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Science & Technology

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

Helen Czerski

$24.99
Just as Freakonomics brought economics to life, so Storm in a Teacup brings physics into our daily lives and makes it fascinating. Our world is full of patterns. If you pour milk into your tea and give it a stir, you'll see a swirl, a spiral of two fluids, before the two liquids mix completely. The same pattern is found elsewhere too. Look down on the Earth from space, and you'll find similar swirls in the clouds, made where warm air and cold air waltz. In Storm in a Teacup, Helen Czerski links the little things we see every day with the big world we live in. Each chapter begins with something small - popcorn, coffee stains and refrigerator magnets - and uses it to explain some of the most important science and technology of our time. This is physics as the toolbox of science - a toolbox we need in order to make sense of what is around us and arrive at decisions about the future, from medical advances to solving our future energy needs. It is also physics as the toy box of science: physics as fun, as never before.
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The Mesmerist: The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound

The Mesmerist: The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound

Wendy Moore

$32.99
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, the Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice. Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars

Nathalia Holt

$32.99
In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women - known as human computers - who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews, Nathalia Holt offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.
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From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

Daniel C. Dennett

$55.00
What is human consciousness and how is it possible? These questions fascinate thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers. This is Daniel C. Dennett's brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains and human culture.

Part philosophical whodunnit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett's career at the forefront of philosophical thought. In his inimitable style, laced with wit and thought experiments, Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a profusion of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains, and how language turbocharges this process.

The result: a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, has emerged from a process of cultural evolution. An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back is essential for anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its applications.
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What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Jonathan Balcombe

$26.99
What's the truth behind the old adage that goldfish have a three-second memory? Do fishes think? Can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? Myth-busting biologist and animal behaviour expert Jonathan Balcombe takes us under the sea, through streams and estuaries to the other side of the aquarium glass to answer these questions and more. He upends our assumptions, revealing that fish are far from the unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines so many of us assume them to be. They are, in fact, sentient, aware, social and even Machiavellian - in other words, rather like us. What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Teeming with insights and exciting discoveries, it offers a thoughtful appraisal of our relationships with fish and inspires us to take a more enlightened view of the planet's increasingly imperilled marine life. What a Fish Knows will forever change how we see our aquatic cousins - the pet goldfish included.
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The Nature of the Beast: The First Scientific Evidence on the Survival of Apemen Into Modern Times

The Nature of the Beast: The First Scientific Evidence on the Survival of Apemen Into Modern Times

Bryan Sykes

$22.99
Professor Bryan Sykes, the world's leading expert on human genetics, set a goal to locate and analyse as many DNA samples as possible with links to the yeti. In doing so, he found himself entering a strange world of mystery and sensationalism, fraud and obsession and even the supernatural. Protected by the ruthless vigour of genetic analysis he was able to listen to the stories of the yeti without having to form an opinion. The only opinion that mattered was the DNA. Three hair samples from the miogi, the Bhutanese yeti are the cause of the investigation. The hairs did not surrender their secrets easily, but eventually two were identified as known species of bear. The third remained a mystery. One of the many theories to account for the yeti legend is that there were small groups of Neanderthals that had managed to survive until recent times. If so, would it be possible to detect recent interbreeding between our own species and Neanderthals in the genomes of indigenous people living in remote regions? Professor Sykes has made some surprising and significant discoveries. Discoveries that could change our understanding of human origins.
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Brain Bytes: Quick Answers to Quirky Questions About the Brain

Brain Bytes: Quick Answers to Quirky Questions About the Brain

Eric Chudler ,  Lise A. Johnson

$23.95
From magazine covers to Hollywood blockbusters, neuroscience is front and centre. This popular interest has inspired many questions from people who wonder just what is going on in the three pounds of tissue between their ears. In Brain Bytes, neuroscience educators Eric Chudler and Lise Johnson get right to it, asking and answering more than one hundred questions about the brain. Questions include: Does size matter (do humans have the largest brains)? Can foods make people smarter? Does surfing online kill brain cells? Why do we dream? Why can't I tickle myself? Why do cats like catnip? Why do we yawn and why are yawns contagious? What can I do to keep my brain healthy? Whether you are interested in serious topics like the history of neuroscience or practical topics like brain health or fun topics like popular culture, this book is sure to provide your brain with some piece of information it didn't have before.
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Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon

Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon

Frank Close

$26.95
On 21 August 2017, over 100 million people will gather in a narrow belt across the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history. Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon, written by the widely read popular science author Frank Close, describes the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful natural phenomenon. The book explains why eclipses happen, reveals their role in history, literature and myth, and focuses on eclipse chasers, who travel with ecstatic fervour to some of the most inaccessible places on the globe to be present at the moment of totality. The book includes the author's quest to solve a 3000 years old mystery: how did the moon move backwards during a total solar eclipse, as claimed in the Book of Joshua? It is an inspirational tale: how a teacher and an eclipse inspired the author, aged eight, to a life in science, and a love affair with eclipses, which takes him to a war zone in the Western Sahara, to the South Pacific and the African bush. The tale comes full circle with another eight-year old boy - the author's grandson - at the 2017 great American eclipse. Readers of all ages will be drawn to this inspirational chronicle of the mesmerizing experience of total solar eclipse.
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The Atmosphere: A Very Short Introduction

The Atmosphere: A Very Short Introduction

Paul I. Palmer

$15.95
The atmosphere is the thin, diffuse fluid that envelops the Earth's surface. Despite its apparent fragility, the existence of this fluid is vital for human and other life on Earth. In this Very Short Introduction Paul Palmer describes the physical and chemical characteristics of different layers in the atmosphere, and shows how the interactions where the atmosphere is in contact with land, ocean, and ice affect its observed physical and chemical properties. He also looks at how movement in the atmosphere, driven by heat from the sun, transports heat from lower latitudes to higher latitudes, and is a fundamental feature of the general circulation in the atmosphere. Finally, Palmer presents an overview of the types of measurements used to understand different parts of the atmosphere, and identifies the future challenges for atmospheric scientists. 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.
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Weather: A Very Short Introduction

Weather: A Very Short Introduction

Storm Dunlop

$15.95
From deciding the best day for a picnic, to the devastating effects of hurricanes and typhoons, the weather impacts our lives on a daily basis. Although new techniques allow us to forecast the weather with increasing accuracy, most people do not realize the vast global movements and forces which result in their day-to-day weather.

In this Very Short Introduction Storm Dunlop explains what weather is and how it differs from climate, discussing what causes weather, and how we measure it. Analyzing the basic features and properties of the atmosphere, he shows how these are directly related to the weather experienced on the ground, and to specific weather phenomena and extreme weather events. He describes how the global patterns of temperature and pressure give rise to the overall circulation within the atmosphere, the major wind systems, and the major oceanic currents, and how features such as mountains and the sea affect local weather. He also looks at examples of extreme and dangerous weather, such as of tropical cyclones (otherwise known as hurricanes and typhoons), describing how "Hurricane Hunters" undertake the dangerous task of flying through them.

We measure weather in a number of ways: observations taken on the land and sea; observations within the atmosphere; and measurements from orbiting satellites. Dunlop concludes by looking at how these observations have been used to develop increasingly sophisticated long and short-range weather forecasting, including ensemble forecasting.
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Farmageddon in Pictures: The True Cost of Cheap Meat

Farmageddon in Pictures: The True Cost of Cheap Meat

Philip Lymbery

$19.99
Farm animals have been disappearing from our fields as the production of food has become a global industry. We no longer know for certain what is entering the food chain and what we are eating - as the UK horsemeat scandal demonstrated. We are reaching a tipping point as the farming revolution threatens our health and the quality of our food wherever we live in the world. Farmageddon is a fascinating and terrifying investigative journey behind the closed doors of a runaway industry across the world - from the UK, Europe and the USA, to China, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. It is both a wake-up call to change our current food production and eating practices and an attempt to find a way to a better farming future.
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Jeedara: One Alliance, One Ancient People and an Expedition for the Great Australian Bight

Jeedara: One Alliance, One Ancient People and an Expedition for the Great Australian Bight

$39.99
Operation Jeeedara was an expedition to showcase to the world what we would all lose if BP were allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. The expedition entailed sending Sea Shepherd's vessel and crew as part of the Great Australian Bight alliance. This wonderful book details their journey, and the beauty, remoteness, harshness, fragility and wonder of the Bight and the Amazing campaign outcome.
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Natural Resources and Environmental Justice: Australian Perspectives

Natural Resources and Environmental Justice: Australian Perspectives

Anna Lukasiewicz ,  Stephen Dovers ,  Libby Robin ,  Jennifer Mckay

$89.95
Environmental management involves making decisions about the governance of natural resources such as water, minerals or land, which are inherently decisions about what is just or fair. Yet, there is little emphasis on justice in environmental management research or practical guidance on how to achieve fairness and equity in environmental governance and public policy. This results in social dilemmas that are significant issues for government, business and community agendas, causing conflict between different community interests. Natural Resources and Environmental Justice provides the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary examination of justice research in Australian environmental management, identifying best practice and current knowledge gaps. With chapters written by experts in environmental and social sciences, law and economics, this book covers topical issues, including coal seam gas, desalination plants, community relations in mining, forestry negotiations, sea-level rise and animal rights. It also proposes a social justice framework and an agenda for future justice research in environmental management. These important environmental issues are covered from an Australian perspective and the book will be of broad use to policy makers, researchers and managers in natural resource management and governance, environmental law, social impact and related fields both in Australia and abroad.
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Environmental Protection: What Everyone Needs to Know

Environmental Protection: What Everyone Needs to Know

Pamela Hill

$20.95
In 1962, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring sounded an alarm: the natural environment is being dangerously degraded because of human activity. Ever since, environmental protection has been a major societal concern. A robust system of environmental laws has emerged in the United States, commercial activities are increasingly scrutinized for their environmental impact, and communities around the world are becoming aware of the environment as a global issue requiring international attention. The most important evidence comes from the environment itself: the planet is warming, water supplies are at risk, ecosystems are under stress, and species are being lost at an unprecedented rate. Environmental Protection: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) provides accessible information that will help readers navigate this complex and highly relevant subject. It gives background information on the origins and development of environmental protection; introductions to the main elements of environmental protectio
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The Digital Mind: How Science is Redefining Humanity

The Digital Mind: How Science is Redefining Humanity

Arlindo L. Oliveira

$62.00
What do computers, cells, and brains have in common? Computers are electronic devices designed by humans; cells are biological entities crafted by evolution; brains are the containers and creators of our minds. But all are, in one way or another, information-processing devices. The power of the human brain is, so far, unequaled by any existing machine or known living being. Over eons of evolution, the brain has enabled us to develop tools and technology to make our lives easier. Our brains have even allowed us to develop computers that are almost as powerful as the human brain itself.

In this book, Arlindo Oliveira describes how advances in science and technology could enable us to create digital minds. Exponential growth is a pattern built deep into the scheme of life, but technological change now promises to outstrip even evolutionary change. Oliveira describes technological and scientific advances that range from the discovery of laws that control the behavior of the electromagnetic fields to the development of computers.  He calls natural selection the ultimate algorithm, discusses genetics and the evolution of the central nervous system, and describes the role that computer imaging has played in understanding and modeling the brain. Having considered the behavior of the unique system that creates a mind, he turns to an unavoidable question: Is the human brain the only system that can host a mind?

If digital minds come into existence - and, Oliveira says, it is difficult to argue that they will not - what are the social, legal, and ethical implications? Will digital minds be our partners, or our rivals?
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Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI

Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI

Hector J. Levesque

$47.99
What do computers, cells, and brains have in common? Computers are electronic devices designed by humans; cells are biological entities crafted by evolution; brains are the containers and creators of our minds. But all are, in one way or another, information-processing devices. The power of the human brain is, so far, unequaled by any existing machine or known living being. Over eons of evolution, the brain has enabled us to develop tools and technology to make our lives easier. Our brains have even allowed us to develop computers that are almost as powerful as the human brain itself.

In this book, Arlindo Oliveira describes how advances in science and technology could enable us to create digital minds. Exponential growth is a pattern built deep into the scheme of life, but technological change now promises to outstrip even evolutionary change. Oliveira describes technological and scientific advances that range from the discovery of laws that control the behavior of the electromagnetic fields to the development of computers.  He calls natural selection the ultimate algorithm, discusses genetics and the evolution of the central nervous system, and describes the role that computer imaging has played in understanding and modeling the brain. Having considered the behavior of the unique system that creates a mind, he turns to an unavoidable question: Is the human brain the only system that can host a mind?

If digital minds come into existence - and, Oliveira says, it is difficult to argue that they will not - what are the social, legal, and ethical implications? Will digital minds be our partners, or our rivals?
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Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

David Wilkinson

$30.95
If the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions.

It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life.

Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
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Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon

Jennifer Wright

$35.99
In 1518, in a small town in France, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced herself to her death six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had died from the mysterious dancing plague. In late-nineteenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary and led to historic medical breakthroughs. Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the plagues they've suffered from. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues in human history, as well as stories of the heroic figures who fought to ease their suffering. With her signature mix of in-depth research and upbeat storytelling, and not a little dark humour, Jennifer Wright explores history's most gripping and deadly outbreaks.
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True Genius: The Life and Work of Richard Garwin, the Most Influential Scientist You've Never Heard of

True Genius: The Life and Work of Richard Garwin, the Most Influential Scientist You've Never Heard of

Joel N. Shurkin

$42.95
Called a  true genius  by Enrico Fermi, Richard Garwin has influenced modern life in far-reaching ways, yet he is hardly known outside the physics community.

This is the first biography of one of America's great minds - a top physicist, a brilliant technological innovator, and a trusted advisor of presidents for sixty years. Among his many contributions to modern technology are innovations we now take for granted: air-traffic control systems, touch screens, color monitors, laser printers, GPS satellite navigation, and many other facets of everyday contemporary life. But certainly his most important work has been on behalf of nuclear disarmament.

As a key member of the Los Alamos team that developed the hydrogen bomb (he created the final design), Garwin subsequently devoted much of his career to ensuring that nuclear weapons never again be used. He has spent hundreds of hours testifying before Congress, serving on government advisory committees, and doing work that is still classified, all the while working for IBM as a researcher. A genuine polymath, his ideas extend from propulsion systems for interplanetary flight to preventing flu epidemics.

Never shy about offering his opinions, even to rigid government bureaucracies unwilling to change, Garwin continues to show leaders how to do the smart thing. The world is a more interesting and safer place because of his many accomplishments.
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The Turing Guide

The Turing Guide

Jack Copeland ,  Jonathan Bowen ,  Mark Sprevak ,  Robin Wilson

$40.95
Alan Turing has long proved a subject of fascination, but following the centenary of his birth in 2012, the code-breaker, computer pioneer, mathematician (and much more) has become even more celebrated with much media coverage, and several meetings, conferences and books raising public awareness of Turing's life and work. This volume will bring together contributions from some of the leading experts on Alan Turing to create a comprehensive guide to Turing that will serve as a useful resource for researchers in the area as well as the increasingly interested general reader. The book will cover aspects of Turing's life and the wide range of his intellectual activities, including mathematics, code-breaking, computer science, logic, artificial intelligence and mathematical biology, as well as his subsequent influence.
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The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why it Matters

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why it Matters

Sean B. Carroll

$31.95
How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream?

In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon. 

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated - there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar - there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. 

A bold and inspiring synthesis by one of our most accomplished biologists and gifted storytellers, The Serengeti Rules is the first book to illuminate how life works at vastly different scales. Read it and you will never look at the world the same way again.
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The Book of Shells: A Life-Size Guide to Identifying and Classifying Six Hundred Shells

The Book of Shells: A Life-Size Guide to Identifying and Classifying Six Hundred Shells

Fabio Moretzsohn ,  Jerry Harawewych

$59.99
The lifesize guide to identifying and classifying shells. Over 100,000 kinds of mollusk have been recorded and some estimates of yet to be discovered species exceed a million. They have colonized nearly every habitat on the planet, ranging from high mountains to the depths of ocean trenches, and from the poles to the tropics. They range in size from that of a grain of sand to a meter in length and many hundreds of kilograms in weight. The Book of Shells curates a lifesize collection of 600 of the most significant examples, presented by one of the world's preeminent scholars. Each shell is reproduced lifesize, and the book is arranged by shell family, and by size within each family, providing instant visual identification and comparison. Accompanying text for every example is divided into charted specifications, a general biography, a summary of related species, and an extended caption that provides a detailed visual description. Magnified details reveal the diversity of pattern, while miniature line drawings reveal the variation in structure. The result is a collector's piece that is both a significant resource for enthusiasts and scholars, and the most visually stimulating guide to shells you could wish to find.
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The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

Elaine Morgan

$17.99
Why do humans differ from other primates? What do those differences tell us about human evolution? Elaine Morgan gives a revolutionary hypothesis that explains our anatomic anomalies why we walk on two legs, why we are covered in fat, why we can control our rate of breathing. The answers point to one conclusion: millions of years ago our ancestors were trapped in a semi-aquatic environment. In presenting her case Elaine Morgan forces scientists to question accepted theories of human evolution, while expressing complex ideas for the general reader in a clear and accessible style. A documentary by Sir David Attenborough, <i>The Waterside Ape</i>, is based on Morgan's Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.
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Animal Behaviour

Animal Behaviour

Tristram D. Wyatt

$15.95
How animals behave is crucial to their survival and reproduction. The application of new molecular tools such as DNA fingerprinting and genomics is causing a revolution in the study of animal behaviour, while developments in computing and image analysis allow us to investigate behaviour in ways never previously possible. By combining these with the traditional methods of observation and experiments, we are now learning more about animal behaviour than ever before. In this Very Short Introduction Tristram D. Wyatt discusses how animal behaviour has evolved, how behaviours develop in each individual (considering the interplay of genes, epigenetics, and experience), how we can understand animal societies, and how we can explain collective behaviour such as swirling flocks of starlings. Using lab and field studies from across the whole animal kingdom, he looks at mammals, butterflies, honeybees, fish, and birds, analysing what drives behaviour, and exploring instinct, learning, and culture. Looking more widely at behavioural ecology, he also considers some aspects of human behaviour.
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The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History

The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History

David Beerling

$22.95
Plants have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Far from being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them.

In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how plants played a starring role in pushing oxygen levels upwards, allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and it strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victorian times onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles.

This understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the world through the stories they tell.

Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
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Gladiators, Pirates and Games of Trust: How Game Theory, Strategy and Probability Rule Our Lives

Gladiators, Pirates and Games of Trust: How Game Theory, Strategy and Probability Rule Our Lives

Haim Shapira

$22.99
Game Theory isn't just for poker players or economists. You don't have to be a microeconomics or political science expert to understand it - discover the theory of decision making and optimize your strategic thinking with the help of Gladiators, Pirates and Games of Trust.Have you ever struggled to make a decision? Tried to figure out the winning bidding strategy at an auction? Wondered how best to split the bill in a restaurant? Divide an inheritance? Wished you were better at negotiating? Thought about how to discourage a spouse from cheating? Then Haim Shapira's fascinating exploration of Game Theory and how it affects our everyday life will delight and captivate you. Topics include how to respond to ultimatums, playing chicken, the diner's dilemma, the blackmailer's paradox and matchmaking strategies.Make buying this book your first winning decision.
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The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible

The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible

Lance Fortnow

$36.99
The P-NP problem is the most important open problem in computer science, if not all of mathematics. Simply stated, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by computer can also be quickly solved by computer. The Golden Ticket provides a nontechnical introduction to P-NP, its rich history, and its algorithmic implications for everything we do with computers and beyond. Lance Fortnow traces the history and development of P-NP, giving examples from a variety of disciplines, including economics, physics, and biology. He explores problems that capture the full difficulty of the P-NP dilemma, from discovering the shortest route through all the rides at Disney World to finding large groups of friends on Facebook. The Golden Ticket explores what we truly can and cannot achieve computationally, describing the benefits and unexpected challenges of this compelling problem.
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The Best Writing on Mathematics 2016

The Best Writing on Mathematics 2016

Mircea Pitici

$69.00
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 2016 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 occurrences of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today's hottest mathematical debates. Here Burkard Polster shows how to invent your own variants of the Spot It! card game, Steven Strogatz presents young Albert Einstein's proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, Joseph Dauben and Marjorie Senechal find a treasure trove of math in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Andrew Gelman explains why much scientific research based on statistical testing is spurious. 

In other essays, Brian Greene discusses the evolving assumptions of the physicists who developed the mathematical underpinnings of string theory, Jorge Almeida examines the misperceptions of people who attempt to predict lottery results, and Ian Stewart offers advice to authors who aspire to write successful math books for general readers. 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, Mircea Pitici. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in where math has taken us - and where it is headed.
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Your Daily Maths: 366 Number Puzzles and Problems to Keep You Sharp

Your Daily Maths: 366 Number Puzzles and Problems to Keep You Sharp

Laura Laing

$22.99
Everyone has heard students' most common complaint in maths class: "Why do I need to learn this? I'll never use it when I'm older!" Some of us have even been that complainer. Many people's difficulties with learning maths in school follow them into adulthood, by which time they often assume that it's too late to do anything about it. But even though it's true that the average person has no need in daily life to remember what the number for Pi is and what it represents, that doesn't mean that maths serves no purpose for anybody with access to a calculator.
 
In Your Daily Maths, veteran math educator Laura Laing lays out a year's worth of exercises meant to get you thinking about maths in a different way. Laing's approach breaks down her 366 exercises into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Number Sense, Algebra, Geometry, Application, Probability & Statistics, Logic, and Grab Bag.
 
Laing's approach treats these maths and various number-related logic problems as fun brain exercises. Yes, there are equations here, but nothing that the average adult - even those who always hated maths class-can't handle. There are also graphs, geometry, statistics, and logic problems, many of them centered around problems that could occur in real life.
 
Think of Your Daily Maths not as homework but instead as your daily cognitive workout.
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The Quantum World: The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality

The Quantum World: The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality

New Scientist

$32.99
Welcome to the Mind-bending World Of Quantum Theory.

Quantum theory is our very best description of the microscopic world of atoms and their constituents. It has given us lasers, computers and nuclear reactors, and even tells us how the sun shines and why the ground beneath our feet is solid. Yet the quantum world defies our sensibilities - it is a place where objects can be in two places at once, influence each other at opposite sides of the cosmos and nothing is as it seems until you measure it. Why is the quantum world so strange? Where does it begin and end? And what does this mean for the bedrock of reality?

In attempting to address such frontier questions, physicists have come to realize that the quantum world promises exciting new technologies: the ability to communicate with absolute security, computers more powerful than anything built before and even quantum teleportation.

In The Quantum World leading physicists and New Scientist take us on journey through quantum theory, its mind-bending properties and the technologies transforming our world. There is a sting in the tale: is quantum theory truly the ultimate theory of reality?
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Quantum Weirdness

Quantum Weirdness

William J. Mullin

$50.95
Quantum mechanics allows a remarkably accurate description of nature and powerful predictive capabilities. The analyses of quantum systems and their interpretation lead to many surprises, for example, the ability to detect the characteristics of an object without ever touching it in any way, via "interaction-free measurement," or the teleportation of an atomic state over large distances. The results can become downright bizarre.

Quantum mechanics is a subtle subject that usually involves complicated mathematics -- calculus, partial differential equations, etc., for complete understanding. Most texts for general audiences avoid all mathematics. The result is that the reader misses almost all deep understanding of the subject, much of which can be probed with just high-school level algebra and trigonometry. Thus, readers with that level of mathematics can learn so much more about this fundamental science.

The book starts with a discussion of the basic physics of waves (an appendix reviews some necessary classical physics concepts) and then introduces the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, including the wave function, superposition, entanglement, Bell's theorem, etc., and applications to Bose--Einstein condensation, quantum computing, and much more. The interpretation of the mathematics of quantum mechanics into a world view has been the subject of much controversy. The result is a variety of conflicting interpretations, from the famous Copenhagen view of Bohr to the multiple universes of Everett. We discuss these interpretations in the chapter "What is a wave function?" and include some very recent advances, for example, quantum Bayesianism, and measurements of the reality of the wave function.
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Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists

Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists

Lawrence Weschler

$34.99
From Pulitzer Prize nominee Lawrence Weschler, a fascinating profile of Walter Murch, a film legend and amateur astrophysicist whose investigations could reshape our understanding of the universe.

For film aficionados, Walter Murch is legendary - a three-time Academy Award winner, arguably the most admired sound and film editor in the world for his work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather trilogy, The English Patient, and many others. Outside of the studio, his mind is wide-ranging; his passion, pursued for several decades, has been astrophysics, in particular the rehabilitation of Titius-Bode, a long-discredited 18th century theory regarding the patterns by which planets and moons array themselves in gravitational systems across the universe. 

Though as a consummate outsider he's had a hard time attracting any sort of comprehensive hearing from professional astrophysicists, Murch has made advances that even some of them find intriguing, including a connection between Titius Bode and earlier notions - going back past Kepler and Pythagorus - of musical harmony in the heavens.  Unfazed by rejection, ever probing, Murch perseveres in the highest traditions of outsider science. 

Lawrence Weschler brings Murch's quest alive in all its seemingly quixotic, yet still plausible, splendor, probing the basis for how we know what we know, and who gets to say.
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Gravity: A Very Short Introduction

Gravity: A Very Short Introduction

Timothy Clifton

$15.95
Gravity is one of the four fundamental interactions that exist in nature. It also has the distinction of being the oldest, weakest, and most difficult force to quantize. Understanding gravity is not only essential for understanding the motion of objects on Earth, but also the motion of all celestial objects, and even the expansion of the Universe itself. It was the study of gravity that led Einstein to his profound realisations about the nature of space and time. Gravity is not only universal, it is also essential for understanding the behaviour of the Universe, and all astrophysical bodies within it. In this Very Short Introduction Timothy Clifton looks at the development of our understanding of gravity since the early observations of Kepler and Newtonian theory. He discusses Einstein's theory of gravity, which now supplants Newton's, showing how it allows us to understand why the frequency of light changes as it passes through a gravitational field, why GPS satellites need their clocks corrected as they orbit the Earth, and why the orbits of distant neutron stars speed up. Today, almost 100 years after Einstein published his theory of gravity, we have even detected the waves of gravitational radiation that he predicted. Clifton concludes by considering the testing and application of general relativity in astrophysics and cosmology, and looks at dark energy and efforts such as string theory to combine gravity with quantum mechanics.
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Cafe Neandertal: Excavating Our Past in One of Europe's Most Ancient Places

Cafe Neandertal: Excavating Our Past in One of Europe's Most Ancient Places

Beebe Bahrami

$47.95
Centered in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, one of Europe’s most concentrated regions for Neandertal and early modern human occupations, writer Beebe Bahrami follows and participates in the work of archaeologists who are doing some of the most comprehensive and global work to date on the research, exploration, and recovery of our ancient ancestors.

In Café Neandertal, Bahrami follows this compelling riddle along a path populated with colorful local personalities and opinionated, polemical, and brilliant archaeologists working in remote and fascinating places across Eurasia, all the while maintaining a firm foothold in the Dordogne, a region celebrated by the local tourist office as a vacation destination for 400,000 years. From this prehistoric perch Bahrami gets to know first-hand the Neandertals and the people who love them - those who have devoted their lives to them. She is thrown into a world debating not only what happened to these close cousins but also what legacy they have left for those who followed.

Café Neandertal is also a detective story, investigating one of the biggest mysteries of prehistory and archaeology: Who were the Neandertals? Why did they disappear around 35,000 years ago? And more mysteriously, what light do they shed on us moderns?

Bahrami takes readers into the thick of an excavation, neck-deep in Neanderthal dirt, and to the front row of the heated debates about our long-lost cousins. Café Neandertal pulls us deeply into the complex mystery of the Neandertals, shedding a surprising light on what it means to be human.
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