Book Notes

The Faculty Voice hopes to note the publication of books by faculty and staff members, so readers-authors are encouraged to send us the necessary information. In this issue, we note two books of significance.

Don-Thomas-book-cover smallOrbit of Discovery by Don Thomas. The author is the Director of the Willard Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson. Thomas writes: “About 550 people have flown in space, so few that I felt I had a responsibility to document the flight and share the story. This particular mission, STS-70, was pretty “vanilla” by NASA standards—we were deploying a communications satellite and doing some secondary experiments. I wanted to cover every aspect of the mission, including details of day-to-day life in a weightless environment. Everybody wants to know about the space shuttle bathroom, but I also explain what we ate, how we shampooed, exercised and even what music we listened to. (Fact: inserting contact lenses is easier in space than on Earth.) I also wanted to recognize the other members of the All-Ohio crew and the NASA ground team at the Kennedy Space Center. It took a lot of people to put us into orbit and return us safely to Earth.”



Dancing to Learn: The Brain’s Cognition, Emotion, and Movement by Judith Lynne Hanna. The author is an Affiliate Research Professor in Anthropology at UMCP. She writes: “Scientists are studying dancers’ brains that hide from our sight the complex operations that underlie the feat of dance. My book is grounded in neuroscience and integrated with work in education, the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The book explains that dance is nonverbal language with similar places and education processes in the brain as verbal language, thus a powerful means of communication. Dance, I show, is physical exercise that sparks neurogenesis and neural plasticity, the brain’s amazing abil­ity to change through­out life. Moreover, dance is a means to help us cope with stress that can motivate or interfere with learning. We acquire knowledge and develop cognitively because dance bulks up the brain and, consequently, dance as an art, recreational, educational, and or therapeutic form is a good investment in the brain. The ‘brain that dances’ is changed by it.”

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