Monday, June 29, 2020

What Do Black Holes Eat for Dinner? And Other Silly, Yet Totally Smart, Questions About Space Interviews with authors Coppen and Tremblay

Kids are going to love this book! What Do Black Holes Eat for Dinner? And Other Silly, Yet Totally Smart, Questions About Space by Katie Coppens and Dr. Grant Tremblay. On sale this Wednesday, July 1st.

The Book-

Space facts from an astrophysicist, brought down to earth by a middle school teacher—these are answers to kids' real, wacky, smart questions. Light, space, stars, galaxies, planets, and more, all explained with accuracy and humor, and accompanied by images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory

The Authors-
Katie Coppens- Katie Coppens is a middle school teacher. She has taught for 18 years, ranging from a 3rd grade self-contained class to high school biology while volunteering in Tanzania. Her goal is to get kids curious and excited about learning! You can follow her on Twitter @Katie_Coppens or visit to learn more about her books.

Dr. Grant Tremblay-  is an astrophysicist at Harvard!

The Interviews- Check these answers out.
Dr. Grant Tremblay's answers:
1. Tell me why you love science?

I love science because I get to be wrong about the Universe in an official, professional capacity. Why "wrong"? Because science is never about being smart, or "right". It's about understanding what you don't understand, and about (hopefully) becoming gradually less wrong over time. The failure of a hypothesis or the collapse of a theory is one of the great engines of progress in our understanding of the Universe.

2. What is your favorite area of study?

I love everything to do with Galaxies - vast collections of hundreds of billions of stars (and even more planets!) - that sit within giant, million light year-wide baths of gas we call the "circumgalactic medium". That's a fancy term for a really, really big cloud that powers a lot of galaxy-scale weather. That's right, galaxies sit within clouds that can "rain" just like the clouds we find in the sky on Earth ... except that the "raindrops" are giant cold gas blobs that are a million times more massive than our Sun.

3. Can you tell me what and where the Chandra x-ray Observatory is?

The Chandra X-ray Observatory is one of the most powerful telescopes in all of history. It's a "space telescope", meaning it's actually a tour-bus-sized satellite that we launched into space on July 23, 1999. It was the largest and heaviest satellite ever launched by the Space Shuttle, and the third of NASA's so-called "Great Observatories" whose mission is to better understand the origin, fate, and nature of the Universe. Chandra observes very high energy light, called "X-rays", that shine from the most energetic regions of the cosmos, including the nurseries of baby stars and doomed gas spiraling toward black holes. You can see me talking more about Chandra here!

4. What made you want to turn your science skills to book writing?

As a kid, I was obsessed with space. Falling asleep at night, I would dream that my bed was an interstellar starship traveling beyond the edge of our galaxy. Part of this obsession was fueled by wonderful books about space science written for young people like me. You are never too young to become a scientist, and never too young to ask important and profound questions about the Universe and our place within it. I co-wrote this book with Katie because, at least in some small way, I wanted to help celebrate and power a young person's love of science.

Katie Coppens' Answers:

1. Tell me why you love science? 
Science is about being curious and a better understanding of the world around you (and beyond!).  Science is everything from psychology to ecology to astrophysics! Teaching science to kids, I can see them make connections between concepts and their own real-life experiences. I always tell my students that the more I learn, the more questions I have!

2. What is your favorite area of study?
 Working on this book taught me so much about the Universe and I can't stop thinking about the endless possibilities of space. My background is in environmental sciences and that was my area of study (my masters degree is in teaching with a focus in environmental sciences). Most of the books I read are about Earth and efforts people can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Much of my teaching focuses on geology and Earth’s history, which has become my passion. My first book for kids was “Geology is a Piece of Cake,” which teaches concepts in geology, ranging from rocks to fossils to tectonic plates, through the analogy of cake and cake recipes.

3. What made you want to turn your science skills to book writing? 
Grant and I wanted to take concepts about space and write them in a way that kids have fun while learning. Many of the questions in the book came from my students. I asked them to think about what if scenarios and as many out of the box questions as they could. We decided to write the book like a conversation between the reader and authors, and this creates a fun flow of questions and answers. The answers lead to more questions and this pattern continues on throughout the book.

4. Do you have plans for another kid's book? 
I’m always brainstorming ideas and get much inspiration from my own children and my students. I’ve written six children’s books and I’ve learned it’s the right book concept when I can’t stop thinking about it. I’d like my next book to be about climate change and to write it in a way that kids can understand it and feel motivated to take action.


1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a real winner. I'll bet it will bring a lot of kids to the understanding of how fun and interesting science can be. Thanks for an interesting post.