Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts Each of the 21 surviving astronauts from the Apollo missions has chosen a favorite photograph from his space flight for the book, and these are presented alongside other classic and previously unseen images of the Apollo space missions. With a foreword by Stephen Hawking.
Voices From The Moon. The other great Apollo book this year is by Andrew Chaikin, who also wrote A Man On The Moon. This book compiles never-before-published quotes from his interviews with 23 out of 24 Apollo astronauts, recalling their experiences in vivid detail. Plus 160 high-res scans of the images the astronauts took during their mission.
One Giant Leap: Apollo 11 Remembered. Another book timed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings, this one draws on the entire suite of "Apollo's on-board film magazines" to create a picture of life aboard the capsule, as well as the landing and moonwalk, and the astronauts' lives as celebrities after they returned.
Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection. And then there's this... an awesome collection of spacesuit images, showing all of the great gear that's in the Smithsonian collection. It includes some prototypes that nobody's ever seen before, as well as suits from some very early missions, and it's a crucial insight into the evolution of the spacesuit.
Painting Apollo. We featured some of astronaut Alan Bean's beautiful art before, but now here's an entire book of his great moon paintings.
Physics Of The Impossible by Michio Kaku. The breakout hit science book that looks at the real-life science behind science fiction, from psychokinesis to time travel to faster-than-light exploration. Bonus points for having the TARDIS on the cover.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. You just never know when you might need to look up one of the elements, and you might not have your Tom Lehrer CDs handy. This book includes gorgeous photographic representations of all 118 elements in the periodic table.
Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle by Michael Benson. Basically a huge collection of space porn, drawing on all the amazing images that have come out of the various space telescopes and Earthbound observatories of late, coupled with Benson's observations that are aimed at putting it all in context and shattering your mind into tiny stellar fragments of awe. via Scientific American.
No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale by Felice C. Frankel and George M. Whitesides. Harvard's Felice Frankel is a legend among microscopy photographers, for her eye-popping images of tiny wonders. And Whitesides' essays on the importance of nanoscale subjects to computing, medicine and the quantum world are illuminating, making for a visual and mental feast. via Scientific American.
Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life by Scott D. Sampson. Want to know how the dinosaurs really lived? Dinosaur expert Sampson fills us in on all the amazing discoveries of the past 25 years, including the whole dinosaur story from their "humble origins" on the supercontinent Pangaea, to their rise and sudden extinction. via Scientific American.
The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics by Clifford Pickover. Gorgeous color art illustrates this list of great moments in mathematics, including "cicada-generated prime numbers, magic squares from centuries ago, the discovery of pi and calculus, and the butterfly effect."
The Darwin Experience: The Story of the Man and his Theory of Evolution by John van Wyhe. It's chock full of amazing images and original newspaper clippings from Darwin's voyages, but it's also useful as a fact-checker against many Darwin myths — like the idea that he delayed publishing the Origin Of Species because he feared a religious backlash. The perfect gift for your friend who needs to remember why evolution isn't just a working hypothesis any more, and the man who made it that way.
Earth On Fire: How Volcanoes Shape Our Planet by Bernhard Edmaier. Basically, it's just amazing pictures of volcanos. From the official description: "Divided into five chapters by tectonic plate region, this book includes geothermal regions in Europe, the Americas, Africa, New Zealand, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean; famous volcanoes such as Mount St. Helens in the USA, Etna in Italy, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Krakatoa in Indonesia are just a few of the sites highlighted. Earth on Fire features images of a wide variety of phenomena ? from hot flowing lava and towering columns of smoke and ash to lakes, islands and mountain ranges — that are the result of volcanic activity, accompanied by clear, accessible texts explaining key details and events."
Flora Mirabilis: How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth, and Beauty by Catherine H. Howell. This collaboration between National Geographic and the Missouri Botanical Garden includes amazing illustrations and stories of how plants have been crucial to our science and culture, from prehistoric times to today.
Science: The Definitive Visual Guide. It's a complete illustrated scientific encyclopedia, covering key discoveries and major figures. From the official description: "This remarkable reference book reveals the story of scientific progress from the invention of the wheel to 21st-century climate solutions, including everything from ancient Greek geometry and quantum physics to the worldwide web. Explore every key moment of scientific discovery and find out how the concepts, inventions and the individuals behind them have changed our world. With stunning artworks and authoritative information this makes even complex scientific subjects easily comprehensible."