An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007 - Science - 272 pages
1 Review
We spend our lives surrounded by air, hardly even noticing it. It’s the most miraculous substance on earth, yet responsible for our food, our weather, our water, and our ability to hear. In fact, we live at the bottom of an ocean of air. In this exuberant book, gifted science writer Gabrielle Walker peels back the layers of our atmosphere with the stories of the people who uncovered its secrets:

• A flamboyant Renaissance Italian discovers how heavy our air really is: The air filling Carnegie Hall, for example, weighs seventy thousand pounds.

• A one-eyed barnstorming pilot finds a set of winds that constantly blow five miles above our heads.

• An impoverished American farmer figures out why hurricanes move in a circle by carving equations with his pitchfork on a barn door.

• A well-meaning inventor nearly destroys the ozone layer.

• A reclusive mathematical genius predicts, thirty years before he’s proved right, that the sky contains a layer of floating metal fed by the glowing tails of shooting stars.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

An ocean of air: why the wind blows and other mysteries of the atmosphere

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Beginning with a gripping prolog that recalls an air force captain's daring parachute jump from the edge of space, science writer Walker (Snowball Earth ) chronicles the lives and work of scientists ... Read full review

Contents

I
3
II
26
III
58
IV
88
V
127
VI
129
VII
159
IX
196
X
232
XI
236
XII
239
XIII
247
XIV
262
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

GABRIELLE WALKER has a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge University and has taught at both Cambridge and Princeton universities. She is a consultant to New Scientist , contributes frequently to BBC Radio, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. She is also the author of four books, including An Ocean of Air and Antarctica . She lives in London.

Bibliographic information