All books from genre Scientific literature: other

Scientific literature: other 46 book

A Short History of Nearly Everything is a general science book by Bill Bryson, which explains some areas of science in ordinary language. It was the bestselling popular science book of 2005 in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies. A Short History deviates from Bryson's popular travel book genre, instead describing general sciences such as chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics. In it, he explores time from the Big Bang to the discovery of quantum mechanics, via evolution and geology. Bryson tells the story of science through the stories of the people who made the discoveries, such as Edwin Hubble, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Bill Bryson wrote this book because he was dissatisfied with his scientific knowledge – that was, not much at all. He writes that science was a distant, unexplained subject at school. Textbooks and teachers alike did not ignite the passion for knowledge in him, mainly because they never delved in the whys, hows, and whens.

DANSE MACABRE is a unique combination of fantasy and autobiography of classic horror writing honed to an unforgettable edge; an analysis of horror, terror and the supernatural in films, television and books by the bestselling master of the genre - Stephen King. Ranging across the whole spectrum of horror in popular culture and going back to the seminal classics of Count Dracula and Frankenstein, Stephen King describes his ideas on how horror works on many levels, and how he bring it to bear in his own inimitable novels.

What next? And other impossible questions

With a hefty dose of humour, the reader is encouraged to consider the impact of what we do today on how the future might look. While the book isn’t didactic, and is often jocular, Williams makes it clear that whether or not the human race survives, and in what shape, is something that we have to imagine and work towards.


Here we are, poised at the brink of the future, as we have always been, about to enter heaven or hell. Which will it be? Most commentators relish the latter, probably because hell sells, but many of history's bold predictions of doom are today jolly japes for the optimists. We haven't starved or blown ourselves up. Maybe time won't shake off climate change so easily.

When Robyn Williams ponders the future he has the benefit of 36 years' experience of presenting science for the ABC. In Future Perfect, Williams considers the possibilities for communication, science, God, transport, cities, sex, innovation, work and people. There's conjecture mixed with scientific analysis, sure, but that's the point. This book costs less than $20 and it's probably fair to say it contains all the stuff Williams can't shoehorn into his shows, so we have the paperback equivalent of an invigorating monologue over the kitchen table. Williams taps his network of esteemed buddies for expert analysis and draws on material published in New Scientist, Nature and The Economist. But when he writes about the benefits of putting his radio show back-catalogue online or how the plot of a previous novel of his has proven to be prophetic, then we're not so much dealing with a book "which conjures up the possibilities before us", like it says on the back, as a book which is part ideas, part entertainment, part rant.

Is Williams entertaining? Sometimes, definitely, but not all the time. When he confesses to writing radio scripts on a typewriter because it forces him to be succinct, the obvious response is, why not use it to write your book? And as for the multiple digs at George W. Bush and John W. Howard, well, anyone can do that – and everyone does.

Some of his conclusions are worth it: the e-revolution will make us less human by putting barriers between us; some science should be incorporated into every university degree because science is essential to life; everyone should have a go at being boss to counter a trend towards psychopathic bosses; and there should be practical sex classes at school. Want to know more about that last one? Buy the book!

Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin 's chief defenders, and an able one indeed- witty, literate, capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the- fittest ethos. (Superheroes need not apply: Dawkins writes, "The genes that survive… will be the ones that are good at surviving in the average environment of the species.") Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that "we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest."

From Publishers Weekly

The author examines genetics, its benefits and its potential dangers. 

Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Witty and erudite, but a little unfocused, this title is as much about anthropology and (pre) history as genetics. Jones has produced a thought-provoking and free-wheeling book for the nonspecialist that touches on the genetics of languages, the role of sexual reproduction in genetic mutations, the evolution of farming, and the relationship of surnames to gene pools in various populations. The wide variety of topics considered is refreshing, as is the worldwide focus, but readers looking for a quick overview of genetics should look elsewhere (e.g., Robert Pollack, Signs of Life: The Language of DNA, LJ 1/94). Periodically, the author interjects purely speculative comments, but in general the lessons and conclusions of this book are complex and suitably low-key, given the rapid pace of change in molecular biology today and the difficulty of foreseeing all the future implications of these changes. Not an absolutely essential purchase, but an interesting one.

Mary Chitty, Cambridge Healthtech, Waltham, Mass.

Jones is sensitive to the social issues raised by genetics, yet his interest reaches beyond contemporary social issues to the human past, to what genetics can and cannot tell us about our evolution and patterns of social development. He interleaves a broad knowledge of biology with considerations of cultural, demographic and — as his title indicates — linguistic history. Jones's book is at once instructive and captivating.

DANIEL J. KEVLES, London Review of Books

Trenchant, witty and enlightening… Jones's literate and wide-ranging book is an essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain.

PETER TALLACK, Sunday Telegraph

This brilliant and witty book… is highly literate, and Jones goes a long way to bridging the deepening chasm between the two cultures. Not to know how genes affect us is to ignore a central factor in our lives.


Smith, a UCLA geography professor, explores megatrends through computer model projections to describe "with reasonable scientific credibility, what our world might look like in forty years' time, should things continue as they are now." Laying out "ground rules" for himself--including an assumption of incremental advances rather than big technology breakthroughs and no accounting for "hidden genies" such as a decades-long depression or meteorite impact--he identifies four global forces likely to determine our future: human population growth and migration; growing demand for control over such natural resource "services" as photosynthesis and bee pollination; globalization; and climate change. He sees the "New North" as "something like America in 1803, just after the Louisiana Purchase... harsh, dangerous, and ecologically fragile." Aside from his observations of "a profound return of autonomy and dignity to many aboriginal people" through increasing political power and integration into the global economy, Smith's predictions, limited by his conservative rules, are far from earthshaking, and suspending his rules for a chapter, he admits that "the physics of sliding glaciers and ice sheet collapses" as well as melting permafrost methane release are beyond current models, and that even globalization could reverse, with "political genies even harder to anticipate than permafrost ones."

Carl Sagan, a modern-day Renaissance man of science, was born in 1934 in New York. After graduating with both a B.A. and a B.S. degree from the University of Chicago, Sagan completed his M.S. in physics and earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960.

Sagan was nominated to join the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1962. At the same time, he also worked with the Nobel-prize winner Joshna Lederberg, investigating the origins of life on Earth, and taught genetics at Stanford. Sagan then taught astronomy at Harvard until 1968, when he became professor of astronomy and space sciences at Cornell University. He was then appointed director of the laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan was awarded the NASA medal for exceptional scientific achievement in 1972, after his hypotheses about Mars were validated by data obtained from the 1971 expedition. Beginning in 1968, Sagan was editor of , the international journal of astronomy, and wrote many distinguished books. His works include (1973), which received the Campbell Award for best science book; the Pulitzer-prize winning (1977); (1979), on developments in neurophysiology; and (1980), which accompanied his widely-acclaimed television series. In “The Nuclear Winter” (1983), Sagan explored the unforeseen and devastating physical and chemical effects of even a small-scale nuclear war on the earth’s biosphere and life on earth.

David Allen has been called one of the world's most influential thinkers on productivity and has been a keynote speaker and facilitator for such organizations as New York Life, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, L.L. Bean, and the U.S. Navy, and he conducts workshops for individuals and organizations across the country. He is the president of The David Allen Company and has more than twenty years experience as a management consultant and executive coach. His work has been featured in the and many other publications. has been published in twelve foreign countries. David Allen lives in Ojai, California.

**By the author of the acclaimed bestseller *Benjamin Franklin*, this is the first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available.**

How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson's biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk -- a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate -- became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.

These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

### Review

As a scientist, Albert Einstein is undoubtedly the most epic among 20th-century thinkers. Albert Einstein as a man, however, has been a much harder portrait to paint, and what we know of him as a husband, father, and friend is fragmentary at best. With *Einstein: His Life and Universe*, Walter Isaacson (author of the bestselling biographies *Benjamin Franklin* and *Kissinger*) brings Einstein's experience of life, love, and intellectual discovery into brilliant focus. The book is the first biography to tackle Einstein's enormous volume of personal correspondence that heretofore had been sealed from the public, and it's hard to imagine another book that could do such a richly textured and complicated life as Einstein's the same thoughtful justice. Isaacson is a master of the form and this latest opus is at once arresting and wonderfully revelatory. *--Anne Bartholomew*

**Read "The Light-Beam Rider," the first chapter of Walter Isaacson's *Einstein: His Life and Universe*.**

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**Five Questions for Walter Isaacson**

**** What kind of scientific education did you have to give yourself to be able to understand and explain Einstein's ideas?

**Isaacson:** I've always loved science, and I had a group of great physicists--such as Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, and Murray Gell-Mann--who tutored me, helped me learn the physics, and checked various versions of my book. I also learned the tensor calculus underlying general relativity, but tried to avoid spending too much time on it in the book. I wanted to capture the imaginative beauty of Einstein's scientific leaps, but I hope folks who want to delve more deeply into the science will read Einstein books by such scientists as Abraham Pais, Jeremy Bernstein, Brian Greene, and others.

**** That Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he revolutionized our understanding of the physical world has often been treated as ironic or even absurd. But you argue that in many ways his time there fostered his discoveries. Could you explain?

**Isaacson:** I think he was lucky to be at the patent office rather than serving as an acolyte in the academy trying to please senior professors and teach the conventional wisdom. As a patent examiner, he got to visualize the physical realities underlying scientific concepts. He had a boss who told him to question every premise and assumption. And as Peter Galison shows in *Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps*, many of the patent applications involved synchronizing clocks using signals that traveled at the speed of light. So with his office-mate Michele Besso as a sounding board, he was primed to make the leap to special relativity.

**** That time in the patent office makes him sound far more like a practical scientist and tinkerer than the usual image of the wild-haired professor, and more like your previous biographical subject, the multitalented but eminently earthly Benjamin Franklin. Did you see connections between them?

**Isaacson:** I like writing about creativity, and that's what Franklin and Einstein shared. They also had great curiosity and imagination. But Franklin was a more practical man who was not very theoretical, and Einstein was the opposite in that regard.

**** Of the many legends that have accumulated around Einstein, what did you find to be least true? Most true?

**Isaacson:** The least true legend is that he failed math as a schoolboy. He was actually great in math, because he could visualize equations. He knew they were nature's brushstrokes for painting her wonders. For example, he could look at Maxwell's equations and marvel at what it would be like to ride alongside a light wave, and he could look at Max Planck's equations about radiation and realize that Planck's constant meant that light was a particle as well as a wave. The most true legend is how rebellious and defiant of authority he was. You see it in his politics, his personal life, and his science.

**** At *Time* and CNN and the Aspen Institute, you've worked with many of the leading thinkers and leaders of the day. Now that you've had the chance to get to know Einstein so well, did he remind you of anyone from our day who shares at least some of his remarkable qualities?

**Isaacson:** There are many creative scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking, who wrote the essay on Einstein as "Person of the Century" when I was editor of *Time*. In the world of technology, Steve Jobs has the same creative imagination and ability to think differently that distinguished Einstein, and Bill Gates has the same intellectual intensity. I wish I knew politicians who had the creativity and human instincts of Einstein, or for that matter the wise feel for our common values of Benjamin Franklin.

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**More to Explore**

*Benjamin Franklin: An American Life*

*Kissinger: A Biography* **

**The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made* ***

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### **From Publishers Weekly**

**Acclaimed biographer Isaacson examines the remarkable life of "science's preeminent poster boy" in this lucid account (after 2003's *Benjamin Franklin* and 1992's *Kissinger*). Contrary to popular myth, the German-Jewish schoolboy Albert Einstein not only excelled in math, he mastered calculus before he was 15. Young Albert's dislike for rote learning, however, led him to compare his teachers to "drill sergeants." That antipathy was symptomatic of Einstein's love of individual and intellectual freedom, beliefs the author revisits as he relates his subject's life and work in the context of world and political events that shaped both, from WWI and II and their aftermath through the Cold War. Isaacson presents Einstein's research—his efforts to understand space and time, resulting in four extraordinary papers in 1905 that introduced the world to special relativity, and his later work on unified field theory—without equations and for the general reader. Isaacson focuses more on Einstein the man: charismatic and passionate, often careless about personal affairs; outspoken and unapologetic about his belief that no one should have to give up personal freedoms to support a state. Fifty years after his death, Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (1879–1955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. *500,000 firsr printing, 20-city author tour, first serial to *Time*; confirmed appearance on *Good Morning America*. (Apr.)*

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