The Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in our Universe
CATACLYMS is a fascinating, accessible, and informative exploration of the biggest explosions in history, from the Big Bang to mysterious activity on Earth and everything in between, which will appeal to readers of SAPIENS, ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY, and THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES and to anyone curious about the biggest explosions in the universe, space exploration, and their impact on our world and lives.
The overwhelming majority of celestial space is inactive, and will remain forever unruffled. But when cosmic violence does unfold, it changes the very fabric of the universe, with mega-explosions and ripple effects that reach the near limits of human comprehension. From exploding galaxies to supernovas and hypernovas, to gamma ray bursts and space-and-time warping upheavals, these moments are rare yet powerful - often unseen, but consequentially felt.
In CATACLYSMS, renowned astronomy writer Bob Berman guides us through an epic, all-inclusive investigation into these instances of cosmic violence. Basing his research on science and history from Ancient Greece, China, and the Middle East to Europe and the US through time, Berman unpacks how cataclysms work and what they are, taking us through cataclysms in the heavens to those that have happened on earth - from dinosaur extinction, major diseases (think the Black Plague), to major wars (World War II and more), nuclear disasters (Chernobyl), and on - to what may be in store for the future.
In a clear, accessible, and enlightening read, Berman explores the sudden creation of dazzling "new stars" and the furiously explosive birth of our own Moon. He unpacks how ultra-high energy cosmic rays continuously bombard us, despite the Earth's protective mechanisms, and highlights the ways in which humanity itself has harnessed cataclysmic energy for its own gain. CATACLYSMS will lead us humans, seemingly hardwired to enjoy fireworks, to savor the all-time greatest pyrotechnic displays - and the strange objects that arose from them, including the very materials Nature has used to fashion our brains and the universe in which we live.
Bob Berman is the author of Zapped, Zoom, and The Sun's Heartbeat. He contributed the popular "Night Watchman" column for Discover magazine for seventeen years and is currently a columnist for Astronomy magazine, a host on Northeast Public Radio, and the science editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. He lives in upstate New York.
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