Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass by Mary Kay Carson, with photographs by Tom Uhlman

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing 

Summary: Back in 1991, eight scientists sealed themselves inside Biosphere 2, a gigantic structure built to approximate different habitats on Earth. They lived there for two years, eating food they raised and breathing oxygen created through photosynthesis.  Those Biospherians have moved on, but the structure still stands in the Arizona desert, and it is still being used by scientists to model various ecosystems.  Chapters in the book cover rainforests, oceans, earth science, and sustainability.  Each chapter profiles a scientist working in one of these fields, the work he or she is doing, and how it is relevant to our lives.  The original experiment is described in the first chapter, and sidebars entitled “Flashback to the Biospherians” scattered throughout the book tell anecdotes about what life inside Biosphere II was like for those eight.  Back matter includes a glossary, bibliography, and how to find out more information.  80 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros: Another excellent entry from the “Scientists in the Field” series which seems to unfailingly be able to make science look both fun and inspiring. As always, the photos and text work together to bring the science to life.

Cons:  I read quite a bit about the Biospherians while working at the Boston Museum of Science in 1991, and they seemed a little loony to me.  This book didn’t do a whole lot to dispel that perception.

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