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Accessory to War

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In this fascinating foray into the centuries-old relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and writer-researcher Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. "The overlap is strong, and the knowledge flows in both directions," say the authors, because astrophysicists and military planners care about many of the same things: multi-spectral detection, ranging, tracking, imaging, high ground, nuclear fusion, and access to space. Tyson and Lang call it a "curiously complicit" alliance. "The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds," they write. "Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it's a laboratory for one and a battlefield for the other. The explorer wants to understand it; the soldier wants to dominate it. But without the right technology--which is more or less the same technology for both parties--nobody can get to it, operate in it, scrutinize it, dominate it, or use it to their advantage and someone else's disadvantage."

Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power that will introduce Tyson's millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.

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9780393064445
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American Eden

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On a clear morning in July 1804, Alexander Hamilton stepped onto a boat at the edge of the Hudson River. He was bound for a New Jersey dueling ground to settle his bitter dispute with Aaron Burr. Hamilton took just two men with him: his "second" for the duel, and Dr. David Hosack.

As historian Victoria Johnson reveals in her groundbreaking biography, Hosack was one of the few points the duelists did agree on. Summoned that morning because of his role as the beloved Hamilton family doctor, he was also a close friend of Burr. A brilliant surgeon and a world-class botanist, Hosack--who until now has been lost in the fog of history--was a pioneering thinker who shaped a young nation.

Born in New York City, he was educated in Europe and returned to America inspired by his newfound knowledge. He assembled a plant collection so spectacular and diverse that it amazes botanists today, conducted some of the first pharmaceutical research in the United States, and introduced new surgeries to America. His tireless work championing public health and science earned him national fame and praise from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander von Humboldt, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

One goal drove Hosack above all others: to build the Republic's first botanical garden. Despite innumerable obstacles and near-constant resistance, Hosack triumphed when, by 1810, his Elgin Botanic Garden at last crowned twenty acres of Manhattan farmland. "Where others saw real estate and power, Hosack saw the landscape as a pharmacopoeia able to bring medicine into the modern age" (Eric W. Sanderson, author of Mannahatta). Today what remains of America's first botanical garden lies in the heart of midtown, buried beneath Rockefeller Center.

Whether collecting specimens along the banks of the Hudson River, lecturing before a class of rapt medical students, or breaking the fever of a young Philip Hamilton, David Hosack was an American visionary who has been too long forgotten. Alongside other towering figures of the post-Revolutionary generation, he took the reins of a nation. In unearthing the dramatic story of his life, Johnson offers a lush depiction of the man who gave a new voice to the powers and perils of nature.

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9781631494192
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Anti-Science and the Assault on Democracy

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Defending the role that science must play in democratic society--science defined not just in terms of technology but as a way of approaching problems and viewing the world. In this collection of original essays, experts in political science, the hard sciences, philosophy, history, and other disciplines examine contemporary anti-science trends, and make a strong case that respect for science is essential for a healthy democracy. The editors note that a contradiction lies at the heart of modern society. On the one hand, we inhabit a world increasingly dominated by science and technology. On the other, opposition to science is prevalent in many forms--from arguments against the teaching of evolution and the denial of climate change to the promotion of alternative medicine and outlandish claims about the effects of vaccinations. Adding to this grass-roots hostility toward science are academics espousing postmodern relativism, which equates the methods of science with regimes of "power-knowledge." While these cultural trends are sometimes marketed in the name of "democratic pluralism," the contributors contend that such views are actually destructive of a broader culture appropriate for a democratic society. This is especially true when facts are degraded as "fake news" and scientists are dismissed as elitists. Rather than enhancing the capacity for rational debate and critical discourse, the authors view such anti-science stances on either the right or the left as a return to premodern forms of subservience to authority and an unwillingness to submit beliefs to rational scrutiny. Beyond critiquing attitudes hostile to science, the essays in this collection put forward a positive vision for how we might better articulate the relation between science and democracy and the benefits that accrue from cultivating this relationship.
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9781633884748
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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

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Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition--in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos--to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal--and human--intelligence.

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9780393353662
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Arithmetic

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Because evolution endowed humans with a complement of ten fingers, a grouping size of ten seems natural to us, perhaps even ideal. But from the perspective of mathematics, groupings of ten are arbitrary, and can have serious shortcomings. Twelve would be better for divisibility, and eight is smaller and well suited to repeated halving. Grouping by two, as in binary code, has turned out to have its own remarkable advantages.

Paul Lockhart reveals arithmetic not as the rote manipulation of numbers--a practical if mundane branch of knowledge best suited for balancing a checkbook or filling out tax forms--but as a set of ideas that exhibit the fascinating and sometimes surprising behaviors usually reserved for higher branches of mathematics. The essence of arithmetic is the skillful arrangement of numerical information for ease of communication and comparison, an elegant intellectual craft that arises from our desire to count, add to, take away from, divide up, and multiply quantities of important things. Over centuries, humans devised a variety of strategies for representing and using numerical information, from beads and tally marks to adding machines and computers. Lockhart explores the philosophical and aesthetic nature of counting and of different number systems, both Western and non-Western, weighing the pluses and minuses of each.

A passionate, entertaining survey of foundational ideas and methods, Arithmetic invites readers to experience the profound and simple beauty of its subject through the eyes of a modern research mathematician.

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9780674972230
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Aroused

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Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, medical journalist Randi Hutter Epstein reveals the "invigorating history" (Nature) of hormones and the age-old quest to control them through the back rooms, basements, and labs where endocrinology began.

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9780393357080
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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

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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.

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9780393609394
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Atom Land

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Journey into an unseen world--and to the frontiers of human knowledge

Welcome to Atom Land, the impossibly small world of quantum physics. With award-winning physicist Jon Butterworth as your guide, you'll set sail from Port Electron in search of strange new terrain. Each discovery will expand the horizons of your trusty map--from the Hadron Island to the Isle of Quarks and beyond. Just beware of Dark Energy and other sea monsters!

A masterful work of metaphor, Atom Land also gives form to the forces that shape the universe: Electromagnetism is a highway system; the strong force, a railway; the weak force, an airline. But, like Butterworth, you may find that curiosity is the strongest force of all--one that pulls you across the subatomic seas, toward the unknown realm of Antimatter, and to the very outer reaches of the cosmos.
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9781615193738
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Atomic Adventures

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Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far flung Pacific islands and trees that were exposed to active fission that changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion doesn't exist. And who knew that radiation counting was once a fashionable trend? Though parts of the nuclear history might seem like a fiction mash-up, where cowboys somehow got a hold of a reactor, Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the reader in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may one day hold the key to solving our energy crisis or sending us to Mars.
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9781681777856
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Between Hope and Fear

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If you have a child in school, you may have heard stories of long-dormant diseases suddenly reappearing--cases of measles, mumps, rubella, and whooping cough cropping up everywhere from elementary schools to Ivy League universities because a select group of parents refuse to vaccinate their children.

Between Hope and Fear tells the remarkable story of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases and their social and political implications. While detailing the history of vaccine invention, Kinch reveals the ominous reality that our victories against vaccine-preventable diseases are not permanent--and could easily be undone. In the tradition of John Barry's The Great Influenza and Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies, Between Hope and Fear relates the remarkable intersection of science, technology, and disease that has helped eradicate many of the deadliest plagues known to man.

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9781643132419
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Blueprint

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"A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more" (Frank Bruni, The New York Times), Blueprint shows why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity.
For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.
In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide.
With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.
In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies are still shaping our genes today.
ISBN/SKU: 
9780316230049
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Body

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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD

"Glorious. . .You will marvel at the brilliance and vast weirdness of your design." --The Washington Post

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody.

Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body--how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, "We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

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9780385539302
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Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects

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Your alarm goes off, and you head to the kitchen to make yourself some toast and a cup of coffee. Little do you know, as you savor the aroma of the steam rising from your cup, that your ordinary morning routine depends on some of the weirdest phenomena ever discovered.

The world of quantum physics is generally thought of as hopelessly esoteric. While classical physics gives us the laws governing why a ball rolls downhill, how a plane is able to fly, and so on, its quantum cousin gives us particles that are actually waves, "spooky" action at a distance, and Schrodinger's unlucky cat. But, believe it or not, even the most mundane of everyday activities is profoundly influenced by the abstract and exotic world of the quantum.

In Breakfast with Einstein, Chad Orzel illuminates the strange phenomena lurking just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives by digging into the surprisingly complicated physics involved in his (and anyone's) morning routine. Orzel, author of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog, explores how quantum connects with everyday reality, and offers engaging, layperson-level explanations of the mind-bending ideas central to modern physics.

From the sun, alarm clocks, and the red glow of a toaster's hot filaments (the glow that launched quantum mechanics) to the chemistry of food aroma, a typical day is rich with examples of quantum weirdness. Breakfast with Einstein reveals the hidden physics all around us, and after reading this book, your ordinary mornings will never seem quite as ordinary again.

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9781946885357
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Briefer History of Time

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHORS

The science classic made more accessible
- More concise - Illustrated

FROM ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT MINDS OF OUR TIME COMES A BOOK THAT CLARIFIES HIS MOST IMPORTANT IDEAS

Stephen Hawking's worldwide bestseller A Brief History of Time remains a landmark volume in scientific writing. But for years readers have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts--the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history and future of the universe. A Briefer History of Time is Professor Hawking's response.

Although "briefer," this book is much more than a mere explanation of Hawking's earlier work. A Briefer History of Time both clarifies and expands on the great subjects of the original, and records the latest developments in the field--from string theory to the search for a unified theory of all the forces of physics. Thirty-seven full-color illustrations enhance the text and make A Briefer History of Time an exhilarating and must-have addition in its own right to the great literature of science and ideas.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780553385465
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Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

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The first book to offer a proven, fast, inexpensive, practical way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic climate change.

As climate change quickly approaches a series of turning points that guarantee disastrous outcomes, a solution is hiding in plain sight. Several countries have already replaced fossil fuels with low-carbon energy sources, and done so rapidly, in one to two decades. By following their methods, we could decarbonize the global economy by midcentury, replacing fossil fuels even while world energy use continues to rise. But so far we have lacked the courage to really try.
In this clear-sighted and compelling book, Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist explain how clean energy quickly replaced fossil fuels in such places as Sweden, France, South Korea, and Ontario. Their people enjoyed prosperity and growing energy use in harmony with the natural environment. They didn't do this through personal sacrifice, nor through 100 percent renewables, but by using them in combination with an energy source the Swedes call kärnkraft, hundreds of times safer and cleaner than coal.
Clearly written and beautifully illustrated, yet footnoted with extensive technical references, Goldstein and Qvist's book will provide a new touchstone in discussions of climate change. It could spark a shift in world energy policy that, in the words of Steven Pinker's foreword, literally saves the world.

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9781541724105
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Cat in the Box

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Finally, a simplified explanation of Schrödinger's cat paradox for quantum mechanics enthusiasts!

Have you been lying awake at night pondering quantum superposition? Have you fretted about how to explain its flawed interpretation? Are you a fan of Schrödinger's cat? Or do you know someone who is? This is the book for you!

Award-winning physicist, quantum enthusiast and bestselling author of the Baby University series Chris Ferrie, has transformed Schrödinger's paradox into a whimsical poem perfect for science fans or anyone who enjoys using cats and boxes to explain science experiments.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781492671237
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Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future

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The antidote for your climate change paralysis. --Sierra Magazine

An urgent call to arms by one of the most important voices in the international fight against climate change, sharing inspiring stories and offering vital lessons for the path forward.

Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people--people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal.

Mary Robinson's mission would lead her all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. From Sharon Hanshaw, the Mississippi matriarch whose campaign began in her East Biloxi hair salon and culminated in her speaking at the United Nations, to Constance Okollet, a small farmer who transformed the fortunes of her ailing community in rural Uganda, Robinson met with ordinary people whose resilience and ingenuity had already unlocked extraordinary change.

Powerful and deeply humane, Climate Justice is a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.

"As advocate for the forgotten and the ignored, Mary Robinson has not only shone a light on human suffering, but illuminated a better future for our world." -Barack Obama

ISBN/SKU: 
9781632869289
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Cracking the Aging Code: The New Science of Growing Old - And What It Means for Staying Young

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A revolutionary examination of why we age, what it means for our health, and how we just might be able to fight it.

In Cracking the Aging Code, theoretical biologist Josh Mitteldorf and award-winning writer and ecological philosopher Dorion Sagan reveal that evolution and aging are even more complex and breathtaking than we originally thought. Using meticulous multidisciplinary science, as well as reviewing the history of our understanding about evolution, this book makes the case that aging is not something that "just happens," nor is it the result of wear and tear or a genetic inevitability. Rather, aging has a fascinating evolutionary purpose: to stabilize populations and ecosystems, which are ever-threatened by cyclic swings that can lead to extinction.

When a population grows too fast it can put itself at risk of a wholesale wipeout. Aging has evolved to help us adjust our growth in a sustainable fashion as well as prevent an ecological crisis from starvation, predation, pollution, or infection.

This dynamic new understanding of aging is provocative, entertaining, and pioneering, and will challenge the way we understand aging, death, and just what makes us human.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250061713
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Did You Just Eat That?

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When it comes to food safety and germs, there are as many common questions as there are misconceptions. And yet there has never been a book that clearly examines the science behind these important issues--until now. In Did You Just Eat That? food scientists Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon take readers into the lab to show, for example, how they determine the amount of bacteria that gets transferred by sharing utensils or how many microbes live on restaurant menus. The authors list their materials and methods (in case you want to replicate the experiments), guide us through their results, and offer in-depth explanations of good hygiene and microbiology. Written with candid humor and richly illustrated, this fascinating book will reveal surprising answers to the most frequently debated--and also the weirdest--questions about food and germs, sure to satisfy anyone who has ever wondered: should I really eat that?

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9780393609752
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Dinosaur Artist

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In this 2018 New York Times Notable Book, Paige Williams "does for fossils what Susan Orlean did for orchids" (Book Riot) in her account of one Florida man's reckless attempt to sell a dinosaur skeleton from Mongolia--a story "steeped in natural history, human nature, commerce, crime, science, and politics" (Rebecca Skloot).

In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton." In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and twenty-four feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded, the winning bid was over $1 million.

Eric Prokopi, a thirty-eight-year-old Floridian, was the man who had brought this extraordinary skeleton to market. A onetime collegiate-level swimmer who spent his teenage years diving for shark teeth, Prokopi's singular obsession with fossils fueled a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens, to clients ranging from natural history museums to avid private collectors like actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage.

But there was a problem. This time, facing financial strain, had Prokopi gone too far? As the T. bataar went to auction, a network of paleontologists alerted the government of Mongolia to the eye-catching lot. An international custody battle ensued, and Prokopi watched his own world unravel.

In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, The Dinosaur Artist is a stunning work of narrative journalism about humans' relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. A story that stretches from Florida's Land O' Lakes to the Gobi Desert, The Dinosaur Artist illuminates the history of fossil collecting--a murky, sometimes risky business, populated by eccentrics and obsessives, where the lines between poacher and hunter, collector and smuggler, enthusiast and opportunist, can easily blur.

In her first book, Paige Williams has given readers an irresistible story that spans continents, cultures, and millennia as she examines the question of who, ultimately, owns the past.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780316382519
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Dinosaurs

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Blending history and fantasy, science and art, the story of how dinosaurs were discovered and reimagined comes to life through splendid illustrations in this handsome slipcased volume.

Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus...these exotic prehistoric creatures continue to fascinate more than 200 million years after they last roamed the earth. Dinosaur skeletons have been reconstituted, reconstructed, and interpreted by scientists and artists since the first fossils were uncovered near Cañon City, Colorado, in 1877, sparking the Bone Wars. In 1907, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History mounted "Dippy" the Diplodocus, which sparked dinomania, igniting the imagination of popular culture and Hollywood. From the Morrison Formation to Montana's Hell Creek, and from Mongolia's Gobi Desert to Argentina's Patagonia, new discoveries and excavations have uncovered a lost kingdom that has inspired myriad homages.

This volume enriches our understanding of dinosaurs through rich visual iconography--from paintings, drawings, and sketches to new photography, film stills, reconstructed skeletons, and archival documents--along with detailed descriptions and anecdotes from great nineteenth-century explorers, artists, and writers such as Benjamin W. Hawkins, Charles R. Knight, Zdenĕk Burian, and Jules Verne, and from filmmakers including Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg.

This book is published in partnership with the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris to coincide with a traveling exhibition of the exceptional Trix T. Rex and the international release of Jurassic World.

ISBN/SKU: 
9782080203762
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Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us about Ourselves

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A Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist's probing investigation of what brain disorders can tell us about human nature

Eric R. Kandel, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his foundational research into memory storage in the brain, is one of the pioneers of modern brain science. His work continues to shape our understanding of how learning and memory work and to break down age-old barriers between the sciences and the arts.

In his seminal new book, The Disordered Mind, Kandel draws on a lifetime of pathbreaking research and the work of many other leading neuroscientists to take us on an unusual tour of the brain. He confronts one of the most difficult questions we face: How does our mind, our individual sense of self, emerge from the physical matter of the brain? The brain's 86 billion neurons communicate with one another through very precise connections. But sometimes those connections are disrupted. The brain processes that give rise to our mind can become disordered, resulting in diseases such as autism, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While these disruptions bring great suffering, they can also reveal the mysteries of how the brain produces our most fundamental experiences and capabilities--the very nature of what it means to be human. Studies of autism illuminate the neurological foundations of our social instincts; research into depression offers important insights on emotions and the integrity of the self; and paradigm-shifting work on addiction has led to a new understanding of the relationship between pleasure and willpower.

By studying disruptions to typical brain functioning and exploring their potential treatments, we will deepen our understanding of thought, feeling, behavior, memory, and creativity. Only then can we grapple with the big question of how billions of neurons generate consciousness itself.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374287863
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Earth in Human Hands

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For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made--up until this point, inadvertently--to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence. Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there's every reason to believe we can do so again. Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth's biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781455589128
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Eerie Silence

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One of the world's leading scientists explains why--and how--the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded.

Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake first pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). After a half-century of scanning the skies, however, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence--eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. Physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has been closely involved with SETI for three decades and chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we're suddenly confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. He believes the search so far has fallen into an anthropocentric trap--assuming that an alien species will look, think, and behave much like us. In this provocative book Davies refocuses the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if it does.

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9780547422589
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Einstein's Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable

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A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE

Einstein's Shadow follows a team of elite scientists on their historic mission to take the first picture of a black hole, putting Einstein's theory of relativity to its ultimate test and helping to answer our deepest questions about space, time, the origins of the universe, and the nature of reality

Photographing a black hole sounds impossible, a contradiction in terms. But Shep Doeleman and a global coalition of scientists are on the cusp of doing just that.

With exclusive access to the team, journalist Seth Fletcher spent five years following Shep and an extraordinary cast of characters as they assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual radio observatory the size of the Earth. He witnessed their struggles, setbacks, and breakthroughs, and along the way, he explored the latest thinking on the most profound questions about black holes. Do they represent a limit to our ability to understand reality? Or will they reveal the clues that lead to the long-sought Theory of Everything?

Fletcher transforms astrophysics into something exciting, accessible, and immediate, taking us on an incredible adventure to better understand the complexity of our galaxy, the boundaries of human perception and knowledge, and how the messy human endeavor of science really works.

Weaving a compelling narrative account of human ingenuity with excursions into cutting-edge science, Einstein's Shadow is a tale of great minds on a mission to change the way we understand our universe--and our place in it.

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9780062312020
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Einstein's War: How Relativity Triumphed Amid the Vicious Nationalism of World War I

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"Stanley is a storyteller par excellence."--The Washington Post
Kirkus Review
starred review; Publishers Weekly starred review; Booklist starred review

The birth of a world-changing idea in the middle of a bloodbath


Einstein's War is a riveting exploration of both the beauty of scientific creativity and enduring horrors of human nature. These two great forces battle in a story that culminates with a victory now a century old, the mind-bending theory of general relativity.

Few recognize how the Great War, the industrialized slaughter that bled Europe from 1914 to 1918, shaped Einstein's life and work. While Einstein never held a rifle, he formulated general relativity blockaded in Berlin, literally starving. He lost fifty pounds in three months, unable to communicate with his most important colleagues. Some of those colleagues fought against rabid nationalism; others were busy inventing chemical warfare--being a scientist trapped you in the power plays of empire. Meanwhile, Einstein struggled to craft relativity and persuade the world that it was correct. This was, after all, the first complete revision of our conception of the universe since Isaac Newton, and its victory was far from sure.

Scientists seeking to confirm Einstein's ideas were arrested as spies. Technical journals were banned as enemy propaganda. Colleagues died in the trenches. Einstein was separated from his most crucial ally by barbed wire and U-boats. This ally was the Quaker astronomer and Cambridge don A. S. Eddington, who would go on to convince the world of the truth of relativity and the greatness of Einstein.

In May of 1919, when Europe was still in chaos from the war, Eddington led a globe-spanning expedition to catch a fleeting solar eclipse for a rare opportunity to confirm Einstein's bold prediction that light has weight. It was the result of this expedition--the proof of relativity, as many saw it--that put Einstein on front pages around the world. Matthew Stanley's epic tale is a celebration of how bigotry and nationalism can be defeated and of what science can offer when they are.

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9781524745417
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Elastic

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The best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard's Walk teaches you how to tap into the hidden power of your brain.

"Elastic is a book that will help you survive the whirlwind."
--Daniel H. Pink, author of When and A Whole New Mind

Named to the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Longlist

In this startling and provocative look at how the human mind deals with change, Leonard Mlodinow shows us to unleash the natural abilities we all possess so we can thrive in dynamic and troubled times. Truly original minds capitalize when everyone else struggles. And most of us assume that these abilities are innate, reserved for a select few. But Mlodinow reveals that we all possess them, that we all have encoded in our brains a skill he terms elastic thinking--and he guides us in how to harness it.

Drawing on groundbreaking research, Mlodinow outlines how we can learn to let go of comfortable ideas and become accustomed to ambiguity and contradiction; how we can rise above conventional mindsets and reframe the questions we ask; and how we can improve our ability to solve problems and generate new ideas--critical skills for achieving professional and personal success in our quickly morphing world.

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9781101970164
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