The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2023 by Carl Zimmer; Jaime GreenAward-winning writer, columnist, and journalists Carl Zimmer selects twenty science and nature essays that represent the best examples of the form published in 2022. "What's most compelling about a scientific story is the way it challenges us to think about the concepts we take for granted," writes guest editor Carl Zimmer in his introduction. The essays in this year's Best American Science and Nature Writing probe at the ordinary and urge us to think more deeply about our place in the world around us. From a hopeful portrait of a future for people with Alzheimer's disease, to a fascinating exploration of the rise of nearsightedness in children, to the heroic story of a herd of cows that evaded a hurricane, these selections reveal how science and nature shape our everyday lives. With tremendous intelligence, clarity, and insight, this anthology offers an expansive look at where we are and where we are headed. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2023 includes JESSICA CAMILLE AGUIRRE * VANESSA GREGORY * SABRINA IMBLER FERRIS JABR * MARION RENAULT * ELIZABETH SVOBODA NATALIE WOLCHOVER * SARAH ZHANG and others
Publication Date: 2023-10-17
A Book of Noises: Notes on the Auraculous by Caspar HendersonA wide-ranging exploration of the sounds that shape our world in invisible yet significant ways. The crackling of a campfire. The scratch, hiss, and pop of a vinyl record. The first glug of wine as it is poured from a bottle. These are just a few of writer Caspar Henderson's favorite sounds. In A Book of Noises, Henderson invites readers to use their ears a little better--to tune in to the world in all its surprising noisiness. Describing sounds from around the natural and human world, the forty-eight essays that make up A Book of Noises are a celebration of all things "auraculous." Henderson calls on his characteristic curiosity to explore sounds related to humans (anthropophony), other life (biophony), the planet (geophony), and space (cosmophony). Henderson finds the beauty in everyday sounds, like the ringing of a bell, the buzz of a bee, or the "earworm" songs that get stuck in our heads. A Book of Noises also explores the marvelous, miraculous sounds we may never get the chance to hear, like the deep boom of a volcano or the quiet, rustling sound of the Northern Lights. A Book of Noises will teach readers to really listen to the sounds of the world around them, to broaden and deepen their appreciation of the humans, animals, rocks, and trees simultaneously broadcasting across the whole spectrum of sentience.
Publication Date: 2023-11-03
Building the Apollo Capsules: An Engineer's Memoir of the Moonshot Program and Its Debt to Hispanic Team Members by Jim De La RosaThis firsthand account of the development of the Apollo 11 mission gives a behind-the-scenes look at the 1969 moon landing mission from an engineer's perspective. The technical problems and solutions of designing a capsule to carry three astronauts--Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins--safely to the moon and back are covered in detail from the author's point of view. The contributions of Latino personnel in the Apollo program are described.
Publication Date: 2023-10-19
The Call of Coincidence by Owen O'SheaFeaturing surprising trivia gems alongside serious questions like why there is something rather than nothing, readers will be enriched by this exploration of remarkable number coincidences and the mathematics that make them possible - and probable.
Call Number: QA95 .O74 2023
Publication Date: 2023-06-15
Canopy of Titans: The Life and Times of the Great North American Temperate Rainforest by Jessica Applegate; Paul KobersteinTrees are crucial in preserving a liveable future. Canopy of Titans makes an eloquent plea for saving one of North America's last great forests. -- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History In Canopy of Titans, Paul Koberstein and Jessica Applegate examine the global importance of the Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest that stretches from Northern California to Alaska. Their urgent and authoritative account sets out the threats facing a vital environmental resource, and celebrates the beauty and complexity of one of the world's great forests. Drawing on years of on-the-ground reporting, Koberstein and Applegate pull back the curtain on policies of governmental bodies that have seriously diminished the rainforest's capacity to store carbon, and uncover industry practices that have led to the destruction of swaths of a major ecological resource. Additionally, using an environmental justice perspective, Canopy of Titans shines a light on the Indigenous communities that have lived in the rainforest for millennia, and the impact forest policies have had on their lives.
Publication Date: 2023-08-29
A City on Mars: Can we settle space, should we settle space, and have we really thought this through? by Kelly Weinersmith; Zach Weinersmith"An exceptional new piece of popular science . . . Forceful, engaging and funny . . . an essential reality check for anyone who has ever looked for home in the night sky . . . hilarious. The breezy prose is studded with charming cartoons... This book will make you happy to live on this planet -- a good thing, because you're not leaving anytime soon." --New York Times Book Review From the bestselling authors of Soonish, a brilliant and hilarious off-world investigation into space settlement Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away--no climate change, no war, no Twitter--beckons, and settling the stars finally seems within our grasp. Or is it? Critically acclaimed, bestselling authors Kelly and Zach Weinersmith set out to write the essential guide to a glorious future of space settlements, but after years of research, they aren't so sure it's a good idea. Space technologies and space business are progressing fast, but we lack the knowledge needed to have space kids, build space farms, and create space nations in a way that doesn't spark conflict back home. In a world hurtling toward human expansion into space, A City on Mars investigates whether the dream of new worlds won't create nightmares, both for settlers and the people they leave behind. In the process, the Weinersmiths answer every question about space you've ever wondered about, and many you've never considered: Can you make babies in space? Should corporations govern space settlements? What about space war? Are we headed for a housing crisis on the Moon's Peaks of Eternal Light--and what happens if you're left in the Craters of Eternal Darkness? Why do astronauts love taco sauce? Speaking of meals, what's the legal status of space cannibalism? With deep expertise, a winning sense of humor, and art from the beloved creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the Weinersmiths investigate perhaps the biggest questions humanity will ever ask itself--whether and how to become multiplanetary. Get in, we're going to Mars.
Publication Date: 2023-11-07
Convergence: Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing: Social, Economic, and Policy Impacts by Greg Viggiano (Editor); David Brin (Foreword by)Prepare for the coming convergence of AI and quantum computing A collection of essays from 20 renowned, international authors working in industry, academia, and government, Convergence: Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing explains the impending convergence of artificial intelligence and quantum computing. A diversity of viewpoints is presented, each offering their view of this coming watershed event. In the book, you'll discover that we're on the cusp of seeing the stuff of science fiction become reality, with huge implications for ripping up the existing social fabric, global economy, and current geopolitical order. Along with an incisive foreword by Hugo- and Nebula-award winning author David Brin, you'll also find: Explorations of the increasing pace of technological development Explanations of why seemingly unusual and surprising breakthroughs might be just around the corner Maps to navigate the potential minefields that await us as AI and quantum computing come together A fascinating and thought-provoking compilation of insights from some of the leading technological voices in the world, Convergence convincingly argues that we should prepare for a world in which very little will remain the same and shows us how to get ready.
Publication Date: 2023-01-05
Cracked: The Future of Dams in a Hot, Chaotic World by Steven Hawley; David James Duncan (Foreword by)The ugly truth about dams is about to be revealed. During the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the whole messy truth about the legacy of last century's big dam building binge has come to light. What started out as an arguably good government project has drifted oceans away from that original virtuous intent. Governments plugged the nation's rivers in a misguided attempt to turn them into revenue streams. Water control projects' main legacy will be one of needless ecological destruction, fostering a host of unnecessary injustices. The estimated 800,000 dams in the world can't be blamed for destroying the earth's entire biological inheritance, but they play an outsized role in that destruction. Cracked: The Future of Dams in a Hot, Crazy World is a kind of speed date with the history of water control -- its dams, diversions and canals, and just as importantly, the politics and power that evolved with them. Examples from the American West reveal that the costs of building and maintaining a sprawling water storage and delivery complex in an arid world--growing increasingly arid under the ravages of climate chaos--is well beyond the benefits furnished. Success stories from Patagonia and the Blue Heart of Europe point to a possible future where rivers run free and the earth restores itself.
Publication Date: 2023-05-02
Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet by Ben GoldfarbSome 40 million miles of roadways encircle the earth, yet we tend to regard them only as infrastructure for human convenience. While roads are so ubiquitous they're practically invisible to us, wild animals experience them as entirely alien forces of death and disruption. In Crossings, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb travels throughout the United States and around the world to investigate how roads have transformed our planet. A million animals are killed by cars each day in the U.S. alone, but as the new science of road ecology shows, the harms of highways extend far beyond roadkill. Creatures from antelope to salmon are losing their ability to migrate in search of food and mates; invasive plants hitch rides in tire treads; road salt contaminates lakes and rivers; and the very noise of traffic chases songbirds from vast swaths of habitat. Yet road ecologists are also seeking to blunt the destruction through innovative solutions. Goldfarb meets with conservationists building bridges for California's mountain lions and tunnels for English toads, engineers deconstructing the labyrinth of logging roads that web national forests, animal rehabbers caring for Tasmania's car-orphaned wallabies, and community organizers working to undo the havoc highways have wreaked upon American cities. Today, as our planet's road network continues to grow exponentially, the science of road ecology has become increasingly vital. Written with passion and curiosity, Crossings is a sweeping, spirited, and timely investigation into how humans have altered the natural world--and how we can create a better future for all living beings.
Publication Date: 2023-09-12
Elemental: How Five Elements Changed Earth’s Past and Will Shape Our Future by Stephen PorderAn ecologist explores how life itself shapes Earth using the elemental constituents we all share It is rare for life to change Earth, yet three organisms have profoundly transformed our planet over the long course of its history. Elemental reveals how microbes, plants, and people used the fundamental building blocks of life to alter the climate, and with it, the trajectory of life on Earth in the past, present, and future. Taking readers from the deep geologic past to our current era of human dominance, Stephen Porder focuses on five of life's essential elements--hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. He describes how single-celled cyanobacteria and plants harnessed them to wildly proliferate across the oceans and the land, only to eventually precipitate environmental catastrophes. He then brings us to the present, and shows how these elements underpin the success of human civilization, and how their mismanagement threatens similarly catastrophic unintended consequences. But, Porder argues, if we can learn from our world-changing predecessors, we can construct a more sustainable future. Blending conversational storytelling with the latest science, Porder takes us deep into the Amazon, across fresh lava flows in Hawaii, and to the cornfields of the American Midwest to illuminate a potential path to sustainability, informed by the constraints imposed by life's essential elements and the four-billion-year history of life on Earth.
Publication Date: 2023-09-12
Empire of the Sum: The Rise and Reign of the Pocket Calculato by Keith HoustonStarting with hands, abacus, and slide rule, humans have always reached for tools to simplify math. Pocket-sized calculators ushered in modern mathematics, helped build the atomic bomb, took us to the bottom of the ocean, and accompanied us to the moon. The pocket calculator changed our world, until it was supplanted by more modern devices that, in a cruel twist of irony, it helped to create. The calculator is dead; long live the calculator. In this witty mathematic and social history, Keith Houston transports readers from the nascent economies of the ancient world to World War II, where a Jewish engineer calculated for his life at Buchenwald, and into the technological arms race that led to the first affordable electronic pocket calculators. At every turn, Houston is a scholarly, affable guide to this global history of invention.Empire of the Sum will appeal to math lovers, history buffs, and anyone seeking to understand our trajectory to the computer age.
Publication Date: 2023-08-22
Empowering Women in STEM: Personal Stories and Career Journeys from Around the World by Sanya Mathura (Contribution by)Women in STEM are constantly facing new challenges every day. By sharing their stories and the ways in which they already have and continue to overcome these hurdles, they can help others find the strength to persevere and succeed in these fields. This mix of authors from varying backgrounds all share the same passion - to encourage more women into STEM - and they have placed their proverbial hearts on their sleeves and documented their journeys to inspire readers to either enter or stay within STEM fields. Empowering Women in STEM: Personal Stories and Career Journeys from Around the World discusses the application process of root cause analysis and ways to introduce STEM to other generations. It offers an insider view of the armed forces and allows readers to gain more perspective on ways male advocates can help female colleagues in STEM fields. It includes a father's perspective on change within the engineering industry, how he's mentoring new female engineers, and ways to help them as they evolve. The book captures firsthand accounts of STEM professionals in various fields as they recount experiences that have helped them to navigate their own career paths. This book also demonstrates how life doesn't have to follow the timelines proposed by society and how females can become CEOs and command other top-level positions in engineering companies. In addition to having women from across the globe share their stories about various fields, readers will hear from both military and civilian male advocates who share ways to empower others within the industry. This book is written for professionals who may be considering a switch of career or deciding to leave STEM. It is also useful to university students who are trying to figure out their career choices and paths and gain more insight into possible career opportunities in STEM.
Publication Date: 2023-01-01
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
Grace in All Simplicity: Beauty, Truth, and Wonders on the Path to the Higgs Boson and New Laws of Nature by Robert N. Cahn; Chris QuiggAn enthralling and accessible account of humanity's quest to make sense of our physical world, told through interwoven tales of inspiration, tragedy, and triumph. How do the remarkable recent discoveries of the Higgs boson, dark matter, and dark energy connect with the equally revolutionary discoveries in centuries past? In Grace in All Simplicity, readers will delight in Cahn and Quigg's engaging prose and see how the infinite and the infinitesimal are joined. Today, physicists and astronomers are exploring distances from a billionth of a billionth of the human scale to the entire cosmos, and contemplating time intervals that range from less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a second out to far longer than the age of the universe. Leaving home in this metaphorical way requires devising new instruments that spectacularly expand our senses and conceiving original ways of thinking that expand our minds. This is at once an act of audacity and an exercise in humility. Grace in All Simplicity narrates the saga of how we have prospected for some of Nature's most tightly held secrets, the basic constituents of matter and the fundamental forces that rule them. Our current understanding of the world (and universe) we inhabit is the result of curiosity, diligence, and daring, of abstraction and synthesis, and of an abiding faith in the value of exploration. In these pages we will meet scientists of both past and present. These men and women are professional scientists and amateurs, the eccentric and the conventional, performers and introverts. Scientists themselves, Cahn and Quigg convey their infectious joy as they search for new laws of nature. Join the adventure as scientists ascend mountain tops and descend into caverns deep underground, travel to the coldest places on Earth, and voyage back in time to near the birth of the Universe. Visit today's great laboratories and the astounding instruments they house. Grace in All Simplicity is a thrilling voyage filled with improbable discoveries and the extraordinary community of people who make them. Together, we will travel the path to the Higgs boson, weigh the evidence for subliminal dark matter, and learn what makes scientists invoke a mysterious agent named "dark energy." We will behold the emergence of a compelling picture of matter and forces, simple in its structure, graceful in the interplay of its parts, but still tantalizingly incomplete.
Publication Date: 2023-11-07
A Guess at the Riddle: Essays on the Physical Underpinnings of Quantum Mechanics by David Z. Albert (Contribution by)From the celebrated author of Quantum Mechanics and Experience comes an original and exhilarating attempt at making sense of the strange laws of quantum mechanics. A century ago, a brilliant circle of physicists around Niels Bohr argued that the search for an objective, realistic, and mechanical picture of the inner workings of the atom-the kind of picture that had previously been an ideal of classical physics-was doomed to fail. Today, there is widespread agreement among philosophers and physicists that those arguments were wrong. However, the question of what that picture might look like, and how it might fit into a comprehensive picture of physical reality, remains unsettled. In A Guess at the Riddle, philosopher David Z Albert argues that the distinctively strange features of quantum mechanics begin to make sense once we conceive of the wave function, vibrating and evolving in high-dimensional space, as the concrete, fundamental physical "stuff" of the universe. Starting with simple mechanical models, Albert methodically constructs the defining features of quantum mechanics from scratch. He shows how the entire history of our familiar, three-dimensional universe can be discerned in the wave function's intricate pattern of ripples and whorls. A major new work in the foundations of physics, A Guess at the Riddle is poised to transform our understanding of the basic architecture of the universe.
Publication Date: 2023-09-19
Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making by Anna PloszajskiA fresh and entertaining perspective on materials science involving the craftspeople who have built their careers around working with materials such as clay, stone, steel and wool. From atomic structures to theories about magnetic forces, scientific progress has given us a good grasp on the properties of many different materials. However, most scientists cannot measure the temperature of steel just by looking at it, or sculpt stone into all kinds of shapes, or know how it feels to blow up a balloon of glass. Handmade is the story of materials through making and doing. Author and material scientist Anna Ploszajski journeys into the domain of makers and craftspeople to comprehend how the most popular materials really work. Anna has the fresh perspective of someone at the forefront of the field. Each chapter features her accounts of learning from masters of their respective crafts. Along the way, Anna builds a fuller picture of materials and their place in society, as well as how they have intersected with her own life experiences - from land racing on American salt flats to swimming the English Channel. She visits a blacksmith, explores how working with the primal material, clay, has brought about some of the most advanced technologies, and delves down to the atomic scale of glass to find out what makes it 'glassy'. Handmade affords us a new understanding of the materials we encounter every day and an appreciation for the skills needed to fashion them into objects that are perfectly formed for the jobs they do.
Call Number: TA403.2 .P58 2023
Publication Date: 2023-04-27
The Heartbeat of the Wild: Dispatches From Landscapes of Wonder, Peril, and Hope by David QuammenIn this inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed author David Quammen journeys to places where civilization meets raw nature and explores the challenge of balancing the needs of both. For more than two decades, award-winning science and nature writer David Quammen has traveled to Earth's most far-flung and fragile destinations, sending back field notes from places caught in the tension between humans and the wild. This illuminating book features 20 of those assignments: elegantly written narratives, originally published in National Geographic magazine and updated for today, telling colorful and impassioned stories from some of the planet's wildest locales. Quammen shares encounters with African elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas (and their saviors, including Jane Goodall); the salmon of northeastern Russia and the people whose livelihood depends on them; the lions of Kenya and the villagers whose homes border on parks created to preserve the species; and the champions of rewilding efforts in southernmost South America, designed to rescue iconic species including jaguars and macaws. With a new introduction, afterword, and notes framing each story, Quammen reminds us of the essential role played by wild nature at the heart of the planet.
Publication Date: 2023-05-16
Her Space, Her Time: How Trailblazing Women Scientists Decoded the Hidden Universe by Shohini GhoseAn exciting new title in the vein of Hidden Figures, which tells the inspiring stories of long-overlooked women physicists and astronomers who discovered the fundamental rules of the universe and reshaped the rules of society. Women physicists and astronomers from around the world have transformed science and society, but the critical roles they played in their fields are not always well-sung. Her Space, Her Time, authored by award-winning quantum physicist Shohini Ghose, brings together the stories of these remarkable women to celebrate their indelible scientific contributions. In each chapter of the book, Ghose explores a scientific topic and explains how the women featured in that chapter revolutionized that area of physics and astronomy. In doing so, she also addresses particular aspects of women's experiences in physics and astronomy: in the chapter on time, for instance, we learn of Henrietta Leavitt and Margaret Burbidge, who helped discover the big bang and the cosmic calendar; in the chapter on space exploration, we learn of Anigaduwagi (Cherokee) aerospace scientist Mary Golda Ross, who helped make the Moon landings possible; and in the chapter on subatomic particles, we learn of Marietta Blau, Hertha Wambacher, and Bibha Chowdhuri, who contributed to the discovery of the building blocks of the universe, and, in doing so, played a crucial role in determining who gets to do physics today. Engaging, accessible, and timely, Her Space, Her Time is a collective story of scientific innovation, inspirational leadership, and overcoming invisibility that will leave a lasting impression on any reader curious about the rule-breakers and trendsetters who illuminated our understanding of the universe. Some of the featured women scientists in the book Williamina Fleming Annie Jump Cannon Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Antonia Maury Henrietta Leavitt Margaret Burbidge Mary Golda Ross Dilhan Eryurt Claudia Alexander Joyce Neighbors Navajo women of Shiprock Harriet Brooks Marie Curie Lise Meitner Marietta Blau Hertha Wambacher Bibha Chowdhuri Wu Chien-Shiung Women of the Manhattan Project Vera Rubin
Call Number: QC15 .G48 2023
Publication Date: 2023-10-17
In a Flight of Starlings: The Wonders of Complex System by Giorgio ParisiFrom the 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, an enlightening and personal journey into the practice of groundbreaking science "[Giorgio Parisi is] an extraordinary scientist." --Carlo Rovelli With In a Flight of Starlings, celebrated physicist Giorgio Parisi guides us through his unorthodox yet exhilarating work, starting with investigating the principles of physics by observing the flight of flocks of birds. Studying the movements of these communities, he has realized, proves an illuminating way into understanding complex systems of all kinds--collections of everything from atoms and planets to other animals, such as ourselves. Along the way, he reflects on the lessons he has taken from a life in pursuit of scientific truth: the importance of serendipity to the discovery of new ideas, the surprising kinship between physics and other disciplines, and the value of science to a thriving society. In so doing, he removes the practice of science from the confines of the laboratory and brings it into the real world. Part elegant scientific treatise, part thrilling journey of discovery, In a Flight of Starlings is an invitation to find wonder in the world around us.
Call Number: QC6 .P294513 2023
Publication Date: 2023-07-11
Is Math Real?: How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics’ Deepest Truths by Eugenia ChengOne of the world's most creative mathematicians offers a new way to look at math--focusing on questions, not answers Where do we learn math: From rules in a textbook? From logic and deduction? Not really, according to mathematician Eugenia Cheng: we learn it from human curiosity--most importantly, from asking questions. This may come as a surprise to those who think that math is about finding the one right answer, or those who were told that the "dumb" question they asked just proved they were bad at math. But Cheng shows why people who ask questions like "Why does 1 + 1 = 2?" are at the very heart of the search for mathematical truth. Is Math Real? is a much-needed repudiation of the rigid ways we're taught to do math, and a celebration of the true, curious spirit of the discipline. Written with intelligence and passion, Is Math Real? brings us math as we've never seen it before, revealing how profound insights can emerge from seemingly unlikely sources.
Publication Date: 2023-08-15
The Kaleidoscope of Physics: From Soap Bubbles to Quantum Technologies by A. Rigamonti; Andrii Varlamov; Jacques VillainWhy do rivers meander? How do you make a glass sing? What laws govern the shape of drops and bubbles? What happens when we cook a roast? All of these questions, and many more, are answered in this book.A true invitation to wonder about aspects of our daily lives, this book investigates the physics that underlies these observations. The authors relate this to the most recent advances in the discipline, and even provide an introduction to the mysteries of quantum mechanics and superconductivity, while detailing the countless resulting applications, from MRI to quantum cryptography.In each chapter, the reader will discover the innumerable facets of a kaleidoscope of phenomena where ground-breaking results, rewarded by Nobel Prizes, are presented side by side with seemingly insignificant experiments.
Publication Date: 2023-02-01
Life on Other Planets: A Memoir of Finding My Place in the Univers by Aomawa ShieldsA stunning and inspiring memoir charting a life as an astronomer, classically-trained actor, mother, and Black woman in STEM, searching for life in the universe while building a meaningful life here on Earth As a kid, Aomawa Shields was always bumping into things, her neck craned up at the sky, dreaming of becoming an astronaut. A year into an astrophysics PhD program, plagued by self-doubt and discouraged by a white male professor who suggested that she--a young Black woman who also loved fashion, makeup, and the arts--didn't belong, she left astronomy and pursued acting professionally for a decade, before a day job working for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope drew her back to the stars. She was the oldest and the only Black student in her PhD cohort. This time, no professor, and no voice in her own head, would stop her. Now an astronomer and astrobiologist at the top of her field, Dr. Shields studies the universe outside our Solar System, researching and uncovering the planets circling distant stars with just the right conditions that could support life--while also using her theater education to communicate the wonder and magic of the universe with those of us here on Earth. But it's been a journey as winding and complex as the physics she has mastered. Life on Other Planets is a journey of discovery on this world and on others, a story of creating a life that makes space for joy, love, and wonder while being driven by one of our biggest questions: Is anybody else out there? It is about the possibility of living between multiple worlds and not choosing--but instead charting a new path entirely.
Publication Date: 2023-07-11
The Little Book of Exoplanets by Joshua N. WinnA concise and accessible introduction to exoplanets that explains the cutting-edge science behind recent discoveries For centuries, people have speculated about the possibility of planets orbiting distant stars, but only since the 1990s has technology allowed astronomers to detect them. At this point, more than five thousand such exoplanets have been identified, with the pace of discovery accelerating after the launch of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the Webb Space Telescope. In The Little Book of Exoplanets, Princeton astrophysicist Joshua Winn offers a brief and engaging introduction to the search for exoplanets and the cutting-edge science behind recent findings. In doing so, he chronicles the dawn of a new age of discovery--one that has rapidly transformed astronomy and our broader understanding of the universe. Scientists now know that many Sun-like stars host their own systems of planets, some of which may resemble our solar system and include planets similar to the Earth. But, Winn tells us, the most remarkable discoveries so far have been of planets with unexpected and decidedly un-Earth-like properties, which have upended what we thought we knew about the origins of planetary systems. Winn provides an inside view of the sophisticated detective work astronomers perform as they find and study exoplanets and describes the surprising--sometimes downright bizarre--planets and systems they have found. He explains how these discoveries are revolutionizing astronomy, and he explores the current status and possible future of the search for another Earth. Finally, drawing on his own and other scientists' work, he considers how the discovery of exoplanets and their faraway solar systems changes our perspectives on the universe and our place in it.
Publication Date: 2023-07-11
Mischievous Creatures: The Forgotten Sisters Who Transformed Early American Science by Catherine McNeurThe untold story of two sisters whose discoveries sped the growth of American science in the nineteenth century, combining "meticulous research and sensitive storytelling" (Janice P. Nimura, New York Times-bestselling author of The Doctors Blackwell) In Mischievous Creatures, historian Catherine McNeur uncovers the lives and work of Margaretta Hare Morris and Elizabeth Carrington Morris, sisters and scientists in early America. Margaretta, an entomologist, was famous among her peers and the public for her research on seventeen-year cicadas and other troublesome insects. Elizabeth, a botanist, was a prolific illustrator and a trusted supplier of specimens to the country's leading experts. Together, their discoveries helped fuel the growth and professionalization of science in antebellum America. But these very developments confined women in science to underpaid and underappreciated roles for generations to follow, erasing the Morris sisters' contributions along the way. Mischievous Creatures is an indelible portrait of two unsung pioneers, one that places women firmly at the center of the birth of American science.
Publication Date: 2023-10-31
Not Just for the Boys: Why We Need More Women in Science by Athene DonaldWhy are girls discouraged from doing science? Why do so many promising women leave science in early and mid-career? Why do women not prosper in the scientific workforce?Not Just For the Boys looks back at how society has historically excluded women from the scientific sphere and discourse, what progress has been made, and how more is still needed. Athene Donald, herself a distinguished physicist, explores societal expectations during both childhood and working lifeusing evidence of the systemic disadvantages women operate under, from the developing science of how our brains are--and more importantly aren't--gendered, to social science evidence around attitudes towards girls and women doing science.It also discusses how science is done in practice, in order to dispel common myths: for example, the perception that science is not creative, or that it is carried out by a lone genius in an ivory tower, myths that can be very off-putting to many sections of the population. A better appreciation ofthe collaborative, creative, and multi-disciplinary nature of science is likely to lead to its appeal to a far wider swathe of people, especially women. This book examines the modern way of working in scientific research, and how gender bias operates in various ways within it, drawing on the voicesof leading women in science describing their feelings and experiences. It argues the moral and business case for greater diversity in modern research, the better to improve science and tackle the great challenges we face today.
Publication Date: 2023-05-11
Not with a Bug, But with a Sticker: Attacks on Machine Learning Systems and What To Do About Them by Ram Shankar Siva Kumar; Hyrum Anderson; Bruce Schneier (Foreword by)A robust and engaging account of the single greatest threat faced by AI and ML systems In Not With A Bug, But With A Sticker: Attacks on Machine Learning Systems and What To Do About Them, a team of distinguished adversarial machine learning researchers deliver a riveting account of the most significant risk to currently deployed artificial intelligence systems: cybersecurity threats. The authors take you on a sweeping tour - from inside secretive government organizations to academic workshops at ski chalets to Google's cafeteria - recounting how major AI systems remain vulnerable to the exploits of bad actors of all stripes. Based on hundreds of interviews of academic researchers, policy makers, business leaders and national security experts, the authors compile the complex science of attacking AI systems with color and flourish and provide a front row seat to those who championed this change. Grounded in real world examples of previous attacks, you will learn how adversaries can upend the reliability of otherwise robust AI systems with straightforward exploits. The steeplechase to solve this problem has already begun: Nations and organizations are aware that securing AI systems brings forth an indomitable advantage: the prize is not just to keep AI systems safe but also the ability to disrupt the competition's AI systems. An essential and eye-opening resource for machine learning and software engineers, policy makers and business leaders involved with artificial intelligence, and academics studying topics including cybersecurity and computer science, Not With A Bug, But With A Sticker is a warning--albeit an entertaining and engaging one--we should all heed. How we secure our AI systems will define the next decade. The stakes have never been higher, and public attention and debate on the issue has never been scarcer. The authors are donating the proceeds from this book to two charities: Black in AI and Bountiful Children's Foundation.
Publication Date: 2023-05-02
Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way by Roma AgrawalShortlisted for the 2023 Royal Society Science Book Prize A structural engineer examines the seven most basic building blocks of engineering that have shaped the modern world. Some of humanity's mightiest engineering achievements are small in scale--and, without them, the complex machinery on which our modern world runs would not exist. In Nuts and Bolts, structural engineer Roma Agrawal examines seven of these extraordinary elements: the nail, the wheel, the spring, the magnet, the lens, the string, and the pump. Tracing the evolution from Egyptian nails to modern skyscrapers, and Neanderthal string to musical instruments, Agrawal shows us how even our most sophisticated items are built on the foundations of these ancient and fundamental breakthroughs. She explores an array of intricate technologies--dishwashers, spacesuits, microscopes, suspension bridges, breast pumps--making surprising connections, explaining how they work, and using her own hand-drawn illustrations to bring complex principles to life. Alongside deeply personal experiences, she recounts the stories of remarkable--and often uncredited--scientists, engineers, and innovators from all over the world, and explores the indelible impact these creators and their creations had on society. In preindustrial Britain, nails were so precious that their export to the colonies was banned--and women were among the most industrious nail makers. The washing machine displayed at an industrial fair in Chicago in 1898 was the only machine featured that was designed by a woman. The history of the wheel, meanwhile, starts with pottery, and takes us to India's independence movement, where making clothes using a spinning wheel was an act of civil disobedience. Eye-opening and engaging, Nuts and Bolts reveals the hidden building blocks of our modern world, and shows how engineering has fundamentally changed the way we live.
Publication Date: 2023-11-07
On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking's Final Theory by Thomas HertogNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Stephen Hawking's closest collaborator offers the intellectual superstar's final thoughts on the cosmos--a dramatic revision of the theory he put forward in A Brief History of Time. "This superbly written book offers insight into an extraordinary individual, the creative process, and the scope and limits of our current understanding of the cosmos."--Lord Martin Rees Perhaps the biggest question Stephen Hawking tried to answer in his extraordinary life was how the universe could have created conditions so perfectly hospitable to life. In order to solve this mystery, Hawking studied the big bang origin of the universe, but his early work ran into a crisis when the math predicted many big bangs producing a multiverse--countless different universes, most of which would be far too bizarre to ​harbor life. Holed up in the theoretical physics department at Cambridge, Stephen Hawking and his friend and collaborator Thomas Hertog worked on this problem for twenty years, developing a new theory of the cosmos that could account for the emergence of life. Peering into the extreme quantum physics of cosmic holograms and venturing far back in time to our deepest roots, they were startled to find a deeper level of evolution in which the physical laws themselves transform and simplify until particles, forces, and even time itself fades away. This discovery led them to a revolutionary idea: The laws of physics are not set in stone but are born and co-evolve as the universe they govern takes shape. As Hawking's final days drew near, the two collaborators published their theory, which proposed a radical new Darwinian perspective on the origins of our universe. On the Origin of Time offers a striking new vision of the universe's birth that will profoundly transform the way we think about our place in the order of the cosmos and may ultimately prove to be Hawking's greatest legacy.
Publication Date: 2023-04-11
Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components by Windell Oskay; Eric SchlaepferOur phones, computers, and appliances are made of hundreds of internal components, each precisely engineered, but none intended to be seen. Through painstakingly executed, vividly detailed cross-section photography, Open Circuits reveals the surprising beauty hiding inside the electronic components that drive our everyday devices. From resistors to LEDs, USB cables to headphone jacks, the book's arresting imagery transforms more than 130 components into delightful works of art. As you visually dissect the components' insides, you'll learn about how they work and how they were made.
Publication Date: 2022-11-01
Quantum Supremacy: How the Quantum Computer Revolution Will Change Everything by Michio KakuNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * An exhilarating tour of humanity's next great technological achievement--quantum computing--which may supercharge artificial intelligence, solve some of humanity's biggest problems, like global warming, world hunger, and incurable disease, and eventually illuminate the deepest mysteries of science, by the bestselling author of The God Equation. * "Expertly describes and rectifies common misconceptions about quantum computing." --Science "[Kaku's] lucid prose and thought process make abundant sense of this technological turning point." --The New York Times Book Review The runaway success of the microchip processor may be reaching its end. Running up against the physical constraints of smaller and smaller sizes, traditional silicon chips are not likely to prove useful in solving humanity's greatest challenges, from climate change, to global starvation, to incurable diseases. But the quantum computer, which harnesses the power and complexity of the atomic realm, already promises to be every bit as revolutionary as the transistor and microchip once were. Its unprecedented gains in computing power herald advancements that could change every aspect of our daily lives. Automotive companies, medical researchers, and consulting firms are betting on quantum computing, hoping to exploit its power to design more efficient vehicles, create life-saving new drugs, and streamline industries to revolutionize the economy. But this is only the beginning. Quantum computers could allow us to finally create nuclear fusion reactors that create clean, renewable energy without radioactive waste or threats of meltdown. They could help us crack the biological processes that generate natural, cheap fertilizer and enable us to feed the world's growing populations. And they could unravel the fiendishly difficult protein folding that lies at the heart of previously incurable diseases like Alzheimer's, ALS, and Parkinson's, helping us to live longer, healthier lives. There is not a single problem humanity faces that couldn't be addressed by quantum computing. Told with Kaku's signature clarity and enthusiasm, Quantum Supremacy is the story of this exciting frontier and the race to claim humanity's future.
Call Number: QA76.889 .K36 2023
Publication Date: 2023-05-02
The Three Ages of Water: Prehistoric Past, Imperiled Present, and a Hope for the Future by Peter GleickA revelatory account of how water has shaped the course of human life and history, and a positive vision of what the future can hold--if we act now From the very creation of the planet billions of years ago to the present day, water has always been central to existence on Earth. And since long before the legendary Great Flood, it has been a defining force in the story of humanity. In The Three Ages of Water, Peter Gleick guides us through the long, fraught history of our relationship to this precious resource. Water has shaped civilizations and empires, and driven centuries of advances in science and technology--from agriculture to aqueducts, steam power to space exploration--and progress in health and medicine. But the achievements that have propelled humanity forward also brought consequences, including unsustainable water use, ecological destruction, and global climate change, that now threaten to send us into a new dark age. We must change our ways, and quickly, to usher in a new age of water for the benefit of everyone. Drawing from the lessons of our past, Gleick charts a visionary path toward a sustainable future for water and the planet.
Publication Date: 2023-06-13
This Way to the Universe: A Theoretical Physicist's Journey to the Edge of Reality by Michael DineFor readers of Sean Carroll, Brian Greene, Katie Mack, and anyone who wants to know what theoretical physicists actually do. This Way to the Universe is a celebration of the astounding, ongoing scientific investigations that have revealed the nature of reality at its smallest, at its largest, and at the scale of our daily lives. The enigmas that Professor Michael Dine discusses are like landmarks on a fantastic journey to the edge of the universe. Asked where to find out about the Big Bang, Dark Matter, the Higgs boson particle--the long cutting edge of physics right now--Dine had no single book he could recommend. This is his accessible, authoritative, and up-to-date answer. Comprehensible to anyone with a high-school level education, with almost no equations, there is no better author to take you on this amazing odyssey. Dine is widely recognized as having made profound contributions to our understanding of matter, time, the Big Bang, and even what might have come before it. This Way to the Universe touches on many emotional, critical points in his extraordinary carreer while presenting mind-bending physics like his answer to the Dark Matter and Dark Energy mysteries as well as the ideas that explain why our universe consists of something rather than nothing. People assume String Theory can never be tested, but Dine intrepidly explores exactly how the theory might be tested experimentally, as well as the pitfalls of falling in love with math. This book reflects a lifetime pursuing the deepest mysteries of reality, by one of the most humble and warmly engaging voices you will ever read.
Call Number: QB982 .D563 2022
Publication Date: 2022-02-08
Totality: The Great North American Eclipse of 2024 by Mark Littmann; Fred EspenakPraise for the previous edition 'A relaxed, well-written and information-packed expedition discovering the history of eclipses' - The Sky at Night A complete guide to the most stunning of celestial sights, a total eclipse of the Sun Totality: The Great North American Eclipse of 2024 is the most comprehensive source of information, photographs, and illustrations to help readers understand and safely enjoy all aspects of solar eclipses. It includes information on how best to photograph and video record an eclipse, as well as abundant maps, diagrams, and charts, as well as covering the science, history, mythology, and folklore of eclipses. This new edition focuses especially on the eclipse of April 8, 2024 that passes across Mexico, the United States, and Canada, including detailed maps, precise locations, and weather prospects.
Publication Date: 2023-10-19
Uncharted: How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias by Skylar Bayer; Gabriela Serrato MarksPeople with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and all too often, they face isolation and ableism in academia. Uncharted is a collection of powerful first-person stories by current and former scientists with disabilities or chronic conditions who have faced changes in their careers, including both successes and challenges, because of their health. It gives voice to common experiences that are frequently overlooked or left unspoken. These deeply personal accounts describe not only health challenges but also the joys, sorrows, humor, and wonder of science and scientists. With a breadth of perspectives on being disabled or chronically ill, these stories highlight the intersectionality of minoritized identities with the disability community. Uncharted features essays by contributors who are d/Deaf, blind, neurodivergent, wheelchair users, have experienced traumatic brain injuries, have blood sugar disorders, have rare medical diagnoses, or have received psychiatric diagnoses, among many others. In many cases, the scientific field is not fully accessible to them, and they frankly describe struggling as well as thriving alongside their conditions. This book serves as representation for scientists who have never felt comfortable disclosing their disability or who have never felt fully understood. The stories shared in this book seek to normalize medical conditions and disabilities in scientific culture, offering recommendations for how and why to improve access. Uncharted is vital and compelling reading for current and aspiring scientists who want to make their fields more inclusive and supportive for everyone.
Publication Date: 2023-08-08
Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer's Guide to the Universe by Phil PlaitHave you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the universe? How would Saturn's rings look from a spaceship sailing just above them? If you were falling into a black hole, what's the last thing you'd see before getting spaghettified? While traveling in person to most of these amazing worlds may not be possible--yet--the would-be space traveler need not despair: you can still take the scenic route through the galaxy with renowned astronomer and science communicator Philip Plait. On this lively, immersive adventure through the cosmos, Plait draws ingeniously on both the latest scientific research and his prodigious imagination to transport you to ten of the most spectacular sights outer space has to offer. In vivid, inventive scenes informed by rigorous science--injected with a dose of Plait's trademark humor--Under Alien Skies places you on the surface of alien worlds, from our own familiar Moon to the far reaches of our solar system and beyond. Try launching yourself onto a two-hundred-meter asteroid, or stargazing from the rim of an ancient volcano on a planet where, from the place you stand, it is eternally late afternoon. Experience the sudden onset of lunar nightfall, the disorientation of walking--or, rather, shuffling--when you weigh almost nothing, the irritation of jagged regolith dust. Glimpse the frigid mountains and plains of Pluto and the cake-like exterior of a comet called 67P. On a planet trillions of miles from Earth, glance down to see the strange, beautiful shadows cast by a hundred thousand stars. For the aspiring extraterrestrial citizen, casual space tourist, or curious armchair traveler, Plait is an illuminating, always-entertaining guide to the most otherworldly views in our universe.
Publication Date: 2023-04-18
The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean by Susan CaseyNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From bestselling author Susan Casey, an awe-inspiring portrait of the mysterious world beneath the waves, and the men and women who seek to uncover its secrets "An irresistible mix of splendid scholarship, heart-stopping adventure writing, and vivid, visceral prose." --Sy Montgomery, New York Times best-selling author of The Soul of an Octopus For all of human history, the deep ocean has been a source of wonder and terror, an unknown realm that evoked a singular, compelling question: What's down there? Unable to answer this for centuries, people believed the deep was a sinister realm of fiendish creatures and deadly peril. But now, cutting-edge technologies allow scientists and explorers to dive miles beneath the surface, and we are beginning to understand this strange and exotic underworld: A place of soaring mountains, smoldering volcanoes, and valleys 7,000 feet deeper than Everest is high, where tectonic plates collide and separate, and extraordinary life forms operate under different rules. Far from a dark void, the deep is a vibrant realm that's home to pink gelatinous predators and shimmering creatures a hundred feet long and ancient animals with glass skeletons and sharks that live for half a millennium--among countless other marvels. Susan Casey is our premiere chronicler of the aquatic world. For The Underworld she traversed the globe, joining scientists and explorers on dives to the deepest places on the planet, interviewing the marine geologists, marine biologists, and oceanographers who are searching for knowledge in this vast unseen realm. She takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of deep-sea exploration, from the myths and legends of the ancient world to storied shipwrecks we can now reach on the bottom, to the first intrepid bathysphere pilots, to the scientists who are just beginning to understand the mind-blowing complexity and ecological importance of the quadrillions of creatures who live in realms long thought to be devoid of life. Throughout this journey, she learned how vital the deep is to the future of the planet, and how urgent it is that we understand it in a time of increasing threats from climate change, industrial fishing, pollution, and the mining companies that are also exploring its depths. The Underworld is Susan Casey's most beautiful and thrilling book yet, a gorgeous evocation of the natural world and a powerful call to arms.
Publication Date: 2023-08-01
The Unity of Science: Exploring Our Universe, from the Big Bang to the Twenty-First Century by Irwin ShapiroA journey guided by science that explores the universe, the earth, and the story of life For Irwin Shapiro, good science starts with good questions. This book provides a broad and entertaining survey of major scientific discoveries that have changed our views of nature and, in turn, spawned further questions. Shapiro, an award-winning scientist and beloved teacher, separates his inquiry into three parts: looking up at the universe; looking down at the Earth and its fossils; and looking in at the story of life. His framework encourages readers to view science as a detective story--to observe and question nature and natural phenomena, and to base all conclusions on scientific evidence. With his knowledgeable yet conversational approach, Shapiro offers an enjoyable way for the curious to learn about the foundations of a range of scientific topics: the motions of bodies in the cosmos, the history and structure of the earth, the evolution of organisms, and the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence.