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These are books we have ordered for the PopSci collection. If the title links back to the library catalog, you can put a hold on the book and we'll notify you when it's here.
The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization by Roland EnnosA groundbreaking examination of the role that wood and trees have played in our global ecosystem--including human evolution and the rise and fall of empires--in the bestselling tradition of Yuval Harari's Sapiens and Mark Kurlansky's Salt. As the dominant species on Earth, humans have made astonishing progress since our ancestors came down from the trees. But how did the descendants of small primates manage to walk upright, become top predators, and populate the world? How were humans able to develop civilizations and produce a globalized economy? Now, in The Age of Wood, Roland Ennos shows for the first time that the key to our success has been our relationship with wood. Brilliantly synthesizing recent research with existing knowledge in fields as wide-ranging as primatology, anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, engineering, and carpentry, Ennos reinterprets human history and shows how our ability to exploit wood's unique properties has profoundly shaped our bodies and minds, societies, and lives. He takes us on a sweeping ten-million-year journey from Southeast Asia and West Africa where great apes swing among the trees, build nests, and fashion tools; to East Africa where hunter gatherers collected their food; to the structural design of wooden temples in China and Japan; and to Northern England, where archaeologists trace how coal enabled humans to build an industrial world. Addressing the effects of industrialization--including the use of fossil fuels and other energy-intensive materials to replace timber--The Age of Wood not only shows the essential role that trees play in the history and evolution of human existence, but also argues that for the benefit of our planet we must return to more traditional ways of growing, using, and understanding trees. A winning blend of history and science, this is a fascinating and authoritative work for anyone interested in nature, the environment, and the making of the world as we know it.
Publication Date: 2020-12-01
Ahab's Rolling Sea: A Natural History of "Moby-Dick" by Richard J. KingAlthough Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing--or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the "best book ever written about nature," and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael's sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851. A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab's Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville's novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow's nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851--at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab's and Ishmael's worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been entirely foreign, if not absurd, to Melville, King argues that Melville's narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism. Featuring a coffer of illustrations and an array of interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab's Rolling Sea offers new insight not only into a cherished masterwork and its author but also into our evolving relationship with the briny deep--from whale hunters to climate refugees.
Publication Date: 2019-11-11
The Beachcomber's Guide to Marine Debris by Michael StachowitschThis richly illustrated book serves as the ideal guide to the items that litter the world's beaches. Forget sea shells and other fauna and flora. Here, you will find what a beachcomber is actually most likely to encounter these days: glass, plastic, wood, metal, paper, oil, and other sources of marine pollution! Complete with nearly 700 photographs, this guide shows the full range of marine debris items, each presented with insight and a pinch of humor. In addition, the author provides full details about these items. You will learn everything worth knowing about them. This includes not just their sources and decomposition stages. Discover the threat each item poses to these beautiful environments as well as prevention strategies, clean-up recommendations, alternative products, and recycling and upcycling ideas. Beyond the aesthetic issue, marine debris poses a threat to wildlife, human health, and economic welfare. This book arms you with the knowledge you need to combat these disgraceful and often hazardous eyesores. Become a beach detective! Travel the world's most beloved tourist destinations with this ultimate beach read and help restore these fascinating environments to their natural beauty.
Publication Date: 2018-10-18
Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace by Carl SafinaANEW YORK TIMESNOTABLE BOOK OF 2020 "In this superbly articulate cri de coeur, Safina gives us a new way of looking at the natural world that is radically different."--The Washington Post New York Timesbestselling author Carl Safina brings readers close to three non-human cultures--what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them. ANew York Times Notable Books of 2020 Some believe that culture is strictly a human phenomenon. But this book reveals cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth's remaining wild places. It shows how if you're a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too come to understand yourself as an individual within a particular community that does things in specific ways, that hastraditions. Alongside genes, culture is a second form of inheritance, passed through generations as pools of learned knowledge. As situations change, social learning--culture--allows behaviors to adjust much faster than genes can adapt. Becoming Wild brings readers into intimate proximity with various nonhuman individuals in their free-living communities. It presents a revelatory account of how animals function beyond our usual view. Safina shows that for non-humans and humans alike,culture comprises the answers to the question, "How dowe live here?" It unites individuals within a group identity. But cultural groups often seek to avoid, or even be hostile toward, other factions. By showing that this is true across species, Safina illuminates why human cultural tensions remain maddeningly intractable despite the arbitrariness of many of our differences.Becoming Wild takes readers behind the curtain of life on Earth, to witness from a new vantage point the most world-saving of perceptions: how we are all connected.
Publication Date: 2020-04-14
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2020 by Michio Kaku (Editor); Jaime Green (Editor)A collection of the best science and nature writing published in North America in 2019, guest edited byNew York Timesbest-selling author and ground-breaking physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. "Scientists and science writers have a monumental task: making science exciting and relevant to the average person, so that they care," writes renowned American physicist Michio Kaku. "If we fail in this endeavor, then we must face dire consequences." From the startlingly human abilities of AI, to the devastating accounts of California's forest fires, to the impending traffic jam on the moon, the selections in this year'sBest American Science and Nature Writing explore the latest mysteries and marvels occurring in our labs and in nature. These gripping narratives masterfully translate the work of today's brightest scientists, offering a clearer view of our world and making us care. THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE AND NATURE WRITING 2020 INCLUDES RIVKA GALCHEN * ADAM GOPNIK * FERRIS JABR * JOSHUA SOKOL * MELINDA WENNER MOYER * SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE * NATALIE WOLCHOVER and others
Publication Date: 2020-11-03
The Best Writing on Mathematics 2020 by Mircea Pitici (Editor)The year's finest mathematical writing from around the world This annual anthology brings together the year's finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2020 makes available to a wide audience many articles not easily found anywhere else--and you don't need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These writings offer surprising insights into the nature, meaning, and practice of mathematics today. They delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday aspects of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today's hottest mathematical debates. Here, Steven Strogatz reveals how calculus drives advances in virology, Paul Thagard argues that the power of mathematics stems from its combination of realistic and fictional qualities, and Erica Klarreich describes how Hao Huang used the combinatorics of cube nodes to solve a longstanding problem in computer science. In other essays, John Baez tells how he discovered the irresistible attractions of algebraic geometry, Mark Colyvan compares the radically different explanatory practices of mathematics and science, and Boris Odehnal reviews some surprising properties of multidimensional geometries. And there's much, much more. In addition to presenting the year's most memorable writings on mathematics, this must-have anthology includes a bibliography of other notable writings and an introduction by the editor. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in where math has taken us--and where it is headed.
Publication Date: 2020-11-24
The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think by Jennifer AckermanFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds, a radical investigation into the bird way of being, and the recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds -- how they live and how they think. "There is the mammal way and there is the bird way." But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries -- What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play. Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of, well, birdness: a mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own; a bird that collaborates in an extraordinary way with one species--ours--but parasitizes another in gruesome fashion; birds that give gifts and birds that steal; birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves; birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call--and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter. Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, Jennifer Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It is what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.
Publication Date: 2020-05-05
Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene by David SepkoskiWe live in an age in which we are repeatedly reminded--by scientists, by the media, by popular culture--of the looming threat of mass extinction. We're told that human activity is currently producing a sixth mass extinction, perhaps of even greater magnitude than the five previous geological catastrophes that drastically altered life on Earth. Indeed, there is a very real concern that the human species may itself be poised to go the way of the dinosaurs, victims of the most recent mass extinction some 65 million years ago. How we interpret the causes and consequences of extinction and their ensuing moral imperatives is deeply embedded in the cultural values of any given historical moment. And, as David Sepkoski reveals, the history of scientific ideas about extinction over the past two hundred years--as both a past and a current process--is implicated in major changes in the way Western society has approached biological and cultural diversity. It seems self-evident to most of us that diverse ecosystems and societies are intrinsically valuable, but the current fascination with diversity is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, the way we value diversity depends crucially on our sense that it is precarious--that it is something actively threatened, and that its loss could have profound consequences. In Catastrophic Thinking, Sepkoski uncovers how and why we learned to value diversity as a precious resource at the same time as we learned to think catastrophically about extinction.
Publication Date: 2020-09-24
The Chemical Age: How Chemists Fought Famine and Disease, Killed Millions, and Changed Our Relationship with the Earth by Frank von HippelFor thousands of years, we've found ways to scorch, scour, and sterilize our surroundings to make them safer. Sometimes these methods are wonderfully effective. Often, however, they come with catastrophic consequences--consequences that aren't typically understood for generations. The Chemical Age tells the captivating story of the scientists who waged war on famine and disease with chemistry. With depth and verve, Frank A. von Hippel explores humanity's uneasy coexistence with pests, and how their existence, and the battles to exterminate them, have shaped our modern world. Beginning with the potato blight tragedy of the 1840s, which led scientists on an urgent mission to prevent famine using pesticides, von Hippel traces the history of pesticide use to the 1960s, when Rachel Carson's Silent Spring revealed that those same chemicals were insidiously damaging our health and driving species toward extinction. Telling the story of these pesticides in vivid detail, von Hippel showcases the thrills and complex consequences of scientific discovery. He describes the invention of substances that could protect crops, the emergence of our understanding of the way diseases spread, the creation of chemicals used to kill pests and people, and, finally, how scientists turned those wartime chemicals on the landscape at a massive scale, prompting the vital environmental movement that continues today. The Chemical Age is a dynamic, sweeping history that exposes how humankind's affinity for pesticides made the modern world possible--while also threatening its essential fabric.
Publication Date: 2020-09-04
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter IsaacsonThe bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies. When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn't become scientists, she decided she would. Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book's author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code. Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm...Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids? After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.
Publication Date: 2021-03-09
COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie"MacKenzie's fascinating book gives us the scope and scale to be able to put this pandemic in perspective and, it begs the question, will we learn from this in time to prevent to next one?" -Molly Caldwell Crosby, Bestselling author of The American Plague * One of the Financial Times' Best Science Books of 2020 * In a gripping, accessible narrative, a veteran science journalist lays out the shocking story of how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic happened and how to make sure this never happens again Over the last 30 years of epidemics and pandemics, we learned nearly every lesson needed to stop this coronavirus outbreak in its tracks. We heeded almost none of them. The result is a pandemic on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. In this captivating, authoritative, and eye-opening book, science journalist Debora MacKenzie lays out the full story of how and why it happened: the previous viruses that should have prepared us, the shocking public health failures that paved the way, the failure to contain the outbreak, and most importantly, what we must do to prevent future pandemics. Debora MacKenzie has been reporting on emerging diseases for more than three decades, and she draws on that experience to explain how COVID-19 went from a potentially manageable outbreak to a global pandemic. Offering a compelling history of the most significant recent outbreaks, including SARS, MERS, H1N1, Zika, and Ebola, she gives a crash course in Epidemiology 101--how viruses spread and how pandemics end--and outlines the lessons we failed to learn from each past crisis. In vivid detail, she takes us through the arrival and spread of COVID-19, making clear the steps that governments knew they could have taken to prevent or at least prepare for this. Looking forward, MacKenzie makes a bold, optimistic argument: this pandemic might finally galvanize the world to take viruses seriously. Fighting this pandemic and preventing the next one will take political action of all kinds, globally, from governments, the scientific community, and individuals--but it is possible. No one has yet brought together our knowledge of COVID-19 in a comprehensive, informative, and accessible way. But that story can already be told, and Debora MacKenzie's urgent telling is required reading for these times and beyond. It is too early to say where the COVID-19 pandemic will go, but it is past time to talk about what went wrong and how we can do better.
Publication Date: 2020-07-14
CRISPR People: The Science and Ethics of Editing Humans by Henry T. GreelyWhat does the birth of babies whose embryos had gone through genome editing mean--for science and for all of us? In November 2018, the world was shocked to learn that two babies had been born in China with DNA edited while they were embryos--as dramatic a development in genetics as the cloning of Dolly the sheep was in 1996. In this book, Hank Greely, a leading authority on law and genetics, tells the fascinating story of this human experiment and its consequences. Greely explains what Chinese scientist He Jiankui did, how he did it, and how the public and other scientists learned about and reacted to this unprecedented genetic intervention.
Publication Date: 2021-02-16
Desert Navigator: The Journey of an Ant by Rüdiger WehnerWinner of the Association of American Publishers PROSE Award for Excellence in Biological and Life Sciences A world-renowned researcher of animal behavior reveals the extraordinary orienteering skills of desert ants, offering a thrilling account of the sophisticated ways insects function in their natural environments. Cataglyphis desert ants are agile ultrarunners who can tolerate near-lethal temperatures when they forage in the hot midday sun. But it is their remarkable navigational abilities that make these ants so fascinating to study. Whether in the Sahara or its ecological equivalents in the Namib Desert and Australian Outback, the Cataglyphis navigators can set out foraging across vast expanses of desert terrain in search of prey, and then find the shortest way home. For almost half a century, Rüdiger Wehner and his collaborators have devised elegant experiments to unmask how they do it. Through a lively and lucid narrative, Desert Navigator offers a firsthand look at the extraordinary navigational skills of these charismatic desert dwellers and the experiments that revealed how they strategize and solve complex problems. Wehner and his team discovered that these insect navigators use visual cues in the sky that humans are unable to see, the Earth's magnetic field, wind direction, a step counter, and panoramic "snapshots" of landmarks, among other resources. The ants combine all of this information to steer an optimal course. At any given time during their long journey, they know exactly where to go. It is no wonder these nimble and versatile creatures have become models in the study of animal navigation. Desert Navigator brings to light the marvelous capacity and complexity found in these remarkable insects and shows us how mini brains can solve mega tasks.
Publication Date: 2020-02-04
The Design Thinking Quick Start Guide: A 6-Step Process for Generating and Implementing Creative Solutions by Isabell Osann; Lena Mayer; Inga WieleA brief, beautiful introduction to Design Thinking that inspires business creativity and innovative solutions The Design Thinking Quick Start Guide: A 6-Step Process for Generating and Implementing Creative Solutionsshows you how you and your team can become more creative. This book presents methods you can use to innovate playfully and enjoyably. The Design Thinking Quick Start Guide is full of practical tools and activities, like the 6-3-5 method of brainstorming, to help you and your team get creative. For each of the six steps in the design thinking process, the authors offer two warm-ups that get teams ready to contribute and arrive at innovative solutions. Spur innovation with checklists for brainstorming and implementation Learn how to generate new ideas Lead your team in a proven process for doing creative work Whether you're new to design thinking or experienced, the clearly outlined steps in this guide will inspire you to create and implement great ideas.
Publication Date: 2020-02-11
Designing for Society: Products and Services for a Better World by Nynke Tromp; Paul HekkertOur globalised world is encountering problems on an unprecedented scale. Many of the issues we face as societies extend beyond the borders of our nations. Phenomena such as terrorism, climate change, immigration, cybercrime and poverty can no longer be understood without considering the complex socio-technical systems that support our way of living. It is widely acknowledged that to contend with any of the pressing issues of our time, we have to substantially adapt our lifestyles. To adequately counteract the problems of our time, we need interventions that help us actually adopt the behaviours that lead us toward a more sustainable and ethically just future. In Designing for Society, Nynke Tromp and Paul Hekkert provide a hands-on tool for design professionals and students who wish to use design to counteract social issues. Viewing the artefact as a unique means of facilitating behavioural change to realise social impact, this book goes beyond the current trend of applying design thinking to enhancing public services, and beyond the idea of the designer as a facilitator of localised social change.
Publication Date: 2019-01-10
Disaster by Choice: How our actions turn natural hazards into catastrophes by Ilan KelmanAn earthquake shatters Haiti and a hurricane slices through Texas. We hear that nature runs rampant, seeking to destroy us through these 'natural disasters'. Science recounts a different story, however: disasters are not the consequence of natural causes; they are the consequence of human choices and decisions. we put ourselves in harm's way; we fail to take measures which we know would prevent disasters, no matter what the environment does. This can be both hard to accept, and hard to unravel. A complex of factors shape disasters. They arise from the political processes dictating where and what we build, and from social circumstances which create and perpetuate poverty and discrimination. They develop from the social preference to blame nature for the damage wrought, when in fact events such as earthquakes and storms are entirely commonplace environmental processes We feel the need to fight natural forces, to reclaim what we assume is ours, and to protect ourselves from what we perceive to be wrath from outside our communities. This attitude distracts us from the real causes of disasters: humanity's decisions, as societies and as individuals. It stops us accepting the real solutions to disasters: making better decisions. This book explores stories of some of our worst disasters to show how we can and should act to stop people dying when nature unleashes its energies. The disaster is not the tornado, the volcanic eruption, or climate change, but the deaths and injuries, the loss of irreplaceable property, and the lack and even denial of support to affected people, so that a short-term interruption becomes a long-term recovery nightmare. But we can combat this, as Kelman shows, describing inspiring examples of effective human action that limits damage, such as managing flooding in Toronto and villages in Bangladesh, or wildfire in Colorado. Throughout, his message is clear: there is no such thing as a natural disaster. The disaster lies in our inability to deal with the environment and with ourselves.
Publication Date: 2020-05-01
Discovering Cosmetic Science by Denise Mclaverty (Editor); Yi Ling Soong (Editor); Allan Eastham (Editor); Stephen Barton (Editor); Amanda Isom (Editor)Welcome to this 'novice's guide'. At last a book that explains the real science behind the cosmetics we use. Taking a gentle approach and a guided journey through the different product types, we discover that they are not as superficial as often thought and learn that there is some amazing science behind them. We shall uncover some of the truths behind the myths and point out some interesting facts on our way. Did you know? Vitamin E is the world's most used cosmetic active ingredient. At just 1mm thick, your amazing skin keeps out just about everything it's exposed to - including your products! A 'chemical soup' of amino acids, urea, mineral salts and organic acids act as 'water magnets' in the skin keeping it naturally moisturised. Discovered centuries ago, iron oxides (yes, the same chemicals as rust) are still commonly used inorganic pigments in foundations. A lipstick is a fine balance of waxes, oils and colourants to keep the stick stable and leave an even gloss on your lips.
Call Number: TP983 .D572 2021
Publication Date: 2020-09-29
The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-WeinsteinFrom a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos -- and a call for a more just practice of science. In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter -- all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to tap into humanity's wealth of knowledge about the wonders of the universe.
Publication Date: 2021-03-09
Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing by Kevin DaviesOne of the world's leading experts on genetics unravels one of the most important breakthroughs in modern science and medicine. If our genes are, to a great extent, our destiny, then what would happen if mankind could engineer and alter the very essence of our DNA coding? Millions might be spared the devastating effects of hereditary disease or the challenges of disability, whether it was the pain of sickle-cell anemia to the ravages of Huntington's disease. But this power to "play God" also raises major ethical questions and poses threats for potential misuse. For decades, these questions have lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction, but as Kevin Davies powerfully reveals in his new book, this is all about to change. Engrossing and page-turning, Editing Humanity takes readers inside the fascinating world of a new gene editing technology called CRISPR, a high-powered genetic toolkit that enables scientists to not only engineer but to edit the DNA of any organism down to the individual building blocks of the genetic code. Davies introduces readers to arguably the most profound scientific breakthrough of our time. He tracks the scientists on the front lines of its research to the patients whose powerful stories bring the narrative movingly to human scale. Though the birth of the "CRISPR babies" in China made international news, there is much more to the story of CRISPR than headlines seemingly ripped from science fiction. In Editing Humanity, Davies sheds light on the implications that this new technology can have on our everyday lives and in the lives of generations to come.
Publication Date: 2020-10-06
Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions by Nancy AtkinsonIncluding 30 new interviews and over 100 full-color photographs, Nancy Atkinson's exhaustively researched book is the perfect way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission.July 16, 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, celebrating an incredible decade in science history. In Eight Years to the Moon, unique personal stories of NASA engineers and MIT computer experts are interwoven with Nancy's gripping style to tell the story of Apollo 11 in a fresh and riveting way. Despite incredible hurdles and catastrophes, the employees of NASA made the impossible possible--creating new technology and completely reimagining space travel. Nancy begins in 1962--when NASA had to build the Manned Spacecraft Center and space exploration first became a priority--and spans to the successful Apollo 11 mission. With firsthand accounts from Henry Pohl (director of engineering at Johnson Space Center), Glynn Lunney (Apollo flight director), and Frank Hughes (lead test engineer for the Apollo command and lunar module simulators), it's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of what it was like. In the words of Henry Pohl when he saw his first rocket test launch, "When that thing lit off I had never seen such power in my life...I decided right then and there that's what I wanted to be part of..." And he was far from alone. Filled with stories from those involved and interviews with other Apollo experts, this is a book that will delight anyone who has ever looked up at the moon and wondered how we got there. This book will have 125 full-color photographs.
Publication Date: 2019-07-02
Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe by Paul SenAn entertaining, eye-opening account of the extraordinary team of innovators who discovered the laws of thermodynamics essential to understanding the world today--from refrigeration and jet engines to calorie counting and global warming--for fans of How We Got to Now and A Short History of Nearly Everything. Einstein's Fridge tells the incredible epic story of the scientists who, over two centuries, harnessed the power of heat and ice and formulated a theory essential to comprehending our universe. Thermodynamics--the branch of physics that deals with energy and entropy--is the least known and yet most consequential of all the sciences. It governs everything from the behavior of living cells to the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Not only that, but thermodynamics explains why we must eat and breathe, how lights turn on, the limits of computing, and how the universe will end. The brilliant people who decoded its laws came from every branch of the sciences; they were engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, cosmologists, and mathematicians. From French military engineer and physicist Sadi Carnot to Lord Kelvin, James Joule, Albert Einstein, Emmy Noether, Alan Turing, and Stephen Hawking, author Paul Sen introduces us to all of the players who passed the baton of scientific progress through time and across nations. Incredibly driven and idealistic, these brave pioneers performed groundbreaking work often in the face of torment and tragedy. Their discoveries helped create the modern world and transformed every branch of science, from biology to cosmology. Einstein's Fridge brings to life one of the most important scientific revolutions of all time and captures the thrill of discovery and the power of scientific progress to shape the course of history.
Publication Date: 2021-03-16
End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World by Bryan WalshIn this history of extinction and existential risk, a Newsweek and Bloomberg popular science and investigative journalist examines our most dangerous mistakes -- and explores how we can protect and future-proof our civilization. End Times is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable -- and inevitable -- end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. In End Times, Walsh examines threats that emerge from nature and those of our own making: asteroids, supervolcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, disease pandemics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial intelligence. Walsh details the true probability of these world-ending catastrophes, the impact on our lives were they to happen, and the best strategies for saving ourselves, all pulled from his rigorous and deeply thoughtful reporting and research. Walsh goes into the room with the men and women whose job it is to imagine the unimaginable. He includes interviews with those on the front lines of prevention, actively working to head off existential threats in biotechnology labs and government hubs. Guided by Walsh's evocative, page-turning prose, we follow scientific stars like the asteroid hunters at NASA and the disease detectives on the trail of the next killer virus. Walsh explores the danger of apocalypse in all forms. In the end, it will be the depth of our knowledge, the height of our imagination, and our sheer will to survive that will decide the future.
Publication Date: 2019-08-27
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake"Merlin Sheldrake's marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth's marvels. . . . Wondrous."--Time A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, "one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you" (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk). NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time * New Statesman * London Evening Standard * Science Friday When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave. In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web," to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms--and our relationships with them--are changing our understanding of how life works. Praise for Entangled Life "Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . Food for the soul."--Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal "[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration . . . This book may not be a psychedelic--and unlike Sheldrake, I haven't dared to consume my copy (yet)--but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do."--Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
Publication Date: 2020-05-12
Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present by Frank M. SnowdenA "brilliant and sobering" (Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal) look at the history and human costs of pandemic outbreaks As seen on "60 Minutes" The World Economic Forum #1 book to read for context on the coronavirus outbreak This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today, and in a new preface addresses the global threat of COVID-19. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare. A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world's preparedness for the next generation of diseases.
Publication Date: 2020-05-01
Everything Is Natural: Exploring How Chemicals Are Natural, How Nature Is Chemical and Why That Should Excite Us by James KennedySince the early 1990s, advances in toxicology have allowed scientists to detect traces of adulterant substances in everyday products - even down to parts per billion concentrations. We can now detect the presence of harmful ingredients at levels so low that they actually cause no harm. Nonetheless, we get scared. We are now able to overreact to harmless, negligible sources of contamination and flock to 'natural', 'organic' and 'chemical-free' alternative products at elevated prices instead. This urge is driven in part by a set of interesting psychological quirks called the naturalness preference or biophilia. While exposure to many aspects of nature improves our physical and mental wellbeing, marketers are taking advantage of our naturalness preference by selling us 'organic' and 'natural' products with no functional advantage, sometimes to the detriment of the environment, and that have the unfortunate added effect of peddling a fear of conventional products that do not make such natural connotations. This fear of chemicals, exaggerated by marketers, has led some of us to seek nature in the form of expensive consumer product, which offer almost none of the benefits of spending time outdoors in real nature (which is free of charge). We thus chase nature in the wrong form. We feel guilt, anxiety and mental stress from being coaxed into paying a hefty premium price for "natural" products that are neither safer nor more effective than conventional ones, and forget to appreciate real nature in the process. This book explores the history of chemical fears and the recent events that amplified it. It describes how consumers, teachers, doctors, lawmakers and journalists can help make better connections with the public by telling stories that are more engaging about chemistry and materials science. Written in a sympathetic way, this book explains both sides of the argument for anyone with an interest in science.
Publication Date: 2021-01-28
Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets: The Science of What's Out There by Fred WatsonWhat happens to space and matter near a black hole? Where did the moon come from? How do we know what stars are made of? Are we alone in the universe? In Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets, Fred Watson, an award-winning astronomer, presents the most up-to-date knowledge on hot topics in astronomy and space science, providing a fascinating and entertaining account of the latest research. Watson explains how to find invisible planets around other stars, why dark matter matters, and the future of citizen space travel, all while recounting the seismic shifts in understanding that have taken place during his illustrious career. The book features illuminating discussions of microbes in space; the dividing line between day and night; exploding stars and light echoes; fast radio bursts and signals from space; meteors, meteorites, and space dust; what happened to the Martian ocean; the seas and lakes of Titan; and the birth of the universe.
Publication Date: 2020-01-14
Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth by Avi LoebINSTANTNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Provocative and thrilling ... Loeb asks us to think big and to expect the unexpected." --Alan Lightman,New York Timesbestselling author ofEinstein's Dreams andSearching for Stars on an Island in Maine Harvard's top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star. In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, Harvard's top astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization. InExtraterrestrial, Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination,Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars--and to think critically about what's out there, no matter how strange it seems.
Publication Date: 2021-01-26
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America (Bird Books, Books for Bird Lovers, Humor Books) by Matt KrachtNational bestselling book: Featured on Midwest, Mountain Plains, New Atlantic, Northern, Pacific Northwest and Southern Regional Indie Bestseller Lists Perfect book for the birder and anti-birder alike A humorous look at 50 common North American dumb birds: For those who have a disdain for birds or bird lovers with a sense of humor, this snarky, illustrated handbook is equal parts profane, funny, and--let's face it--true. Featuring common North American birds, such as the White-Breasted Butt Nugget and the Goddamned Canada Goose (or White-Breasted Nuthatch and Canada Goose for the layperson), Matt Kracht identifies all the idiots in your backyard and details exactly why they suck with humorous, yet angry, ink drawings. With The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America, you won't need to wonder what all that racket is anymore! * Each entry is accompanied by facts about a bird's (annoying) call, its (dumb) migratory pattern, its (downright tacky) markings, and more. * The essential guide to all things wings with migratory maps, tips for birding, musings on the avian population, and the ethics of birdwatching. * Matt Kracht is an amateur birder, writer, and illustrator who enjoys creating books that celebrate the humor inherent in life's absurdities. Based in Seattle, he enjoys gazing out the window at the beautiful waters of Puget Sound and making fun of birds. "There are loads of books out there for bird lovers, but until now, nothing for those that love to hate birds. The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America fills the void, packed with snarky illustrations that chastise the flying animals in a funny, profane way. " - Uncrate A humorous animal book with 50 common North American birds for people who love birds and also those who love to hate birds * A perfect coffee table or bar top conversation-starting book * Makes a great Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday, or retirement gift
Publication Date: 2019-04-02
Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen ScalesThere's something about fish that leaves a cold, slimy whiff in many people's minds. Either that, or fish are simply "food"; catching fish to eat is so deeply ingrained that we fish for fish, but we don't pigeon a pigeon or deer a deer. It's difficult to think of fish as wild, living things, partly because those chunks of white meat on our plates are almost impossible to connect to animate, living, breathing creatures. Wild fish hover in seas, rivers and lakes, out of sight and out of mind. But from the very first time Helen Scales immersed herself into their liquid world, she realized that fish are beautiful, mesmerizing, complex and exciting. The moment she sank down to eyeball a wild trout-the fish poised in front of her, expertly occupying the three-dimensional space in a way that she could only dream of imitating-sparked the ichthyologist within, and set in motion years of study and exploration in thefishes' unseen domain as she became a devoted fish-watcher. In this book, Scales shares the secrets of fish, unhitching them from their reputation as cold, unknowable beasts and reinventing them as clever, emotional, singing, thoughtful creatures, and challenging readers to rethink these animals. She takes readers on an underwater journey to watch these creatures going about the hidden but glorious business of being a fish. Their way of life is radically different from our own, in part because they inhabit a buoyant, sticky fluid in which light, heat,gases and sound behave in odd ways. They've evolved many tactics to overcome these challenges, to become megastars of the life sun-aquatic. In doing so, these extraordinary animals tell us so much about the oceans and life itself. Our relationship with these scaly creatures goes much deeper than predator versus prey. Fish leave their mark on the human world. As well as being a rich and entertaining read, this book will inspire readers to think again about these animals, and the seas, and to go out and appreciate the wildness and wonders of fish, whether through the glass walls of an aquarium or, better still, by gazing into the fishes' wild world and swimming through it.
Publication Date: 2018-06-19
A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes by Eric Jay DolinFrom the moment European colonists laid violent claim to this land, hurricanes have had a profound and visceral impact on American history--yet, no one has attempted to write the definitive account of America's entanglement with these meteorological behemoths. Now, best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin presents the five-hundred-year story of American hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus' New World voyages, to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the escalation of hurricane season as a result of global warming. Populating his narrative with unlikely heroes such as Benito Vines, the nineteenth-century Jesuit priest whose revelatory methods for predicting hurricanes saved countless lives, and journalist Dan Rather, whose coverage of a 1961 hurricane would change broadcasting history, Dolin uncovers the often surprising ways we respond to natural crises. A necessary work of environmental and cultural history, A Furious Sky will change the way we understand the storms on the horizon of America's future.
Call Number: QC945 .D65 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming by Eric HolthausThe first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. The basics of climate science are easy. We know it is entirely human-caused. Which means its solutions will be similarly human-led. In The Future Earth, leading climate change advocate and weather-related journalist Eric Holthaus ("the Rebel Nerd of Meteorology"--Rolling Stone) offers a radical vision of our future, specifically how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. Anchored by world-class reporting, interviews with futurists, climatologists, biologists, economists, and climate change activists, it shows what the world could look like if we implemented radical solutions on the scale of the crises we face. What could happen if we reduced carbon emissions by 50 percent in the next decade? What could living in a city look like in 2030? How could the world operate in 2040, if the proposed Green New Deal created a 100 percent net carbon-free economy in the United States? This is the book for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the current state of our environment. Hopeful and prophetic, The Future Earth invites us to imagine how we can reverse the effects of climate change in our own lifetime and encourages us to enter a deeper relationship with the earth as conscientious stewards and to re-affirm our commitment to one another in our shared humanity.
Publication Date: 2020-06-30
Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans by Deborah WrightThe world's oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Confronted with the immensity of these challenges and of the oceans themselves, we might wonder what more can be done to stop their decline and better protect the sea and marine life. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In Future Sea, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. Questioning the underlying philosophy of established ocean conservation approaches, Rowan Wright lays out a radical alternative: a bold and far-reaching strategy of 100 percent ocean protection that would put an end to destructive industrial activities, better safeguard marine biodiversity, and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive along coasts and in seas around the globe. Future Sea is essentially concerned with the solutions and not the problems. Rowan Wright shines a light on existing international laws intended to keep marine environments safe that could underpin this new strategy. She gathers inspiring stories of communities and countries using ocean resources wisely, as well as of successful conservation projects, to build up a cautiously optimistic picture of the future for our oceans--counteracting all-too-prevalent reports of doom and gloom. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, Future Sea not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.
Publication Date: 2020-10-27
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres; Tom Rivett-CarnacClimate change: it is arguably the most urgent and consequential issue humankind has ever faced. How we address it in the next thirty years will determine the kind of world we will live in and will bequeath to our children and to theirs. In The Future We Choose, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac--who led negotiations for the United Nations during the historic Paris Agreement of 2015--have written a cautionary but optimistic book about the world's changing climate and the fate of humanity. The authors outline two possible scenarios for our planet. In one, they describe what life on Earth will be like by 2050 if we fail to meet the Paris climate targets. In the other, they lay out what it will be like to live in a carbon neutral, regenerative world. They argue for confronting the climate crisis head-on, with determination and optimism. The Future We Choose presents our options and tells us what governments, corporations, and each of us can and must do to fend off disaster.
Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? Do you have a female brain or a male brain? Or is that the wrong question?
We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. But what does this constant gendering mean for our thoughts, decisions and behaviour? And what does it mean for our brains?
Drawing on her work as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, Gina Rippon unpacks the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments and shows how these messages mould our ideas of ourselves and even shape our brains.
By exploring new, cutting-edge neuroscience, Rippon urges us to move beyond a binary view of our brains and instead to see these complex organs as highly individualised, profoundly adaptable, and full of unbounded potential.
Rigorous, timely and liberating, The Gendered Brain has huge repercussions for women and men, for parents and children, and for how we identify ourselves.
Publication Date: 2020
Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants by Jacob ShellFor more than a thousand years, people in the rainforests of India and Burma have worked with elephants to log these otherwise impassable forests and move people and goods (often illicitly) under cover of the forest canopy. Jacob Shell takes us deep into this strange elephant country to explore the lives of these extraordinarily intelligent creatures and their relationship with humans. Visiting tiny logging villages and forest camps, Shell describes fascinating characters, both elephant and human, and interweaves his account with the incredible history of this centuries-long alliance. Giants of the Monsoon Forest offers new perspective on animal intelligence and shows us how Asia's secret forest culture might offer a way to save elephants and protect our wilderness.
Publication Date: 2019-06-11
Great Adaptations: Star-Nosed Moles, Electric Eels, and Other Tales of Evolution’s Mysteries Solved by Kenneth Catania"The irresistible enthusiasm of Great Adaptations couldn't come at a better time."--David P. Barash, Wall Street Journal "Be very amazed."--Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words and Becoming Wild How one scientist unlocked the secrets behind some of nature's most astounding animals From star-nosed moles that have super-sensing snouts to electric eels that paralyze their prey, animals possess unique and extraordinary abilities. In Great Adaptations, Kenneth Catania presents an entertaining and engaging look at some of nature's most remarkable creatures. Telling the story of his biological detective work, Catania sheds light on the mysteries behind the behaviors of tentacled snakes, tiny shrews, zombie-making wasps, and more. He shows not only how studying these animals can provide deep insights into how life evolved, but also how scientific discovery can be filled with adventure and fun. Beginning with the star-nosed mole, Catania reveals what the creature's nasal star is actually for, and what this tells us about how brains work. He explores how the deceptive hunting strategy of tentacled snakes leads prey straight to their mouths, how eels use electricity to control other animals, and why emerald jewel wasps make zombies out of cockroaches. He also solves the enigma of worm grunting--a traditional technique in which earthworms are enticed out of the ground--by teaming up with professional worm grunters. Catania demonstrates the merits of approaching science with an open mind, considers the role played by citizen scientists, and illustrates that most animals have incredible, hidden abilities that defy our imagination. Examining some strange and spectacular creatures, Great Adaptations offers a wondrous journey into nature's grand designs.
Publication Date: 2020-09-15
Higher and Colder: A History of Extreme Physiology and Exploration by Vanessa HeggieDuring the long twentieth century, explorers went in unprecedented numbers to the hottest, coldest, and highest points on the globe. Taking us from the Himalaya to Antarctica and beyond, Higher and Colder presents the first history of extreme physiology, the study of the human body at its physical limits. Each chapter explores a seminal question in the history of science, while also showing how the apparently exotic locations and experiments contributed to broader political and social shifts in twentieth-century scientific thinking. Unlike most books on modern biomedicine, Higher and Colder focuses on fieldwork, expeditions, and exploration, and in doing so provides a welcome alternative to laboratory-dominated accounts of the history of modern life sciences. Though centered on male-dominated practices--science and exploration--it recovers the stories of women's contributions that were sometimes accidentally, and sometimes deliberately, erased. Engaging and provocative, this book is a history of the scientists and physiologists who face challenges that are physically demanding, frequently dangerous, and sometimes fatal, in the interest of advancing modern science and pushing the boundaries of human ability.
Publication Date: 2019-08-02
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical--and accessible--plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal. He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions--suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise. As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
Publication Date: 2021-02-16
How to Grow a Human by Philip BallTwo summers ago, scientists removed a tiny piece of flesh from Philip Ball's arm and turned it into a rudimentary "mini-brain." The skin cells, removed from his body, did not die but were instead transformed into nerve cells that independently arranged themselves into a dense network and communicated with each other, exchanging the raw signals of thought. This was life--but whose? In his most mind-bending book yet, Ball makes that disconcerting question the focus of a tour through what scientists can now do in cell biology and tissue culture. He shows how these technologies could lead to tailor-made replacement organs for when ours fail, to new medical advances for repairing damage and assisting conception, and to new ways of "growing a human." For example, it might prove possible to turn skin cells not into neurons but into eggs and sperm, or even to turn oneself into the constituent cells of embryos. Such methods would also create new options for gene editing, with all the attendant moral dilemmas. Ball argues that such advances can therefore never be about "just the science," because they come already surrounded by a host of social narratives, preconceptions, and prejudices. But beyond even that, these developments raise questions about identity and self, birth and death, and force us to ask how mutable the human body really is--and what forms it might take in years to come.
Publication Date: 2019-10-16
The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo MarchantA Best Book of 2020 NPR A Best Book of 2020 The Economist A Top Ten Best Science Book of 2020 Smithsonian A Best Science & Technology Book of 2020 Library Journal A Must-Read Book to Escape the Chaos of 2020 Newsweek Starred review Booklist Starred review Publishers Weekly An historically unprecedented disconnect between humanity and the heavens has opened. Jo Marchant's book can begin to heal it. For at least 20,000 years, we have led not just an earthly existence but a cosmic one. Celestial cycles drove every aspect of our daily lives. Our innate relationship with the stars shaped who we are--our art, religious beliefs, social status, scientific advances, and even our biology. But over the last few centuries we have separated ourselves from the universe that surrounds us. It's a disconnect with a dire cost. Our relationship to the stars and planets has moved from one of awe, wonder and superstition to one where technology is king--the cosmos is now explored through data on our screens, not by the naked eye observing the natural world. Indeed, in most countries modern light pollution obscures much of the night sky from view. Jo Marchant's spellbinding parade of the ways different cultures celebrated the majesty and mysteries of the night sky is a journey to the most awe inspiring view you can ever see--looking up on a clear dark night. That experience and the thoughts it has engendered have radically shaped human civilization across millennia. The cosmos is the source of our greatest creativity in art, in science, in life. To show us how, Jo Marchant takes us to the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux in France, and to the summer solstice at a 5,000-year-old tomb at New Grange in Ireland. We discover Chumash cosmology and visit medieval monks grappling with the nature of time and Tahitian sailors navigating by the stars. We discover how light reveals the chemical composition of the sun, and we are with Einstein as he works out that space and time are one and the same. A four-billion-year-old meteor inspires a search for extraterrestrial life. The cosmically liberating, summary revelation is that star-gazing made us human.
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Andrea PitzerIn the bestselling tradition of Hampton Sides's In the Kingdom of Ice, a riveting and cinematic tale of Dutch polar explorer William Barents and his three harrowing Arctic expeditions--the last of which resulted in a relentlessly challenging year-long fight for survival. The human story has always been one of perseverance--often against remarkable odds. The most astonishing survival tale of all might be that of 16th-century Dutch explorer William Barents and his crew of sixteen, who ventured farther north than any Europeans before and, on their third polar exploration, lost their ship off the frozen coast of Nova Zembla to unforgiving ice. The men would spend the next year fighting off ravenous polar bears, gnawing hunger, and endless winter. In Icebound, Andrea Pitzer masterfully combines a gripping tale of survival with a sweeping history of the great Age of Exploration--a time of hope, adventure, and seemingly unlimited geographic frontiers. At the story's center is William Barents, one of the 16th century's greatest navigators whose larger-than-life ambitions and obsessive quest to chart a path through the deepest, most remote regions of the Arctic ended in both tragedy and glory. Journalist Pitzer did extensive research, learning how to use four-hundred-year-old navigation equipment, setting out on three Arctic expeditions to retrace Barents's steps, and visiting replicas of Barents's ship and cabin. "A visceral, thrilling account full of tantalizing surprises" (Andrea Barrett, author of The Voyage of the Narwhal ), Pitzer's reenactment of Barents's ill-fated journey shows us how the human body can function at twenty degrees below, the history of mutiny, the art of celestial navigation, and the intricacies of building shelters. But above all, it gives us a first-hand glimpse into the true nature of human courage.
Publication Date: 2021-01-12
Imperiled Ocean: Human Stories from a Changing Sea by Laura TretheweyOn a life raft in the Mediterranean, a teenager from Ghana wonders whether he will reach Europe alive, and if he does, whether he will be allowed to stay. In the North Atlantic, a young chef disappears from a cruise ship, leaving a mystery for his friends and family to solve. A water-squatting community battles eviction from a harbor in a Pacific Northwest town, raising the question of who owns the water. Imperiled Ocean by ocean journalist Laura Trethewey is a deeply reported work of narrative journalism that follows people as they head out to sea. What they discover holds inspiring and dire implications for the life of the ocean -- and for all of us back on land. As Imperiled Ocean unfolds, battles are fought, fortunes made, lives lost, and the ocean approaches an uncertain future. Behind this human drama, the ocean is growing ever more unstable, threatening to upend life on land. As we explore with Tretheway, we meet biologist Erin Stoddard tracking sturgeon in the Pacific Northwest. Unable to stop the development and pollution destroying the fish's habitat, Stoddard races to learn about the fish before it disappears. This prehistoric fish has survived more than 300 million years on earth and could hold important truths about how humanity might make itself amenable to a changing ocean. As a fisher and scientist, Erin's ability to listen to the water becomes a parable for what faces the ocean today. By eavesdropping on an imperiled world, he shows a way we can move forward to save the oceans we all share--through listening and discovery.
Publication Date: 2019-11-12
The Inside Out of Flies by Erica McAlisterAbout The Secret Life of Flies, also by the author: "It's no small feat for an experienced researcher to write in a way that is accessible to a non-scientific audience, and McAlister accomplishes this.... A short, rich book by turns informative and humorous." --The New York Times "After reading her book it is obvious: flies rock." --The Spectator The Inside Out of Flies is an under-the-hood look at the astonishing mechanics of fly anatomy. Erica McAlister reveals the engineering miracles embodied in each species of fly and some of the fascinating implications they hold for human technology. Discover the physics of the mysterious "scuba diving fly," marvel at the venomous horsefly larvae which prey on frogs, and glimpse the golden ratio in these creatures' spiral flight patterns. McAlister touches on the emerging field of biomimetics -- the study of evolutionary adaptations to devise new technology -- and anticipates everything from medical needles based on the mosquito's proboscis to hearing aids inspired by Ormia ochracea, a tiny fly with ears on its thorax. At every juncture she uncovers unique and surprising science lessons encapsulated in the form and function of the humble fly. Not only an expert at the top of her field, McAlister is a skilled writer who masterfully imparts knowledge while entertaining the reader with her enthusiasm and wit. Even those who would not consider reading about flies, will find themselves entertained and enlightened. This is an ideal selection for personal, public, academic and specialist libraries.
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Into Wild Mongolia by George B. SchallerExplore the wonders of wild Mongolia through the eyes of a distinguished field biologist Mongolia became a satellite of the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s, and for nearly seven decades effectively closed its doors to the outside world. Biologist George Schaller initially visited the country in 1989 and was one of the first Western scientists allowed to study and assess the conservation status of Mongolia's many unique, native wildlife species. Schaller made a number of trips from 1989 to 2018 in collaboration with Mongolian and American scientists, witnessing Mongolia's recovery and transition to a market economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This informative and fascinating new book provides a firsthand account of Schaller's time in this little-known and remote country, where he studied and helped develop conservation initiatives for the snow leopard, Gobi bear, wild camel, and Mongolian gazelle, among other species. Featuring magnificent photographs from his travels, the book offers a critical, at times inspiring contribution for those who treasure wildlife, as well as a fresh perspective on the natural beauty of the region, which encompasses steppes, mountains, and the Gobi Desert.
Publication Date: 2020-02-18
The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time by Julian BarbourIn a universe filled by chaos and disorder, one physicist makes the radical argument that the growth of order drives the passage of time -- and shapes the destiny of the universe. Time is among the universe's greatest mysteries. Why, when most laws of physics allow for it to flow forward and backward, does it only go forward? Physicists have long appealed to the second law of thermodynamics, held to predict the increase of disorder in the universe, to explain this. In The Janus Point, physicist Julian Barbour argues that the second law has been misapplied and that the growth of order determines how we experience time. In his view, the big bang becomes the "Janus point," a moment of minimal order from which time could flow, and order increase, in two directions. The Janus Point has remarkable implications: while most physicists predict that the universe will become mired in disorder, Barbour sees the possibility that order -- the stuff of life -- can grow without bound. A major new work of physics, The Janus Point will transform our understanding of the nature of existence.
Publication Date: 2020-12-01
Jet Stream: A Journey Through our Changing Climate by Tim WoollingsA number of extreme weather events have struck the Northern Hemisphere in recent years, from scorching heatwaves to desperately cold winters, and from floods and storms to droughts and wildfires. These events have fuelled intense discussions in scientific conferences, government agencies,cafes, and on street corners around the world. Why are these events happening? Is this the emerging signal of climate change, and should we expect more of this? Media reports vary widely, but one mysterious agent has risen to prominence in many cases: the jet stream.The story begins on a windswept beach in Barbados, from where we follow the ascent of a weather balloon that will travel along the jet stream all around the world. From this viewpoint we observe the effect of the jet in influencing human life around the hemisphere, and witness startling changesemerging. What is the jet stream and how well do we understand it? How does it affect our weather and is it changing? These are the main questions tackled in this book. We learn about how our view of the wind has developed from Aristotle's early theories up to today's understanding. We see that thejet is intimately connected with dramatic contrasts between climate zones and has played a key historical role in determining patterns of trade. We learn about the basic physics underlying the jet and how this knowledge is incorporated into computer models which predict both tomorrow's weather andthe climate of future decades. And finally, we discuss how climate change is expected to affect the jet, and introduce the vital scientific debate over whether these changes have contributed to recent extreme weather events.
Publication Date: 2020-01-01
Kingdom of Frost: How the Cryosphere Shapes Life on Earth by Bjø Vassnes; Lucy Moffatt (Translator)An award-winning science journalist explains what Earth's frozen waters tell us about the past, present, and future of humanity. "The Kingdom of Frost," or what scientists call the cryosphere, refers to all of Earth's frozen waters. Glaciers, ice caps, and fields of Arctic snow--the cryosphere is vital to our survival. It supplies us with water and helps cool cities from Bangladesh to Bangkok, Los Angeles to Oslo. In this captivating, eye-opening account, esteemed Norwegian writer Bjørn Vassnes interweaves brilliant climate reporting with the fascinating story of Earth's frozen world. He draws on cultural history and anthropology to tell us how the cryosphere once helped to spark life on Earth--and how it continues to sustain us despite its shrinking size. And he answers pressing questions such as: What will happen if it all disappears?
Publication Date: 2020-03-24
The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science by Michael Strevens* Why is science so powerful?* Why did it take so long--two thousand years after the invention of philosophy and mathematics--for the human race to start using science to learn the secrets of the universe?In a groundbreaking work that blends science, philosophy, and history, leading philosopher of science Michael Strevens answers these challenging questions, showing how science came about only once thinkers stumbled upon the astonishing idea that scientific breakthroughs could be accomplished by breaking the rules of logical argument.Like such classic works as Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery and Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, The Knowledge Machine grapples with the meaning and origins of science, using a plethora of vivid historical examples to demonstrate that scientists willfully ignore religion, theoretical beauty, and even philosophy to embrace a constricted code of argument whose very narrowness channels unprecedented energy into empirical observation and experimentation. Strevens calls this scientific code the iron rule of explanation, and reveals the way in which the rule, precisely because it is unreasonably close-minded, overcomes individual prejudices to lead humanity inexorably toward the secrets of nature."With a mixture of philosophical and historical argument, and written in an engrossing style" (Alan Ryan), The Knowledge Machine provides captivating portraits of some of the greatest luminaries in science's history, including Isaac Newton, the chief architect of modern science and its foundational theories of motion and gravitation; William Whewell, perhaps the greatest philosopher-scientist of the early nineteenth century; and Murray Gell-Mann, discoverer of the quark. Today, Strevens argues, in the face of threats from a changing climate and global pandemics, the idiosyncratic but highly effective scientific knowledge machine must be protected from politicians, commercial interests, and even scientists themselves who seek to open it up, to make it less narrow and more rational--and thus to undermine its devotedly empirical search for truth.Rich with illuminating and often delightfully quirky illustrations, The Knowledge Machine, written in a winningly accessible style that belies the import of its revisionist and groundbreaking concepts, radically reframes much of what we thought we knew about the origins of the modern world.
Publication Date: 2020-10-13
The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect by Wendy WilliamsButterflies are one of the world's most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we've encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this ground breaking book, science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these "flying flowers"--creatures far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for. Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies' scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them. Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible "butterfly biography" explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. Touching, eye-opening, and incredibly profound, The Language of Butterflies reveals the critical role they play in our world.
Publication Date: 2020-06-02
Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive by Carl Zimmer"Stories that both dazzle and edify... This book is not just about life, but about discovery itself. It is about error and hubris, but also about wonder and the reach of science." --Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times Book Review We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world--from protocells to brains, from zygotes to pandemic viruses--the harder they find it is to locate life's edge. Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can't answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? The question hangs over some of society's most charged conflicts--whether a fertilized egg is a living person, for example, and when we ought to declare a person legally dead. Life's Edge is an utterly fascinating investigation that no one but one of the most celebrated science writers of our generation could craft. Zimmer journeys through the strange experiments that have attempted to re-create life. Literally hundreds of definitions of what that should look like now exist, but none has yet emerged as an obvious winner. Lists of what living things have in common do not add up to a theory of life. It's never clear why some items on the list are essential and others not. Coronaviruses have altered the course of history, and yet many scientists maintain they are not alive. Chemists are creating droplets that can swarm, sense their environment, and multiply. Have they made life in the lab? Whether he is handling pythons in Alabama or searching for hibernating bats in the Adirondacks, Zimmer revels in astounding examples of life at its most bizarre. He tries his own hand at evolving life in a test tube with unnerving results. Charting the obsession with Dr. Frankenstein's monster and how Coleridge came to believe the whole universe was alive, Zimmer leads us all the way into the labs and minds of researchers working on engineering life from the ground up.
Publication Date: 2021-03-09
The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild by Thomas D. SeeleyHow the lives of wild honey bees offer vital lessons for saving the world's managed bee colonies Humans have kept honey bees in hives for millennia, yet only in recent decades have biologists begun to investigate how these industrious insects live in the wild. The Lives of Bees is Thomas Seeley's captivating story of what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper's hive--and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet's managed honey bee populations. Seeley, a world authority on honey bees, sheds light on why wild honey bees are still thriving while those living in managed colonies are in crisis. Drawing on the latest science as well as insights from his own pioneering fieldwork, he describes in extraordinary detail how honey bees live in nature and shows how this differs significantly from their lives under the management of beekeepers. Seeley presents an entirely new approach to beekeeping--Darwinian Beekeeping--which enables honey bees to use the toolkit of survival skills their species has acquired over the past thirty million years, and to evolve solutions to the new challenges they face today. He shows beekeepers how to use the principles of natural selection to guide their practices, and he offers a new vision of how beekeeping can better align with the natural habits of honey bees. Engagingly written and deeply personal, The Lives of Bees reveals how we can become better custodians of honey bees and make use of their resources in ways that enrich their lives as well as our own.
Publication Date: 2019-05-28
The Mission: A True Story by David W. Brown"An extraordinary tale, extraordinarily told." -Megan Abbott A "magnificent" (Scientific American), genre-defying narrative of the most ambitious science project ever conceived: NASA's deep space mission to Europa, the Jovian moon where might swim the first known alien life in our solar system In the spirit of Tom Wolfe and John McPhee, The Mission is an exuberant master class of creative nonfiction that reveals how a motley, determined few expanded the horizon of human achievement. When scientists discovered the first ocean beyond Earth, they had two big questions: "Is it habitable?" and "How do we get there?" To answer the first, they had to solve the second, and so began a vivacious team's twenty-year odyssey to mount a mission to Europa, the ocean moon of Jupiter. Standing in their way: NASA, fanatically consumed with landing robots on Mars; the White House, which never saw a science budget it couldn't cut; Congress, fixated on going to the moon or Mars--anywhere, really, to give astronauts something to do; rivals in academia, who wanted instead to go to Saturn; and even Jupiter itself, which guards Europa in a pulsing, rippling radiation belt--a halo of death whose conditions are like those that follow a detonated thermonuclear bomb. The Mission is the Homeric, never-before-told story of modern space exploration, and a magnificent portrait of the inner lives of scientists who study the solar system's mysterious outer planets. David W. Brown chronicles the remarkable saga of how Europa was won, and what it takes to get things done--both down here, and up there.
Publication Date: 2021-01-26
The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet by Michael E. MannA renowned climate scientist shows how fossil fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet. Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we've been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on individual behavior is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think "guns don't kill people, people kill people") or greenwashing (think of the beverage industry's "Crying Indian" commercials of the 1970s). Meanwhile, they've blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility in fixing the problem they've created. The result has been disastrous for our planet. In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters-fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petrostates. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including: A common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing- and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal; Allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels Debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate change solutions Combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defense of the fossil fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won't happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet.
Publication Date: 2021-01-12
Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth by Kate GreeneWhen it comes to Mars, the focus is often on how to get there: the rockets, the engines, the fuel. But upon arrival, what will itactually be like? In 2013, Kate Greene moved to Mars. That is, along with five fellow crew members, she embarked on NASA's first HI-SEAS mission, a simulated Martian environment located on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawai'i. For four months she lived, worked, and slept in an isolated geodesic dome, conducting a sleep study on her crew mates and gaining incredible insight into human behavior in tight quarters, as well as the nature of boredom, dreams, and isolation that arise amidst the promise of scientificprogress and glory. InOnce Upon a Time I Lived on Mars, Greene draws on her experience to contemplate humanity's broader impulse to explore. The result is a twined story of space and life, of the standard, able-bodied astronaut and Greene's brother's disability, of the lag time of interplanetary correspondences and the challenges of a long-distance marriage, of freeze-dried egg powder and fresh pineapple, of departure and return. By asking what kind of wisdom humanity might take to Mars and elsewhere in the Universe, Greene has written a remarkable, wide-ranging examination of our time in space right now, as a pre-Mars species, poised on the edge, readying for launch.
Publication Date: 2020-07-14
Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis by Emily WillinghamThe fallacy sold to many of us is that the penis signals dominance and power. But this wry and penetrating book reveals that in fact nature did not shape the penis - or the human attached to it - to have the upper... hand. Phallacy looks closely at some of nature's more remarkable examples of penises and the many lessons to learn from them. In tracing how we ended up positioning our nondescript penis as a pulsing, awe-inspiring shaft of all masculinity and human dominance, Phallacy also shows what can we do to put that penis back where it belongs.
Publication Date: 2020-09-22
Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World by David KaiserThe ideas at the root of quantum theory remain stubbornly, famously bizarre: a solid world reduced to puffs of probability; particles that tunnel through walls; cats suspended in zombielike states, neither alive nor dead; and twinned particles that share entangled fates. For more than a century, physicists have grappled with these conceptual uncertainties while enmeshed in the larger uncertainties of the social and political worlds around them, a time pocked by the rise of fascism, cataclysmic world wars, and a new nuclear age. In Quantum Legacies, David Kaiser introduces readers to iconic episodes in physicists' still-unfolding quest to understand space, time, and matter at their most fundamental. In a series of vibrant essays, Kaiser takes us inside moments of discovery and debate among the great minds of the era--Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Stephen Hawking, and many more who have indelibly shaped our understanding of nature--as they have tried to make sense of a messy world. Ranging across space and time, the episodes span the heady 1920s, the dark days of the 1930s, the turbulence of the Cold War, and the peculiar political realities that followed. In those eras as in our own, researchers' ambition has often been to transcend the vagaries of here and now, to contribute lasting insights into how the world works that might reach beyond a given researcher's limited view. In Quantum Legacies, Kaiser unveils the difficult and unsteady work required to forge some shared understanding between individuals and across generations, and in doing so, he illuminates the deep ties between scientific exploration and the human condition.
Publication Date: 2020-03-25
The Rare Metals War: The Dark Side of Clean Energy and Digital Technologies by Guillaume Pitron; Bianca Jacobsohn (Translator)Is the shift to renewable energy and digital devices going to free us from severe pollution, material shortages, and military tensions? Rare metals are essential to electric vehicles, fighter jets, wind turbines, and solar panels, and also to our smartphones, computers, tablets, and other everyday connected objects. But consumers know very little about how they are mined and traded, or the environmental, economic, and geopolitical costs of this dependence. This book reveals the dark side of the world that awaits us. It is an undercover tale of a technological odyssey that has promised much, and a look behind the scenes. Behind it all lurks China, which has captured the lion's share of the ownership and processing of rare metals we now can't do without. Drawing on six years of research across a dozen countries, this book shows that by breaking free of fossil fuels, we are in fact setting ourselves up for a new dependence--on rare metals that have become vital to our new ecological and digital society.
Publication Date: 2020-10-06
Rebel Star: Our Quest to Solve the Great Mysteries of the Sun by Colin StuartA fascinating and comprehensive guide to the sun - our home star - which remains the greatest mystery in the solar system, and why understanding it is pivotal to our future existence here on Earth.In 1869, a great mystery was born. As astronomers observed a total solar eclipse, for the first time they saw the faint glow of the solar corona, the sun's outer atmosphere. Measurements of a previously unknown wavelength that made up this solar light sparked hot debate among scientists, but it was another sixty years before they discovered that this wavelength was in fact iron being burned at a staggering 3 million degrees Celsius. With the sun's surface only 6,000 degrees, this shouldn't be possible. What we now knew about the sun appeared to defy the laws of physics - and nature. But as well as being shrouded in intriguing mystery, the unpredictable nature of the sun's corona poses a serious threat to our life here on earth - the destructive potential of solar storms, caused by solar material travelling out into space at around 1 million miles an hour, is huge. Remaining beyond our reach until now, a new generation of ambitious solar missions are currently travelling closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft in history. As we enter this unprecedented era of heliophysics, there has never been a better time to get to grips with the workings of our home star.
Publication Date: 2020-08-01
Rebels, Scholars, Explorers: Women in Vertebrate Paleontology by Annalisa Berta; Susan TurnerFor centuries, women have played key roles in defining and developing the field of vertebrate paleontology. Yet very little is known about these important paleontologists, and the true impacts of their contributions have remained obscure. In Rebels, Scholars, Explorers, Annalisa Berta and Susan Turner celebrate the history of women "bone hunters," delving into their fascinating lives and work. At the same time, they explore how the discipline has shaped our understanding of the history of life on Earth. Berta and Turner begin by presenting readers with a review of the emergence of vertebrate paleontology as a science, emphasizing the contributions of women to research topics and employment. This is followed by brief biographical sketches and explanations of early discoveries by women around the world over the past 200 years, including those who who held roles as researchers, educators, curators, artists, and preparators. Forging new territory, Berta and Turner highlight the barriers and challenges faced by women paleontologists, describing how some managed to overcome those obstacles in order to build careers in the field. Finally, drawing on interviews with a diverse group of contemporary paleontologists, who share their experiences and offer recommendations to aspiring fossil hunters, they provide perspectives on what work still needs to be done in order to ensure that women's contributions to the field are encouraged and celebrated. Uncovering and relating lost stories about the pivotal contributions of women in vertebrate paleontology doesn't just make for enthralling storytelling, but also helps ensure a richer and more diverse future for this vibrant field. Illuminating the discoveries, collections, and studies of fossil vertebrates conducted by women in vertebrate paleontology, Rebels, Scholars, Explorers will be on every paleontologist's most-wanted list and should find a broader audience in the burgeoning sector of readers from all backgrounds eager to learn about women in the sciences.
Publication Date: 2020-10-27
Reef Life: An Underwater Memoir by Callum RobertsA hugely affecting memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, revealing the thrill of diving and the vital science and story of these majestic reefs. How did one of the world's preeminent marine conservation scientists fall in love with coral reefs? We first meet Callum as a young student who had never been abroad, spending a summer helping to map the unknown reefs of Saudi Arabia. From that moment, when Callum first cleared his goggles, he never looked back. He went on to survey Sharm al-Sheikh, and from there he would dive into the deep in the name of research all over the world, from Australia's imperiled Great Barrier Reef to the hardier reefs of the Caribbean. Reef Life is filled with astonishing stories of adventure and the natural world, which are by turns lyrical and laced with a wonderful wry humor. Callum illuminates the science of our oceans and reefs and his book, combined with the stunning photographs from Alex Mustard, will also commit readers to support Callum's goal to preserve 10 percent of the world's oceans.
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate by Mark Kurlansky"Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'Who hears the fishes when they cry?' Maybe we need to go down to the river bank and try to listen." In what he says is the most important piece of environmental writing in his long and award-winning career, Mark Kurlansky, best-selling author ofSalt andCod,The Big Oyster, 1968,andMilk, among many others, employs his signature multi-century storytelling and compelling attention to detail to chronicle the harrowing yet awe-inspiring life cycle of salmon. During his research Kurlansky traveled widely and observed salmon and those who both pursue and protect them in the Pacific and the Atlantic, in Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Japan, and even the robust but not as frequently visited Kamchatka Peninsula. This world tour reveals an eras-long history of man's misdirected attempts to manipulate salmon and its environments for his own benefit and gain, whether for entertainment or to harvest food. In addition, Kurlansky's research shows that all over the world these fish, uniquely connected to both marine and terrestrial ecology as well as fresh and salt water, are a natural barometer for the health of the planet. He documents that for centuries man's greatest assaults on nature, from overfishing to dams, from hatcheries to fish farms, from industrial pollution to the ravages of climate change, are evidenced in the sensitive life cycle of salmon. With stunning historical and contemporary photographs and illustrations throughout, Kurlansky's insightful conclusion is that the only way to save salmon is to save the planet and, at the same time, the only way to save the planet is to save the mighty, heroic salmon.
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
Saving the Dammed: Why We Need Beaver-Modified Ecosystems by Ellen WohlThe ability of beavers to create an abundant habitat for a diverse array of plants and animals has been analyzed time and again. The disappearance of beavers across the northern hemisphere, and what this effects, has yet to be comprehensively studied. Saving the Dammed analyzes the beneficial role of beavers and their dams in the ecosystem of a river, focusing on one beaver meadow in Colorado. In her latest book, Ellen Wohl contextualizes North St. Vrain Creek by discussing the implications of the loss of beavers across much larger areas. Saving the Dammed raises awareness of rivers as ecosystems and the role beavers play in sustaining the ecosystem surrounding rivers by exploring the macrocosm of global river alteration, wetland loss, and the reduction in ecosystem services. The resulting reduction in ecosystem services span things such as flood control, habitat abundance and biodiversity, and nitrate reduction. Allowing readers to follow her as she crawls through seemingly impenetrable spaces with slow and arduous movements, Wohl provides a detailed narrative of beaver meadows. Saving the Dammed takes readers through twelve months at a beaver meadow in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, exploring how beavers change river valleys and how the decline in beaver populations has altered river ecosystems. As Wohl analyzes and discusses the role beavers play in the ecosystem of a river, readers get to follow her through tight, seemingly impenetrable, crawl spaces as she uncovers the benefit of dams.
Publication Date: 2019-07-19
Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine by Michael Brenner; Pia Sörensen; David WeitzThe spectacular culinary creations of modern cuisine are the stuff of countless articles and Instagram feeds. But to a scientist they are also perfect pedagogical explorations into the basic scientific principles of cooking. In Science and Cooking, Harvard professors Michael Brenner, Pia S??rensen, and David Weitz bring the classroom to your kitchen to teach the physics and chemistry underlying every recipe. Why do we knead bread? What determines the temperature at which we cook a steak, or the amount of time our chocolate chip cookies spend in the oven? Science and Cooking answers these questions and more through fascinating lessons ranging from the role of pressure and boiling points in pecan praline to that of microbes in your morning coffee. With beautiful full-color illustrations and recipes, hands-on experiments, and engaging introductions from world-renowned chefs Ferran Adria and Jose Andr??s, Science and Cooking will change the way you approach both subjects?in your kitchen and beyond.
Publication Date: 2020-10-20
Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth by Stuart RitchieAn insider's view of science reveals why many scientific results cannot be relied upon - and how the system can be reformed. Science is how we understand the world. Yet failures in peer review and mistakes in statistics have rendered a shocking number of scientific studies useless - or, worse, badly misleading. Such errors have distorted our knowledge in fields as wide-ranging as medicine, physics, nutrition, education, genetics, economics, and the search for extraterrestrial life. AsScience Fictionsmakes clear, the current system of research funding and publication not only fails to safeguard us from blunders but actively encourages bad science - with sometimes deadly consequences. Stuart Ritchie's own work challenging an infamous psychology experiment helped spark what is now widely known as the "replication crisis," the realization that supposed scientific truths are often just plain wrong. Now, he reveals the very human biases, misunderstandings, and deceptions that undermine the scientific endeavor: from contamination in science labs to the secret vaults of failed studies that nobody gets to see; from outright cheating with fake data to the more common, but still ruinous, temptation to exaggerate mediocre results for a shot at scientific fame. YetScience Fictions is far from a counsel of despair. Rather, it's a defense of the scientific method against the pressures and perverse incentives that lead scientists to bend the rules. By illustrating the many ways that scientists go wrong, Ritchie gives us the knowledge we need to spot dubious research and points the way to reforms that could make science trustworthy once again.
Publication Date: 2020-07-21
Science under Fire: Challenges to Scientific Authority in Modern America by Andrew JewettAmericans have long been suspicious of experts and elites. This new history explains why so many have believed that science has the power to corrupt American culture. Americans today are often skeptical of scientific authority. Many conservatives dismiss climate change and Darwinism as liberal fictions, arguing that "tenured radicals" have coopted the sciences and other disciplines. Some progressives, especially in the universities, worry that science's celebration of objectivity and neutrality masks its attachment to Eurocentric and patriarchal values. As we grapple with the implications of climate change and revolutions in fields from biotechnology to robotics to computing, it is crucial to understand how scientific authority functions--and where it has run up against political and cultural barriers. Science under Fire reconstructs a century of battles over the cultural implications of science in the United States. Andrew Jewett reveals a persistent current of criticism which maintains that scientists have injected faulty social philosophies into the nation's bloodstream under the cover of neutrality. This charge of corruption has taken many forms and appeared among critics with a wide range of social, political, and theological views, but common to all is the argument that an ideologically compromised science has produced an array of social ills. Jewett shows that this suspicion of science has been a major force in American politics and culture by tracking its development, varied expressions, and potent consequences since the 1920s. Looking at today's battles over science, Jewett argues that citizens and leaders must steer a course between, on the one hand, the naïve image of science as a pristine, value-neutral form of knowledge, and, on the other, the assumption that scientists' claims are merely ideologies masquerading as truths.
Publication Date: 2020-12-08
A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You by Sean B. Carroll"Fascinating and exhilarating--Sean B. Carroll at his very best."--Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants From acclaimed writer and biologist Sean B. Carroll, a rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance. A Series of Fortunate Events tells the story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world. Like every other species, we humans are here by accident. But it is shocking just how many things--any of which might never have occurred--had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. From an extremely improbable asteroid impact, to the wild gyrations of the Ice Age, to invisible accidents in our parents' gonads, we are all here through an astonishing series of fortunate events. And chance continues to reign every day over the razor-thin line between our life and death. This is a relatively small book about a really big idea. It is also a spirited tale. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, and other great thinkers, and crafted by one of today's most accomplished science storytellers, A Series of Fortunate Events is an irresistibly entertaining and thought-provoking account of one of the most important but least appreciated facts of life.
Publication Date: 2020-10-06
The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo How to Paint by Francesca Fiorani"[The Shadow Drawing] reorients our perspective, distills a life and brings it into focus--the very work of revision and refining that its subject loved best." --Parul Sehgal,The New York Times |Editors' Choice An entirely new account of Leonardo the artist and Leonardo the scientist, and why they were one and the same man Leonardo da Vinci has long been celebrated for his consummate genius. He was the painter who gave us theMona Lisa andThe Last Supper, and the inventor who anticipated the advent of airplanes, hot air balloons, and other technological marvels. But what was the connection between Leonardo the painter and Leonardo the scientist? Historians of Renaissance art have long supposed that Leonardo became increasingly interested in science as he grew older and turned his insatiable curiosity in new directions. They have argued that there are, in effect, two Leonardos--an artist and an inventor. In this pathbreaking new interpretation, the art historian Francesca Fiorani offers a different view. Taking a fresh look at Leonardo's celebrated but challenging notebooks, as well as other sources, Fiorani argues that Leonardo became familiar with advanced thinking about human vision when he was still an apprentice in a Florence studio--and used his understanding of optical science to develop and perfect his painting techniques. For Leonardo, the task of the painter was to capture theinterior life of a human subject, to paint the soul. And even at the outset of his career, he believed that mastering the scientific study of light, shadow, and the atmosphere was essential to doing so. Eventually, he set down these ideas in a book--A Treatise on Painting--that he considered his greatest achievement, though it would be disfigured, ignored, and lost in subsequent centuries. Ranging from the teeming streets of Florence to the most delicate brushstrokes on the surface of theMona Lisa,The Shadow Drawing vividly reconstructs Leonardo's life while teaching us to look anew at his greatest paintings. The result is both stirring biography and a bold reconsideration of how the Renaissance understood science and art--and of what was lost when that understanding was forgotten.
Publication Date: 2020-11-17
The Shaping of Us: How Everyday Spaces Structure Our Lives, Behavior, and Well-Being by Lily BernheimerThe spaces we inhabit- from homes and workspaces to city streets--mediate community, creativity, and our very identity. Using insights from environmental psychology, design, and architecture, The Shaping of Us shows how the built and natural worlds subtly influence our behavior, health, and personality. Exploring ideas such as "ruin porn" and "ninja-proof seating," mysteries of how we interact with the physical spaces around us are revealed. From caves and cathedrals to our current housing crisis and the dreaded open-plan office, Lily Bernheimer demonstrates that, for our well-being, we must reconnect with the power to shape our spaces. Have you ever wondered why we adorn our doorframes with moldings? What does Wikipedia's open-source technology have to teach us about the history and future of urban housing? What does your desk say about your personality? From savannahs and skyscrapers to co-working spaces,The Shaping of Us shows that the built environment supports our well-being best when it echoes our natural habitats in some way. In attempting to restore this natural quality to human environments, we often look to other species for inspiration. The real secret to building for well-being, Bernheimer argues, is to reconnect humans with the power to shape our surroundings. When people are involved in forming and nurturing their environments, they feel a greater sense of agency, community, and pride, or "collective efficacy." And when communities have high rates of collective efficacy, they tend to have less litter, vandalism, and violent crime. Playful and accessible,The Shaping of Us is a delightful read for designers, professionals, and anyone wanting to understand how spaces make us tick and how to fix the broken bits of our world.
Publication Date: 2019-06-15
Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA’s Teams by Janet VertesiIn Shaping Science, Janet Vertesi draws on a decade of immersive ethnography with NASA's robotic spacecraft teams to create a comparative account of two great space missions of the early 2000s. Although these missions featured robotic explorers on the frontiers of the solar system bravely investigating new worlds, their commands were issued from millions of miles away by a very human team. By examining the two teams' formal structures, decision-making techniques, and informal work practices in the day-to-day process of mission planning, Vertesi shows just how deeply entangled a team's local organizational context is with the knowledge they produce about other worlds. Using extensive, embedded experiences on two NASA spacecraft teams, this is the first book to apply organizational studies of work to the laboratory environment in order to analyze the production of scientific knowledge itself. Engaging and deeply researched, Shaping Science demonstrates the significant influence that the social organization of a scientific team can have on the practices of that team and the results they yield.
Publication Date: 2020-11-06
The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot by Yolande Strengers; Jenny KennedyMeet the Smart Wife--at your service, an eclectic collection of feminized AI, robotic, and smart devices. This digital assistant is friendly and sometimes flirty, docile and efficient, occasionally glitchy but perpetually available. She might go by Siri, or Alexa, or inhabit Google Home. She can keep us company, order groceries, vacuum the floor, turn out the lights. A Japanese digital voice assistant--a virtual anime hologram named Hikari Azuma--sends her "master" helpful messages during the day; an American sexbot named Roxxxy takes on other kinds of household chores. In The Smart Wife, Yolande Strengers and Jenny Kennedy examine the emergence of digital devices that carry out "wifework"--domestic responsibilities that have traditionally fallen to (human) wives. They show that the principal prototype for these virtual helpers--designed in male-dominated industries--is the 1950s housewife- white, middle class, heteronormative, and nurturing, with a spick-and-span home. It's time, they say, to give the Smart Wife a reboot.
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA by Neil ShubinThe author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth--a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be. Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened. We have now arrived at a remarkable moment--prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention. In Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin takes readers on a journey of discovery spanning centuries, as explorers and scientists seek to understand the origins of life's immense diversity.
Publication Date: 2020-03-17
Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond by Christopher WanjekA wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand. More than fifty years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? What will it take to become a multiplanet species, colonizing the solar system and traveling to other stars? Spacefarers meets these questions head on. While many books have speculated on the possibility of living beyond the Earth, few have delved into the practical challenges or plausible motives for leaving the safe confines of our home planet. Christopher Wanjek argues that there is little doubt we will be returning to the Moon and exploring Mars in the coming decades, given the potential scientific and commercial bonanza. Private industry is already taking a leading role and earning profits from human space activity. This can be, Wanjek suggests, a sustainable venture and a natural extension of earthbound science, business, and leisure. He envisions hotels in low-earth orbit and mining, tourism, and science on the Moon. He also proposes the slow, steady development of science bases on Mars, to be followed by settlements if Martian gravity will permit reproduction and healthy child development. An appetite for wonder will take us far, but if we really want to settle new worlds, we'll need the earnest plans of engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Wanjek introduces us to those planners, who are striving right now to make life in space a reality.
Publication Date: 2020-04-14
Sticking Together: The Science of Adhesion by Steven AbbottThis popular science title covers adhesion science in an easily accessible entertaining manner. As well as outlining types of adhesion and their importance in everyday life, the book covers interesting future applications of adhesion and inspiration taken from nature. Ideal for students and the scientifically minded reader this book provides a fascinating introduction to the science of what makes things stick.
Publication Date: 2020-05-05
The Story of CO2: Big Ideas for a Small Molecule Hardcover by Geoffrey Ozin, Mireille GhoussoubThe climate crisis requires that we drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions across all sectors of society. The Story of CO2 contributes to this vital conversation by highlighting the cutting-edge science and emerging technologies – a number of which are already commercially available – that can transform carbon dioxide into a myriad of products such as feedstock chemicals, polymers, pharmaceuticals, and fuels. This approach allows us to reconsider CO2 as a resource, and to add "carbon capture and use" to our other tools in the fight against catastrophic climate change.
The Story of CO2 explores all aspects of carbon dioxide, from the atomic to the universal perspective, and takes the reader on an epic journey into our physical world, starting from the moment of the Big Bang, all the way to the present world in which atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to grow. This story seeks to inspire readers with the latest carbon utilization technologies and explain how they fit within the broader context of carbon mitigation strategies in the shift towards a sustainable energy economy.
Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect by Paul HalpernOne of Physics Worlds Best of Physics in 2020 From Aristotle's Physics to quantum teleportation, learn about the scientific pursuit of instantaneous connections in this insightful examination of our world. For millennia, scientists have puzzled over a simple question: Does the universe have a speed limit? If not, some effects could happen at the same instant as the actions that caused them -- and some effects, ludicrously, might even happen before their causes. By one hundred years ago, it seemed clear that the speed of light was the fastest possible speed. Causality was safe. And then quantum mechanics happened, introducing spooky connections that seemed to circumvent the law of cause and effect. Inspired by the new physics, psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli explored a concept called synchronicity, a weird phenomenon they thought could link events without causes. Synchronicity tells that sprawling tale of insight and creativity, and asks where these ideas -- some plain crazy, and others crazy powerful -- are taking the human story next.
Publication Date: 2020-08-18
Thetis Down: The Slow Death of a Submarine by Tony BoothOn 1 June 1939 His Majesty's Submarine Thetis sank in Liverpool Bay while on her diving trials. Her loss is still the worst peacetime submarine disaster the Royal Navy has yet faced when ninety-nine men drowned or slowly suffocated during their last fifty hours of life.The disaster became an international media event, mainly because the trapped souls aboard were so near to being saved after they managed to raise her stern about 18 ft above sea level. Still the Royal Navy-led rescue operation failed to find the submarine for many hours, only to rescue four of all those trapped. Very little is known about what actually happened, as the only comprehensive book written on the subject was published in 1958.Many years have now passed since the Thetis and her men died, for which no one was held to be ultimately accountable. However, a great deal of unpublished information has come to light in archives throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. After four years of painstaking research Thetis Down; The Slow Death of a Submarine explores in minute detail a more rounded picture of what really happened before, during and after her tragic loss. In doing so Tony Booth's book also takes a fresh look at culpability and explores some of the alleged conspiracy theories that surrounded her demise.The result is the first definitive account what happened to HMS Thetis - and her men - a fitting tribute, as the seventieth anniversary of her loss will be on 1 June 2009.
Call Number: VK1265 .B66 2019
Publication Date: 2020-04-26
Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings by Valerie TrouetChildren around the world know that to tell how old a tree is, you count its rings. Few people, however, know that research into tree rings has also made amazing contributions to our understanding of Earth's climate history and its influences on human civilization over the past 2,000 years. In her captivating new book, Tree Story, Valerie Trouet reveals how the seemingly simple and relatively familiar concept of counting tree rings has inspired far-reaching scientific breakthroughs that illuminate the complex interactions between nature and people. Trouet, a leading tree-ring scientist, takes us out into the field, from remote African villages to radioactive Russian forests, offering readers an insider's look at tree-ring research, a discipline formally known as dendrochronology. Tracing her own professional journey while exploring dendrochronology's history and applications, Trouet describes the basics of how tell-tale tree cores are collected and dated with ring-by-ring precision, explaining the unexpected and momentous insights we've gained from the resulting samples. Blending popular science, travelogue, and cultural history, Tree Story highlights exciting findings of tree-ring research, including the fate of lost pirate treasure, successful strategies for surviving California wildfire, the secret to Genghis Khan's victories, the connection between Egyptian pharaohs and volcanoes, and even the role of olives in the fall of Rome. These fascinating tales are deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on global climate dynamics and uncovers the clear links between humans and our leafy neighbors. Trouet delights us with her dedication to the tangible appeal of studying trees, a discipline that has taken her to austere and beautiful landscapes around the globe and has enabled scientists to solve long-pondered mysteries of Earth and its human inhabitants.
Publication Date: 2020-04-21
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert MacfarlaneHailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time"--the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present--he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Woven through Macfarlane's own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls "the awful darkness within the world."Global in its geography and written with great lyricism and power, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. Taking a deep-time view of our planet, Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: "Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?" Underland marks a new turn in Macfarlane's long-term mapping of the relations of landscape and the human heart. From its remarkable opening pages to its deeply moving conclusion, it is a journey into wonder, loss, fear, and hope. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
Publication Date: 2019-06-04
Vanishing Ice: Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Rising Seas by Vivien GornitzThe Arctic is thawing. In summer, cruise ships sail through the once ice-clogged Northwest Passage, lakes form on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and polar bears swim farther and farther in search of waning ice floes. At the opposite end of the world, floating Antarctic ice shelves are shrinking. Mountain glaciers are in retreat worldwide, unleashing flash floods and avalanches. We are on thin ice--and with melting permafrost's potential to let loose still more greenhouse gases, these changes may be just the beginning. Vanishing Ice is a powerful depiction of the dramatic transformation of the cryosphere--the world of ice and snow--and its consequences for the human world. Delving into the major components of the cryosphere, including ice sheets, valley glaciers, permafrost, and floating ice, Vivien Gornitz gives an up-to-date explanation of key current trends in the decline of ice mass. Drawing on a long-term perspective gained by examining changes in the cryosphere and corresponding variations in sea level over millions of years, she demonstrates the link between thawing ice and sea-level rise to point to the social and economic challenges on the horizon. Gornitz highlights the widespread repercussions of ice loss, which will affect countless people far removed from frozen regions, to explain why the big meltdown matters to us all. Written for all readers and students interested in the science of our changing climate, Vanishing Ice is an accessible and lucid warning of the coming thaw.
Publication Date: 2019-06-11
Vera Rubin: A Life by Jacqueline Mitton; Simon Mitton; Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Foreword by)The first biography of a pioneering scientist who made significant contributions to our understanding of dark matter and championed the advancement of women in science. One of the great lingering mysteries of the universe is dark matter. Scientists are not sure what it is, but most believe it's out there, and in abundance. The astronomer who finally convinced many of them was Vera Rubin. When Rubin died in 2016, she was regarded as one of the most influential astronomers of her era. Her research on the rotation of spiral galaxies was groundbreaking, and her observations contributed significantly to the confirmation of dark matter, a most notable achievement. In Vera Rubin: A Life, prolific science writers Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton provide a detailed, accessible overview of Rubin's work, showing how she leveraged immense curiosity, profound intelligence, and novel technologies to help transform our understanding of the cosmos. But Rubin's impact was not limited to her contributions to scientific knowledge. She also helped to transform scientific practice by promoting the careers of women researchers. Not content to be an inspiration, Rubin was a mentor and a champion. She advocated for hiring women faculty, inviting women speakers to major conferences, and honoring women with awards that were historically the exclusive province of men. Rubin's papers and correspondence yield vivid insights into her life and work, as she faced down gender discrimination and met the demands of family and research throughout a long and influential career. Deftly written, with both scientific experts and general readers in mind, Vera Rubin is a portrait of a woman with insatiable curiosity about the universe who never stopped asking questions and encouraging other women to do the same.
Publication Date: 2021-02-11
Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar: A Guided Tour of the Solar System by Bonnie J. BurattiJoin Bonnie J. Buratti, a leading planetary astronomer, on this personal tour of NASA's latest discoveries. Moving through the Solar System from Mercury, Venus, Mars, past comets and asteroids and the moons of the giant planets, to Pluto, and on to exoplanets, she gives vivid descriptions of landforms that are similar to those found on Earth but that are more fantastic. Sulfur-rich volcanoes and lakes on Io, active gullies on Mars, huge ice plumes and tar-like deposits on the moons of Saturn, hydrocarbon rivers and lakes on Titan, and nitrogen glaciers on Pluto are just some of the marvels that await readers. Discover what it is like to be involved in a major scientific enterprise, with all its pitfalls and excitement, from the perspective of a female scientist. This engaging account of modern space exploration is written for non-specialist readers, from students in high school to enthusiasts of all ages.