Transient and Strange
An astonishing debut from the beloved NPR science correspondent: intimate essays about the intersection of science and everyday life.
In her career as a science reporter, Nell Greenfieldboyce has reported from inside a space shuttle, the bottom of a coal mine, and the control room of a particle collider; she’s presented news on the color of dinosaur eggs, ice worms that live on mountaintop glaciers, and signs of life on Venus. In this, her debut book, she delivers a wholly original collection of powerful, emotionally raw, and unforgettable personal essays that probe the places where science touches our lives most intimately.
Expertly weaving her own experiences of motherhood and marriage with an almost devotional attention to the natural world, Greenfieldboyce grapples with the weighty dualities of life: birth and death, constancy and impermanence, memory and doubt, love and aging. She looks for a connection to the universe by embarking on a search for the otherworldly glint of a micrometeorite in the dust, consults meteorologists and storm chasers on the eerie power of tornadoes to soothe her children’s anxieties, and processes her adolescent oblivion through the startling discovery of black holes. Inspired throughout by Walt Whitman’s invocation to the “transient and strange,” she remains attuned to the wildest workings of our world, reflecting on the incredible leap of the humble flea or the echoing truth of a fetal heartbeat.
A beautiful blend of explanatory science, original reporting, and personal experience, Transient and Strange captures the ache of ordinary life, offering resonant insights into both the world around us and the worlds within us.
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