How to hear the universe Gaby González and the search for Einstein's ripples in space-time

Patricia Valdez

Book - 2022

A biography of immigrant scientist Gabriela González, who, armed with modern technology, completed the work that Albert Einstein had begun one hundred years earlier, confirming his theory of gravitational waves and breaking new ground for space-time research.

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Picture books
New York : Alfred A. Knopf [2022]
Main Author
Patricia Valdez (author)
Other Authors
Sara Palacios (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

The story begins in Berlin with Einstein carrying out some of the imaginative thought experiments that led to his groundbreaking work, including a reference to the collision of large space objects causing ripples in space-time, ripples that in his opinion, we would not be able to detect. Shifting forward 50 years, an Argentinian girl named Gabriela (Gaby) González wonders about the night sky. She grows up, studies physics, and moves to the U.S., where she eventually leads a team of physicists finding ways to eliminate background noise for two complex machines built to listen for ripples within space-time. A century after Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the project succeeded in detecting ripples in space-time caused by two black holes colliding. Given the audience, the book's text concentrates more on Einstein's creative scenarios than on his physics, but even more, it tells the story of a Latina physicist whose team made a significant contribution. The upbeat illustrations, digitally enhanced watercolors, set a jaunty tone, and appended notes provide additional information. An ambitious picture book.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Physicist Gabriela "Gaby" González (b. 1965) stars in this polished STEM biography that opens 100 years ago with a skillfully rendered, approachable description of Albert Einstein's theory that space-time could ripple. The problem: "Without a way to hear ripples in space-time, people considered Einstein's idea simply a fairy tale." Fast forward 50 years to Argentina, where young González develops a passion for physics. In lively prose, Valdez describes how González moves to the U.S. and spends "long days and long nights thinking, testing, and measuring," trying to encounter Einstein's ripples, until eventually, she and a team--portrayed with varying abilities and skin tones--successfully perceive the collision of two black holes. Palacios's digital and watercolor art bursts with science tropes, including equations, stars, and white lab coats, supporting the book's broader, empowering embrace of science as transcending space and time. Ample back matter includes an author's note alongside further resources. Ages 4--8. (Mar.)

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