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Republic of Numbers: Unexpected Stories of Mathematical Americans through History by David Lindsay RobertsOnce upon a time in America, few knew or cared about math. In Republic of Numbers, David Lindsay Roberts tells the story of how all that changed, as America transformed into a powerhouse of mathematical thinkers. Covering more than 200 years of American history, Roberts recounts the life stories of twenty-three Americans integral to the evolution of mathematics in this country. Beginning with self-taught Salem mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch's unexpected breakthroughs in ocean navigation and closing with the astounding work Nobel laureate John Nash did on game theory, this book is meant to be read cover to cover. Revealing the marvelous ways in which America became mathematically sophisticated, the book introduces readers to Kelly Miller, the first black man to attend Johns Hopkins, who brilliantly melded mathematics and civil rights activism; Izaak Wirszup, a Polish immigrant who survived the Holocaust and proceeded to change the face of American mathematical education; Grace Hopper, the "Machine Whisperer," who pioneered computer programming; and many other relatively unknown but vital figures. As he brings American history and culture to life, Roberts also explains key mathematical concepts, from the method of least squares, propositional logic, quaternions, and the mean-value theorem to differential equations, non-Euclidean geometry, group theory, statistical mechanics, and Fourier analysis. Republic of Numbers will appeal to anyone who is interested in learning how mathematics has intertwined with American history.
Call Number: QA28 .R63 2019
Publication Date: 2019-10-08
A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science by Rita Colwell; Sharon Bertsch McGrayneA riveting memoir-manifesto from the first female director of the National Science Foundation about the entrenched sexism in science, the elaborate detours women have taken to bypass the problem, and how to fix the system. If you think sexism thrives only on Wall Street or in Hollywood, you haven't visited a lab, a science department, a research foundation, or a biotech firm. Rita Colwell is one of the top scientists in America: the groundbreaking microbiologist who discovered how cholera survives between epidemics and the former head of the National Science Foundation. But when she first applied for a graduate fellowship in bacteriology, she was told, "We don't waste fellowships on women." A lack of support from some male superiors would lead her to change her area of study six times before completing her PhD. A Lab of One's Own documents all Colwell has seen and heard over her six decades in science, from sexual harassment in the lab to obscure systems blocking women from leading professional organizations or publishing their work. Along the way, she encounters other women pushing back against the status quo, including a group at MIT who revolt when they discover their labs are a fraction of the size of their male colleagues'. Resistance gave female scientists special gifts: forced to change specialties so many times, they came to see things in a more interdisciplinary way, which turned out to be key to making new discoveries in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Colwell would also witness the advances that could be made when men and women worked together--often under her direction, such as when she headed a team that helped to uncover the source of the anthrax used in the 2001 letter attacks. A Lab of One's Own shares the sheer joy a scientist feels when moving toward a breakthrough, and the thrill of uncovering a whole new generation of female pioneers. But it is also the science book for the #MeToo era, offering an astute diagnosis of how to fix the problem of sexism in science--and a celebration of the women pushing back.
Call Number: Q143.C615 A3 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
A Scheme of Heaven: The History of Astrology and the Search for our Destiny in Data by Alexander BoxerHumans are pattern-matching creatures, and astrology is the universe's grandest pattern-matching game. In this refreshing work of history and analysis, data scientist Alexander Boxer examines classical texts on astrology to expose its underlying scientific and mathematical framework. Astrology, he argues, was the ancient world's most ambitious applied mathematics problem, a monumental data-analysis enterprise sustained by some of history's most brilliant minds, from Ptolemy to al-Kindi to Kepler.Thousands of years ago, astrologers became the first to stumble upon the powerful storytelling possibilities inherent in numerical data. To correlate the configurations of the cosmos with our day-to-day lives, astrologers relied upon a "scheme of heaven," or horoscope, showing the precise configuration of the planets at a particular instant in time as viewed from a particular place on Earth. Although recognized as pseudoscience today, horoscopes were once considered a cutting-edge scientific tool. Boxer teaches us how to read these esoteric charts--and appreciate the complex astronomical calculations needed to generate them--by diagramming how the heavens appeared at important moments in astrology's history, from the assassination of Julius Caesar as viewed from Rome to the Apollo 11 lunar landing as seen from the surface of the Moon. He then puts these horoscopes to the test using modern data sets and statistical science, arguing that today's data scientists do work similar to astrologers of yore. By looking back at the algorithms of ancient astrology, he suggests, we can better recognize the patterns that are timeless characteristics of our own pattern-matching tendencies.At once critical, rigorous, and far ranging, A Scheme of Heaven recontextualizes astrology as a vast, technological project--spanning continents and centuries--that foreshadowed our data-driven world today.
Call Number: BF1729 .S34 B69 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-14
A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel SusskindANew York Times Book Review Editors' Choice From an Oxford economist, a visionary account of how technology will transform the world of work, and what we should do about it From mechanical looms to the combustion engine to the first computers, new technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. For centuries, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. But as Daniel Susskind demonstrates, this time really is different. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers - from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music - are coming within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is now real. This is not necessarily a bad thing, Susskind emphasizes. Technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one of humanity's oldest problems: how to make sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenges will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, to constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech, and to provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the center of our lives. Perceptive, pragmatic, and ultimately hopeful,A World Without Workshows the way.
Call Number: HD6331 .S86 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-14
Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic by Mike JayA definitive history of mescaline that explores its mind-altering effects across cultures, from ancient America to Western modernity Mescaline became a popular sensation in the mid-twentieth century through Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, after which the word "psychedelic" was coined to describe it. Its story, however, extends deep into prehistory: the earliest Andean cultures depicted mescaline-containing cacti in their temples. Mescaline was isolated in 1897 from the peyote cactus, first encountered by Europeans during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. During the twentieth century it was used by psychologists investigating the secrets of consciousness, spiritual seekers from Aleister Crowley to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, artists exploring the creative process, and psychiatrists looking to cure schizophrenia. Meanwhile peyote played a vital role in preserving and shaping Native American identity. Drawing on botany, pharmacology, ethnography, and the mind sciences and examining the mescaline experiences of figures from William James to Walter Benjamin to Hunter S. Thompson, this is an enthralling narrative of mescaline's many lives.
Call Number: BF209.M4 J39 2019
Publication Date: 2019-06-18
Troubled Water: What's Wrong with What We Drink by Seth M. SiegelNew York Timesbestselling author Seth M. Siegel shows how our drinking water got contaminated, what it may be doing to us, and what we must do to make it safe. If you thought America's drinking water problems started and ended in Flint, Michigan, think again. From big cities and suburbs to the rural heartland, chemicals linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, birth defects, and lowered IQ routinely spill from our taps. Many are to blame: the EPA, Congress, a bipartisan coalition of powerful governors and mayors, chemical companies, and drinking water utilities--even NASA and the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the bottled water industry has been fanning our fears about tap water, but bottled water is often no safer. The tragedy is that existing technologies could launch a new age of clean, healthy, and safe tap water for only a few dollars a week per person. Scrupulously researched,Troubled Water is full of shocking stories about contaminated water found throughout the country and about the everyday heroes who have successfully forced changes in the quality and safety of our drinking water. And it concludes with what America must do to reverse decades of neglect and play-it-safe inaction by government at all levels in order to keep our most precious resource safe.
Call Number: RA592.A1 S54 2019
Publication Date: 2019-10-01
Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini2019 Best-Of Lists: 10 Best Science Books of the Year (Smithsonian Magazine) · Best Science Books of the Year (NPR's Science Friday) · Best Science and Technology Books from 2019" (Library Journal) An astute and timely examination of the re-emergence of scientific research into racial differences. Superior tells the disturbing story of the persistent thread of belief in biological racial differences in the world of science. After the horrors of the Nazi regime in World War II, the mainstream scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. But a worldwide network of intellectual racists and segregationists quietly founded journals and funded research, providing the kind of shoddy studies that were ultimately cited in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's 1994 title The Bell Curve, which purported to show differences in intelligence among races. If the vast majority of scientists and scholars disavowed these ideas and considered race a social construct, it was an idea that still managed to somehow survive in the way scientists thought about human variation and genetics. Dissecting the statements and work of contemporary scientists studying human biodiversity, most of whom claim to be just following the data, Angela Saini shows us how, again and again, even mainstream scientists cling to the idea that race is biologically real. As our understanding of complex traits like intelligence, and the effects of environmental and cultural influences on human beings, from the molecular level on up, grows, the hope of finding simple genetic differences between "races"--to explain differing rates of disease, to explain poverty or test scores, or to justify cultural assumptions--stubbornly persists. At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science--and a powerful reminder that, biologically, we are all far more alike than different.
Call Number: HT1506 .S25 2019
Publication Date: 2019-05-21
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren"Hope Jahren is the voice that science has been waiting for." --Nature "A superb account of the deadly struggle between humanity and what may prove the only life-bearing planet within ten light years, written in a brilliantly sardonic and conversational style." --E. O. Wilson "Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and--above all--essential." --Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist, a brilliant writer, a passionate teacher, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. In The Story of More, she illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions--from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles--that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming--from superstorms to rising sea levels--and the actions that we all can take to fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of global change and a lively, personal narrative given to us in Jahren's inimitable voice, The Story of More is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.
Call Number: QC903 .J37 2020
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson"Sarah Stewart Johnson interweaves her own coming-of-age story as a planetary scientist with a vivid history of the exploration of Mars in this celebration of human curiosity, passion, and perseverance."--Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams "Lovely . . . Johnson's prose swirls with lyrical wonder, as varied and multihued as the apricot deserts, butterscotch skies and blue sunsets of Mars."--Anthony Doerr, The New York Times Book Review Mars was once similar to Earth, but today there are no rivers, no lakes, no oceans. Coated in red dust, the terrain is bewilderingly empty. And yet multiple spacecraft are circling Mars, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium, and Mare Sirenum--on the brink, perhaps, of a staggering find, one that would inspire humankind as much as any discovery in the history of modern science. In this beautifully observed, deeply personal book, Georgetown scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson tells the story of how she and other researchers have scoured Mars for signs of life, transforming the planet from a distant point of light into a world of its own. Johnson's fascination with Mars began as a child in Kentucky, turning over rocks with her father and looking at planets in the night sky. She now conducts fieldwork in some of Earth's most hostile environments, such as the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the salt flats of Western Australia, developing methods for detecting life on other worlds. Here, with poetic precision, she interlaces her own personal journey--as a female scientist and a mother--with tales of other seekers, from Percival Lowell, who was convinced that a utopian society existed on Mars, to Audouin Dollfus, who tried to carry out astronomical observations from a stratospheric balloon. In the process, she shows how the story of Mars is also a story about Earth: This other world has been our mirror, our foil, a telltale reflection of our own anxieties and yearnings. Empathetic and evocative, The Sirens of Mars offers an unlikely natural history of a place where no human has ever set foot, while providing a vivid portrait of our quest to defy our isolation in the cosmos.
Call Number: QB641 .J64 2020
Publication Date: 2020-07-07
Thrifty Science: Making the Most of Materials in the History of Experiment by Simon WerrettIf the twentieth century saw the rise of "Big Science," then the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were surely an age of thrift. As Simon Werrett's new history shows, frugal early modern experimenters transformed their homes into laboratories as they recycled, repurposed, repaired, and reused their material possessions to learn about the natural world. Thrifty Science explores this distinctive culture of experiment and demonstrates how the values of the household helped to shape an array of experimental inquiries, ranging from esoteric investigations of glowworms and sour beer to famous experiments such as Benjamin Franklin's use of a kite to show lightning was electrical and Isaac Newton's investigations of color using prisms. Tracing the diverse ways that men and women put their material possessions into the service of experiment, Werrett offers a history of practices of recycling and repurposing that are often assumed to be more recent in origin. This thriving domestic culture of inquiry was eclipsed by new forms of experimental culture in the nineteenth century, however, culminating in the resource-hungry science of the twentieth. Could thrifty science be making a comeback today, as scientists grapple with the need to make their research more environmentally sustainable?
Call Number: Q182.3 .W444 2019
Publication Date: 2019-01-09
Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects by Anne Sverdrup-ThygesonAn enthusiastic, witty, and informative introduction to the world of insects and why we--and the planet we inhabit--could not survive without them. Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live everywhere--deep inside caves, 18,000 feet high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone's hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. There are insects that have ears on their knees, eyes on their penises, and tongues under their feet. Most of us think life would be better without bugs. In fact, life would be impossible without them. Most of us know that we would not have honey without honeybees, but without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not pollinate. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of Independence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larva can clean difficult wounds; flour beetle larva can digest plastic; several species of insects have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil. They pollinate flowers, including crops that we depend on. They provide food for other animals, such as birds and bats. They control organisms that are harmful to humans. Life as we know it depends on these small creatures. With ecologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson as our capable, entertaining guide into the insect world, we'll learn that there is more variety among insects than we can even imagine and the more you learn about insects, the more fascinating they become. Buzz, Sting, Bite is an essential introduction to the little creatures that make the world go round.
Call Number: QL463 .S8213 2019
Publication Date: 2019-07-02
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCullochThe internet isn't the first technology to alter how we communicate, but it is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. The programmers behind the apps and platforms we use decide how our conversations are structured, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive niche online communities spread slang and jargon exponentially faster than in the days when new dialects were constrained by physical space. What's more, social media provides a fascinating laboratory for watching language evolve in real time.
Call Number: P120 .I6 M28 2019
Publication Date: 2019-07-23
Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity by Joseph G. Allen; John D. Macomber"This book should be essential reading for all who commission, design, manage, and use buildings--indeed anyone who is interested in a healthy environment."--Norman Foster As businesses around the world consider when and how to reopen their doors to fight COVID-19, the Director of Harvard's Healthy Buildings Program and Harvard Business School's leading expert on urban resilience reveal what you can do to harness the power of your offices and homes to protect your health--and boost every aspect of your performance and well-being. Ever feel tired during a meeting? That's because most conference rooms are not bringing in enough fresh air. When that door opens, it literally breathes life back into the room. But there is a lot more acting on your body that you can't feel or see. From our offices and homes to schools, hospitals, and restaurants, the indoor spaces where we work, learn, play, eat, and heal have an outsized impact on our performance and well-being. They affect our creativity, focus, and problem-solving ability and can make us sick--jeopardizing our future and dragging down profits in the process. Charismatic pioneers of the healthy building movement who have paired up to combine the cutting-edge science of Harvard's School of Public Health with the financial know-how of the Harvard Business School, Joseph Allen and John Macomber make a compelling case in this urgently needed book for why every business and home owner should make certain relatively low-cost investments a top priority. Grounded in exposure and risk science and relevant to anyone newly concerned about how their surroundings impact their health, Healthy Buildings can help you evaluate the impact of small, easily controllable environmental fluctuations on your immediate well-being and long-term reproductive and lung health. It shows how our indoor environment can have a dramatic impact on a whole host of higher order cognitive functions--including things like concentration, strategic thinking, troubleshooting, and decision-making. Study after study has found that your performance will dramatically improve if you are working in optimal conditions (with high rates of ventilation, few damaging persistent chemicals, and optimal humidity, lighting and noise control). So what would it take to turn that knowledge into action? Cutting through the jargon to explain complex processes in simple and compelling language, Allen and Macomber show how buildings can both expose you to and protect you from disease. They reveal the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building, share insider tips, and show how tracking what they call "health performance indicators" with smart technology can boost a company's performance and create economic value. With decades of practice in protecting worker health, they offer a clear way forward right now, and show us what comes next in a post-COVID world. While the "green" building movement introduced important new efficiencies, it's time to look beyond the four walls--placing the decisions we make around buildings into the larger conversation around development and health, and prioritizing the most important and vulnerable asset of any building: its people.
Call Number: HC79.I52 A55 2020
Publication Date: 2020-04-21
The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness by Emily AnthesAnArchitectural RecordNotable Book A fascinating, thought-provoking journey into our built environment Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships? In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what--and how much--we eat. Along the way, Anthes takes readers into an operating room designed to minimize medical errors, a school designed to boost students' physical fitness, and a prison designed to support inmates' psychological needs. And she previews the homes of the future, from the high-tech houses that could monitor our health to the 3D-printed structures that might allow us to live on the Moon. The Great Indoorsprovides a fresh perspective on our most familiar surroundings and a new understanding of the power of architecture and design. It's an argument for thoughtful interventions into the built environment and a story about how to build a better world--one room at a time.
Call Number: NA2850 .A58 2020
Publication Date: 2020-06-23
Einstein Was Right: The Science and History of Gravitational Waves by Jed Z. Buchwald (Editor)An authoritative interdisciplinary account of the historic discovery of gravitational waves In 1915, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves--ripples in the fabric of spacetime caused by the movement of large masses--as part of the theory of general relativity. A century later, researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) confirmed Einstein's prediction, detecting gravitational waves generated by the collision of two black holes. Shedding new light on the hundred-year history of this momentous achievement, Einstein Was Right brings together essays by two of the physicists who won the Nobel Prize for their instrumental roles in the discovery, along with contributions by leading scholars who offer unparalleled insights into one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of our time. This illuminating book features an introduction by Tilman Sauer and invaluable firsthand perspectives on the history and significance of the LIGO consortium by physicists Barry Barish and Kip Thorne. Theoretical physicist Alessandra Buonanno discusses the new possibilities opened by gravitational wave astronomy, and sociologist of science Harry Collins and historians of science Diana Kormos Buchwald, Daniel Kennefick, and Jürgen Renn provide further insights into the history of relativity and LIGO. The book closes with a reflection by philosopher Don Howard on the significance of Einstein's theory for the philosophy of science. Edited by Jed Buchwald, Einstein Was Right is a compelling and thought-provoking account of one of the most thrilling scientific discoveries of the modern age.
Call Number: QC179 .E356 2020
Publication Date: 2020-10-13
Space Travel: Ten Short Lessons by Paul ParsonsIn Space Travel: Ten Short Lessons, Paul Parsons takes us on an exhilarating journey to examine the game-changing discoveries in the history of space exploration that have illuminated the darkest corners of our universe. From the amazing technology that has enabled us to look beyond the clouds to the development of rockets and spacecraft during the twentieth century that led to missions to the moon and beyond, to the space tourism of the twenty-first century, this is a cutting-edge, expert-led guide for curious minds. About the series: The Pocket Einstein series is a collection of essential pocket-sized guides for anyone looking to understand a little more about some of the most relevant science that affects us all in the twenty-first century. Broken down into ten simple lessons and written by leading experts in their field, the books reveal the ten most important takeaways from those areas of science we should all know more about.
Call Number: TL794 .P37 2020
Publication Date: 2020-09-08
What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin by Donovan Moore;The history of science is replete with women getting little notice for their groundbreaking discoveries. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, a tireless innovator who correctly theorized the substance of stars, was one of them. It was not easy being a woman of ambition in early twentieth-century England, much less one who wished to be a scientist. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin overcame prodigious obstacles to become a woman of many firsts: the first to receive a PhD in astronomy from Radcliffe College, the first promoted to full professor at Harvard, the first to head a department there. And, in what has been called "the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy," she was the first to describe what stars are made of. Payne-Gaposchkin lived in a society that did not know what to make of a determined schoolgirl who wanted to know everything. She was derided in college and refused a degree. As a graduate student, she faced formidable skepticism. Revolutionary ideas rarely enjoy instantaneous acceptance, but the learned men of the astronomical community found hers especially hard to take seriously. Though welcomed at the Harvard College Observatory, she worked for years without recognition or status. Still, she accomplished what every scientist yearns for: discovery. She revealed the atomic composition of stars--only to be told that her conclusions were wrong by the very man who would later show her to be correct. In What Stars Are Made Of, Donovan Moore brings this remarkable woman to life through extensive archival research, family interviews, and photographs. Moore retraces Payne-Gaposchkin's steps with visits to cramped observatories and nighttime bicycle rides through the streets of Cambridge, England. The result is a story of devotion and tenacity that speaks powerfully to our own time.
Call Number: QB36.G372 M66 2020
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
More Things in the Heavens: How Infrared Astronomy Is Expanding Our View of the Universe by Michael Werner; Peter EisenhardtA sweeping tour of the infrared universe as seen through the eyes of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Astronomers have been studying the heavens for thousands of years, but until recently much of the cosmos has been invisible to the human eye. Launched in 2003, the Spitzer Space Telescope has brought the infrared universe into focus as never before. Michael Werner and Peter Eisenhardt are among the scientists who worked for decades to bring this historic mission to life. Here is their inside story of how Spitzer continues to carry out cutting-edge infrared astronomy to help answer fundamental questions that have intrigued humankind since time immemorial: Where did we come from? How did the universe evolve? Are we alone? In this panoramic book, Werner and Eisenhardt take readers on a breathtaking guided tour of the cosmos in the infrared, beginning in our solar system and venturing ever outward toward the distant origins of the expanding universe. They explain how astronomers use the infrared to observe celestial bodies that are too cold or too far away for their light to be seen by the eye, to conduct deep surveys of galaxies as they appeared at the dawn of time, and to peer through dense cosmic clouds that obscure major events in the life cycles of planets, stars, and galaxies. Featuring many of Spitzer's spectacular images, More Things in the Heavens provides a thrilling look at how infrared astronomy is aiding the search for exoplanets and extraterrestrial life, and transforming our understanding of the history and evolution of our universe.
Call Number: QB470 .W476 2019
Publication Date: 2019-06-25
The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti: IBM, the CIA, and the Cold War Conspiracy to Shut Down Production of the World's First Desktop Computer by Meryle SecrestThe never-before-told true account of the design and development of the first desktop computer by the world's most famous high-styled typewriter company, more than a decade before the arrival of the Osborne 1, the Apple 1, the first Intel microprocessor, and IBM's PC5150. The human, business, design, engineering, cold war, and tech story of how the Olivetti company came to be, how it survived two world wars and brought a ravaged Italy back to life, how after it mastered the typewriter business with the famous "Olivetti touch," it entered the new, fierce electronics race; how its first desktop compter, the P101, came to be; how, within eighteen months, it had caught up with, and surpassed, IBM, the American giant that by then had become an arm of the American government, developing advanced weapon systems; Olivetti putting its own mainframe computer on the market with its desktop prototype, selling 40,000 units, including to NASA for its lunar landings. How Olivetti made inroads into the US market by taking control of Underwood of Hartford CT as an assembly plant for Olivetti's own typewriters and future miniaturized personal computers; how a week after Olivetti purchased Underwood, the US government filed an antitrust suit to try to stop it; how Adriano Olivetti, the legendary idealist, socialist, visionary, heir to the company founded by his father, built the company into a fantastical dynasty--factories, offices, satellite buildings spread over more than fifty acres--while on a train headed for Switzerland in 1960 for supposed meetings and then to Hartford, never arrived, dying suddenly of a heart attack at fifty-eight . . . how eighteen months later, his brilliant young engineer, who had assembled Olivetti's superb team of electronic engineers, was killed, as well, in a suspicious car crash, and how the Olivetti company and the P101 came to its insidious and shocking end.
Call Number: HD9696.2.I82 S43 2019
Publication Date: 2019-11-05
Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization by John BrowneToday's unprecedented pace of change leaves many people wondering what new technologies are doing to our lives. Has social media robbed us of our privacy and fed us with false information? Are the decisions about our health, security and finances made by computer programs inexplicable and biased? Will these algorithms become so complex that we can no longer control them? Are robots going to take our jobs? Will better health care lead to an aging population which cannot be cared for? Can we provide housing for our ever-growing urban populations? And has our demand for energy driven the Earth's climate to the edge of catastrophe? John Browne argues that we need not and must not put the brakes on technological advance. Civilization is founded on engineering innovation; all progress stems from the human urge to make things and to shape the world around us, resulting in greater freedom, health and wealth for all. Drawing on history, his own experiences and conversations with many of today's great innovators, he uncovers the basis for all progress and its consequences, both good and bad. He argues compellingly that the same spark that triggers each innovation can be used to counter its negative consequences. Make, Think, Imagine provides an eloquent blueprint for how we can keep moving towards a brighter future.
Call Number: TA157 .B76 2019
Publication Date: 2019-08-27
The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie MackFrom one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an accessible and eye-opening look at five ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in cosmology. We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it expanded from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life as we know it. But what happens to the universe at the end of the story? And what does it mean for us now? Dr. Katie Mack has been contemplating these questions since she was a young student, when her astronomy professor informed her the universe could end at any moment, in an instant. This revelation set her on the path toward theoretical astrophysics. Now, with lively wit and humor, she takes us on a mind-bending tour through five of the cosmos's possible finales: the Big Crunch, Heat Death, the Big Rip, Vacuum Decay (the one that could happen at any moment!), and the Bounce. Guiding us through cutting-edge science and major concepts in quantum mechanics, cosmology, string theory, and much more, The End of Everything is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.
Call Number: QB991.E53 M33 2020
Publication Date: 2020-06-09
The True Creator of Everything: How the Human Brain Shaped the Universe as We Know It by Miguel NicolelisA radically new cosmological view from a groundbreaking neuroscientist placing the human brain at the center of humanity's universe Renowned neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis introduces readers to a revolutionary new theory of how the human brain evolved to become an organic computer without rival in the known universe. Nicolelis undertakes the first attempt to explain the entirety of human history, culture, and civilization based on a series of recently uncovered key principles of brain function. This new cosmology is centered around three fundamental properties of the human brain: its insurmountable malleability to adapt and learn; its exquisite ability to allow multiple individuals to synchronize their minds around a task, goal, or belief; and its incomparable capacity for abstraction. Combining insights from such diverse fields as neuroscience, mathematics, evolution, computer science, physics, history, art, and philosophy, Nicolelis presents a neurobiologically based manifesto for the uniqueness of the human mind and a cautionary tale of the threats that technology poses to present and future generations.
Call Number: QP360.5 .N536 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-07
Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think by James Vlahos**To chat with the author, ask your Alexa device to "open the voice computing book."** The next great technological disruption is coming The titans of Silicon Valley are racing to build the last, best computer that the world will ever need. They know that whoever successfully creates it will revolutionize our relationship with technology--and make billions of dollars in the process. They call it conversational AI. Computers that can speak and think like humans may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but they are rapidly moving toward reality. InTalk to Me, veteran tech journalist James Vlahos meets the researchers at Amazon, Google, and Apple who are leading the way. He explores how voice tech will transform every sector of society: handing untold new powers to businesses, overturning traditional notions of privacy, upending how we access information, and fundamentally altering the way we understand human consciousness. And he even tries to understand the significance of the voice-computing revolution first-hand -- by building a chatbotversion of his terminally ill father. Vlahos's research leads him to one fundamental question: What happens when our computers become as articulate, compassionate, and creative as we are?
Call Number: QA76.9.V65 V54 2019
Publication Date: 2019-03-26
The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa RamirezIn the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us. In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions--clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips--and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway's writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies. Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences--intended and unintended. Filling in the gaps left by other books about technology, Ramirez showcases little-known inventors--particularly people of color and women--who had a significant impact but whose accomplishments have been hidden by mythmaking, bias, and convention. Doing so, she shows us the power of telling inclusive stories about technology. She also shows that innovation is universal--whether it's splicing beats with two turntables and a microphone or splicing genes with two test tubes and CRISPR.
Call Number: TA403.2 .R36 2020
Publication Date: 2020-04-07
Dark Data: Why What You Don’t Know Matters by David J. HandA practical guide to making good decisions in a world of missing data In the era of big data, it is easy to imagine that we have all the information we need to make good decisions. But in fact the data we have are never complete, and may be only the tip of the iceberg. Just as much of the universe is composed of dark matter, invisible to us but nonetheless present, the universe of information is full of dark data that we overlook at our peril. In Dark Data, data expert David Hand takes us on a fascinating and enlightening journey into the world of the data we don't see. Dark Data explores the many ways in which we can be blind to missing data and how that can lead us to conclusions and actions that are mistaken, dangerous, or even disastrous. Examining a wealth of real-life examples, from the Challenger shuttle explosion to complex financial frauds, Hand gives us a practical taxonomy of the types of dark data that exist and the situations in which they can arise, so that we can learn to recognize and control for them. In doing so, he teaches us not only to be alert to the problems presented by the things we don't know, but also shows how dark data can be used to our advantage, leading to greater understanding and better decisions. Today, we all make decisions using data. Dark Data shows us all how to reduce the risk of making bad ones.
Call Number: QA276 .H3178 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-18
Department of Mind-Blowing Theories by Tom GauldA side-splitting skewering of the sober world of STEM.No one is safe when humorist and cartoonist Tom Gauld directs his hilarious gaze to your profession. Just as he did with writers, poets, and literary classics for the Guardian books page, Gauld now does with hapless scientists, nanobots, and puzzling theorems for his weekly New Scientist strip, the international magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology.Gauld's Department of Mind-Blowing Theories presents one hundred and fifty comic strips topical and funny enough to engage any layperson with a rudimentary recall of their old science classes as well as those who consider themselves boffins of the contemporary physical and natural world.A dog philosopher questions what it really means to be a 'good boy' while playing fetch! A virtual assistant and a robot-cleaner elope! The undiscovered species and the theoretical particle face existential despair! Facebook commenters debunk Darwin's posting of On the Origin of Species! Science vs science fiction! Why are there poodles pouring out of this wormhole?!One could hypothesize just how Gauld is able to command such quick-witted knowledge of the scientific world however, as these strips prove, Gauld would retaliate with the sharpest of punchlines to that hastily cobbled postulate.Gauld won an Eisner for Best Humor for Baking With Kafka and Department of Mind-Blowing Theories is sure to cement his reputation as the foremost authority on joke generating technology.
Call Number: PN6737.G38 D47 2020
Publication Date: 2020-04-14
The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth by Thomas Morris"Delightfully horrifying."--Popular Science One of Mental Floss's Best Books of 2018 One of Science Friday's Best Science Books of 2018 This wryly humorous collection of stories about bizarre medical treatments and cases offers a unique portrait of a bygone era in all its jaw-dropping weirdness. A puzzling series of dental explosions beginning in the nineteenth century is just one of many strange tales that have long lain undiscovered in the pages of old medical journals. Award-winning medical historian Thomas Morris delivers one of the most remarkable, cringe-inducing collections of stories ever assembled. Witness Mysterious Illnesses (such as the Rhode Island woman who peed through her nose), Horrifying Operations (1781: A French soldier in India operates on his own bladder stone), Tall Tales (like the "amphibious infant" of Chicago, a baby that could apparently swim underwater for half an hour), Unfortunate Predicaments (such as that of the boy who honked like a goose after inhaling a bird's larynx), and a plethora of other marvels. Beyond a series of anecdotes, these painfully amusing stories reveal a great deal about the evolution of modern medicine. Some show the medical profession hopeless in the face of ailments that today would be quickly banished by modern drugs; but others are heartening tales of recovery against the odds, patients saved from death by the devotion or ingenuity of a conscientious doctor. However embarrassing the ailment or ludicrous the treatment, every case in The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth tells us something about the knowledge (and ignorance) of an earlier age, along with the sheer resilience of human life.
Publication Date: 2018-11-20
How to Find a Higgs Boson--And Other Big Mysteries in the World of the Very Small by Ivo van VulpenThe history of particle physics, the hunt for the most elusive particle, and the fundamental questions the search has inspired How did physicists combine talent and technology to discover the Higgs boson, the last piece in our inventory of the subatomic world? How did the Higgs change our understanding of the universe? And now, nearly a decade after its detection, what comes next? Answering these questions, Ivo van Vulpen--a CERN particle physicist and member of the team behind the detection--invites us on a journey to the frontiers of our knowledge. Enjoy Van Vulpen's accessible explanation of the history of particle physics and of concepts like quantum mechanics and relativity, and ponder his inquiries regarding the search for new particles (to explain dark matter), a new force (to combine the existing fundamental forces), and new phenomena (undiscovered dimensions of space). This is a lively account of work at the world's highest‑energy particle accelerator, with inspiring personal reflections on humanity's discoveries deeper and deeper into the world of the very small.
Call Number: QC793.26 .V8513 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-18
Girl Decoded: A Scientist's Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology by Carol Colman; Rana el KalioubyIn a captivating memoir, an Egyptian American visionary and scientist provides an intimate view of her personal transformation as she follows her calling--to humanize our technology and how we connect with one another. "A vivid coming-of-age story and a call to each of us to be more mindful and compassionate when we interact online."--Arianna Huffington Rana el Kaliouby is a rarity in both the tech world and her native Middle East: a Muslim woman in charge in a field that is still overwhelmingly white and male. Growing up in Egypt and Kuwait, el Kaliouby was raised by a strict father who valued tradition--yet also had high expectations for his daughters--and a mother who was one of the first female computer programmers in the Middle East. Even before el Kaliouby broke ground as a scientist, she broke the rules of what it meant to be an obedient daughter and, later, an obedient wife to pursue her own daring dream. After earning her PhD at Cambridge, el Kaliouby, now the divorced mother of two, moved to America to pursue her mission to humanize technology before it dehumanizes us. The majority of our communication is conveyed through nonverbal cues: facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. But that communication is lost when we interact with others through our smartphones and devices. The result is an emotion-blind digital universe that impairs the very intelligence and capabilities--including empathy--that distinguish human beings from our machines. To combat our fundamental loss of emotional intelligence online, she cofounded Affectiva, the pioneer in the new field of Emotion AI, allowing our technology to understand humans the way we understand one another. Girl Decoded chronicles el Kaliouby's journey from being a "nice Egyptian girl" to becoming a woman, carving her own path as she revolutionizes technology. But decoding herself--learning to express and act on her own emotions--would prove to be the biggest challenge of all.
Call Number: Q143.E54 E55 2020
Publication Date: 2020-04-21
The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception by David MichaelsWell-heeled American corporations have long had a financial stake in undermining scientific consensus and manufacturing uncertainty. In The Triumph of Doubt, former Obama and Clinton official David Michaels details how corrupt science becomes public policy -- and where it's happening today. Opioids. Concussions. Obesity. Climate Change. America is a country of everyday crises -- big, long-spanning problems that persist despite their toll on the country's health. And for every case of government inaction on one of these issues, there is a set of familiar, doubtful refrains: The science is unclear. The data are inconclusive. Regulation is unjustified. It's a slippery slope. Is it? The Triumph of Doubt traces the ascendance of science-for-hire in American life and government, from its origins in the tobacco industry in the 1950s to its current manifestations across government, public policy, and even professional sports. Amid fraught conversations of "alternative facts" and "truth decay," The Triumph of Doubt wields its unprecedented access to shine a light on the machinations and scope of manipulated science in American society. It is an urgent, revelatory work, one that promises to reorient conversations around science and the public good for the foreseeable future.
Call Number: RA427.8.M53 T75 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-03
What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboratioin by Julie ShahThe next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox? Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They'll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even grocery shop. Such systems could be truly collaborative, accomplishing tasks we don't do well without our having to stop and direct them. This makes them social entities, so, as robot designers Laura Major and Julie Shah argue, whether they make our lives better or worse is a matter of whether they know how to behave. What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots offers a vision for how robots can survive in the real world and how they will change our relationship to technology. From teaching them manners, to robot-proofing public spaces, to planning for their mistakes, this book answers every question you didn't know you needed to ask about the robots on the way.
Call Number: TJ211.49 .M35 2020
Publication Date: 2020-10-13
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Ten Short Lessons by Peter J. BentleyIn Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Ten Short Lessons, leading expert Peter J. Bentley breaks down the fast-moving world of computers into ten pivotal lessons, presenting the reader with the essential information they need to get to understand our most powerful technology and its remarkable implications for our species. From the origins and motivation behind the birth of AI and robotics to using smart algorithms that allow us to build good robots, from the technologies that enable computers to understand a huge range of sensory information, including language and communication, to the challenges of emotional intelligence, unpredictable environments, and imagination in artificial intelligence, this is a cutting-edge, expert-led guide for curious minds. Packed full of easy-to-understand diagrams, pictures, and fact boxes, these ten lessons cover all the basics, as well as the latest understanding and developments, to enlighten the nonscientist. About the series: The Pocket Einstein series is a collection of essential pocket-sized guides for anyone looking to understand a little more about some of the most important and fascinating areas of science in the twenty-first century. Broken down into ten simple lessons and written by leading experts in their field, the books reveal the ten most important takeaways from those areas of science you've always wanted to know more about.
Call Number: Q335 .B46 2020
Publication Date: 2020-09-08
The Poetry and Music of Science: Comparing Creativity in Science and Art by Tom McLeishThe Poetry and Music of Science breaks the silence on the deep creativity and imagination required in science, as necessary as its formal logic. Some aspects of science and art bear close comparison - examples are: the art of the novel and the art of scientific experimentation, the use of visual thinking in painting and physics, the properties of number in music and mathematics. The book eavesdrops on conversations between scientists on how new theoriesarise, and listens to artists' and composers' witness of their own creative processes. Medieval philosophy, neuroscience, musical analysis, the physics of light and theology are all brought to bear on thequestion of how minds imagine and create the new, and how art and science both contribute to what makes us human.
Call Number: BF408 .M3355 2019
Publication Date: 2019-05-07
Waters of the World: The Story of the Scientists Who Unraveled the Mysteries of Our Oceans, Atmosphere, and Ice Sheets and Made the Planet Whole by Sarah DryFrom the glaciers of the Alps to the towering cumulonimbus clouds of the Caribbean and the unexpectedly chaotic flows of the North Atlantic, Waters of the World is a tour through 150 years of the history of a significant but underappreciated idea: that the Earth has a global climate system made up of interconnected parts, constantly changing on all scales of both time and space. A prerequisite for the discovery of global warming and climate change, this idea was forged by scientists studying water in its myriad forms. This is their story. Linking the history of the planet with the lives of those who studied it, Sarah Dry follows the remarkable scientists who summited volcanic peaks to peer through an atmosphere's worth of water vapor, cored mile-thick ice sheets to uncover the Earth's ancient climate history, and flew inside storm clouds to understand how small changes in energy can produce both massive storms and the general circulation of the Earth's atmosphere. Each toiled on his or her own corner of the planetary puzzle. Gradually, their cumulative discoveries coalesced into a unified working theory of our planet's climate. We now call this field climate science, and in recent years it has provoked great passions, anxieties, and warnings. But no less than the object of its study, the science of water and climate is--and always has been--evolving. By revealing the complexity of this history, Waters of the World delivers a better understanding of our planet's climate at a time when we need it the most.
Call Number: QC855 .D79 2019
Publication Date: 2019-11-01
Wilder Lives: Humans and Our Environment by Duncan BrownWilder Lives uses ideas of 'wildness' and 'rewilding' to rethink human relationships with our environments in challenging but affirming ways. If the Earth is indeed 4.5 billion years old, as scientists currently tell us, recognisably human life has only been around since the last Ice Age, and as a species we have single-handedly destroyed our planet's ecosystems in the short space of a few hundred years, then we urgently need to reconsider and redefine our identities and behaviours. Can 'thinking wild' help? Can it provide different ways of seeing, engaging, being human? Can we think of 'wildness' as something that may exist in gradations, or as quality rather than absolute value, and as something that has important ethical as well as biological dimensions? Can it lead us to a 'world view locating humans in a satisfactory residence on this historic and storied Earth', as Holmes Rolston (1988) suggests?Brown's argument in this book is wide-ranging, inquiring, challenging, but finally inspiring, and takes us through such questions as wildness and conservation, wild cities, rewilding language, wildness and food, wild animals, wild margins, and wildness in the ethics of human-animal relations.
Call Number: QH541.5.C6 B76 2019
Publication Date: 2019-10-21
The World According to Physics by Jim Al-khaliliQuantum physicist, New York Times bestselling author, and BBC host Jim Al-Khalili offers a fascinating and illuminating look at what physics reveals about the world Shining a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics, Jim Al-Khalili invites us all to understand what this crucially important science tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself. Al-Khalili begins by introducing the fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, and then describes the three pillars of modern physics--quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics--showing how all three must come together if we are ever to have a full understanding of reality. Using wonderful examples and thought-provoking analogies, Al-Khalili illuminates the physics of the extreme cosmic and quantum scales, the speculative frontiers of the field, and the physics that underpins our everyday experiences and technologies, bringing the reader up to speed with the biggest ideas in physics in just a few sittings. Physics is revealed as an intrepid human quest for ever more foundational principles that accurately explain the natural world we see around us, an undertaking guided by core values such as honesty and doubt. The knowledge discovered by physics both empowers and humbles us, and still, physics continues to delve valiantly into the unknown. Making even the most enigmatic scientific ideas accessible and captivating, this deeply insightful book illuminates why physics matters to everyone and calls one and all to share in the profound adventure of seeking truth in the world around us.
Call Number: QC24.5 .A44 2020
Publication Date: 2020-03-10
Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom; Jevin D. WestBullshit isn't what it used to be. Now, two science professors give us the tools to dismantle misinformation and think clearly in a world of fake news and bad data. Misinformation, disinformation, and fake news abound and it's increasingly difficult to know what's true. Our media environment has become hyperpartisan. Science is conducted by press release. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. We are fairly well equipped to spot the sort of old-school bullshit that is based in fancy rhetoric and weasel words, but most of us don't feel qualified to challenge the avalanche of new-school bullshit presented in the language of math, science, or statistics. In Calling Bullshit, Professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West give us a set of powerful tools to cut through the most intimidating data. You don't need a lot of technical expertise to call out problems with data. Are the numbers or results too good or too dramatic to be true? Is the claim comparing like with like? Is it confirming your personal bias? Drawing on a deep well of expertise in statistics and computational biology, Bergstrom and West exuberantly unpack examples of selection bias and muddled data visualization, distinguish between correlation and causation, and examine the susceptibility of science to modern bullshit. We have always needed people who call bullshit when necessary, whether within a circle of friends, a community of scholars, or the citizenry of a nation. Now that bullshit has evolved, we need to relearn the art of skepticism.
Call Number: B837 .B47 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention by Kathryn D. SullivanThe first American woman to walk in space recounts her experience as part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe. It has, among many other achievements, revealed thousands of galaxies in what seemed to be empty patches of sky; transformed our knowledge of black holes; found dwarf planets with moons orbiting other stars; and measured precisely how fast the universe is expanding. In Handprints on Hubble, retired astronaut Kathryn Sullivan describes her work on the NASA team that made all of this possible. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, recounts how she and other astronauts, engineers, and scientists launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained Hubble, the most productive observatory ever built. Along the way, Sullivan chronicles her early life as a "Sputnik Baby," her path to NASA through oceanography, and her initiation into the space program as one of "thirty-five new guys." (She was also one of the first six women to join NASA's storied astronaut corps.) She describes in vivid detail what liftoff feels like inside a spacecraft (it's like "being in an earthquake and a fighter jet at the same time"), shows us the view from a spacewalk, and recounts the temporary grounding of the shuttle program after the Challenger disaster. Sullivan explains that "maintainability" was designed into Hubble, and she describes the work of inventing the tools and processes that made on-orbit maintenance possible. Because in-flight repair and upgrade was part of the plan, NASA was able to fix a serious defect in Hubble's mirrors--leaving literal and metaphorical "handprints on Hubble." Handprints on Hubble was published with the support of the MIT Press Fund for Diverse Voices.
Call Number: TL789.85.S85 S85 2019
Publication Date: 2019-10-01
Medicine: A Graphic History by Jean-Noël Fabiani; Philippe Bercovici (Illustrator)In the Middle Ages, surgery was performed by barbers, owing to their skill with sharp instruments. In the mid-19th century, a "grand exhibition" of the effects of laughing gas inadvertently led to the discovery of anaesthesia. Three decades later, Louis Pasteur enjoyed a crucial breakthrough in his search for vaccinations because his assistant decided, against his orders, to take a vacation. In Medicine: A Graphic History,surgeon and professor of medical history Jean-Noël Fabiani stitches together the most significant and intriguing episodes from the history of medicine, from chance breakthroughs to hard-fought scientific discoveries. Spanning centuries and crossing continents, this fast-paced and yet rigorously detailed graphic novel guides us through one of the most wondrous strands of human history, covering everything from blood-letting to organ donation, x-rays to prosthetics.
Call Number: R133 .B47 2020
Publication Date: 2020-05-12
Too Near for Dreams: The Story of Cleveland Abbe, America’s First Weather Forecaster by Sean PotterAs director of the Cincinnati Observatory and, later, a civilian in the newly established forecast and storm warning division of the U.S. Army Signal Service, Cleveland Abbe was the first person to issue official, regularly scheduled weather forecasts, or "probabilities," in the United States. Abbe began his work in forecasting in 1869, earning the nickname "Old Probabilities" and gaining recognition for the reliability of his reports. He would go on to become a leader of the US Weather Bureau--which we know today as the National Weather Service. In establishing a system for creating daily weather forecasts and more, this humble pioneer helped lay the foundation for modern meteorology in the United States. Set against the backdrop of nineteenth and early twentieth-century international events and scientific advancements, this biography of Abbe explores both his personal life and his scientific career. It illuminates his time spent in Russia in the mid-1860s--as the Civil War was waged and a president was assassinated back home--in part through letters with his mother. Decades of diaries and correspondence from the Cleveland Abbe Papers at the Library of Congress, as well as first-person accounts, illuminate this biography of a mild-mannered family man whose thirst for knowledge drove him to become a giant in an emerging scientific field.
Call Number: QC858.A23 P68 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-16
The Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives by Kit YatesA brilliant and entertaining mathematician illuminates seven mathematical principles that shape our lives. "Kit Yates shows how our private and social lives are suffused by mathematics. Ignorance may bring tragedy or farce. This is an exquisitely interesting book. It's a deeply serious one too and, for those like me who have little math, it's delightfully readable." --Ian McEwan, author of Atonement "Kit Yates is a natural storyteller. Through fascinating stories and examples, he shows how maths is the beating heart of so much of modern life. An exciting new voice in the world of science communication." --Marcus du Sautoy, author of The Music of the Primes From birthdays to birth rates to how we perceive the passing of time, mathematical patterns shape our lives. But for those of us who left math behind in high school, the numbers and figures hurled at us as we go about our days can sometimes leave us scratching our heads and feeling as if we're fumbling through a mathematical minefield. In this eye-opening and extraordinarily accessible book, mathematician Kit Yates illuminates hidden principles that can help us understand and navigate the chaotic and often opaque surfaces of our world. In The Math of Life and Death, Yates takes us on a fascinating tour of everyday situations and grand-scale applications of mathematical concepts, including exponential growth and decay, optimization, statistics and probability, and number systems. Along the way he reveals the mathematical undersides of controversies over DNA testing, medical screening results, and historical events such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Amanda Knox trial. Readers will finish this book with an enlightened perspective on the news, the law, medicine, and history, and will be better equipped to make personal decisions and solve problems with math in mind, whether it's choosing the shortest checkout line at the grocery store or halting the spread of a deadly disease.
Call Number: QA93 .Y38 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-07
Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter by Luke Fernandez; Susan J. MattThis wide-ranging account of our emotional responses to technologies, from the telegram to Instagram, shows that technology changes not only how we feel, but what our feelings mean. Facebook makes us lonely. Selfies breed narcissism. On Twitter and comment boards, hostility reigns. Pundits and psychologists warn us that digital technologies substantially alter our emotional states. But in this lively and surprising account, we learn that technology doesn't just affect how we feel from moment to moment--it changes profoundly the underlying emotions themselves. Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid examines nineteenth- and twentieth-century letters, diaries, and memoirs and draws on contemporary research and interviews with Americans of different ages and backgrounds to document how our emotions have been transformed by technological change. Where we now strive to escape boredom, earlier generations saw unstructured time as an opportunity for productivity and creativity. Where loneliness is now pathologized, we once thought of solitude as virtuous. Even as we ask whether technology is making us lonelier, it is altering the meaning of loneliness. In this timely book, Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt contend that current technology has removed many of the limits on our emotional landscape. Thus we seek to be constantly stimulated, engaged, and validated, while our anger and antisocial impulses are not only unconstrained but affirmed by the digital company we keep.
Call Number: T14.5 .F385 2020
Publication Date: 2019-05-01
At the Edge of Time: Exploring the Mysteries of Our Universe’s First Seconds by Dan HooperA new look at the first few seconds after the Big Bang--and how research into these moments continues to revolutionize our understanding of our universe Scientists in the past few decades have made crucial discoveries about how our cosmos evolved over the past 13.8 billion years. But there remains a critical gap in our knowledge: we still know very little about what happened in the first seconds after the Big Bang. At the Edge of Time focuses on what we have recently learned and are still striving to understand about this most essential and mysterious period of time at the beginning of cosmic history. Taking readers into the remarkable world of cosmology, Dan Hooper describes many of the extraordinary and perplexing questions that scientists are asking about the origin and nature of our world. Hooper examines how we are using the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang and test promising theories for how and why our universe came to contain so much matter and so little antimatter. We may be poised to finally discover how dark matter was formed during our universe's first moments, and, with new telescopes, we are also lifting the veil on the era of cosmic inflation, which led to the creation of our world as we know it. Wrestling with the mysteries surrounding the initial moments that followed the Big Bang, At the Edge of Time presents an accessible investigation of our universe and its origin.
Call Number: QB982 .H658 2019
Publication Date: 2019-11-05
Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno RubikThe first book by the reclusive inventor of the world's most iconic puzzle THE RUBIK'S CUBE.Erno Rubik inspires us with what he's learned in a lifetime of creating, curiosity, and discovery. Erno Rubik was a child when he first became obsessed with puzzles of all kinds. "Puzzles," he writes, "bring out important qualities in each of us: concentration, curiosity, a sense of play, the eagerness to discover a solution." To Rubik puzzles aren't just games--they're creativity machines. He encourages us to embrace our inner curiosity and find the puzzles that surround us in our everyday lives. "If you are determined, you will solve them," he writes. Rubik's own puzzle, the Cube, went on to be solved by millions worldwide for over forty years, become one of the bestselling toys of all time, and to be featured as a global symbol of intelligence and ingenuity. InCubed, Rubik covers more than just his journey to inventing his eponymous cube. He makes a case for always being an amateur--something he has always considered himself to be. He discusses the inevitability of problems during any act of invention. He reveals what it was like to experience the astonishing worldwide success of an object he made purely for his own play. And he offers what he thinks it means to be a true creator (hint: anyone can do it). Steeped in the wisdom and also the humility ofa born inventor,Cubed offers a unique look at the imperfect science of creation.