self-consistent, with questions and arguments introduced from the beginning.
Astrophysicist and space pioneer James Van Allen (1914–2006), for whom the Van Allen radiation belts were named, was among the principal scientific investigators for twenty-four space missions, including Explorer I in 1958, the first successful U.S. satellite; Mariner 2’s 1962 flyby of Venus, the first successful mission to another planet; and the 1970s Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 missions that surveyed Jupiter and Saturn. Although he retired as a University of Iowa professor of physics and astronomy in 1985, he remained an active researcher, using his campus office to monitor data from Pioneer 10—on course to reach the edge of the solar system when its signal was lost in 2003—until a short time before his death at the age of ninety-one. Now Abigail Foerstner blends space science drama, military agendas, cold war politics, and the events of Van Allen’s lengthy career to create the first biography of this highly influential physicist. Drawing on Van Allen’s correspondence and publications, years of interviews with him as well as with more than a hundred other people, and declassified documents from such archives as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Applied Physics Laboratory, Foerstner describes Van Allen’s life from his Iowa childhood to his first experiments at White Sands to the years of Explorer I until his death in 2006. Often called the father of space science, James Van Allen led the way to mapping a new solar system based on the solar wind, massive solar storms, and cosmic rays. Pioneer 10 alone sent him more than thirty years of readings that helped push our recognition of the boundary of the solar system billions of miles past Pluto. Abigail Foerstner’s compelling biography charts the eventful life and time of this trailblazing physicist.
This student edition features over 50 new or completely revised tables, most of which are in the areas of fluid properties and properties of solids. The book also features extensive references to other compilations and databases that contain additional information.

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