SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS 2018
Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people - people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal.
Mary Robinson's mission would lead her all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. From Sharon Hanshaw, the Mississippi matriarch whose campaign began in her East Biloxi hair salon and culminated in her speaking at the United Nations, to Constance Okollet, a small farmer who transformed the fortunes of her ailing community in rural Uganda, Robinson met with ordinary people whose resilience and ingenuity had already unlocked extraordinary change.
Powerful and deeply humane, Climate Justice is a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.
1. Zeroing in on consciousness - Elizabeth Finkel It was once a problem for philosophers. No longer. Braining imaging studies are zeroing in to explain this once nebulous feature of the human experience.
2. Nanosats Mars (IEEE) Diminutive cube sats are all the rage because they are cheap to launch. But they are only powerful enough to beam messages from Earth orbits. The next generation, being built now for Mars missions, will be powerful enough to beam back from Mars and other planets.
3. Stem cells- 20 years on - Elizabeth Finkel and Alan Trounson It's been 20 years since Alan Trounson dramatically changed the direction of his research to embrace the new field of stem cell research. Since then his discoveries have triggered world interest in the potential of stem cells to help cure many diseases. Here, he reflects on the past 20 years and considers the future possibilities in the field.
4. Electronic aviation - Phil Dooley The revolution to electric aviation promises huge improvements in footprint- NASA and airbus are testing hybrid planes with up to 80% reduction in footprint. For short hops an air taxi service is being trialled in New Zealand, which promises to reduce congestion much more than rideshare - which studies show has actually increased congestion.
The fascinating story of the Scott sisters, who transformed nature into art in their extraordinary paintings of butterflies and moths, is told here for the first time.
With their collecting boxes, notebooks and paintbrushes, Harriet and Helena Scott entered the masculine worlds of science and art and became two of nineteenth-century Australia's most prominent natural history painters.
Transformations tells the complete story of the Scott sisters for the first time - their early lives in colonial Sydney, their training as naturalists and artists on the isolated Ash Island in the Hunter River near Newcastle, and their professional triumphs. This is a rare pictorial record of two talented and determined women who transformed nature into art in their extraordinary paintings of Australian butterflies and moths.
If you think of mathematics as a series of pointless classroom exercises without much relevance to real life, this book will change your mind. As the authors show, math is deeply embedded in almost every aspect of daily life - from managing your personal finances, making consumer purchases, and sharpening your computational skills, to learning to apply mathematical concepts that will give you a better grasp of both ordinary and extraordinary events and help you better appreciate the world we live in. With some basic geometry under your belt, you'll discover that there is an optimal point on a soccer field from which to shoot a goal. And you'll be more clever with the gears of a bike. If you like to play cards or go to the casino, knowing something about probability will give you an edge. You'll also have an enhanced understanding of the whispering effect inside the Capitol rotunda, why a car's headlights are so bright, and even why sewer covers are round.
A Sunday Times Book of the Year From the author of the international bestseller How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog Exciting physics doesn't just show up in billion-dollar experiments like the Large Hadron Collider or in extreme astrophysical environments like black holes. It's to be found all around us, just beneath the surface of our normal everyday lives.
An ordinary morning routine depends on some of the weirdest phenomena ever discovered. Did you know for instance that even the humble alarm clock holds secrets about quantum mechanics or that classical physics couldn't explain why your toaster's heating element glows orange? Or that the sensor your phone uses to take pictures of your kids or cats is, at a fundamental level, quantum mechanical, relying as it does on the particle nature of light?
In Breakfast with Einstein, Chad Orzel elevates the everyday by showing the wonder and amazement that can be found in even the simplest activities. Quantum physics is one of the great intellectual triumphs of human civilisation, and it's all around us, everyday - if you just know where to look.
13.8 billion years ago, something incredible happened. Matter, energy, space and time all suddenly burst into existence in a cataclysmic event that's come to be known as the Big Bang. It was the birth of our universe. What started life smaller than the tiniest subatomic particle is now unimaginably vast and plays home to trillions of galaxies. The formulation of the Big Bang theory is a story that combines some of the most far-reaching concepts in fundamental physics with equally far-reaching observations of the universe. And as our understanding of the birth of the universe deepens, so does the realisation that it cannot last for ever.
Including the latest astronomical observations and theoretical breakthroughs, as well as examining the theories that reveal how our universe could end, this is an enlightening account of modern cosmology.
Did you know that you could fit the whole human race in the volume of a sugar cube? Or that the electrical energy in a single mosquito is enough to cause a global mass extinction? Or that we are all, in fact, living in a giant hologram? Or perhaps, most importantly of all, out there in the universe there are an infinite number of copies of you reading an infinite number of copies of this?
Using these impossible-sounding truths, Marcus Chown reveals some of the most significant scientific discoveries in human history about who we are, where we came from and the complexities and wonders of our universe. Witty, engaging and accessible, Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand brings to life the forces that rule our universe and reveals the intriguing details of our existence.
Voyages of Discovery is a mesmerising visual record of ten of the world's most significant natural history expeditions.
Superb artworks and photographs spanning three centuries document advances and watersheds in the field of natural science. The stories behind these images - of explorers, naturalists, artists and photographers - entwine into a fascinating study of human achievement and natural wonder.
Among the many stories of adventure and great scientific endeavour are: Sir Hans Sloane's journey to Jamaica in 1687; James Cook's perilous Pacific crossings; and Darwin's historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle.
Hand-picked from the vast Library of the Natural History Museum, London, the illustrations and artworks contained here form a rare collection, most of which have been presented for the first time in this stunning book.
We all dream, and 98 per cent of us can recall our dreams the next morning. Even in today's modern age, it is human nature to wonder what they mean.
Now, groundbreaking science is putting dreams at the forefront of new research into sleep, memory, the concept of self and human socialization. Once a subject of the New Age and spiritualism, the science of dreams is revealed to have a crucial role in the biology and neuroscience of our waking lives.
In Why We Dream, Alice Robb, a leading American science journalist, will take readers on a journey to uncover why we dream, why dreaming matters, and how we can improve our dream life - and why we should. Through her encounters with scientists at the cutting edge of dream research, she reveals how:
- Dreams can be powerful tools to help us process the pain of a relationship break-up, the grief of losing a loved one and the trauma after a dramatic event - Nightmares may be our body's warning system for physical and mental illness (including cancer, depression and Alzheimer's) - Athletes can improve their performance by dreaming about competing - Drug addicts who dream about drug-taking can dramatically speed up their recovery from addiction.
Robb also uncovers the fascinating science behind lucid dreaming - when we enter a dream state with control over our actions, creating a limitless playground for our fantasies. And as one of only 10 per cent of people with the ability to lucid-dream, she is uniquely placed to teach us how to do it ourselves.
With incredible new discoveries and stunning science, Why We Dream will give you dramatic insight into yourself and your body. You'll never think of dreams in the same way again.
An engaging collection of intriguing problems that shows you how to think like a mathematical physicist
Paul Nahin is a master at explaining odd phenomena through straightforward mathematics. In this collection of twenty-six intriguing problems, he explores how mathematical physicists think. Always entertaining, the problems range from ancient catapult conundrums to the puzzling physics of a very peculiar kind of glass called NASTYGLASS - and from dodging trucks to why raindrops fall slower than the rate of gravity. The questions raised may seem impossible to answer at first and may require an unexpected twist in reasoning, but sometimes their solutions are surprisingly simple. Nahin's goal, however, is always to guide readers - who will need only to have studied advanced high school math and physics - in expanding their mathematical thinking to make sense of the curiosities of the physical world.
The problems are in the first part of the book and the solutions are in the second, so that readers may challenge themselves to solve the questions on their own before looking at the explanations. The problems show how mathematics - including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus - can be united with physical laws to solve both real and theoretical problems. Historical anecdotes woven throughout the book bring alive the circumstances and people involved in some amazing discoveries and achievements.
More than a puzzle book, this work will immerse you in the delights of scientific history while honing your math skills.
Today we are blessed with two extraordinarily successful theories of physics. The first is Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which describes the large-scale behaviour of matter in a curved spacetime. This theory is the basis for the standard model of big bang cosmology. The discovery of gravitational waves at the LIGO observatory in the US (and then Virgo, in Italy) is only the most recent of this theory's many triumphs.
The second is quantum mechanics. This theory describes the properties and behaviour of matter and radiation at their smallest scales. It is the basis for the standard model of particle physics, which builds up all the visible constituents of the universe out of collections of quarks, electrons and force-carrying particles such as photons. The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN in Geneva is only the most recent of this theory's many triumphs.
But, while they are both highly successful, these two structures leave a lot of important questions unanswered. They are also based on two different interpretations of space and time, and are therefore fundamentally incompatible. We have two descriptions but, as far as we know, we've only ever had one universe. What we need is a quantum theory of gravity.
Approaches to formulating such a theory have primarily followed two paths. One leads to String Theory, which has for long been fashionable, and about which much has been written. But String Theory has become mired in problems. In this book, Jim Baggott describes : an approach which takes relativity as its starting point, and leads to a structure called Loop Quantum Gravity. Baggott tells the story through the careers and pioneering work of two of the theory's most prominent contributors, Lee Smolin and Carlo Rovelli. Combining clear discussions of both quantum theory and general relativity, this book offers one of the first efforts to explain the new quantum theory of space and time.
Whether you are a scientist or a poet, pro-nuclear energy or staunch opponent, conspiracy theorist or pragmatist, James Mahaffey's books have served to open up the world of nuclear science like never before. With clear explanations of some of the most complex scientific endeavors in history, Mahaffey's new book looks back at the atom's wild, secretive past and then toward its potentially bright future.
Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far flung Pacific islands and trees that were exposed to active fission that changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion doesn't exist. And who knew that radiation counting was once a fashionable trend? Though parts of the nuclear history might seem like a fiction mash-up, where cowboys somehow got a hold of a reactor, Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the reader in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may one day hold the key to solving our energy crisis or sending us to Mars.
The fascinating story of how NASA sent humans to explore outer space, told through a treasure trove of documents from the NASA archives - publishing in celebration of NASA's 60th anniversary and with a foreword by Bill Nye
Among all the technological accomplishments of the last century, none has captured our imagination more deeply than the movement of humans into outer space. From Sputnik to SpaceX, the story of that journey is told as never before in The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration.
Renowned space historian John Logsdon has uncovered the most fascinating items in the NASA archive and woven them together with expert narrative guidance to create a history of how Americans got to space and what we've done there. Beginning with rocket genius Wernher von Braun's vision for voyaging to Mars, and closing with Elon Musk's contemporary plan to get there, this volume traces major events like the founding of NASA, the first American astronauts in space, the moon landings, the Challenger disaster, the daring Hubble Telescope repairs, and more.
In these pages, we find such gems as Eisenhower's reactions to Sputnik, the original NASA astronaut application, John Glenn's reflections on zero gravity, Kennedy's directives to go to the moon, discussions on what Neil Armstrong's first famous first words should be, customs forms filled out by astronauts bringing back moon rocks, transcribed conversations with Nixon on ending Project Apollo and beginning the space shuttle program, and so much more.
An award-winning science writer presents a captivating collection of cosmological essays for the armchair astronomer The galaxy, the multiverse, and the history of astronomy are explored in this engaging compilation of cosmological tales by multiple award-winning science writer Marcia Bartusiak. In thirty-two concise and engrossing essays, the author provides a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe and those who strive to uncover its mysteries. Bartusiak shares the back stories for many momentous astronomical discoveries, including the contributions of such pioneers as Beatrice Tinsley and her groundbreaking research in galactic evolution, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the scientist who first discovered radio pulsars. An endlessly fascinating collection that you can dip into in any order, these pieces will transport you to ancient Mars, when water flowed freely across its surface; to the collision of two black holes, a cosmological event that released fifty times more energy than was radiating from every star in the universe; and to the beginning of time itself.
Since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, the observation, study and representation of the night sky has been a challenge for humans, who have always found themselves both astonished at the sight of the vault of the sky illuminated by the stars, and eager to gain scientific knowledge and understanding of what they are observing.
This volume, with splendid illustrations of the most famous, rare and impressive star atlases ever realized from the 16th century to the 19th century, will lead you on a journey among the constellations and will introduce you to the progress made by the great astronomers of the past, the more or less fantastic interpretations of celestial phenomena, and the evolution of the knowledge of the universe gained by those who made the study of the cosmos the very purpose of their lives. You will discover how in many cases art and scientific knowledge merged in such an exceptional manner, resulting in star maps that are true masterpieces of human genius that even now, centuries after their creation, transmit the extraordinary meaning and message that lie at the basis of their conception.
With the discovery of planets beyond our solar system 25 years ago, exoplanet research has expanded dramatically, with new state-of-the-art ground-based and space-based missions dedicated to their discovery and characterisation. With more than 3,500 exoplanets now known, the complexity of the discovery techniques, observations and physical characterisation have grown exponentially. This Handbook ties all these avenues of research together across a broad range of exoplanet science. Planet formation, exoplanet interiors and atmospheres, and habitability are discussed, providing in-depth coverage of our knowledge to date. Comprehensively updated from the first edition, it includes instrumental and observational developments, in-depth treatment of the new Kepler mission results and hot Jupiter atmospheric studies, and major updates on models of exoplanet formation. With extensive references to the research literature and appendices covering all individual exoplanet discoveries, it is a valuable reference to this exciting field for both incoming and established researchers.
July 1969. It's a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, followed quickly by President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.
It is only seven months since NASA made a bold decision to send Apollo 8 all the way to the moon on the first manned flight of the massive Saturn V rocket. Now, on the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history.
All the winning and shortlisted images from the 2018 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, hosted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Plus a section looking back on the images from 10 years of the competition.
The images are submitted in one of the following categories:
Image Categories * Aurorae * Skyscapes * People and Space * Our Sun * Our Moon * Planets, Comets and Asteroids * Stars and Nebulae * Galaxies * Young Competition (aged 15 years or under) Special Prize Categories * The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer * Robotic Scope Each image is accompanied by caption, photographer, location and technical details.
Exhibition The National Maritime Museum hosts an exhibition of the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, showcasing some incredible images of the sky. www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto
The Moon: NASA Images from Space, includes images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), and other international space explorations. Early images show the very first Apollo missions to the Moon using film in a Hasselblad camera. NASA illustrations explain the Moon's tidal forces on the Earth's oceans, seas, and land mass, the Moon's phases as see from Earth, the lunar geography, and Moon's composition. This book shows detailed maps of the Moon's surface: its incredible craters, ancient lava flows, plains, seas, and mountains. Included is speculation about the Moon's origin and its historical place our solar system. Humanities future plans for lunar exploration and habitation are discussed.
The photographs in First Fleet serve as a time capsule of a unique time in the history of manned spaceflight. John Chakeres' First Fleet began more then 30 years ago with the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. With permission to photograph the Shuttle operations at the Kennedy Space Center and in 1981, begun the five-year project photographing the Space Shuttle. The images in First Fleet are both majestic, symbolic, and gave the viewer a sense of what was required to fly such a complex piece of technology. One can feel that the images are filled with excitement and optimism about the future of space travel.
Jill Tarter is a pioneer, an innovator, an adventurer, and a controversial force. At a time when women weren't encouraged to do much outside the home, Tarter ventured as far out as she could-into the three-Kelvin cold of deep space. And she hasn't stopped investigating a subject that takes and takes without giving much back.
Today, her computer's screensaver is just the text SO...
ARE WE ALONE? This question keeps her up at night. In some ways, this is the question that keep us all up at night. We have all spent dark hours wondering about our place in it all, pondering our aloneness, both terrestrial and cosmic. Tarter's life and her work are not just a quest to understand life in the universe: they are a quest to understand our lives within the universe. No one has told that story, her story, until now.
It all began with gazing into the night sky. All those stars were just distant suns-were any of them someone else's sun? Diving into the science, philosophy, and politics of SETI-searching for extraterrestrial intelligence-Sarah Scoles reveals the fascinating figure at the center of the final frontier of scientific investigation. This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky and wondered if we are alone in the universe.
Vast Expanses is a cultural, environmental and geopolitical history that examines the relationship between humans and oceans, reaching back across geological and evolutionary time and exploring different cultures around the globe.
Our ancient connections with the sea have developed and multiplied with industrialization and globalization, a trajectory that runs counter to Western depictions of the ocean as a place remote from and immune to human influence. This book argues that knowledge about the ocean - created through work and play, scientific investigation, and also through the ambitions people have harboured for the sea - has played a central role in defining our relationship with this vast, trackless and opaque place. It has helped people exploit marine resources, control ocean space, extend imperial or national power, and attempt to refashion the sea into a more tractable arena for human activity.
Knowledge of the ocean has animated and strengthened connections between people and their seas. To understand this history we must address questions of how, by whom and why knowledge of the ocean was created and used, in both the past and the present; through this, we can forge a healthier relationship with the sea for the future.
Is it possible for the economy to grow without the environment being destroyed? Will our lifestyles impoverish the planet for our children and grandchildren? Is the world sick? Can it be healed? Less than a lifetime ago, these questions would have made no sense. This was not because our ancestors had no impact on nature - nor because they were unaware of the serious damage they had done. What people lacked was an idea: a way of imagining the web of interconnection and consequence of which the natural world is made. Without this notion, we didn't have a way to describe the scale and scope of human impact upon nature. This idea was the environment.
In this fascinating book, Paul Warde, Libby Robin, and Sverker Soerlin trace the emergence of the concept of the environment following World War II, a period characterized by both hope for a new global order and fear of humans' capacity for almost limitless destruction. It was at this moment that a new idea and a new narrative about the planet-wide impact of people's behavior emerged, closely allied to anxieties for the future. Now we had a vocabulary for talking about how we were changing nature: resource exhaustion and energy, biodiversity, pollution, and - eventually - climate change.
With the rise of the environment, the authors argue, came new expertise, making certain kinds of knowledge crucial to understanding the future of our planet. The untold history of how people came to conceive, to manage, and to dispute environmental crisis, The Environment is essential reading for anyone who wants to help protect the environment from the numerous threats it faces today.
Ranging from the largest terrestrial carnivore, the Polar Bear, to the tiny Least Weasel that can squeeze through a wedding ring, the true carnivores include some of the world's most charismatic, admired, feared and spectacular creatures.
This new edition of Luke Hunter's comprehensive guide profiles all of the world's terrestrial carnivore species. Thoroughly updated throughout and covering recently described species, a detailed account describes each species' key identification characteristics, distribution and habitat, behaviour, feeding ecology, social patterns, life history statistics, conservation and the latest on classification. The new edition also includes accurate distribution maps for each species.
Colour plates by top wildlife artist Priscilla Barrett depict each species, with subspecies, colour variations and behavioural vignettes for many. There are also detailed line drawings of more than 230 skulls and 110 footprints.
North Queensland is the premier destination for wildlife tourism in Australia, and birdwatchers travel there from all over the world in search of specialities such as Southern Cassowary,Eclectus Parrot, Golden Bowerbird, Magnificent Riflebird and Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher.
Filling a gap in the market this comprehensive field guide to the birds of the region coversmore than 400 species found in the rainforests and other key habitats which are at the epicentre of Australia’s avian biodiversity. Each species is illustrated with usually three or four of Jun Matsui’s stunning photographs, showing different plumages according to age, sex or season.
Phil Gregory’s text – approximately 150 words per species – describes key identification features, habitat, distribution, voice and status. The book is aimed at Queensland birdwatchers and also at the many visitors to the region. It includes all the latest taxonomy, such as recently ‘split’ species never previously described or illustrated in a field guide, which will appeal in particular to keen birders. In short it is the best and only guide of its kind on the market.
The idea of the seductive sex robot is the stuff of myth, legend and science fiction. From the myth of Laodamia in Ancient Greece to twenty-first century shows such as Westworld, robots in human form have captured our imagination, our hopes and our fears. But beyond the fantasies there are real and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology as it moves into the realm of robotics.
Turned On explores how the emerging and future development of sexual companion robots might affect us and the society in which we live. It explores the social changes arising from emerging technologies, and our relationships with the machines that someday may care for us and about us. Sex robots are here, and here to stay, and more are coming.
Computer scientist and sex-robot expert Kate Devlin is our guide as we seek to understand how this technology is developing. From robots in Greek myth and the fantastical automata of the Middle Ages through to the sentient machines of the future that embody the prominent AI debate, she explores the 'modern' robot versus the robot servants we were promised by twentieth century sci-fi, and delves into the psychological effects of the technology, and issues raised around gender politics, diversity, surveillance and violence. This book answers all the questions you've ever had about sex robots, as well as all the ones you haven't yet thought of.
As smartphones, supercomputers, supercolliders, and AI propel us into an ever more unfamiliar future, How to Speak Science takes us on a rollicking historical tour of the greatest discoveries and ideas that make today's cutting-edge technologies possible.
Wanting everyone to be able to speak science, YouTube science guru Bruce Benamran explains-as accessibly and wittily as in his acclaimed videos-the fundamental ideas of the physical world: matter, life, the solar system, light, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, special and general relativity, and much more.
Along the way, Benamran guides us through the wildest hypotheses and most ingenious ideas of Galileo, Newton, Curie, Einstein, and science's other greatest minds, reminding us that while they weren't always exactly right, they were always curious. How to Speak Science acquaints us not only with what scientists know, but how they think, so that each of us can reason like a physicist-and appreciate the world in all its beautiful chaos.
Scientists like to proclaim that science knows no borders. Scientific researchers follow the evidence where it leads, their conclusions free of prejudice or ideology. But is that really the case? In Freedom's Laboratory, Audra J. Wolfe shows how these ideas were tested to their limits in the high-stakes propaganda battles of the Cold War.
Wolfe examines the role that scientists, in concert with administrators and policymakers, played in American cultural diplomacy after World War II. During this period, the engines of US propaganda promoted a vision of science that highlighted empiricism, objectivity, a commitment to pure research, and internationalism. Working (both overtly and covertly, wittingly and unwittingly) with governmental and private organizations, scientists attempted to decide what, exactly, they meant when they referred to scientific freedom or the US ideology. More frequently, however, they defined American science merely as the opposite of Communist science.
Uncovering many startling episodes of the close relationship between the US government and private scientific groups, Freedom's Laboratory is the first work to explore science's link to US propaganda and psychological warfare campaigns during the Cold War. Closing in the present day with a discussion of the recent March for Science and the prospects for science and science diplomacy in the Trump era, the book demonstrates the continued hold of Cold War thinking on ideas about science and politics in the United States.
Dmitrii Mendeleev (1834-1907) is a name we recognize, but perhaps only as the creator of the periodic table of elements. Generally, little else has been known about him. A Well-Ordered Thing is an authoritative biography of Mendeleev that draws a multifaceted portrait of his life for the first time. As Michael Gordin reveals, Mendeleev was not only a luminary in the history of science, he was also an astonishingly wide-ranging political and cultural figure. From his attack on Spiritualism to his failed voyage to the Arctic and his near-mythical hot-air balloon trip, this is the story of an extraordinary maverick. The ideals that shaped his work outside science also led Mendeleev to order the elements and, eventually, to engineer one of the most fascinating scientific developments of the nineteenth century. A Well-Ordered Thing is a classic work that tells the story of one of the world's most important minds.
A concise history of GPS, from its military origins to its commercial applications and ubiquity in everyday life.
GPS is ubiquitous in everyday life. GPS mapping is standard equipment in many new cars and geolocation services are embedded in smart phones. GPS makes Uber and Lyft possible; driverless cars won't be able to drive without it. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Paul Ceruzzi offers a concise history of GPS, explaining how a once-obscure space technology became an invisible piece of our infrastructure, as essential to modern life as electric power or clean water.
GPS relays precise time and positioning information from orbiting satellites to receivers on the ground, at sea, and in the air. It operates worldwide, and its basic signals are free, although private companies can commodify the data provided. Ceruzzi recounts the origins of GPS and its predecessor technologies, including early aircraft navigation systems and satellites. He describes the invention of GPS as a space technology in the post-Apollo, pre-Space Shuttle years and its first military and commercial uses. Ceruzzi explains how the convergence of three major technological developments - the microprocessor, the Internet, and cellular telephony - enabled the development and application of GPS technology. Recognizing the importance of satellite positioning systems in a shifting geopolitical landscape - and perhaps doubting U.S. assurances of perpetual GPS availability - other countries are now building or have already developed their own systems, and Ceruzzi reports on these efforts in the European Union, Russia, India, China, and Japan.
Today, we know that a mammoth is an extinct type of elephant that was covered with long fur and lived in the north country during the ice ages. But how do you figure out what a mammoth is if you have no concept of extinction, ice ages, or fossils? Long after the last mammoth died and was no longer part of the human diet, it still played a role in human life. Cultures around the world interpreted the remains of mammoths through the lens of their own worldview and mythology.
When the ancient Greeks saw deposits of giant fossils, they knew they had discovered the battle fields where the gods had vanquished the Titans. When the Chinese discovered buried ivory, they knew they had found dragons' teeth. But as the Age of Reason dawned, monsters and giants gave way to the scientific method. Yet the mystery of these mighty bones remained. How did Enlightenment thinkers overcome centuries of myth and misunderstanding to reconstruct an unknown animal?
The journey to unravel that puzzle begins in the 1690s with the arrival of new type of ivory on the European market bearing the exotic name mammoth. It ends during the Napoleonic Wars with the first recovery of a frozen mammoth. The path to figuring out the mammoth was traveled by merchants, diplomats, missionaries, cranky doctors, collectors of natural wonders, Swedish POWs, Peter the Great, Ben Franklin, the inventor of hot chocolate, and even one pirate.
McKay brings together dozens of original documents and illustrations, some ignored for centuries, to show how this odd assortment of characters solved the mystery of the mammoth and, in doing so, created the science of paleontology.
Most of us think of Darwin at work on The Beagle, taking inspiration for his theory of evolution from his travels in the Galapagos. But Darwin published his Origin of Species nearly thirty years after his voyages and most of his labours in that time were focused on experimenting with and observing plants at his house in Kent. He was particularly interested in carnivorous and climbing plants, and in pollination and the evolution of flowers.
Ken Thompson sees Darwin as a brilliant and revolutionary botanist, whose observations and theories were far ahead of his time - and are often only now being confirmed and extended by high-tech modern research. Like Darwin, he is fascinated and amazed by the powers of plants - particularly their Triffid-like aspects of movement, hunting and 'plant intelligence'.
This is a much needed book that re-establishes Darwin as a pioneering botanist, whose close observations of plants were crucial to his theories of evolution.
Meet Molly Polly, the diabetes alert dog whose round-the-clock job is to keep her two young owners healthy; Bailey, the Assistant Director of Seagulls, who keeps the pesky birds away from the heritage vessels at the Australian National Maritime Museum; and Daisy, the Collie mix who's a full-time guide dog for another dog. From inspirational moments of bravery to dogs doing the jobs that no one else can, these are the life-affirming stories of the most remarkable dogs on the planet.
Dogs are renowned for their loyalty, and those saved from animal shelters or rescue groups seem to be especially devoted to the humans who have offered them a second chance. In this extraordinary collection, meet the brave dogs that have shown incredible courage - even risking death - to protect their people.
There's Leala, the Staffy who raced for help when her two-year-old owner fell in a dam; Buddy, the labrador who licked his owner awake to save her from a house fire; and Brian, the pit bull who valiantly fought off three other dogs to protect his owner.
From unforgettable moments of courage to heart-warming tales of true loyalty, these are the stories of some of the most heroic rescue dogs in the world.
For the first time, this extraordinary compilation showcases weird, mysterious and bizarre plants from around the world.
Plants trick, kill, steal and kidnap, and this unique book explores a fascinating world in which plants have turned the tables on animals. Author Chris Thorogood showcases these plant behaviours, the interrelationships among plants, the interdependencies between plants and animals, and the intrigue of plant evolution.
All types of weird and sinister are featured in this book, from carnivorous plants that drug, drown and consume unsuspecting insect prey; giant pitcher plants that have evolved toilets for tree shrews; flowers that mimic rotting flesh to attract pollinating flies, and orchids that duplicitously look, feel and even smell like a female insect to bamboozle sex-crazed male bees.
The passenger pigeon, the great auk, the Tasmanian tiger - the memory of these vanished species haunts the fight against extinction. Seeking to save other creatures from their fate in an age of accelerating biodiversity loss, wildlife advocates have become captivated by a narrative of heroic conservation efforts. A range of technological and policy strategies, from the traditional, such as regulations and refuges, to the novel - the scientific wizardry of genetic engineering and synthetic biology - seemingly promise solutions to the extinction crisis.
In The Fall of the Wild, Ben A. Minteer calls for reflection on the ethical dilemmas of species loss and recovery in an increasingly human-driven world. He asks an unsettling but necessary question: Might our well-meaning efforts to save and restore wildlife pose a threat to the ideal of preserving a world that isn’t completely under the human thumb? Minteer probes the tension between our impulse to do whatever it takes and the risk of pursuing strategies that undermine our broader commitment to the preservation of wildness. From collecting wildlife specimens for museums and the wilderness aspirations of zoos to visions of “assisted colonization” of new habitats and high-tech attempts to revive long-extinct species, he explores the scientific and ethical concerns vexing conservation today. The Fall of the Wild is a nuanced treatment of the deeper moral issues underpinning the quest to save species on the brink of extinction and an accessible intervention in debates over the principles and practice of nature conservation.
Ben A. Minteer holds the Arizona Zoological Society Endowed Chair at Arizona State University, where he is a professor in the School of Life Sciences. He has authored or edited many books, including The Landscape of Reform: Civic Pragmatism and Environmental Thought in America (2006) and The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (2018).
With all due respect to bees, the termite stands as the world's most important insect. Without termites much of life on Earth would essentially evaporate. And yet an individual termite is practically invisible, not to mention wholly reviled by humanity.
For Lisa Margonelli, what begins as a bugtastic obsession becomes an exploration of our future. If we can harness the termite's remarkable ability to remake its environment, will that help us avoid a global food crisis? If we create killer robobugs, what happens if the swarms run off script?
A masterpiece of popular science, Underbug touches on everything from metaphysical meditation, technological innovation and the psychology of obsession to good old-fashioned biology.
Everyone knows about DNA. It is the essence of our being, influencing who we are and what we pass on to our children. But the information in DNA can't be used without a machine to decode it. The ribosome is that machine. Older than DNA itself, it is the mother of all molecules. Virtually every molecule made in every cell was either made by the ribosome or by proteins that were themselves made by the ribosome.
Venki Ramakrishnan tells the story of the race to uncover the ribosome's enormously complex structure, a fundamental breakthrough that resolves an ancient mystery of life itself and could lead to the development of better antibiotics. A fascinating insider account, Gene Machine charts Ramakrishnan's unlikely journey from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being at the centre of a fierce competition at the cutting edge of modern science.
A radical reconsideration of how we develop the qualities that make us human, based on decades of cutting-edge experimental work by the former director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Virtually all theories of how humans have become such a distinctive species focus on evolution. Here, Michael Tomasello proposes a complementary theory of human uniqueness, focused on development. Building on the seminal ideas of Vygotsky, his data-driven model explains how those things that make us most human are constructed during the first years of a child's life.
Tomasello assembles nearly three decades of experimental work with chimpanzees, bonobos, and human children to propose a new framework for psychological growth between birth and seven years of age. He identifies eight pathways that starkly differentiate humans from their closest primate relatives: social cognition, communication, cultural learning, cooperative thinking, collaboration, prosociality, social norms, and moral identity. In each of these, great apes possess rudimentary abilities. But then, Tomasello argues, the maturation of humans' evolved capacities for shared intentionality transform these abilities-through the new forms of sociocultural interaction they enable-into uniquely human cognition and sociality. The first step occurs around nine months, with the emergence of joint intentionality, exercised mostly with caregiving adults. The second step occurs around three years, with the emergence of collective intentionality involving both authoritative adults, who convey cultural knowledge, and coequal peers, who elicit collaboration and communication. Finally, by age six or seven, children become responsible for self-regulating their beliefs and actions so that they comport with cultural norms.
Becoming Human places human sociocultural activity within the framework of modern evolutionary theory, and shows how biology creates the conditions under which culture does its work.
Behind every disease is a story, a complex narrative woven of multiple threads, from the natural history of the disease, to the tale of its discovery and its place in history. But what is vital in all of this is how the disease spreads and develops. In The Atlas of Disease, Sandra Hempel reveals how maps have uncovered insightful information about the history of disease, from the seventeenth century plague maps that revealed the radical idea that diseases might be carried and spread by humans, to cholera maps in the 1800s showing the disease was carried by water, right up to the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s and the recent Ebola outbreak. Crucially, The Atlas of Disease will also explore how cartographic techniques have been used to combat epidemics by revealing previously hidden patterns. These discoveries have changed the course of history, affected human evolution, stimulated advances in medicine and shaped countless lives.
The sardine is a paradoxical fish. Seemingly insignificant, its exploitation has made fortunes for some and, when stocks have collapsed, caused hardship for many. Its status has shifted from utilitarian food to a gourmet's delight. Trevor Day - diver, fish-watcher and marine conservationist - travels across four continents to meet the sardine in its natural environment, and he traces the fish's journey from miniscule egg to item on the dinner plate. Sardine interweaves the story of the fish with the rise and fall of fishing industries. The sardine is a barometer for the health of oceans, with lessons for us all about our stewardship of the seas.
Day takes a scientifically and culturally wide-ranging look at the cluster of fish species called sardines, their relationship with other marine creatures and, in turn, with us. Elite predators feast on sardines, yet these silvery slivers are fast-breeding and opportunistic enough to survive their hunters. Whether swimming free as a shoaling fish at the mercy of predators, or tightly packed in tins - an image used frequently as a metaphor for overcrowding - sardines represent conformity and vulnerability. The biography that emerges will beguile readers fascinated with marine life as well as those who have eaten this familiar yet under-appreciated fish.
Vision is the sense by which we and other animals obtain most of our information about the world around us. Darwin appreciated that at first sight it seems absurd that the human eye could have evolved by natural selection. But we now know far more about vision, the many times it has independently evolved in nature, and the astonishing variety of ways to see. The human eye, with a lens forming an image on a sensitive retina, represents just one. Scallops, shrimps, and lobsters all use mirrors in different ways. Jumping spiders scan with their front-facing eyes to check whether the object in front is an insect to eat, another spider to mate with, or a predator to avoid. Mantis shrimps can even measure the polarization of light.
Animal eyes are amazing structures, often involving precision optics and impressive information processing, mainly using wet protein - not the substance an engineer would choose for such tasks. In Eyes to See, Michael Land, one of the leading world experts on vision, explores the varied ways in which sight has evolved and is used in the natural world, and describes some of the ingenious experiments researchers have used to uncover its secrets. He also discusses human vision, including his experiments on how our eye movements help us to do everyday tasks, as well as skilled ones such as sight-reading music or driving. He ends by considering the fascinating problem of how the constantly shifting images from our eyes are converted in the brain into the steady and integrated conscious view of the world we experience.
Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.
Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature's unexpected feats - such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.
Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.
Quanta Magazine's stories of mathematical explorations show that inspiration strikes willy-nilly, revealing surprising solutions and exciting discoveries.
These stories from Quanta Magazine map the routes of mathematical exploration, showing readers how cutting-edge research is done, while illuminating the productive tension between conjecture and proof, theory and intuition. The stories show that, as James Gleick puts it in the foreword, inspiration strikes willy-nilly. One researcher thinks of quantum chaotic systems at a bus stop; another suddenly realizes a path to proving a theorem of number theory while in a friend's backyard; a statistician has a bathroom sink epiphany and discovers the key to solving the Gaussian correlation inequality. Readers of The Prime Number Conspiracy, says Quanta editor-in-chief Thomas Lin, are headed on breathtaking intellectual journeys to the bleeding edge of discovery strapped to the narrative rocket of humanity's never-ending pursuit of knowledge.
Quanta is the only popular publication that offers in-depth coverage of the latest breakthroughs in understanding our mathematical universe. It communicates mathematics by taking it seriously, wrestling with difficult concepts and clearly explaining them in a way that speaks to our innate curiosity about our world and ourselves. Readers of this volume will learn that prime numbers have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them (the conspiracy of the title); consider whether math is the universal language of nature (allowing for a unified theory of randomness ); discover surprising solutions (including a pentagon tiling proof that solves a century-old math problem); ponder the limits of computation; measure infinity; and explore the eternal question Is mathematics good for you?
Contributors Ariel Bleicher, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Kevin Hartnett, Erica Klarreich, Thomas Lin, John Pavlus, Siobhan Roberts, Natalie Wolchover. Copublished with Quanta Magazine.
A fascinating exploration of the correlation between geometry and linear algebra, this text portrays the former as a subject better understood by the use and development of the latter rather than as an independent field. The treatment offers elementary explanations of the role of geometry in other branches of math and science as well as its value in understanding probability, determinant theory, and function spaces.
Get the knowledge and skills you need to solve math problems with confidence! This book won't overwhelm you with endless drills. Instead, it offers an original, step-by-step approach to learning math. The book will first introduce you to essential math concepts - allowing you to grasp the subject almost immediately. You will gradually progress to more challenging skills. Along the way, you will learn how to solve practical problems using clear, step-by-step instructions. Exercises for each section, with detailed, worked-out solutions, let you check your progress. In no time at all, you will have acquired the knowledge and skills you need to solve math problems with confidence!
-A unique building-block approach to mastering math
-Down-to-earth explanations of important rules and concepts
-Sample problems that are carefully explained - step by step
-Exercises that will allow you to practice what you've learned and measure your progress
-Insights on how to avoid common mistakes
This volume introduces Riemann's approach to multiple-value functions and the geometrical representation of these functions by what later became known as Riemann surfaces. The text focuses on the kinds of functions that can be defined on these surfaces and demonstrates how Riemann's mathematical ideas about Abelian integrals can be arrived at by thinking in terms of the flow of electric current on surfaces.
Analytical mechanics is a set of mathematical tools used to describe a wide range of physical systems, both in classical mechanics and beyond. It offers a powerful and elegant alternative to Newtonian mechanics; however it can be challenging to learn due to its high degree of mathematical complexity. Designed to offer a more intuitive guide to this abstract topic, this guide explains the mathematical theory underlying analytical mechanics; helping students to formulate, solve and interpret complex problems using these analytical tools. Each chapter begins with an example of a physical system to illustrate the theoretical steps to be developed in that chapter, and ends with a set of exercises to further develop students' understanding. The book presents the fundamentals of the subject in depth before extending the theory to more elaborate systems, and includes a further reading section to ensure that this is an accessible companion to all standard textbooks.
The year's finest mathematical writing from around the world.
This annual anthology brings together the year's finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2018 makes available to a wide audience many pieces not easily found anywhere else - and you don't need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These essays delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday aspects of math, offering surprising insights into its nature, meaning, and practice - and taking readers behind the scenes of today's hottest mathematical debates.
James Grime shows how to build subtly mischievous dice for playing slightly unfair games, David Rowe investigates the many different meanings and pedigrees of mathematical models, and Michael Barany traces how our appreciation of the societal importance of mathematics has developed since World War II. In other essays, Francis Su extolls the inherent values of learning, doing, and sharing mathematics, and Margaret Wertheim takes us on a mathematical exploration of the mind and the world - with glimpses at science, philosophy, music, art, and even crocheting. And there's much, much more.
In addition to presenting the year's most memorable math writing, this must-have anthology includes an introduction by the editor and a bibliography of other notable pieces on mathematics.
This is a must-read for anyone interested in where math has taken us - and where it is headed.
An essential guide to recognizing bogus numbers and misleading data Numbers are often intimidating, confusing, and even deliberately deceptive - especially when they are really big. The media loves to report on millions, billions, and trillions, but frequently makes basic mistakes or presents such numbers in misleading ways. And misunderstanding numbers can have serious consequences, since they can deceive us in many of our most important decisions, including how to vote, what to buy, and whether to make a financial investment. In this short, accessible, enlightening, and entertaining book, leading computer scientist Brian Kernighan teaches anyone - even diehard math-phobes - how to demystify the numbers that assault us every day.
With examples drawn from a rich variety of sources, including journalism, advertising, and politics, Kernighan demonstrates how numbers can mislead and misrepresent. In chapters covering big numbers, units, dimensions, and more, he lays bare everything from deceptive graphs to speciously precise numbers. And he shows how anyone - using a few basic ideas and lots of shortcuts - can easily learn to recognize common mistakes, determine whether numbers are credible, and make their own sensible estimates when needed.
Giving you the simple tools you need to avoid being fooled by dubious numbers, Millions, Billions, Zillions is an essential survival guide for a world drowning in big - and often bad - data.
More than three centuries after its creation, calculus remains a dazzling intellectual achievement and the gateway to higher mathematics. This book charts its growth and development by sampling from the work of some of its foremost practitioners, beginning with Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the late seventeenth century and continuing to Henri Lebesgue at the dawn of the twentieth. Now with a new preface by the author, this book documents the evolution of calculus from a powerful but logically chaotic subject into one whose foundations are thorough, rigorous, and unflinching - a story of genius triumphing over some of the toughest, subtlest problems imaginable. In touring The Calculus Gallery, we can see how it all came to be.
The story of the Universe is written in the light that travels through it - light that we can capture. Nearly everything we know about how the Universe works on its grandest scale comes from the analysis of the light - photons - that may have travelled nearly fourteen billion years from the Big Bang itself to reach us. Have you ever wondered what is the most distant source of light we can see, or how a star shines? Did you know that black holes can blaze like cosmic beacons across intergalactic space, and that ancient radio waves might herald the ignition of the very first stars? Have you ever thought about what light really is?
Five Photons explains all with the tales of five fascinating astrophysical processes through the journeys of light across space and time. They are tales of quantum physics and general relativity, stars and black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Let yourself be swept away on a journey of discovery towards a deeper understanding of the Universe.
`With his elegant, supremely clear writing, Geach has succeeded at creating both a state-of-theart cosmic overview and a rather wonderful meditation on the nature of our reality.' - Caleb Scharf, author of The Zoomable Universe
`Geach's beautiful cosmic biography takes readers on a sweeping tour of all that was, is, and ever will be. Five Photons is as elegant as it is enlightening.' - Lee Billings, author of Five Billion Years of Solitude
Until a few thousand years ago, creatures - megafauna - that could have been from a sci-fi thriller roamed the earth. With a handful of exceptions, all are now gone.
Ross MacPhee explores the question of what caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths, examining the extinction theories, weighing the evidence and presenting his conclusions. He comments on how past extinctions can shed light on future losses and on the possibility of bringing back extinct species through genetic engineering. Gorgeous four-colour illustrations bring these megabeasts back to life in vivid detail.
Was Darwin wrong when he traced our origins to Africa? The Real Planet of the Apes makes the explosive claim that it was in Europe, not Africa, where apes evolved the most important hallmarks of our human lineage - such as dexterous hands and larger brains. In this compelling and accessible book, David Begun, one of the world's leading paleoanthropologists, transports readers to an epoch in the remote past when the Earth was home to many migratory populations of ape species.
Drawing on the latest astonishing discoveries in the fossil record as well as his own experiences conducting field expeditions across Europe and Asia, Begun provides a sweeping evolutionary history of great apes and humans. He tells the story of how one of the earliest members of our evolutionary group - a new kind of primate called Proconsul - evolved from lemur-like monkeys in the primeval forests of Africa. Begun vividly describes how, over the next 10 million years, these hominoids expanded into Europe and Asia and evolved climbing and hanging adaptations, longer maturation times, and larger brains, setting the stage for the emergence of humans. As the climate deteriorated in Europe around 10 million years ago, these apes either died out or migrated south, reinvading the African continent and giving rise to the lineages of the gorilla, chimpanzee, and, ultimately, the human.
Presenting startling new insights about our fossil ape ancestors, The Real Planet of the Apes is a book that fundamentally alters our understanding of human origins.