Caesar's Last Breath: And Other True Tales of History, Science, and the Sextillions of Molecules in the Air Around Us
Caesar's Last Breath
And Other True Tales of History, Science, and the Sextillions of Molecules in the Air Around Us
Paperback      ISBN: 0316381659
The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017: the fascinating science and history of the air we breathe.

It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world.

On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
This Is Your Brain on Music
The Science of a Human Obsession
Paperback      ISBN: 0452288525
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music--its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it--and the human brain.

Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:

- How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
- Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
- That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
- How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head

A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374150702

A brilliant lyrical exploration of how modern science illuminates what it means to be human, from the award-winning author of The Price of Altruism

We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.

Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?

Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
The Magic of Reality
How We Know What's Really True
Paperback      ISBN: 1451675046
An elegant, text-only paperback edition of the New York Times bestseller that's been hailed as the definitive authority on...everything.

Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world's most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works. Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena: How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? Starting with the magical, mythical explanations for the wonders of nature, Dawkins reveals the exhilarating scientific truths behind these occurrences. This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
The Fabric of the Cosmos
Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
Paperback      ISBN: 0375727205
From Brian Greene, one of the world's leading physicists and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Elegant Universe, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past? Greene has set himself a daunting task: to explain non-intuitive, mathematical concepts like String Theory, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and Inflationary Cosmology with analogies drawn from common experience. From Newton's unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein's fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics' entangled arena where vastly distant objects can instantaneously coordinate their behavior, Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.
Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
Death by Black Hole
And Other Cosmic Quandaries
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393062244

Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing his infectious excitement about our universe.
This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
This Will Make You Smarter
New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
Paperback      ISBN: 0062109391

Featuring a foreword by David Brooks, This Will Make You Smarter presents brilliant--but accessible--ideas to expand every mind.

What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world's most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

Contributors include:

  • Daniel Kahneman on the "focusing illusion"
  • Jonah Lehrer on controlling attention
  • Richard Dawkins on experimentation
  • Aubrey De Grey on conquering our fear of the unknown
  • Martin Seligman on the ingredients of well-being
  • Nicholas Carr on managing "cognitive load"
  • Steven Pinker on win-win negotiating
  • Daniel Goleman on understanding our connection to the natural world
  • Matt Ridley on tapping collective intelligence
  • Lisa Randall on effective theorizing
  • Brian Eno on "ecological vision"
  • J. Craig Venter on the multiple possible origins of life
  • Helen Fisher on temperament
  • Sam Harris on the flow of thought
  • Lawrence Krauss on living with uncertainty
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393609391

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There's no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Moonwalking with Einstein
The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Paperback      ISBN: 0143120530
The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.
Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel
Physics of the Impossible
A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel
Paperback      ISBN: 0307278824

Teleportation, time machines, force fields, and interstellar space ships--the stuff of science fiction or potentially attainable future technologies? Inspired by the fantastic worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku takes an informed, serious, and often surprising look at what our current understanding of the universe's physical laws may permit in the near and distant future.Entertaining, informative, and imaginative, Physics of the Impossible probes the very limits of human ingenuity and scientific possibility.