Zoom: How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees

The natural world is shaped by motion, from the vibration of atoms to the expansion of the universe. In Zoom, Bob Berman (The Sun's Heartbeat; Secrets of the Night Sky) explores both the grandest of moving forces and those more detectable in our daily lives, like weather patterns or the speed of living creatures. He moves from slow to fast, layering fascinating facts with episodes of science history and travelogue in each chapter.

Berman begins with the most explosive and least understood motion in the universe, that of the cosmos itself. He travels to an observatory in the Andes, on the edge of the Atacama Desert, to interview astronomers investigating the universe's enigmatic expansion. From this high point, he plunges into the almost imperceptibly slow world of tectonic plates, mountain formation and shifting poles. Zoom quickens into the realm of perceivable motion (liquid dynamics, wind speed, animal locomotion), and then reaches the other extreme of unseen motion: ultra-fast particles and the inevitable barrier of light speed.

Berman has a knack for clearly explaining potentially difficult scientific concepts in layman-friendly terms and applying these concepts to natural phenomena with engaging anecdotes. In discussing the Coriolis effect (a property of moving objects on a rotating surface), for example, Berman breezes through the history of its discovery and applications in meteorology, all in the context of an amusing encounter at an Ecuadorian tourist trap. Zoom is an entertaining journey through a variety of scientific fields, accessible even to readers with light science knowledge. --Tobias Mutter, freelance reviewer

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