Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: We're the Center of the Universe by Christine Zuchora-Walske


We're the Center of the Universe by Christine Zuchora-Walske.

From the publisher:

The universe circles around Earth. Creatures live on the sun. You can tell the future by looking at the stars. At one time, science supported wild notions like these! But later studies proved these ideas were nonsense. Discover science's biggest mistakes and oddest assumptions about physics and astronomy, and see how scientific thought changed over time.

My review:

While most of the information in the book is accurate, there are some things that are not. The author also describes some events in incorrect terms.

When she describes the apparent motion of the planets, the author says that they move in ovals.  As a science teacher, I'm not happy about her using that term. She could have said that the planets move in an elliptical orbit and then described what that meant. I don't want to students to say the planets move in an oval shaped pattern...

When talking about the mission to Mars, the author states that the first pictures of Mars were taken by an orbiter. It was in fact a flyby, the Mariner 4 (US), that returned with 21 images according to the NASA website.

Having said all that, the book does contain a lot of good information. If you use it in your class, just point out the inaccuracies and make it a teaching moment. 

You can purchase the book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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