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Nature and Science December 2013
"One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done."
~ Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934), Nobel prize-winning Polish chemist and physicist
New and Recently Released!
Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea - by Katherine Harmon Courage
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/31/2013
Share Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea ISBN-13: 9781591845270
ISBN-10: 1591845270
What has three hearts, eight arms, no skeleton, and has been known to successfully predict the outcome of sporting events? The octopus! Whether crawling, swimming, or jet-propelling itself through the ocean, this amazing cephalopod continues to astonish marine biologists and aquarium-goers alike. Examining octopus biology, behavior, and evolution, this fascinating book describes how, during its 300 million-year history, the octopus developed a complex brain and nervous system (which allows it to solve mazes and pry open childproof caps), as well as elaborate defenses to guard against predators, including ink-squirting, deimatic displays, and camouflage.
The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet - by Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/22/2013
Share The Secret Language of Color%3a Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet ISBN-13: 9781579129491
ISBN-10: 1579129498
Understanding color, explain authors Joann and Arielle Eckstut, means understanding "physics, chemistry, astronomy, optics, neuroscience, geology, botany, zoology, human biology, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, art history, and cartography"...and that's just for starters. Fortunately, there's a bit of everything in this informative, entertaining, and lavishly illustrated book, which presents a detailed "biography" of each hue. Need more color in your life? Check out Jude Stewart's ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surpising Book about Color or Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette.
Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring, and the Race to Revive America - by Jason Fagone
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/05/2013
Share Ingenious%3a A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring, and the Race to Revive America ISBN-13: 9780307591487
ISBN-10: 0307591484
Founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, X PRIZE is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating technological breakthroughs with the potential to benefit humankind. Although more than 300 teams competed in the 2007 Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition (PIAXP), this fast-paced, engaging account by journalist Jason Fagone focuses on four: childhood sweethearts Harry and Jen; a group of high school students in West Philadelphia; ambitious, eccentric Oliver, who risks his personal fortune on the enterprise; and California start-up Aptera Motors. As these intrepid souls strive to create a mass-producible alternate-energy car capable of traveling 100 miles on the equivalent of a gallon of gas, an achievement that comes with $10 million dollars in prize money, Fagone documents the triumphs, setbacks, and sheer excitement of "invention as an everyday pursuit."
The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science - by Sandra Hempel
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/15/2013
Share The Inheritor ISBN-13: 9780393239713
ISBN-10: 0393239713
In this gripping account of a groundbreaking murder investigation, medical journalist Sandra Hempel, author of The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, examines the case of George Bodle, a wealthy landowner who died under mysterious circumstances in 1833. While authorities suspected arsenic poisoning -- a common method of getting rid of unwanted relatives, as it was tasteless, odorless, and its symptoms resembled a host of other ailments -- they couldn't prove it. That is, until chemist James March came up with a test to determine the presence of arsenic in corpses. For a gripping blend of history, medical mystery, and true crime, don't miss this chronicle of scientific discovery in the early days of forensic science.
Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air - by Richard Holmes
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/29/2013
Share Falling Upwards%3a How We Took to the Air ISBN-13: 9780307379665
ISBN-10: 0307379663
In his award-winning book The Age of Wonder, biographer Richard Holmes dedicated a chapter to the history of ballooning. In Falling Upwards, he expands on the subject, delving into the lives and careers of early pioneers of human flight such as André-Jacques Garnerin (who also developed parachutes) and French aeronaut Sophie Blanchard (who could have used one during her flights across Paris). As Holmes introduces aerial enthusiasts -- both famous and obscure -- whose motives range from scientific discovery to military applications to exploration and adventure, he demonstrates how their efforts shaped the course of history, technology, and culture.
Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life - by J. Craig Venter
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/17/2013
Share Life at the Speed of Light%3a From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life ISBN-13: 9780670025404
ISBN-10: 0670025402
Best known for being the first to sequence the human genome, a high-stakes race to the finish line recounted in A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life, biologist and entrepreneur J. Craig Venter has recently busied himself with creating "synthetic life." In this thought-provoking, persuasive primer on genetic engineering, Venter provides an insider's view of this emerging field from its origins to its present-day preoccupations, while describing his own attempts to "not only to read the digital code of life but to write it, to simulate it within a computer, and even to rewrite it to form new living cells."
Hidden Heroines of Science
Seduced by Logic: Émilie du Châtelet, Mary Somerville, and the Newtonian Revolution - by Robyn Arianrhod
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/01/2012
Share Seduced by Logic%3a Émilie du Châtelet, Mary Somerville, and the Newtonian Revolution ISBN-13: 9780199931613
ISBN-10: 0199931615
Émilie du Châtelet, an 18th-century French mathematician and physicist, and 19th-century Scottish polymath Mary Somerville, were both well-known figures in the scientific circles of their day -- and deservedly so. In addition to translating Isaac Newton's Principia into French, du Châtelet predicted infrared radiation, devised a financing system similar to modern-day derivatives (in order to pay off gambling debts), and formulated an equation (E ∝ mv²) that demonstrated the correct relationship between energy, mass, and velocity. Meanwhile, Somerville, one of the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society, authored several influential books on the sciences and, most notably, introduced Pierre-Simon Laplace's Mécanique Céleste to a broader audience by producing an annotated English translation with extensive commentary.
The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science - by Julie Des Jardins
Publisher: Feminist Press at the City University of New York
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/01/2010
Share The Madame Curie Complex%3a The Hidden History of Women in Science ISBN-13: 9781558616134
ISBN-10: 1558616136
Although the topic of women in science is a complex one, feminist historian Julie Des Jardins tackles it with aplomb in this scholarly yet accessible book. Beginning with Marie Curie's career, she discusses the discrimination faced by female scientists of the late-19th and early-20th centuries as universities and government laboratories became the center of the scientific community. She goes on to examine the invisibility of the women of the Manhattan project, while shining a light on the (initially undervalued) contributions of Rosalind Franklin and Maria Goeppert Mayer. Finally, she surveys the latter half of the 20th century, spotlighting both household names (such as Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall) and lesser-known individuals as she assesses their legacy and influence.
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code - by Margalit Fox
Publisher: Ecco
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/14/2013
Share The Riddle of the Labyrinth%3a The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code ISBN-13: 9780062228833
ISBN-10: 0062228838
Linear B, a long-lost Mycenean (c.1400 BCE) script, resurfaced in 1900 when archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, while excavating Knossos, Crete, unearthed clay tablets covered with indecipherable inscriptions. British architect Michael Ventris ultimately cracked the code -- although, as author and linguist Margalit Fox reveals, he couldn't have done it without Alice Kober, an American scholar whose painstakingly constructed syllabic grids served as the foundation for Ventris' efforts. Working at her kitchen table, hand-cutting some 150,000 cards to create a paper catalog that she engineered into a searchable database, Kober died before she could solve the mystery. However, her notes, observations, and methods paved the way for Ventris' success. This suspenseful, compelling book will appeal to language geeks, armchair archaeologists, and puzzle addicts.
Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA - by Brenda Maddox
Publisher: Perennial
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/01/2003
Share Rosalind Franklin%3a The Dark Lady of DNA ISBN-13: 9780060985080
ISBN-10: 0060985089
Though many people are familiar with the work on DNA of James Watson and Francis Crick, biophysicist Rosalind Franklin's scientific contributions have remained in the shadows -- partly because Watson was reluctant to recognize the importance of her work. In this thoroughly researched biography, Brenda Maddox explores both Franklin's personality and her achievements as a scientist, revealing that -- in contrast to the view projected by her male colleagues -- she was self-assured (though reserved), brilliant, and also warm and generous towards her family and friends. Franklin's work, though cut short by ovarian cancer at age 37, is well deserving of the recognition this biography offers.
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