Ocean Of Air

We not only live in the air, we live because of it. At ground level air transforms miraculously into solid food; it wraps our planet in a blanket of warmth, while the outer layer of our atmosphere soaks up violent flares from the sun. In this celebration of the Earth’s fragile atmosphere, Gabrielle peels back the layers of our atmosphere using stories of the people who uncovered its secrets.


  • "Extraordinary . . . The scientists are almost as interesting as their science."

    Simon Singh
  • ‘I never knew air could be so interesting’

    Bill Bryson
  • “Walker has a PhD in chemistry but she writes like a poet. With a few deft strokes, she brings wacky characters to life… Walker’s book should absorb and delight anyone who breathes”

    Los Angeles Times
  • “A sense of wonder, transmitted down through the ages through generations of scientists, animates Ms Walker’s high spirited narrative and speeds it along like a fresh-blowing westerly…out of thin air, Ms. Walker conjures marvelous shapes and forms”


    New York Times
  • ‘A fabulous introduction to the world above our heads’

    Andrew Smith, Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Spectacular … Kittinger’s fall serves as entrée to an amazing tale of the scientific discovery of the atmosphere’

    Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller
  • ‘Walker’s style is a delight to read … more like an exhilarating adventure tale than a popular science book. It’s unlikely you’ll ever look up at the sky in quite the same way again’

    Independent on Sunday
  • ‘Excellent and mind-boggling … You’ll put this book down and marvel at Walker’s ability to explain things’

    William Leith, Sunday Telegraph
  • ‘A blend of science writing and historical anecdote that is hard to fault … Walker’s account of half a dozen scholars and their inspired hunches, painstaking experiments, wrong turns and dazzling discoveries is like a good detective story’

    New Statesman
  • "Who knew air could be so interesting? Like the scientific mavericks she profiles, Gabrielle Walker had the freshness of vision to realize that within its presumed-nothingness lay the most fascinating, profound revelations about life on earth. This is science writing at its best: clear, witty, relevant, unbelievably interesting, and just plain great."

    Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers
  • "The subject is hot, the science is cool, and Gabrielle Walker's style is lighter than air. Warmly recommended."

    Jonathan Weiner, author of The Beak of the Finch