Scientists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves for fifty years. Then, in September 2015, came a "very interesting event" (as the cautious subject line in a physicist's email read) that proved to be the first detection of gravitational waves. In Gravity's Kiss, Harry Collins - who has been watching the science of gravitational wave detection for forty-three of those fifty years and has written three previous books about it - offers a final, fascinating account, written in real time, of the unfolding of one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever made.
Predicted by Einstein in his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves carry energy from the collision or explosion of stars. Dying binary stars, for example, rotate faster and faster around each other until they merge, emitting a burst of gravitational waves. It is only with the development of extraordinarily sensitive, highly sophisticate, detectors that physicists can now confirm Einstein's prediction. This is the story that Collins tells.
Collins, a sociologist of science who has been embedded in the gravitational wave community since 1972, traces the detection, the analysis, the confirmation, and the public presentation and the reception of the discovery - from the first email to the final published paper and the response of professionals and the public. Collins shows that science today is collaborative, far-flung (with the physical location of the participants hardly mattering), and sometimes secretive, but still one of the few institutions that has integrity built into it.
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Like most people, Kate Grenville had always associated perfume with elegance and beauty. Then the headaches started.
Like perhaps a quarter of the population, Grenville reacts badly to the artificial fragrances around us - other people's perfumes, and all those scented cosmetics, cleaning products and air fresheners. On a book tour in 2015, dogged by ill health, she started wondering - what's in fragrance? Who tests it for safety? What does it do to people?
The more Grenville investigated, the more she felt this was a story that should be told. The chemicals in fragrance can be linked not only to short-term problems like headaches and asthma, but to long-term ones like hormone disruption and cancer. Yet products can be released onto the market without testing. They're regulated only by the same people who make and sell them. And the ingredients don't even have to be named on the label.
This book is based on careful research into the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry. But, as you'd expect from an acclaimed novelist, it's also accessible and personal.
The Case Against Fragrance will make you see - and smell - the world differently.
In Skeptic, Shermer turns a critical eye toward questions big, small, and trivial. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time, taking on a wide range of subjects, from psychology and human nature to religion and pseudoscience. A welcome addition for his fans and a stimulating introduction for new readers, Skeptic is a must-read collection from one of our leading science commentators, Dense with facts, convincing arguments, and curious statistics, this is an ingenious collection of light entertainment for readers who believe that explaining stuff is a good idea.
In 1962, Leonard Hayflick created and then froze roughly 800 tiny ampules of what he dubbed WI-38 cells. Each petite glass vial contained between 1.5 million and 2 million cells. Each cell in each vial, once thawed, had the capacity to divide another 40 times. Hayflick had created a supply of cells that, for practical purposes, was almost infinite.
Hayflick’s WI-38 cells would become the first normal, non-cancerous cells available in virtually unlimited quantities to scientists, and, as a result, the best-characterized normal cells available to this day. They would become the basis for vaccines that have immunized hundreds of millions of people worldwide against polio, rubella, rabies, chicken pox, and measles. Today approximately two billion people have directly benefitted from the use of WI-38 and other cell strains created using Hayflick’s methods.WI-38 would also spawn a lifetime feud between Hayflick and his superiors at the Wistar, and an epochal fight with the US government, first over whether the cells were safe to use to make vaccines and then over who owned them.
The Cells and the Scientist combines scientific discovery, rivalry, greed and drama; abortion and vaccine politics; and timely questions about the tradeoff between socially beneficial medical research and the rights of individuals. Remarkably, both Leonard Hayflick and the 83-year-old mother of the fetus that gave rise to WI-38 are still alive. The mother lives near Stockholm. She was not asked permission for the use of her fetus and has never earned a penny from the contribution.
The tale of WI-38 is a profoundly human one, laced with real effects on untold numbers of lives. Consider this irony: cells derived from an aborted fetus have prevented tens of millions of miscarriages that otherwise would have been caused by the rubella virus, which infects fetuses in the womb.
Having escaped domestic servitude in Germany by teaching herself to sing, and established a career in England, Caroline Herschel learned astronomy while helping her brother William, then Astronomer Royal. Soon making scientific discoveries in her own right, she swept to international scientific and popular fame. She was awarded a salary by George III in 1787 - the first woman in Britain to make her living from science. But, as a woman in a male-dominated world, Herschel's great success was achieved despite constant frustration of her ambitions. Drawing on original sources - including Herschel's diaries and her fiery letters - Claire Brock tells the story of a woman determined to win independence and satisfy her astronomical ambition.
A landmark new book from Cordelia Fine, author of the hugely influential Delusions of Gender.
Testosterone Rex is the powerful myth that squashes hopes of sex equality by telling us that men and women have evolved different natures. Fixed in an ancestral past that rewarded competitive men and caring women, these differences are supposedly re-created in each generation by sex hormones and male and female brains.
Testosterone, so we're told, is the very essence of masculinity, and biological sex is a fundamental force in our development. Not so, says psychologist Cordelia Fine, who shows, with wit and panache, that sex doesn't create male and female natures. Instead, sex, hormones, culture and evolution work together in ways that make past and present gender dynamics only a serving suggestion for the future - not a recipe.
Testosterone Rex brings together evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience and social history to move beyond old 'nature versus nurture' debates, and to explain why it's time to unmake the tyrannical myth of Testosterone Rex.
For fans of Fine - whose Delusions of Gender 'could have far-reaching consequences as significant as The Female Eunuch' (Viv Groskop, Guardian) - and thousands of new readers, this is an upbeat, timely and important contribution to the debate about gender in society.
Traveling into space and visiting or even emigrating to nearby worlds will soon become part of the human experience. Scientists, engineers, and investors are working hard to make space tourism a reality. As experienced astronauts will tell you, extraterrestrial travel is incomparably thrilling. To make the most of the experience requires profound physical and mental adjustments by travelers as they adapt to microgravity and alterations in virtually every aspect of life, from eating to intimacy. Everyone who goes into space and returns sees Earth and life on it from a profoundly different perspective. If you have ever wondered about space travel, now you have the opportunity to find out.
Astronomer and former NASA/ASEE scientist Neil F. Comins has written the go-to book for anyone interested in space exploration, including potential travelers. He describes the joys and the dangers travelers will face'weightlessness, unparalleled views of Earth and the cosmos, the opportunity to walk on or jump off another world, as well as radiation, projectiles, unbreathable atmospheres, and potential equipment failures. He also provides insights into specific types of travel and destinations, including suborbital flights (nonstop flights to space and back), Earth-orbiting space stations, the Moon, asteroids, comets, and Mars'the first-choice candidate for colonization.
Although many challenges to space travel are technical, Comins outlines these matters in clear language for all readers. He synthesizes key issues and cutting-edge research in astronomy, physics, biology, psychology, and sociology to create a complete manual for those eager to take the ultimate voyage, as well as those just interested in the adventure.
Organic chemistry is the chemistry of compounds of carbon. The ability of carbon to link together to form long chain molecules and ring compounds as well as bonding with many other elements has led to a vast array of organic compounds. These compounds are central to life, forming the basis for organic molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. In this Very Short Introduction Graham Patrick covers the whole range of organic compounds and their roles. Beginning with the structures and properties of the basic groups of organic compounds, he goes on to consider organic compounds in the areas of pharmaceuticals, polymers, food and drink, petrochemicals, and nanotechnology. He looks at how new materials, in particular the single layer form of carbon called graphene, are opening up exciting new possibilities for applications, and discusses the particular challenges of working with carbon compounds, many of which are colourless. Patrick also discusses techniques used in the field. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Geological Structures is an easy-to-use, highly informative photographic field guide that introduces the great variety of geological structures to be found all around us. The authors' beautiful photography, extended captions and accessible text make interpreting and understanding geological structures simple, whether you're an amateur enthusiast keen to learn or a more experienced geologist. The three main rock groups - igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary - and their related structures are each covered in detail, followed by sections focusing on folds and folding, faults and faulting, and unconformities. Structures and related landforms are illustrated in more than 200 detailed colour photographs and their helpful captions assist with identification in the field. Each geological account includes an indication of the structure's formation and provides useful information on how to identify and understand its distinguishing features.
The pursuit of sustainability has generated lifestyle changes for individuals across the globe; innovations within the arts and sciences, business, design, engineering, and agriculture; historic policies and laws at municipal and state levels; and crucial international protocols and agreements. Yet the meaning of sustainability remains unsettled, and the term frequently serves as green veneer for business as usual rather than a driver of fundamental change. The second edition of this popular and lively book explores the concept and practice of sustainability through a broad range of current issues and debates. Fully revised and updated, the book integrates expanded global breadth with increased attention to the importance of local relationships and responsibilities, while illustrating that sustainability demands creativity as well as conservation. New Inquiry and Exploration sections with links to web-based resources are also included to help students probe and deepen central debates and topics. Sustainability presents a hopeful account of crucial opportunities while directly confronting the hurdles, disputes and challenges that lie ahead. It will be a valuable resource for students and general readers keen to grapple with one of the most pressing issues of our times.
A brilliant, witty, and thought-provoking trip by The New Yorker's science and tech editor and National Book Award finalist as he attempts to understand his interior clock, what we know about time, and why we are all so fascinated by its passing.
Why does time slow down when we're bored, speed up in the summer, and fly by as we get older? From the very beginning of time, we have wondered about it. In Why Time Flies, Alan Burdick points out, "We talk about time all the time: we find or lose time, like a set of keys; we save and spend it, like money. Time creeps, crawls, flies, flees, flows, and stands still; it is abundant or scarce; it weighs on us. Bells toll for a 'long' or a 'short' time, as if their sound could be measured with a ruler. Childhood recedes, deadlines loom. 'Would time still be time for us if we could not waste or budget it?'
Now, in a stunning blend of science reportage, contemplation, and bemused personal pursuit Burdick spends time with scientists who study time and the time-keepers who keep it straight today. He jumps free fall (among other experiments) to see if that makes time go faster or slower and observes his young twins as they discern the difference among yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He interviews the woman in Paris who is in charge of the world's clocks, participates in experiments with renowned scientists, relates experiences of months' long stays in a dark cave, travels to the Arctic to spend weeks in constant light, jumps from a 100-foot tower to test gravity and stress-related time perception, reveals how time became a measurement, and when at one time he had refused to wear a watch or look at his nightstand clock.
Elegant, entertaining, and discerning first-rate science, Why Time Flies is for anyone who lies awake at night listening to the clock tick, wonders what time is, worries about where it's going and whether they're making the most of it.
Many of the world's most important and life-saving devices and techniques were often discovered purely by accident. Serendipity, timing, and luck played a part in the discovery of unintentional cures and breakthroughs: A plastic shard in an RAF pilot's eye leads to the use of plastic for the implantable lens. The inability to remove a titanium chamber from rabbit's bone leads to dental implants. Viagra was discovered by a group of chemists, working in the lab to find a new drug to alleviate the pain of angina pectoris. A stretch of five weeks of unusually warm weather in 1928 played a role in assisting Dr. Alexander Fleming in his analysis of bacterial growth and the discovery of penicillin. After studying the effects of the venom injected by the bite of a deadly pit viper snake, chemists developed a groundbreaking drug that works to control blood pressure. Accidental Medical Discoveries is an entertaining and enlightening look at the creation of 25 medical inventions that have changed the world -- unintentionally. The book is presented in a lively and engaging way, and will appeal to a wide variety of readers, from history buffs to trivia fanatics to those in the medical profession.
The compelling story of the effect of Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species on a diverse group of American writers, abolitionists, and social reformers, including Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott, in 1860.
In early 1860, a single copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was read and discussed by five important American intellectuals who seized on the book's assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery. The book first came into the hands of Harvard botanist Asa Gray, who would lead the fight for the theory in America. Gray passed his heavily annotated copy to the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, who saw value in natural selection's premise that mankind was destined to progressive improvement. Brace then introduced the book to three other friends: Franklin Sanborn, a key supporter of the abolitionist John Brown, who grasped that Darwin's depiction of constant struggle and endless competition perfectly described America in 1860, especially the ongoing conflict between pro- and antislavery forces; the philosopher Bronson Alcott, who resisted Darwin's insights as a threat to transcendental idealism; and Henry David Thoreau, who used Darwin's theory to redirect the work he would pursue till the end of his life regarding species migration and the interconnectedness of nature.
The Book That Changed America offers a fascinating narrative account of these prominent figures as they grappled over the course of that year with Darwin's dangerous hypotheses. In doing so, it provides new perspectives on America prior to the Civil War, showing how Darwin's ideas become potent ammunition in the debate over slavery and helped advance the cause of abolition by giving it scientific credibility.
J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964) is widely appreciated as one of the greatest and most influential British scientists of the 20th century, making significant contributions to genetics, physiology, biochemistry, biometry, cosmology, and other sciences. More remarkable, then, is the fact that Haldane had no formal qualification in science. He made frequent appearances in the media, making pronouncements on a variety of poignant topics including mining disasters, meteorites, politics, and the economy, and was a popular scientific essay writer. Haldane also was famed for conducting painful experiments on himself, including several instances in which he permanently himself. A staunch Marxist and convert to Hinduism, Haldane lived a diverse, lively and interesting life that is still revered by today's science community.
A biography of Haldane has not been attempted since 1968, and that book provided an incomplete account of the man's scientific achievement. "The Life and Works of J.B.S. Haldane" serves to fix this glaring omission, providing a complete biographical sketch written by Krishna Dronamraju, one of the last living men to have worked personally with Haldane. A new genre of biographies of 20th-century scientists has come into being, and thus far works have been written about men like Einstein, Oppenheimer, Bernal, Galton, and many more; the inclusion of Haldane within this genre is an absolute necessity. Dronamraju evaluates Haldane's social and political background, as well as his scientific creativity and accomplishments. Haldane embodies a generation of intellectuals who believed and promoted knowledge for its own sake, and that spirit of scientific curiosity and passion is captured in this biography.
In The Left Brain Speaks, but the Right Brain Laughs, physicist Ransom Stephens explains the interesting and often amusing tale of how the human brain works. Using understandable metaphors and easy to follow language, Stephens gives readers of any scientific level an introduction to neuroscience and shows them how things like creativity, skill, and even perception of self can grow and change by utilizing the body's most important muscle. Fans of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson will love Stephens' down to earth attitude and those interested in science will appreciate his thoughtful explanations of scientific terms. The Left Brain Speaks, but the Right Brain Laughs is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to know what's going on inside their head and how they can use that knowledge to make themselves the best humans they can be.
In this essential and illuminating history of Western science, Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II seek to answer the most crucial question in science: How did life begin? They trace the trials and triumphs of the iconoclastic scientists who have sought to solve the mystery, from Darwin's theory of evolution to Crick and Watson's unveiling of DNA. This fascinating exploration not only examines the origin-of-life question, but also interrogates the very nature of scientific discovery and objectivity.
Epigenetics is the most exciting field in biology today, developing our understanding of how and why we inherit certain traits, develop diseases and age, and evolve as a species. This non-fiction comic book introduces us to genetics, cell biology and the fascinating science of epigenetics, which is rapidly filling in the gaps in our knowledge, allowing us to make huge advances in medicine. We'll look at what identical twins can teach us about the epigenetic effects of our environment and experiences, why certain genes are 'switched on' or off at various stages of embryonic development, and how scientists have reversed the specialization of cells to clone frogs from a single gut cell. In Introducing Epigenetics, Cath Ennis and Oliver Pugh pull apart the double helix, examining how the epigenetic building blocks and messengers that interpret and edit our genes help to make us, well, us.
A paperback edition for the student market, this standard work of reference has been a bestseller for over 70 years. It is an essential tool for anyone with a professional or leisure interest in the care of animals. Much more than a list of veterinary terms, its practical approach ensures that readers gain an insight into the signs and symptoms of common, and less common, diseases, as well as their diagnosis and treatment. For this edition much new and updated information has been included, reflecting the numerous developments that have taken place in animal care and husbandry, and welfare. There is greatly expanded coverage of topics relating to popular breeds of dog and cat, and the inheritable conditions that might affect their health. Advances in medicine, surgery and diagnostic techniques; descriptions of newly identified diseases such as Schmallenberg virus; the resurgence of old scourges such as TB in cattle, and ongoing enzootic infections such as bird flu are also included in this edition. The growing risk of exotic diseases such as heartworm being imported following the relaxation of travel arrangements for dogs and cats is reflected in new entries. Notes on many new species being farmed or kept as companion animals are among the thousands of topics covered.
The rising star author of The Physics of Wall Street explores why nothing may hold the key to the next era of theoretical physics James Owen Weatherall's previous book, The Physics of Wall Street, was a New York Times best-seller and named one of Physics Today's five most intriguing books of 2013. In his newest volume, he takes on a fundamental concept of modern physics: nothing. The physics of stuff-protons, neutrons, electrons, and even quarks and gluons-is at least somewhat familiar to most of us. But what about the physics of nothing? Isaac Newton thought of empty space as nothingness extended in all directions, a kind of theater in which physics could unfold. But both quantum theory and relativity tell us that Newton's picture can't be right. Nothing, it turns out, is an awful lot like something, with a structure and properties every bit as complex and mysterious as matter. In his signature lively prose, Weatherall explores the very nature of empty space-and solidifies his reputation as a science writer to watch.
Around 1900, physicists started to discover particles like electrons, protons, and neutrons, and with these discoveries they believed they could predict the internal behavior of the atom. However, once their predictions were compared to the results of experiments in the real world, it became clear that the principles of classical physics and mechanics were far from capable of explaining phenomena on the atomic scale. With this realization came the advent of quantum physics, one of the most important intellectual movements in human history.
Today, quantum physics is everywhere: it explains how our computers work, how radios transmit sound, and allows scientists to predict accurately the behavior of nearly every particle in nature. Its application led to the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, and continues to be fundamental in the investigation of the broadest and most expansive questions related to our world and the universe. However, while the field and principles of quantum physics are known to have nearly limitless applications, the reasons why this is the case are far less understood.
In "Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know," Michael Raymer distills the basic principles of such an abstract field, and addresses the many ways quantum physics is a key factor in today's scientific climate and beyond. The book tackles questions as broad as the definition of a quantum state and as specific and timely as why the British government plans to spend 270 million GBP on quantum technology research in the next five years. Raymer's list of topics is diverse, and showcases the sheer range of questions and ideas in which quantum physics is involved.
From applications like data encryption and micro-circuitry to principles and concepts like Absolute Zero and Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, "Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know" is wide-reaching introduction to a nearly ubiquitous scientific topic.
Pest animals are but one of many factors that influence the desired outcome from managing natural resource based systems, whether for production or conservation purposes. Others include diseases, weeds, financial resources, weather and fire management. To be effective, an integrated and systematic approach is required, and the principles and strategic approach outlined in this book can also be used to plan and manage the damage due to other factors. Managing Australia's Pest Animals includes case studies of successful and unsuccessful pest management strategies and covers a range of topics, including the history of pest management, current best practice principles, and guidelines for planning and applying strategic pest management approaches to effectively reduce pest damage. This book is the first clear and comprehensive guide to best practice pest management in Australia and will benefit students and trainers of pest managers, landholders, people involved in natural resource management, and industry and government pest management staff.