Both a travelogue and a study of the origins of science, The Lagoon shows how an ancient thinker still has much to teach us today. Aristotle's philosophy looms large over the history of Western thought, but the subject he most loved was biology. He wrote vast treatises on animals, dissecting them, classifying them, recording how they lived, fed, and bred. He founded a science. It can even be said that he founded science itself. In this luminous book, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle's science. He explores Aristotle's observations, his deep ideas, his inspired guesses--and the things he got wildly wrong. Leroi visits the Aegean island where Aristotle plumbed the secrets of the living world in all its beauty. Modern science still bears the stamp of its founder. The Lagoon reveals that Aristotle was not only the first biologist, but also one of the greatest.
When the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History reclassified Pluto as an icy comet, the New York Times proclaimed on page one, Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York. Immediately, the public, professionals, and press were choosing sides over Pluto s planethood. Pluto is entrenched in our cultural and emotional view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning author and director of the Rose Center, is on a quest to discover why. He stood at the heart of the controversy over Pluto s demotion, and consequently Plutophiles have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third-graders. With his inimitable wit, Tyson delivers a minihistory of planets, describes the oversized characters of the people who study them, and recounts how America's favorite planet was ousted from the cosmic hub."
BOSTON GLOBE * THE ATLANTIC
From the acclaimed bestselling author of The Information and Chaos comes this enthralling history of time travel--a concept that has preoccupied physicists and storytellers over the course of the last century. James Gleick delivers a mind-bending exploration of time travel--from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick vividly explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept's cultural evolutions--from H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from Proust to Woody Allen. He takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics, and, finally, delves into what it all means in our own moment in time--the world of the instantaneous, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.
Thomas Edison closely following the alternative physics work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck, convincing him that there was an entire reality unseen by the human eye. This led to the last and least-known of all Edison's inventions, the spirit phone. His former associate, now bitter rival, Nikola Tesla, was also developing at the same time a similar mysterious device. Edison vs. Tesla examines their quest to talk to the dead. It reveals:Edison's little-known near-death experience formed his theory that animate life forms don't die, but rather change the nature of their composition. It is this foundational belief that drove him to proceed with the spirit phone.
Tesla monitored Edison's paranormal work, with both men racing to create a device that picked up the frequencies of discarnate spirits, what today is called EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
Both men were way ahead of their time, delving into artificial intelligence and robotics.
Although mystery and lore surround the details of the last decade of Edison's life, many skeptics have denied the existence of the mysterious spirit phone. The authors have researched both Edison's and Tesla's journals, as well as contemporary articles and interviews with the inventors to confirm that tests were actually done with this device. They also have the full cooperation of the Charles Edison fund, affording them access to rare photos and graphics to support their text. Edison vs. Tesla sheds light on this weird invention and demonstrates the rivalry that drove both men to new discoveries.
How did a near-extinct species, eking out a meager existence with stone axes, become the dominant power on earth, able to harness a knowledge of nature ranging from tiny atoms to the vast structures of the universe? Leonard Mlodinow takes us on an enthralling tour of the history of human progress, from our time on the African savannah through the invention of written language, all the way to modern quantum physics. Along the way, he explores the colorful personalities of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, and traces the cultural conditions--and the elements of chance--that influenced scientific discovery.Deeply informed, accessible, and infused with the author's trademark humor and insight, The Upright Thinkers is a stunning tribute to humanity's intellectual curiosity and an important book for any reader with an interest in the scientific issues of our day.
"No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting." --Bill Bryson Brain Pickings and Kirkus Best Science Book of the Year
Every week seems to throw up a new discovery, shaking the foundations of what we know. But are there questions we will never be able to answer--mysteries that lie beyond the predictive powers of science? In this captivating exploration of our most tantalizing unknowns, Marcus du Sautoy invites us to consider the problems in cosmology, quantum physics, mathematics, and neuroscience that continue to bedevil scientists and creative thinkers who are at the forefront of their fields. At once exhilarating, mind-bending, and compulsively readable, The Great Unknown challenges us to consider big questions--about the nature of consciousness, what came before the big bang, and what lies beyond our horizons--while taking us on a virtuoso tour of the great breakthroughs of the past and celebrating the men and women who dared to tackle the seemingly impossible and had the imagination to come up with new ways of seeing the world.
Long before the European Enlightenment, scholars and researchers working from Samarkand in modern-day Uzbekistan to Cordoba in Spain advanced our knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medicine and philosophy.From Musa al-Khwarizmi, who developed algebra in ninth-century Baghdad, to al-Jazari, a 13th-century Turkish engineer whose achievements include the crank, the camshaft and the reciprocating piston, Ehsan Masood tells the amazing story of one of history's most misunderstood yet rich and fertile periods in science, via the scholars, research, and science of the Islamic empires of the Middle Ages.
"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices.Shawn Otto's compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.
Using 100s of fascinating examples, James Burke shows how old established ideas in science and technology often lead to serendipitous and amazing modern discoveries and innovations.
A masterful commentary on the history of science from the Greeks to modern times, by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg--a thought-provoking and important book by one of the most distinguished scientists and intellectuals of our time.
In this rich, irreverent, and compelling history, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg takes us across centuries from ancient Miletus to medieval Baghdad and Oxford, from Plato's Academy and the Museum of Alexandria to the cathedral school of Chartres and the Royal Society of London. He shows that the scientists of ancient and medieval times not only did not understand what we understand about the world--they did not understand what there is to understand, or how to understand it. Yet over the centuries, through the struggle to solve such mysteries as the curious backward movement of the planets and the rise and fall of the tides, the modern discipline of science eventually emerged. Along the way, Weinberg examines historic clashes and collaborations between science and the competing spheres of religion, technology, poetry, mathematics, and philosophy.
An illuminating exploration of the way we consider and analyze the world around us, To Explain the World is a sweeping, ambitious account of how difficult it was to discover the goals and methods of modern science, and the impact of this discovery on human knowledge and development.--Kirkus