Through the lens of a microscope or the shaft of a telescope exists a universe of life and beauty that is unknown to many. Hidden from sight because of the restricted ability of the human eye, atoms, crystals, grains of pollen, snowflakes, cloud formations, searing comets and showers of stars are born, live and die.
With an introduction by the well-known astonomer and photographer David Malin, Heaven & Earth charts an awe-inspiring voyage of discovery through this infinite world of science and celebrates the beauty and boundless mysteries of planet Earth, and the universe. It offers a unique insight into the vastness, complexity and beauty of nature.
This has to be one of the most stunning, thought provoking books I have come across in many years. With images of objects as small as a single atom, through to things larger than our galaxy and so far away that their light has been travelling for most of the lifespan of the known universe and is only just reaching our eyes now. From an up-close-and-personal view of the cells that make up the clear corneal lens of our eye, through to two immense galaxies colliding and merging, 430 million lightyears away, this book has it all... and I mean that almost literally! Examples from every scale and scope between those two extremes.
In glorious colour, the images are stunning. In the images of the small-scale items, false colours have had to be introduced... sometimes due to the limitations of the equipment used, and sometimes because the size of the item is smaller than the wavelength of light itself! It would be like trying to work out the date on a coin by throwing bowling balls at it and studying the way they bounce away. Once you get your head around this, the photos take on a whole new dimension and clarity beyond imagining.
Though the captions are small, and tucked away down one side of the page, they are nonetheless quite informative, and provide plenty of key words you can feed into the internet search engine of your choice and pull out reams of detailed information, more than enough to satisfy any interest. I sat down and spent an afternoon with my young son flicking through the book and googling for more information about the pictures that captured his interest... it was a great way to spend a rainy weekend day together, and provided much in the way of bonding and education... for BOTH of us!
Overall, though the text is definitely aimed at adults, kids with intellectual leanings or just a heavy curious streak will get much out of this fine book. The only tiny drawback is that it is quite a wide book, and will not fit well on normal bookshelves... you may have to rearrange things a little to find it a viable home. I ended up shuffling my books around to provide a reasonably level patch wide enough that I could lay this across the top.
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"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)