Toomey, David 1956-
Toomey, David 1956-
Born January 21, 1956, in Pittsfield, MA; son of William (a teacher) and Jacqueline (a teacher and artist) Toomey. Education: Hamilton College, A.B., 1978; University of Massachusetts, M.A., 1986; University of Virginia, Ph.D., 1998. Politics: Democrat. Religion: "Undecided."
Office—Department of English, 481 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected]
Moshav Dikla, Israel, teacher of English as a second language, spring, 1980. Cambridge Central School, Cambridge, NY, secondary English teacher, 1982-83; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, English instructor, 1986-91, 1997-c. 2005, English department instructor representative, 1987-88, member of instructor committee, 1989-91, faculty advisor and copyeditor of L'attitude (university international affairs magazine), 1988-90, mentor to new faculty, 1989-1991, cochair, English department colloquy series, 1997-c. 2005; University of Virginia, graduate teaching assistant, 1992-97; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, assistant professor of English, c. 2005—.
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Visiting Fellow, Princeton University, 1990.
(With Jim Collier) Scientific and Technical Communication in Theory, Practice, and Policy (textbook), Sage Press (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1997.
Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janet, Norton (New York, NY), 2002.
The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics, Norton (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of articles to journals, including Studies in the Novel and Southern Quarterly.
David Toomey is a professor of technical and nonfiction writing at the University of Massachusetts whose books present stories of science to a general audience. His first widely reviewed book was Amelia Earhart's Daughters: The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age, a volume cowritten with Leslie Haynsworth. The book starts off with the tale of the U.S. Air Force's Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) and the obstacles they surmounted during World War II. The book continues with little-known anecdotes of female courage as well as better-known topics, including the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In a New York Times Book Review critique of the book, Carol Peace Robins described Amelia Earhart's Daughters as "a fine balance of hair-raising exploits, political drama and portraits of colorful heroes."
Toomey was the sole author of Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janet, a nonfiction account of a deadly mission by a U.S. Navy weather plane into Hurricane Janet, a Category 5 storm that devastated parts of Mexico and the Caribbean in September 1955. Although the details of the navy aircraft's crash are not known, Toomey outlines the circumstances surrounding the event and delves into the work of how the experts at the National Hurricane Center helped expand what is known about these dangerous storms, detailing the advances in technology and the knowledge of physics unique to Atlantic hurricanes.
Beyond the particulars of Hurricane Janet, Toomey is interested in the science of meteorology and how it advanced in the years before satellites could beam down real-time images of storms from space. In fact, in three decades of hurricane hunting between World War II and the dawn of unmanned reconnaissance flights, only this one plane was lost. The result, according to Gilbert Taylor in a review of Stormchasers for Booklist, is "an understated narrative that ennobles crew members." Paul G. Niesen, writing in Air & Space Power Journal, compared the book favorably to Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and concluded that the book will "satisfy the curiosity of … those looking for a story about perilous events, an introductory history of tropical meteorology, or a primer on concepts of forecasting that were one hundred years ahead of their time."
In The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics, Toomey tackles a subject that has confounded the attempts of many writers before him: time. While most people, Toomey says, are confined to perceiving time as past, present, and future, he tries to help the reader beyond that hurdle into a more flexible paradigm. In particular, he explores the possibility of future and past time travel, neither of which he believes is prevented by the laws of physics, although a wormhole trip to the past is irrefutably a one-way ticket. From the invention of the clock to the work of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and others, Toomey, with a little help from the physics department at the California Institute of Technology, takes the reader on a journey that separates science fiction from science fact, exploring both the notion of worm holes and the grandfather paradox. Steven Poole, writing in the Manchester Guardian, called the book "superbly written," and a writer for Publishers Weekly said that his vivid explanation of scientists and their experiments "is able to bring the topic fully to life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air & Space Power Journal, winter, 2003, Paul G. Niesen, review of Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janet, p. 112.
American History, December, 2002, Jim Corrigan, review of Stormchasers, p. 66.
Booklist, August, 1998, Roland Green, review of Amelia Earhart's Daughters: The Wild and Glorious Story of American Women Aviators from World War II to the Dawn of the Space Age, p. 1932; July, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of Stormchasers, p. 1806; July 1, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics, p. 15.
Bookwatch, November, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers.
Boston Magazine, August, 2002, Greg Lalas, review of Stormchasers, p. 250.
Chicago Tribune Books, August 18, 2002, review of Stormchasers, p. 5.
Choice, January, 2003, A.E. Staver, review of Stormchasers, p. 860.
Christian Science Monitor, September 10, 1998, p. B6.
Guardian (Manchester), September 15, 2007, Steven Poole, review of The New Time Travelers.
Internet Bookwatch, November, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Stormchasers, p. 723; May 15, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers.
New Scientist, July 14, 2007, Marcus Chown, review of The New Time Travelers, p. 52.
New York Times Book Review, September 27, 1998, Carol Peace Robins, review of Amelia Earhart's Daughters.
Publishers Weekly, July 20, 1998, review of Amelia Earhart's Daughters, p. 202; April 30, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers, p. 149.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2003, review of Stormchasers, p. 253.
School Science Review, December, 2003, Carol Tear, review of Stormchasers, p. 134.
Science Books & Films, November, 2003, review of Stormchasers, p. 245.
Science News, September 1, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers, p. 143.
SciTech Book News, September, 2007, review of The New Time Travelers.
Sea Power, February, 2003, Sharon L. Gardner, review of Stormchasers, p. 50.
Pop Matters Web site,http://www.popmatters.com/ (August 20, 2007), Carlin Romano, review of The New Time Travelers.