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Friday, 29 November 2019

Review: Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime

Award-winning astronomer and Professor at the University of New South Wales, Lisa Harvey-Smith at six years old, was yearning to know why? 

This questioning gave birth to her hobby of astronomy which led her to astrophysics. Her book Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime is a work of brilliance. It opens up for children, a view into the Universe that children ask questions about.

Lisa is extremely thorough with her narrative which is light-hearted, interesting and humorous! 

I found the Illustrations by Mel Matthews added a playful aspect to an enthralling presentation of facts and research, which by no means is as serious to read as you might expect.

As I read through each page, I realised how little I knew about these subjects and how much there is to learn. But just like a child, I was fascinated and drawn to all the incredible information that had been provided. And this was presented in an explanatory way that anyone, regardless of age, can understand.

The book is set in five parts under main headings. Part One, The Earth, addresses nineteen issues that include Constellations, Comets, Gravity, The Problem of Space Junk and Why is the Sky Blue?   

In Part Two, The Solar System, thirteen areas have been explored, mainly the planets and their activity, with other tasty morsels added. Part Three, Extrasolar Space opens up about Pulsars, Spotting Exoplanets, Supernova, and how a Star Becomes a Black Hole amongst others.

Part Four, The Milky Way, talks about Our Galaxy and Visiting a Black Hole. Part Five rounds up with The Universe which explains about The Big Bang Theory and How Big Is the Universe, these being just two of the headings addressed.

There is no need to read the chapters in sequence. It can be approached in any way that takes the reader’s interest. After the Introduction in which Lisa shares her beginnings of a passion that grew with time, whatever you read anywhere in this book, you will come away richer in knowledge and increased awe at the unknown that exists about our Universe.

As the Australian Government’s Ambassador for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Lisa is a role model for younger people, especially young girls interested in what has for ages, been touted as a male place only in science and astronomy.

Title: Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime
Author: Lisa Harvey-Smith
Illustrator: Mel Matthews
Publisher: MUP, $39.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780522876086
For ages: 12+
Type: Junior Non-Fiction

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