Books : reviews

Mark Bowen.
Thin Ice: unlocking the secrets of climate in the world's highest mountains.
Holt. 2005

The world’s premier climatologist, Lonnie Thompson, has been risking his career and life on the highest and most remote ice caps along the equator in search of clues to the history of climate change. His most innovative work has taken place on these mountain glaciers, where he collects ice cores that provide detailed information about climate history, reaching back 750,000 years. To gather significant data Thompson has spent more time in the death zone—the environment above eighteen thousand feet—than any man who has ever lived.

Scientist and expert climber Mark Bowen joined Thompson’s crew on several expeditions; his exciting and brilliantly detailed narrative takes the reader deep inside retreating glaciers from China, across South America, and to Africa to unravel the mysteries of climate. Most important, we learn what Thompson’s hard-won data reveal about global warming, the past, and the earth's probable future.

Mark Bowen.
Censoring Science: inside the political attack on Dr James Hansen and the truth of global warming.
Plume. 2009

The story of the world’s preeminent climatologist, Dr. James Hansen, and the fight for our planet

Dr. James Hansen—leading climate expert for NASA and the world—first broke the international news on global warming at a Senate hearing in 1988. Little did he expect the rising storm of politically motivated resistance, denial, and obstruction that would follow.

Censoring Science delivers the facts behind global warming and the political fight that has surrounded it since the beginning. The eight hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade, and the record for ice melt in the Arctic was broken in 2005 and 2006, and again in 2007. There is now less ice in the polar regions than we have ever known, and the rate of decline is increasing. Meanwhile, NASA’s mission “to understand and protect our home planet” has been canceled by the Bush administration, and the most important science experiments being conducted today on global climate are being gutted by NASA budget cuts.

Censoring Science sets the record straight and reveals the extent of the Bush administration’s censorship of Dr. Hansen’s findings, while showing how we can still prevent irreversible environmental disaster—if the country and the government are willing to face the truth about global warming.

Mark Bowen.
The Telescope in the Ice: inventing a new astronomy at the south pole.
St Martin's Press. 2017

Scientific American has called IceCube the “weirdest” of the seven wonders of modern astronomy. In The Telescope in the Ice, Mark Bowen tells the inspiring story of this technological tour de force, carried out under some of the most extreme conditions on the planet by a crew of visionary scientists. It’s the inside story of the people who built the instrument, the mistakes they made, the blind alleys they went down, the solutions they found, their conflicts, and their teamwork. It’s a success story.

Located at the geographic South Pole, IceCube is unlike most telescopes in that it is not designed to detect light. It employs a cubic kilometer of diamond-clear ice, more than a mile beneath the surface, to detect an elementary particle known as the neutrino. In 2010, it detected the first extraterrestrial high-energy neutrinos and thus gave birth to a new field of astronomy. This instrument can also do pure particle physics, and since the neutrino is one of the strangest and most unfathomable of the known elementary particles, neutrino physics is one of the most active fields in particle physics today.