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This is a thoughtful and revealing portrait of symbiotic friendship, a suspenseful tale of adventure at sea, and a eulogy to a trailblazing "popular scientist" whose full story has never before been told. In the 1930s, while the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression sent most of America into the doldrums, a lively intellectual and artistic community formed in the West, revolving around three legendary friends: Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Campbell. Steinbeck immortalized Monterey's bohemian spirit in Cannery Row, but the area's true lifeblood was his best friend and mentor, Ed Ricketts. Today he's usually remembered as "Doc" -- the beer-drinking philosopher-scientist who presides over Monterey's population of "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches" in Cannery Row -- but Ricketts was actually a highly accomplished ecologist who did seminal work in the emerging field of marine biology. His two books, Between Pacific Tides and Sea of Cortez (coauthored with Steinbeck), are still considered classics.
A fascinating collection of essays from twenty-seven of the world’s most interesting scientists about the moments and events in their childhoods that set them on the paths that would define their lives. What makes a child decide to become a scientist? •For Robert Sapolsky—Stanford professor of biology—it was an argument with a rabbi over a passage in the Bible. •Physicist Lee Smolin traces his inspiration to the volume of Einstein’s work he picked up as a diversion from heartbreak. •Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist and the author of Flow, found his calling through Descartes. •Mary Catherine Bateson—author of Composing a Life—discovered that she wanted to be an anthropologist while studying Hebrew. •Janna Levin—author of How the Universe Got Its Spots—felt impelled by the work of Carl Sagan to know more. Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Humphrey, Freeman Dyson, Daniel C. Dennett, Lynn Margulis, V. S. Ramachandran, Howard Gardner, Richard Dawkins, and more than a dozen others tell their own entertaining and often inspiring stories of the deciding moment. Illuminating memoir meets superb science writing in essays that invite us to consider what it is—and isn’t—that sets the scientific mind apart and into action. From the Hardcover edition.
Physicist and popular science writer Barry Parker speaks to the broadest possible audience in bringing Einstein's theories to life. Given the fervent renewed appreciation for the contributions Albert Einstein has bestowed on humanity, Parker thinks it only right to dedicate a book to explaining in the clearest possible terms the meaning and beauty of Einstein's theories.While tracing the story of Einstein's life, Parker seizes on the crucial groundbreaking theories that Einstein envisioned. Not since Isaac Newton had anyone conceived the universe in such a revolutionary, startling new way. Through Parker's eloquence, eye for detail, and clever use of Einsteinian cartoons and vivid illustrations, he enables the reader to see and appreciate for perhaps the first time the full meaning and scope of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity.Parker then guides the reader to the next step in Einstein's revelations: the possibility of time travel. In exploring the fascinating implications of Einstein's thought, Parker treats us to the experience of discovering a black hole, traversing curved spacetime, and greeting our much younger twin who has just returned from a long and arduous spaceflight.Parker's incomparable gift for language captures Einstein's uniqueness, singular brilliance, and stunning theories. The clarity of the writing coupled with the many illustrations will drive home the point why so many consider Einstein to be the greatest scientist who ever lived and Time magazine named Albert Einstein "Person of the Century."
Eminent historian Paul Johnson provides a rich, succinct portrait of Charles Darwin Charles Darwin is arguably the most influential scientist of all time. His Origin of Species forever changed our concept of the world's creation. Darwin's revolutionary career is the perfect vehicle for historian Paul Johnson. Marked by the insightful observation, spectacular wit, and highly readable prose for which Johnson is so well regarded, Darwin brings the gentleman-scientist and his times brilliantly into focus. From Darwin's birth into great fortune to his voyage aboard the Beagle, to the long-delayed publication of his masterpiece, Johnson delves into what made this Victorian gentleman into a visionary scientist--and into the tragic flaws that later led Darwin to support the burgeoning eugenics movement. Johnson's many admirers as well as history and science buffs will be grateful for this superb account of Darwin and the everlasting impact of his discoveries.
A New Translation From The French By Marion Wiesel Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man. Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on theNew York Timesbestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou's childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women, Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people—and the times—that touched her life.
My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life. "Why did you leave Sierra Leone?" "Because there is a war." "You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?" "Yes, all the time." "Cool." I smile a little. "You should tell us about it sometime." "Yes, sometime." This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was one of the most important woman scientists in history, and she was one of the most influential scientists--man or woman--of the 20th century. Curie postulated that radiation was an atomic property, a discovery that has led to significant scientific developments since. She was also the first person to use the term radioactivity. Her perseverance led to the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. This combination of creativity and perseverance netted her two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and the second in chemistry. This book, however, looks at more than her scientific achievements. While Curie is often portrayed as a stern, one-dimensional woman so totally committed to her science that she was incapable of complex emotions, the truth is that the opposite is the case. Marie Curie: A Biography covers her entire lifetime, beginning with her early life and education in a Poland under the oppressive rule of the czar of Russia. The book discusses all aspects--both personal and scientific--of her fascinating life: - Her education at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she earned the equivalent of two master's degrees--one in physics and a second in mathematics - Her marriage to Pierre Curie, with whom she collaborated on much of her scientific work - The personal scandal that surrounded Marie in the aftermath of Pierre's tragic death - The Nobel Prize awards, and the detractors who believed that her work was actually performed by her husband Curie's work in establishing mobile X-ray units during World War I, and the establishment of radium institutes to study radiation Running throughout there is the much of the book is the tension between radium as a positive discovery and, on the other hand, the health risks that working with it presents. The book includes a timeline of important events in Curie's life and a bibliography of important primary and secondary sources.
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and his highly educated wife, Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world's first computer programmer and has become an icon for women in technology. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal school or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science?Although an unusual pursuit for women at the time, Ada Lovelace studied science and mathematics from a young age. This book uses previously unpublished archival material to explore her precocious childhood, from her ideas for a steam-powered flying horse to penetrating questions about the science of rainbows. A remarkable correspondence course with the eminent mathematician Augustus De Morgan shows her developing into a gifted, perceptive and knowledgeable mathematician. Active in Victorian London's social and scientific elite alongside Mary Somerville, Michael Faraday and Charles Dickens, Ada Lovelace became fascinated by the computing machines devised by Charles Babbage. The table of mathematical formulae sometimes called the 'first programme' occurs in her paper about his most ambitious invention, his unbuilt 'Analytical Engine'.Ada Lovelace died at just thirty-six, but her paper still strikes a chord to this day, with clear explanations of the principles of computing, and broader ideas on computer music and artificial intelligence now realised in modern digital computers. Featuring images of the 'first programme' and Lovelace's correspondence, alongside mathematical models, and contemporary illustrations, this book shows how Ada Lovelace, with astonishing prescience, explored key mathematical questions to understand the principles behind modern computing.