New Release Books by Paul Murdin

Paul Murdin is the author of The Universe (2022), The Secret Lives of Planets (2019), Rock Legends (2016), Planetary Vistas (2015), Secrets of the Universe (2020) and other 59 books.

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The Universe

release date: Mar 08, 2022
The Universe
The story of our Universe, from its beginning in the first milliseconds of the Big Bang up to our present moment and beyond, told in a gripping narrative by one of the world's leading astronomers.

The Secret Lives of Planets

release date: Jul 11, 2019
The Secret Lives of Planets
BBC Sky At Night Best Astronomy and Space Books of 2019 'A deft, frequently dramatic tour' Nature 'A highly readable distillation of humankind's knowledge of our solar system, gleaned over many centuries, with surprisingly many mysteries yet to be solved' Daily Mail 'The Secret Lives of Planets aims to be a "user's guide to the Solar System", but it also turns out to be an inspiration to look at the Solar System as a long cosmic journey and find our place in it.' BBC Sky at Night 'A wonderfully clear and readable book . . . Gives a splendid overview of our Sun's planetary system, including its history and exploration' Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell * We have the impression that the solar system is perfectly regular like a clock, or a planetarium instrument. On a short timescale it is. But, seen in a longer perspective, the planets, and their satellites, have exciting lives, full of events - for example, did you know that Saturn's moon, Titan, boasts lakes which contain liquid methane surrounded by soaring hills and valleys, exactly as the earth did before life evolved on our fragile planet? Or that Mercury is the shyest planet? Or, that Mars' biggest volcano is 100 times the size of Earth's, or that its biggest canyon is 10 times the depth of the Grand Canyon, or that it wasn't always red, but blue? The culmination of a lifetime of astronomy and wonder, Paul Murdin's enchanting new book reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the planets, their satellites, and our place in the solar system.

Rock Legends

release date: Jul 13, 2016
Rock Legends
This book relates the history of asteroid discoveries and christenings, from those of the early pioneering giants of Hersehel and Piazzi to modern-day amateurs. Moving from history and anecdotal information to science, the book's structure is provided by the names of the asteroids, including one named after the author. Free from a need to conform to scientific naming conventions, the names evidence hero-worship, sycophancy, avarice, vanity, whimsy, erudition and wit, revealing the human side of astronomers, especially where controversy has followed the christening. Murdin draws from extensive historical records to explore the debate over these names. Each age reveals its own biases and preferences in the naming process. “/p> Originally regarded as “vermin of the skies,” asteroids are minor planets, rocky scraps left over from the formation of the larger planets, or broken fragments of worlds that have collided. Their scientific classification as “minor” planets makes them seem unimportant, but over the past decades asteroids have been acknowledged to be key players in the Solar System. This view of their starring role even alters the trajectories of spacecraft: NASA’s policy for new space missions en route to the outer planets is that they must divert to study passing asteroids whenever possible. This book provides for readers a complete tour of the fascinating world of asteroids.

Planetary Vistas

release date: Jun 01, 2015
Planetary Vistas
The word “landscape” can mean picture as well as natural scenery. Recent advances in space exploration imaging have allowed us to now have landscapes never before possible, and this book collects some of the greatest views and vistas of Mars, Venus’s Titan, Io and more in their full glory, with background information to put into context the foreign landforms of our Solar System. Here, literally, are 'other-worldly' visions of strange new scenes, all captured by the latest technology by landing and roving vehicles or by very low-flying spacecraft. There is more than scientific interest in these views. They are also aesthetically beautiful and intriguing, and Dr. Murdin in a final chapter compares them to terrestrial landscapes in fine art. Planetary Vistas is a science book and a travel book across the planets and moons of the Solar System for armchair space explorers who want to be amazed and informed. This book shows what future space explorers will experience, because these are the landscapes that astronauts and space tourists will see.

Secrets of the Universe

release date: Apr 20, 2020
Secrets of the Universe
How did our universe come to exist? Why do stars shine? Is there life beyond the Earth? For millennia, humans have looked to the celestial sphere to explain the cosmos,first recording the movements of the Moon 25,000 years ago. Since the Enlightenmentand the dawn of the space age, scientists have been unravelling cosmic mysteries, andraising astonishing new questions for future generations to answer. Today we live inan age of unprecedented astronomical revelation, from the discovery of water on Marsto the detection of gravitational waves and the first photograph of a black hole. World-renowned astronomer Paul Murdin explains the science behind these discoveries, along with the passions, strugglesand quirks of fate that made them some of the most intriguing dramas of their times,demonstrating how human ingenuity and technological innovation have expandedour knowledge of the Universe beyond anything our ancestors - even as recently asa generation ago - could ever have imagined.

Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos

release date: Apr 01, 2013
Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos
An engaging exploration with renowned astronomer Paul Murdin of how life emerged on Earth—and the possibilities that it exists elsewhere There is no more fascinating question than whether or not we are alone in a vast universe. Here, Paul Murdin applies the latest scientific discoveries and theories to inquire whether life exists on other planets and, if so, what forms it might take. Could there be somewhere life as advanced as here on Earth, or are we more likely to find primitive life-forms? Or are we the sole living organisms in a desolate and boundless cosmos? Professor Murdin invites us to join him in exploring an extraordinary array of evidence to determine if there is life elsewhere in the cosmos. He examines the case for life on Mars and Europa and asks whether on Enceladus or Titan we might find the “warm little” pond that Darwin speculated was where life began here on Earth. Describing the cosmic habitats that produce the alien worlds of our solar system and others, he examines the chances of finding life and the prospects for successful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Supernovae

release date: Apr 28, 2011
Supernovae
Supernovae are gigantic stellar explosions. The effects of these rare events pervade astronomy, creating and spreading the chemical elements, triggering the formation of new stars, creating black holes and pulsars. Originally published in 1978 and first published by Cambridge as this revised edition in 1985, is the story of supernovae. It captures the flavour of ancient astronomy and lays out the accidents, coincidences, false leads and flashes of inspiration that followed as astronomers grasped the implications behind the rare appearance of supernovae. Two supernovae, seen in 1572 and 1604, made scientists aware that the stars changed and could be studied like everything else. Eventually, modern astronomers came to link supernovae with black holes, pulsars, and even with the creation of the chemical elements. The whole entertaining story is told clearly, in non-technical language, showing the triumph of human imagination as we discovered our place in the universe.

Full Meridian of Glory

release date: Dec 25, 2008
Full Meridian of Glory
[the text below needs editing and we must be careful not to say things about Dan Brown's book that could get Springer in legal trouble] Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was first published in 2003; its sales have reached 40 million worldwide. The book mixes a small spice of fact into a large dollop of fiction to create an entertaining novel of intrigue, adventure, romance, danger and conspiracy, which have been imaginatively worked together to cook up the successful bestseller. Most interest in the book’s origins has centred on the sensational religious aspects. Dan Brown has written: ‘All of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact.’ This gives an air of authenticity to the book. Brown has, however, made up the religious doctrines, or based them on questionable accounts by others. The locations of the actions of The Da Vinci Code are not, however, made up. The present book is the scientific story behind the scene of several of the book’s actions that take place on the axis of France that passes through Paris. The Paris Meridian is the name of this location. It is the line running north-south through the astronomical observatory in Paris. One of the original intentions behind the founding of the Paris Observatory was to determine and measure this line. The French government financed the Paris Academy of Sciences to do so in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. It employed both astronomers – people who study and measure the stars – and geodesists – people who study and measure the Earth. This book is about what they did and why. It is a true story behind Dan Brown’s fiction. This is the first English language presentation of this historical material. It is attractively written and it features the story of the community of scientists who created the Paris Meridian. They knew each other well – some were members of the same families, in one case of four generations. Like scientists everywhere they collaborated and formed alliances; they also split into warring factions and squabbled. They travelled to foreign countries, somehow transcending the national and political disputes, as scientists do now, their eyes fixed on ideas of accuracy, truth and objective, enduring values – save where the reception given to their own work is concerned, when some became blind to high ideals and descended into petty politics. To establish the Paris Meridian, the scientists endured hardship, survived danger and gloried in amazing adventures during a time of turmoil in Europe, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War between France and Spain. Some were accused of witchcraft. Some of their associates lost their heads on the guillotine. Some died of disease. Some won honour and fame. One became the Head of State in France, albeit for no more than a few weeks. Some found dangerous love in foreign countries. One scientist killed in self defence when attacked by a jealous lover, another was himself killed by a jealous lover, a third brought back a woman to France and then jilted her, whereupon she joined a convent. The scientists worked on practical problems of interest to the government and to the people. They also worked on one of the important intellectual problems of the time, a problem of great interest to their fellow scientists all over the world, nothing less than the theory of universal gravitation. They succeeded in their intellectual work, while touching politics and the affairs of state. Their endeavours have left their marks on the landscape, in art and in literature.

Discovering the Universe

release date: Feb 03, 2015
Discovering the Universe
Lavishly illustrated with both historic images and the latest satellite photography, Discovering the Universe tells the story of humanity's quest to unlock the secrets of our cosmos. Beginning with the musing of Stone Age peoples on the position of the stars and planets, it then moves through the ages to Galileo's first visions of Orion, to the Moon landing, and right up to awe-inspiring photos of our magnificent universe sent from the Planck telescope.

Mapping the Universe

release date: Sep 06, 2011
Mapping the Universe
A highly illustrated volume traces the evolution of man's understanding of the universe from the Stone Age, to the ancient civilizations and the first telescope, to the high-tech photographs captured by the Planck space telescope in 2010.
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