A Brief History of Mathematical Thought
By Luke Heaton
Mathematics is a product of human culture which has developed along with our attempts to comprehend the world around us. In A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton explores how the language of mathematics has evolved over time, enabling new technologies and shaping the way people think. From stone-age rituals to algebra, calculus, and the concept of computation, Heaton shows the enormous influence of mathematics on science, philosophy and the broader human story.The book traces the fascinating history of mathematical practice, focusing on the impact of key conceptual innovations. Its structure of thirteen chapters split between four sections is dictated by a combination of historical and thematic considerations. In the first section, Heaton illuminates the fundamental concept of number. He begins with a speculative and rhetorical account of prehistoric rituals, before describing the practice of mathematics in Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece. He then examines the relationship between counting and the continuum of measurement, and explains how the rise of algebra has dramatically transformed our world. In the second section, he explores the origins of calculus and the conceptual shift that accompanied the birth of non-Euclidean geometries. In the third section, he examines the concept of the infinite and the fundamentals of formal logic. Finally, in section four, he considers the limits of formal proof, and the critical role of mathematics in our ongoing attempts to comprehend the world around us. The story of mathematics is fascinating in its own right, but Heaton does more than simply outline a history of mathematical ideas. More importantly, he shows clearly how the history and philosophy of maths provides an invaluable perspective on human nature.
By Wallace J. Nichols
Blue Mind paints a fascinating picture of our relationship to the planet's most omnipresent resource - water. Grounded in cutting-edge studies in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, economics, and medicine, and made real by stories of innovative scientists, doctors, athletes, artists, environmentalists, businesspeople and lovers of nature - stories that fascinate the mind and touch the heart - Blue Mind will awaken readers to the vital importance of water to the health and happiness of us all.
A Brief History of Painting
By Roy Bolton
The urge to create pictures of our world has been with us ever since early man daubed a fingerful of pigment on a rock, or used primitive colours to create exquisite images of the beasts he hunted - images so breathtakingly powerful they have never been surpassed, however sophisticated we have become. This book tells the story of what painting has meant to us, and how its role has changed over the centuries. In the crisp, unstuffy commentary on each of 150 landmark works, Christie's art expert Roy Bolton leads us through the development of painting until our own age, where painting as a painterly craft has been overtaken by a proliferation of new forms introduced by contemporary art. To the question, 'Is the death of painting upon us?' the introductory chapter by Matthew Collings, the multi-award-winning TV art presenter, art historian and cultural critic, gives an inspiring answer: 'Painting justifies itself. Rather than pathetically struggling to keep up with the new freak-show culture of videos and installations, painting will only be worth having if it reconnects with its own inner life, where the old and the new are the same.' Roy Bolton's selection takes us from the Ancient World, via the Italian Renaissance, Rococo and Classicism to Impressionism, Modernism and the Contemporary World. Each painting, with its context and artist, is explained in terms designed to encourage us to judge art for ourselves. Written with authority and full of original and helpful insights, this is a history of art for our times. 'While I find it interesting to think about all sorts of art, I prefer painting to any of it. Painting is soulful, important, serious and humane.' Matthew Collings 'We need to de-mystify art by stripping it down to its bare essentials, then rebuilding it ourselves, using our own minds and eyes, without all the pompous clutter.' Roy Bolton
A Brief Guide to Charles Darwin
By Cyril Aydon
Charles Darwin has become one of the most important men in history. The quiet, unsure polymath who avoided confrontation, ensconced in his family home at Down House in Kent, was also a revolutionary who developed his idea of Natural Selection in isolation. Cyril Aydon's short biography is considered one of the best introductions to the life and ideas of Darwin.With Darwin's legacy still in contention and the forthcoming anniversary of the publication of The Origins Species, Aydon's book is a perfect guide to the ideas as well as the man who was recently voted one of the greatest Britons of all time, and certainly one of the most influential thinkers ever.
A Brief History of Bad Medicine
By Ian Schott, Robert Youngston
A doctor removes the normal, healthy side of a patient's brain instead of the malignant tumor. A man whose leg is scheduled for amputation wakes up to find his healthy leg removed. These recent examples are part of a history of medical disasters and embarrassments as old as the profession itself.In Brief History of Bad Medicine, Robert M. Youngson and Ian Schott have written the definitive account of medical mishap in modern and not-so- modern times. From famous quacks to curious forms of sexual healing, from blunders with the brain to drugs worse than the diseases they are intended to treat, the book reveals shamefully dangerous doctors, human guinea pigs, and the legendary surgeon who was himself a craven morphine addict.Exploring the line between the comical and the tragic, the honest mistake and the intentional crime, Brief History of Bad Medicine illustrates once and for all that you can't always trust the people in white coats.
A Brief History of the Universe
By J.P. McEvoy
Since the dawn of humanity, men have attempted to divine the nature of the heavens. The first astronomers mapped the movement of the seasons and used the positions of the constellations for augurs and astrology. Today, the search goes ever deeper into the nature of reality and life itself. In this accessible overview, astrophysicist J.P. McEvoy tells the story of how our knowledge of the cosmos has developed. He puts in context many of the greatest discoveries of all time and many of the dominant personalities: Aristotle, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton, and as we approach the modern era, Einstein, Eddington, and Hawking.
A Brilliant Darkness
By Joao Magueijo
On the night of March 26, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship, cash and passport in hand. He was never seen again. In A Brilliant Darkness , theoretical physicist João Magueijo tells the story of Majorana and his research group, the Via Panisperna Boys," who discovered atomic fission in 1934. As Majorana, the most brilliant of the group, began to realize the implications of what they had found, he became increasingly unstable. Did he commit suicide that night in Palermo? Was he kidnapped? Did he stage his own death? A Brilliant Darkness chronicles Majorana's invaluable contributions to science,including his major discovery, the Majorana neutrino,while revealing the truth behind his fascinating and tragic life.
The Black Hole War
By Leonard Susskind
At the beginning of the 21st century, physics is being driven to very unfamiliar territory - the domain of the incredibly small and the incredibly heavy. The new world is a world in which both quantum mechanics and gravity are equally important. But mysteries remain. One of the biggest involved black holes. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that anything sucked in a black hole was lost forever. For three decades, Leonard Susskind and Hawking clashed over the answer to this problem. Finally, in 2004, Hawking conceded. THE BLACK HOLE WAR will explain the mind-blowing science that finally won out and the emergence of a new paradigm that argues that the world - your home, your breakfast, you - is actually a hologram projected from the edges of space.
A Brief Guide to the Great Equations
By Robert Crease
Here are the stories of the ten most popular equations of all time as voted for by readers of Physics World, including - accessibly described here for the first time - the favourite equation of all, Euler's equation.Each is an equation that captures with beautiful simplicity what can only be described clumsily in words. Euler's equation [eip + 1 = 0] was described by respondents as 'the most profound mathematic statement ever written', 'uncanny and sublime', 'filled with cosmic beauty' and 'mind-blowing'. Collectively these equations also amount to the world's most concise and reliable body of knowledge.Many scientists and those with a mathematical bent have a soft spot for equations. This book explains both why these ten equations are so beautiful and significant, and the human stories behind them.
A Brief History of Science
By Thomas Crump
From earliest pre-history, with the dawning understanding of fire and its many uses, up to the astonishing advances of the twenty-first century, Thomas Crump traces the ever more sophisticated means employed in our attempts to understand the universe. The result is a vigorous and readable account of how our curious nature has continually pushed forward the frontiers of science and, as a consequence, human civilization.
The Blackwinged Night
By E. David Peat
"David Peat is exceptionally well qualified to write about creativity, because he combines being a physicist with a wide knowledge of the arts. The book is packed with illuminating insights."-Anthony Storr, author of The Dynamics of Creation, Churchhill's Black Dog, and Music of the MindWhat does the creation of matter in the universe have to do with humanity's creative spirit? What is the connection between, art, literature, and music, and mathematical formulae and scientific theories? Taking an overarching scientific view of the universe and our place in it, scientist-philosopher F. David Peat explores the profound similarities and connections between the Universe's "creativity," which reveals itself in the laws of nature, and the creativity of human consciousness.Brilliant and wide-ranging in its scientific and humanistic sweep, The Blackwinged Night explores the very essence of the creative spirit and the way it animates the physical world, giving us the power to experience beauty-whether gazing into the night sky, listening to Bach's B-minor Mass, or creating ourselves something extraordinary and new.