Informative but not seismic.

QUAKE CHASERS

15 WOMEN ROCKING EARTHQUAKE SCIENCE

From the Women of Power series

Each of the women feted here for her trailblazing work in earthquake science has her own profile that interweaves personal history, advice on coping with natural disasters, experiences with gender and racial bias, and related scientific information.

From the introduction onward, the text has a chirpy tone and is prone to overusing such words as amazing and cool. It is an ambitious task to try to inspire young women to pursue STEM studies and careers while also warning them of persistent negative attitudes toward women and people of color in these fields that are dominated by White men. However, this book will succeed in that goal if readers choose to read the biographies in random order rather than straight through from the beginning. By listing her subjects in alphabetical order by surname, the text happens to begin with three women from privileged, supportive families who were precocious young people, acquired advanced degrees and pursued significant careers while confronting misogyny, and who are lauded for their remarkable achievements as mothers as well. This might prove discouraging rather than inspiring to many readers; fortunately, later biographies include women whose backgrounds bring more diversity. The numerous sidebars are the best part of the text, supplementing the cursory details of each individual’s career with scientific terminology and explanations plus historical background. Readers will enjoy each scientist’s top three tips for earthquake preparedness.

Informative but not seismic. (afterword, notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64160-646-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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