Books  General Natural History  General Natural History 

Ice: The Nature, the History, and the Uses of an Astonishing Substance

Popular Science

By: Mariana Gosnell (Author)

576 pages, 19 b/w photos, 33 b/w illustrations

University of Chicago Press

Paperback | Jun 2007 | #165283 | ISBN-13: 9780226304960
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £11.99 $15/€13 approx

About this book

More brittle than glass, at times stronger than steel, at other times flowing like molasses, ice covers 10 percent of the earth's land and 7 percent of its oceans.

Mariana Gosnell here explores the history and uses of ice in all its complexity, grandeur, and significance. From the freezing of Pleasant Lake in New Hampshire to the breakup of a Vermont river at the onset of spring, from the frozen Antarctic landscape that emperor penguins inhabit to the cold, watery route bowhead whales take between Arctic ice floes, Gosnell examines icebergs, icicles, and frostbite; sea ice and permafrost; ice on Mars and in the rings of Saturn; and several new forms of ice developed in labs. A record of the scientific surprises, cultural magnitude, and everyday uses of frozen water, Ice is a sparkling illumination of a substance whose ebbs and flows over time have helped form the world we live in.

"Gosnell travels to the ends of the earth, into the clouds, and under the frozen sea to conduct her investigations [...] By the time you finish this remarkable book, you'll never think about freezing and melting in quite the same way."
New York Times Book Review

"To read Ice is to discover just how astonishing it is and how necessary."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A bright, curious, omnidirectional tour that will entrance nature readers."

"An encyclopedic work with surprises on every page [...] Illustrated with images of ice castles, skaters, and bubble-filled frozen sculpture, Gosnell's book breathes life into the crystals dubbed 'glorious spangles' by Henry David Thoreau."

"An astonishment [...] Engaging, literate, mischievously written [...] [Gosnell] grills and at times ribs grandiose scientists; marvels at, flatters, and notes the historical idiocies of some polar explorers; and gets to the bottom of what would really happen if global warming melted the West Antarctic Ice Sheet."
New York Times

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Mariana Gosnell is a former medicine reporter for Newsweek. Her articles have appeared in many magazines, including Smithsonian and National Wildlife. She is the author of Zero Three Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane.

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