THE NEW COOL extols the virtues of math and science -- subjects desperately needing to be reinvigorated. Bascomb follows a group of U.S. high school students embarking on a fierce international robotics competition led by Amir Abo-Shaeer, the first public school teacher to be a recipient of the MacArthur ("Genius Award"), and the iconic inventor Dean Kamen, who is pushing for young kids to be more engaged in science and math in his hopes of inspiring the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
What do a revolutionary inventor, a MacArthur "Genius" award winner, and a best-selling author have in common?
The answer is The New Cool: A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts by veteran journalist and best-selling author Neal Bascomb, which will be published by Crown Books on March 1, 2011.
This inspiring new book documents the extraordinary efforts of a team of high school seniors and their mentor as they strive to build a machine that will compete in the most sophisticated-and heated-international robotics competition.
The 20th annual FIRST robotics competition, devised by iconic inventor Dean Kamen as a way to jumpstart American innovation and create the next generation's Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, has become a worldwide phenomenon. Kamen is frequently hailed as "the Thomas Edison of our time," and he is helping to spearhead President Obama's nationwide "Educate to Innovate" campaign. Each year, FIRST inspires students and teachers to extraordinary accomplishments they never dreamed possible.
The New Cool follows one ragtag team of high schoolers as they struggle to build their robot in a marathon effort of 16-hour days and mind-bending engineering hurdles. As they make their way toward the national championships, these ordinary students--thanks to one extraordinary teacher--discover untapped reserves of resourcefulness and strength.
Amir Abo-Shaeer, the remarkable teacher who leads these students, was recently awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant, a first for a public school teacher. The New Cool chronicles how Amir's team works together-despite no experience, few resources, and not enough time in the race to create their robot. Their success against the best of the best is an epic sports story, and it heralds a new kind of cool that just might usher in a new generation of innovators and leaders.
A film adaptation of The New Cool is being developed by Oscar-winning producer Scott Rudin ('The Social Network,' 'True Grit'), in collaboration with Disney.
The New Cool is also an important guide to the future of education that demonstrates how the United States can marshal its young in the fields of science, technology, math, and engineering through hands-on learning integrated with technology. This newsworthy book is required reading for anyone concerned about the state of education in this country and the future of the American economic engine.
The New Cool is a book that will make you feel good about America's ability to innovate solutions to its most pervasive problems," says Kamen. " The New Cool is, on its simplest level, the story of a robotics competition--but once you realize the immensity of what's at stake, you'll be as nervously anticipatory as the competitors themselves. Neal Bascomb has penned an indelible portrait of a team on a mission that may ultimately be reckoned one of the defining books of the decade."
Neal Bascomb is the author of the international bestsellers The Perfect Mile and Hunting Eichmann as well as Higher and Red Mutiny. His books have been optioned for film, featured in several documentaries, and translated in more than 10 languages. He has also written for the New York Times , Wall Street Journal , and Los Angeles Times
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