Charles Darwin: British Naturalist

Charles Darwin, born in the spring of 1809, seemed to be in ordinary child in upper middle class England. Though educated at Cambridge University with the idea of joining the priesthood, Darwin’s life took a whole new direction when he was offered an opportunity to participate in a government-sponsored, five-year voyage to South America and the Pacific to conduct surveys. His discoveries there laid the groundwork for a theory that would change the world.

Ibn Al-Haytham: First Scientist

Ibn al-Haytham (“Alhazen” in Library of Congress cataloging) was born in Basra in 965. A Muslim who studied the works of Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, and Ptolemy, he developed an approach to science using experimentation and deduction and made significant observations and discoveries, particularly in the field of optics. Translations of his books influenced medieval European scientists and mathematicians from Bacon to Fermat to Kepler. Steffens notes that al-Haytham’s discovery of the cameraobscura may have changed Western art as well. Steffens has organized what is known of his subject’s life and work into a coherent narrative. He is quick to acknowledge gaps, but backs up inferences logically. Like the history of mathematics, the history of science is incomplete without an acknowledgment of early scholars in the Middle East. This clearly written introduction to al-Haytham, his society, and his contributions does that. The book concludes with a time line, source notes, a bibliography, and a list of Web sites.

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

In 1781, Thomas Paine came up with a model for a single-span bridge; in 1887, Adolf Eugen Fick made the first pair of contact lenses; and in 1907, Paul Cornu built the first helicopter. But Leonardo da Vinci thought of all these ideas more than five hundred years ago! At once an artist, inventor, engineer, and scientist, da Vinci wrote and drew detailed descriptions of what would later become hang gliders, automobiles, robots, and much more.

Toby Alone

Toby Lolness may be just one and a half millimeters tall, but he’s the most wanted person in his world — the world of the great oak Tree. Toby’s father has made a groundbreaking discovery: the Tree itself is alive, lowing with vital energy, and there may even be a world beyond it. Greedy developers itch to exploit this forbidden knowledge, risking permanent damage to their natural world. But Toby’s father has refused to reveal his findings, causing the family to be exiled to the lower branches. Only Toby has managed to escape.

Storm: The Black Sphere

Six of the world’s leading scientists were at work on a top-secret assignment—Project FIREball. Now five of them are dead, and one is on the run. He carries with him plans for a world-changing technology—one the CIA, MI6, and a ruthless megalomaniac will stop at nothing to obtain. Will, Andrew, and Gaia, the teen geniuses of STORM, join the high-stakes manhunt, racing to the Swiss Alps and into mortal danger, as they enter the heart of the Black Sphere. Armed robotic eagles, laser-fi ring Frisbees, hightech surveillance roaches—STORM is back in their third high-speed, high-adrenaline adventure. E. L. Young, science journalist and master of suspense, bases all the science, technology, and gadgets in this story on real-life research, patents, and inventions.