Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe

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An inspirational, uplifting, and life-affirming memoir about passion, resilience and living life to the fullest, from Dr. Dave Williams, one of Canada’s most accomplished astronauts.

I had dreamt about becoming an astronaut from the time I watched Alan Shepard launch on the first American sub-orbital flight on May 5, 1961. Eleven days before my seventh birthday, I committed to a new goal: one day, I would fly in outer space.

Dr. Dave has led the sort of life that most people only dream of. He has set records for spacewalking. He has lived undersea for weeks at a time. He has saved lives as an emergency doctor, launched into the stratosphere twice, and performed surgery in zero gravity.

But if you ask him how he became so accomplished, he’ll say: “I’m just a curious kid from Saskatchewan.” Curious indeed.

Dr. Dave never lost his desire to explore nor his fascination with the world. Whether he was exploring the woods behind his childhood home or floating in space at the end of the Canadarm, Dave tried to see every moment of his life as filled with beauty and meaning. He learned to scuba dive at only twelve years old, became a doctor despite academic struggles as an undergraduate, and overcame stiff odds and fierce competition to join the ranks of the astronauts he had idolized as a child.

There were setbacks and challenges along the way—the loss of friends in the Columbia disaster, a cancer diagnosis that nearly prevented him from returning to space—but through it all, Dave never lost sight of his goal. And when he finally had the chance to fly among the stars, he came to realize that although the destination can be spectacular, it’s the journey that truly matters.

In Defying Limits, Dave shares the events that have defined his life, showing us that whether we’re gravity-defying astronauts or earth-bound terrestrials, we can all live an infinite, fulfilled life by relishing the value and importance of each moment. The greatest fear that we all face is not the fear of dying, but the fear of never having lived. Each of us is greater than we believe. And, together, we can exceed our limits to soar farther and higher than we ever imagined.
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About the author

Dr. Dave Williams is an astronaut, aquanaut, jet pilot, ER doctor, scientist, and CEO. The former Director of Space & Life Sciences at NASA, he has flown to space twice, once on the space shuttle Columbia and once on Endeavor, logging over thirteen million kilometres in space and over seventeen hours of spacewalks. He has lived and worked on the world’s only undersea research habitat and is the recipient of five honourary degrees, the Order of Canada, and the Order of Ontario. Williams lives in Oakville with his wife, Cathy, two kids, Evan and Olivia, and nephew, Theo. Connect with him on Twitter @AstroDaveMD.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Oct 30, 2018
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781501160967
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the age of ten, looking up at the stars, Jerry Ross knew that he wanted to journey into space. This autobiography tells the story of how he came not only to achieve that goal, but to become the most-launched astronaut in history, as well as a NASA veteran whose career spanned the entire U.S. Space Shuttle program. From his childhood in rural Indiana, through education at Purdue University, and a career in the U.S. Air Force, Ross charted a path to NASA after overcoming many setbacks, from failing to qualify for Air Force pilot training because of "bad" eyesight, to an initial failure to be selected into the astronaut program. The majority of the book is an insider's account of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, including the unforgettable experience of launch, the delights of weightless living, and the challenges of constructing the International Space Station. Ross is a uniquely qualified narrator. During seven spaceflights, he spent 1,393 hours in space, including 58 hours and 18 minutes on nine space walks. Life on the ground is also described, including the devastating experiences of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. For readers who have followed the space program from Mercury through the International Space Station and wonder what comes next, this book provides fascination; for young people interested in space exploration and reaching for their dreams, whatever they might be, this book provides inspiration. Full of stories of spaceflight that few humans have ever experienced, told with humor and honesty, Spacewalker presents a unique perspective on the hard work, determination, and faith necessary to travel beyond this world.

Key Points: -An insider's account of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, from before its first launch through the final landing, and the building of the International Space Station. -A firsthand account of life in space from the first human to fly seven missions. -An inspirational story of a personal journey from rural Indiana to outer space, powered by a deep Christian faith.

Settlers crossing the tallgrass prairie in the early 1800s were greeted by a seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Today, although the tallgrass prairie has been reduced to a tiny percentage of its former expanse, people are working to restore and reconstruct prairie communities. This lavishly illustrated guide to seeds and seedlings, crafted by Tallgrass Prairie Center botanist Dave Williams and illustrator Brent Butler, will insure that everyone from urban gardeners to grassland managers can properly identify and germinate seventy-two species of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses in eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma.

Williams has created a brilliant, nearly foolproof system of identification and verification. Two primary keys lead to eleven secondary keys that link to characteristic groups of tallgrass plants: seven groups for wildflowers and four groups for grasses. To identify a seedling, use the primary key to discover its place in the secondary key, then turn to that characteristic group to find your seedling. Circles on each full seedling photograph correspond to close-up photographs; triangles on these close-ups illustrate information in the text to further pinpoint identification. Drawings of leaves illuminate exact identification, and enlarged photographs of each seed provide yet another way to confirm identification.

Thousands of seeds were sprouted in the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s greenhouse to provide seedlings close in size and development to those grown in the field near the end of their first season; research and photography took place over four years. Williams’s text for each species includes a thorough description, a comparison of similar species, and guidance for germination and growth. A complete glossary supports the text, which is concise but detailed enough to be accessible to beginning prairie enthusiasts.

Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to preserve the native vegetation of prairie remnants or reconstruct a tallgrass prairie of whatever size—from home gardens to schoolyards to roadsides to large acreages—will benefit from the hundreds of photographs and drawings and the precise text in this meticulously prepared guide.

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