Jack Challoner

Jack Challoner is the author of more than forty books on science and technology, including The Atom: A Visual Tour, Water: A Visual and Scientific History (both published by the MIT Press), and The Elements: The New Guide to the Building Blocks of the Universe. A leading science communicator, he has developed scientific television programs and is the founder of Explaining Science Publishing.

  • Seeing Science

    Seeing Science

    The Art of Making the Invisible Visible

    Jack Challoner

    The power of images to represent the unseeable: stunning visualizations of science, from the microscopic to the incredibly vast.

    We live among patterns of delicate beauty and exquisite chaos that our eyes can't detect; we are surrounded by invisible particles and shifting fields of matter that permeate all of space. Our very cells are intricate molecular machines, and the story of our origins stretches back through an unimaginable amount of time. How can we see the richness of what lies beyond our sensory perception? Scientists have developed visualization tools that can make the invisible visible. This bountifully illustrated book demonstrates the power of images to represent the unseeable, offering stunning visualizations of science that range from the microscopic to the incredibly vast.

    With more than 200 color images and an engaging text by leading science writer Jack Challoner, Seeing Science explains and illustrates the techniques by which scientists create visualizations of their discoveries. We see the first detection of a black hole as represented by an image from an Xray telescope, get a direct view of DNA through an electron microscope, and much more. Visualizations are also used to make sense of an avalanche of data—concisely presenting information from the 20,000 or so human genes, for example. Scientists represent complex theories in computer models, which take on a curious beauty of their own. And scientists and artists collaborate to create art from science visualizations, with intriguing results.

    • Paperback $34.95
  • Water


    A Visual and Scientific History

    Jack Challoner

    The story of the most abundant substance on Earth, from its origins in the birth of stars billions of years ago to its importance in the living world.

    Water is so ubiquitous in our lives that it is easy to take for granted. The average American uses ninety gallons of water a day; nearly every liquid we encounter is mostly water—milk, for example, is 87 percent water. Clouds and ice—water in other forms—affect our climate. Water is the most abundant substance on Earth, and the third-most abundant molecule in the universe. In this lavishly illustrated volume, science writer Jack Challoner tells the story of water, from its origins in the birth of stars to its importance in the living world.

    Water is perhaps the most studied compound in the universe—although mysteries about it remain—and Challoner describes how thinkers from ancient times have approached the subject. He offers a detailed and fascinating look at the structure and behavior of water molecules, explores the physics of water—explaining, among other things, why ice is slippery—and examines the chemistry of water. He investigates photosynthesis and water's role in evolutionary history, and discusses water and weather, reviewing topics that range from snowflake science to climate change. Finally, he considers the possibility of water beyond our own hydrosphere—on other planets, on the Moon, in interstellar space.

    • Hardcover $39.95
  • The Atom

    The Atom

    A Visual Tour

    Jack Challoner

    An accessible and engaging guide to the atom, the smallest, most fundamental constituent of matter.

    Until now, popular science has relegated the atom to a supporting role in defining the different chemical elements of the periodic table. In this book, Jack Challoner places the atom at center stage. The Atom investigates the quest to identify the smallest, most fundamental constituents of matter—and how that quest helps us to understand what everything is made of and how it all works. Challoner covers a wide range of topics—including the development of scientific thinking about atoms and the basic structure of atoms; how atomic interactions account for the familiar properties of everyday materials; the power of the atomic nucleus; and what the mysterious quantum realm of subatomic particles can tell us about the very nature of reality.

    Illustrated in color throughout, The Atom offers clear answers to questions we have all pondered, as well as some we have never even dreamed of. It describes the amazing discoveries scientists have made about the fundamental building blocks of matter—from quarks to nuclear fission to the “God particle”—and explains them accessibly and concisely. The Atom is the engaging and straightforward introduction to the topic that we didn't get in school.

    • Hardcover $39.95