Logo IMG
HOME > SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND > Scientists' Nightstand Detail


Winter 2008 Roundup: Coffee-Table Books

David Schoonmaker, Catherine Clabby, Fenella Saunders, Morgan Ryan, Anna Lena Phillips, Flora Taylor

Over the Rivers: An Aerial View of Geology, by Michael Collier
From%20%3Cem%3EOver%20the%20Rivers%3C/em%3E.Click to Enlarge Image

Roughly speaking, the difference between sedimentologists and geomorphologists comes down to their angle on the geological world. Sediments are, at least by origin, horizontal and always require that perspective. Geomorphologists prefer the vertical: What shaped a particular topography? In this, geologist and family physician Michael Collier is the quintessential geomorphologist. He peers down on the landscape with a Pentax from his Cessna 180 recording the way rivers and the land they cross interact. But he’s more than that.

After my first browse of Collier’s book, Over the Rivers (Mikaya Press, 2008, $34.95), neither earth scientist nor physician came to mind. Collier is a photographer of the highest caliber, someone who deeply understands the photographer’s paintbrush, what he himself calls “Rembrandt light.” Each of the book’s 73 aerial images of rivers at work is captivating, and the accompanying text helps the viewer decipher the landscape.

The photographs are restricted to North America and concentrate in the desert Southwest, where the Earth readily reveals in skeleton. But nothing is lost by the focus. It’s impossible to come away from this book without a deeper appreciation of our home and the processes that shape it.—David Schoonmaker

comments powered by Disqus

Connect With Us:


Sigma Xi/Amazon Smile (SciNight)

Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.

Read Past Issues on JSTOR

JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.

The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.

View the full collection here.


Of Possible Interest

Book Review: O Pioneer

Book Review: Pavlov's Perestroika

Book Review: Darkness Invisible

Subscribe to American Scientist