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This title in other editions

An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere

by

An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Front cover:

 

Tag 3: “A sense of wonder . . . animates Ms. Walkers high-spirited narrative and speeds it along like a fresh-blowing westerly.”—The New York Times

 

Back cover:

 

“This is science writing at its best: clear, witty, relevant, unbelievably interesting, and just plain great."-- Mary Roach, author of Stiff

 

We dont just live in the air; we live because of it. Its the most miraculous substance on earth, responsible for our food, our weather, our water, and our ability to hear. Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with the stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds a set of winds that constantly blow five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why hurricanes move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning inventor nearly destroys the ozone layer.

"Walker has a PhD in chemistry, but she writes like a poet. With a few deft strokes, she brings wacky characters to life . . . Walker's book should absorb and delight anyone who breathes."--Los Angeles Times

 

"[Walker] shows a storyteller's knack for making long-settled questions seem again intriguing and mysterious. As a result, the book imparts a new appreciation of an element so pervasive as to be invisible."--American Scientist

 

GABRIELLE WALKER earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cambridge. She is the coauthor, with Sir David King, of The Hot Topic: What We Can Do About Global Warming. She lives in London.

 

Synopsis:

We dont just live in the air; we live because of it. Its the most miraculous substance on earth, responsible for our food, our weather, our water, and our ability to hear. In this exuberant book, gifted science writer Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with the stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A flamboyant Renaissance Italian discovers how heavy our air really is: The air filling Carnegie Hall, for example, weighs seventy thousand pounds.

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds a set of winds that constantly blow five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why hurricanes move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning inventor nearly destroys the ozone layer.

• A reclusive mathematical genius predicts, thirty years before hes proved right, that the sky contains a layer of floating metal fed by the glowing tails of shooting stars.

Synopsis:

In 1960, Captain Joseph Kittinger fell to earth from the edge of space and lived. He stepped from the basket of a gigantic helium balloon into an appalling, hostile environment which, without the protection of a pressure suit, would have simultaneously frozen his body and boiled away his blood. It is the air that Kittinger fell through that makes our lives on earth possible.

Air is about more than just breathing. Air transforms miraculously into solid food, and without it every creature on earth would starve; it wraps our planet in a blanket of warmth; radio signals bounce off a floating mirror of metal in the air to travel round the world; and the outer layer of our atmosphere soaks up flares from the sun more violent than all the world's nuclear warheads put together. In this exuberant work, Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A flamboyant Renaissance Italian discovers how heavy our air really is: The air filling Carnegie Hall, for example, weighs seventy thousand pounds.

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds invisible winds [or giant rivers of air?] that blow with the force of a hurricane five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why storms move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning but ill-fated inventor creates wonder chemicals that nearly destroy the ozone layer (he also came up with the idea to put lead in gasoline [he did the lead first]).

• A reclusive mathematical genius with a predilection for painting his toenails cherry red figures out the technology that would come to the rescue of the Titanic.

An Ocean of Air is a triumphant celebration of the fragile complexity of Earth's atmosphere and a completely engaging work of popular science.

About the Author

GABRIELLE WALKER earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cambridge. She is a contributing editor at New Scientist magazine and has taught in the science-writing program at Princeton. She lives in London.

Table of Contents

contents

 

Prologue xi

part 1

comfort blanket

chapter 1:                the ocean above us  3

chapter 2:                elixir of life              26

chapter 3:                food and warmth     58

chapter 4:                blowing in the wind                88

part 2

sheltering sky

chapter 5:                the hole story          129

chapter 6:                mirror in the sky     159

chapter 7:                the final frontier      196

Epilogue                  232

Acknowledgments   236

Suggestions for Further Reading            239

Endnotes 247

Index       262

Product Details

ISBN:
9780156034142
Author:
Walker, Gabrielle
Publisher:
Harvest Books
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Meteorology & Climatology
Subject:
Weather
Subject:
History
Subject:
Physics-Meteorology
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20080831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 charts with text
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.66 lb

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Related Subjects


Reference » Science Reference » Meterorology
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
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Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156034142 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
We dont just live in the air; we live because of it. Its the most miraculous substance on earth, responsible for our food, our weather, our water, and our ability to hear. In this exuberant book, gifted science writer Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with the stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A flamboyant Renaissance Italian discovers how heavy our air really is: The air filling Carnegie Hall, for example, weighs seventy thousand pounds.

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds a set of winds that constantly blow five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why hurricanes move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning inventor nearly destroys the ozone layer.

• A reclusive mathematical genius predicts, thirty years before hes proved right, that the sky contains a layer of floating metal fed by the glowing tails of shooting stars.

"Synopsis" by ,
In 1960, Captain Joseph Kittinger fell to earth from the edge of space and lived. He stepped from the basket of a gigantic helium balloon into an appalling, hostile environment which, without the protection of a pressure suit, would have simultaneously frozen his body and boiled away his blood. It is the air that Kittinger fell through that makes our lives on earth possible.

Air is about more than just breathing. Air transforms miraculously into solid food, and without it every creature on earth would starve; it wraps our planet in a blanket of warmth; radio signals bounce off a floating mirror of metal in the air to travel round the world; and the outer layer of our atmosphere soaks up flares from the sun more violent than all the world's nuclear warheads put together. In this exuberant work, Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A flamboyant Renaissance Italian discovers how heavy our air really is: The air filling Carnegie Hall, for example, weighs seventy thousand pounds.

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds invisible winds [or giant rivers of air?] that blow with the force of a hurricane five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why storms move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning but ill-fated inventor creates wonder chemicals that nearly destroy the ozone layer (he also came up with the idea to put lead in gasoline [he did the lead first]).

• A reclusive mathematical genius with a predilection for painting his toenails cherry red figures out the technology that would come to the rescue of the Titanic.

An Ocean of Air is a triumphant celebration of the fragile complexity of Earth's atmosphere and a completely engaging work of popular science.

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