History of Science
The Age of Wonder
How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
1st Edition Paperback ISBN: 1400031877
A riveting history of the men and women whose discoveries and inventions at the end of the eighteenth century gave birth to the Romantic Age of Science. When young Joseph Banks stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, he hoped to discover Paradise. Inspired by the scientific ferment sweeping through Britain, the botanist had sailed with Captain Cook on his first Endeavour voyage in search of new worlds. Other voyages of discovery—astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical—swiftly follow in Richard Holmes’s original evocation of what truly emerges as an Age of Wonder. Brilliantly conceived as a relay of scientific stories, The Age of Wonder investigates the earliest ideas of deep time and space, and the explorers of “dynamic science,” of an infinite, mysterious Nature waiting to be discovered. Three lives dominate the book: William Herschel and his sister Caroline, whose dedication to the study of the stars forever changed the public conception of the solar system, the Milky Way, and the meaning of the universe; and Humphry Davy, who, with only a grammar school education stunned the scientific community with his near-suicidal gas experiments that led to the invention of the miners’ lamp and established British chemistry as the leading professional science in Europe. This age of exploration extended to great writers and poets as well as scientists, all creators relishing in moments of high exhilaration, boundary-pushing and discovery. Holmes’s extraordinary evocation of this age of wonder shows how great ideas and experiments—both successes and failures—were born of singular and often lonely dedication, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. He has written a book breathtaking in its originality, its storytelling energy, and its intellectual significance. From the Hardcover edition.
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.
The Great Unknown
Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science
Paperback ISBN: 0735221820
“Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting.” —Bill Bryson A captivating journey to the outer reaches of human knowledge Ever since the dawn of civilization we have been driven by a desire to know--to understand the physical world and the laws of nature. But are there limits to human knowledge? Are some things beyond the predictive powers of science, or are those challenges simply the next big discovery waiting to happen? Marcus du Sautoy takes us into the minds of science's greatest innovators and reminds us that major breakthroughs were often ridiculed at the time of their discovery. Then he carries us on a whirlwind tour of seven "Edges" of knowledge - inviting us to consider the problems in quantum physics, cosmology, probability and neuroscience that continue to bedevil scientists who are at the front of their fields. He grounds his personal exploration of some of science's thorniest questions in simple concepts like the roll of dice, the notes of a cello, or how a clock measures time. Exhilarating, mind-bending, and compulsively readable, The Great Unknown challenges us to think in new ways about every aspect of the known world as it invites us to consider big questions - about who we are and the nature of God - that no one has yet managed to answer definitively.
A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World
Hardcover ISBN: 1631490168
Documents the efforts of three late-19th-century scientists to observe the rare total solar eclipse of 1878, citing how the respective ambitions of James Craig Watson, Maria Mitchell and Thomas Edison, juxtaposed against the challenges of the Wild West, helped America's early pursuits as a scientific superpower.
Paperback ISBN: 1785782053
Riddled with jealousy, rivalry, missed opportunities and moments of genius, the history of the atom’s discovery is as bizarre, as capricious, and as weird as the atom itself. John Dalton gave us the first picture of the atom in the early 1800s. Almost 100 years later the young misfit New Zealander, Ernest Rutherford, showed the atom consisted mostly of space, and in doing so overturned centuries of classical science. It was a brilliant Dane, Neils Bohr, who made the next great leap ? into the incredible world of quantum theory. Yet, he and a handful of other revolutionary young scientists weren't prepared for the shocks Nature had up her sleeve. This ?insightful, compelling’ book (New Scientist) reveals the mind-bending discoveries that were destined to upset everything we thought we knew about reality and unleash a dangerous new force upon the world. Even today, as we peer deeper and deeper into the atom, it throws back as many questions at us as answers.
Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
Hardcover ISBN: 1451675755
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist traces the story of forgotten genius Ernest Lawrence to discuss how the invention of the cyclotron triggered "Big Science" breakthroughs that have rendered science dependent on government and industry.
The Birth of the Pill
How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
Paperback ISBN: 0393351890
Documents the pivotal contributions of a feminist birth-control campaigner, a wealthy schizophrenic's wife, a disgraced Harvard scientist and a boundary-breaking Catholic doctor in the development of the birth-control pill. 40,000 first printing.
The Black Hole War
My Battle With Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
Paperback ISBN: 0316016411
The theoretical physicist author of The Cosmic Landscape traces his three-decade debate with Stephen Hawking over the fate of objects that pass into black holes, a clash that reflected his perspectives on string theory, quantum mechanics, and gravity. Reprint.