How much do you know about the radiation all around you?
Your electronic devices swarm with it; the sun bathes you in it. It's zooming at you from cell towers, microwave ovens, CT scans, mammogram machines, nuclear power plants, deep space, even the walls of your basement. You cannot see, hear, smell or feel it, but there is never a single second when it is not flying through your body. Too much of it will kill you, but without it you wouldn't live a year.
In Zapped, popular science writer Bob Berman tells the story of all the light we cannot see, tracing infrared, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays, radio waves and other forms of radiation from their historic, world-altering discoveries in the 19th century to their central role in our modern way of life, setting the record straight on health costs (and benefits) and exploring the consequences of our newest technologies.
Lively, informative, and packed with fun facts and "eureka moments," Zapped will delight anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of our world.
Bob Berman, one of America's top astronomy writers, is the author of Zoom and The Sun's Heartbeat. He contributed the popular Night Watchman column for Discover for seventeen years and is currently a columnist for Astronomy, a host on Northeast Public Radio, and the science editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. He lives in Willow, New York.
"A rip-roaring ride along the electromagnetic highway. Inspiring and insightful."
– Colin Stuart, author of The Big Questions in Science
"The narrative is briskly conversational: we're on the porch, shooting the breeze with a knowledgeable neighbour. Mr. Berman's avowed goal in writing this book, he says, was "to open a window onto the enormous universe of omnipresent energies". Once that window is thrown open, it is hard to look at the world the same way."
– Wall Street Journal
"Nimbly busts common myths [...] Erudite but never stuffy, Berman writes with enthusiasm and clarity, making this an informative and digestible read for the science-curious."
"Captivating [...] fear not the long-winded scientific discourse: Berman zings through historical and scientific adventures."
– American Scholar
"[Berman is] an unfailingly congenial explainer, always ready with the kinds of fascinating facts his readers might have missed in school."
– Christian Science Monitor
"An enthusiastic account [...] deftly separates fact from myths about cell-phones, brain scans, and other sources of radiation."
"Astronomy writer Berman runs through a fascinating history of the rainbow's invisible bands in this breezy, accessible read [...] In the style of a favorite professor, Berman injects bits of odd humor and captivating tangents into this complex but familiar topic."
– Publishers Weekly
"Like any good pop science book, along the way Zapped offers an endless series of tidbits, from how GPS works to how a software glitch led to the worst incident of radiation poisoning from a medical device (the notorious Therac-25)."
– New Republic
"[Berman] excels at making complex concepts accessible for lay readers [...] this is a great option for those curious about history, theories, and function of everyday things."
– Library Journal
"Explaining light using anecdotal history and colloquial explication, Zapped makes entertaining sense out of what could be dry maths and physics."
– Shelf Awareness