The Disordered Mind
By Eric R. Kandel
In his latest book, Nobel Prize winning scientist and distinguished professor Eric R. Kandel explains how the processes of the brain that give rise to the mind can become disordered, resulting in devastating brain disorders that haunt humankind. Neurological and psychiatric disorders have long been regarded as fundamentally different, depending on whether they appeared to affect the brain or the mind. In reality, the brain and the mind are inseparable. Both neurological and psychiatric disorders can affect every aspect of brain function: perception, action, memory, volition, motivation, emotion, empathy, social interaction, thought, attention and consciousness. It is easy to view brain disorders as simply tragic or frightening - and considering the profound effects they have on the lives of patients and their families, that is understandable.However, brain disorders also provide a window into the healthy brain. The more scientists and clinicians learn about disorders - from observing patients and from research - the more they understand about healthy brain function and the more likely they are to be able to develop effective treatments, or even preventative strategies. The more the rest of us learn about brain disorders, the more likely we are as individuals and as a society to understand and empathize with people who have these disorders and the less likely we are to stigmatize them.The Disordered Mind is the definitive statement on all we know about the brain and its associated disorders, a seminal book on the subject, authored by one of the most eminent figures in neuroscience.
Does Santa Exist?
By Eric Kaplan
Metaphysics isn't ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer. Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist? Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal - and failed. From there he turns to mysticism's attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on - surprise! - comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python's cheese shop and many other pop-culture sources. Kaplan delves deeper into what all this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life's biggest questions: If we're all going to die, what's the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?
By Paul A. Offit
In 2014, California suffered the largest and deadliest outbreak of pertussis, also known as whooping cough," in more than fifty years. This tragedy was avoidable. An effective vaccine has been available since the 1940s. In recent years other diseases, like measles and mumps, have also made a comeback. The reason for these epidemics can be traced to a group whose vocal proponents insist, despite evidence to the contrary, that vaccines are poison. As a consequence, parents and caretakers are rejecting vaccines for themselves and their families.In Deadly Choices , infectious-disease expert Paul Offit takes a look behind the curtain of the anti-vaccine movement. What he finds is a reminder of the power of scientific knowledge, and the harm we risk if we ignore it.
Drawing the Map of Life
By Victor K. McElheny
Drawing the Map of Life takes the story of the Human Genome Project from its origins, through the race to its accomplishment, and on to today's vast efforts to exploit the complete, ordered sequence of the 3 billion subunits of DNA, the molecule of heredity. It is the first account to deal in depth and balance with the intellectual roots of the project, the motivations that drove it, and the hype that often masked genuine triumphs. McElheny profiles key people, such as David Botstein, Eric Lander, Francis Collins, Watson, Michael Hunkapiller and Craig Venter. He also shows that, besides being a major event in the history of science, one that is revolutionizing medicine, the Human Genome Project is a striking example of how new techniques and instruments (such as restriction enzymes and sequencing methods), often arriving first, shape the type of questions scientists then ask.
Digital Vertigo (FREE Extended Extract)
By Andrew Keen
This an Extended Extract of Digital Vertigo to be published on May 22nd 2012. You can follow Andrew Keen: @ajkeenIn Digital Vertigo, Andrew Keen presents today's social media revolution as the most wrenching cultural transformation since the Industrial Revolution. Fusing a fast-paced historical narrative with front-line stories from today's online networking revolution and critiques of "social" companies like Groupon, Zynga and LinkedIn, Keen argues that the social media transformation is weakening, disorienting and dividing us rather than establishing the dawn of a new egalitarian and communal age. The tragic paradox of life in the social media age, Keen says, is the incompatibility between our internet longings for community and friendship and our equally powerful desire for online individual freedom. By exposing the shallow core of social networks, Andrew Keen shows us that the more electronically connected we become, the lonelier and less powerful we seem to be.
The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of
By Stephen Hawking
God does not play dice with the universe." So said Albert Einstein in response to the first discoveries that launched quantum physics, as they suggested a random universe that seemed to violate the laws of common sense. This 20th-century scientific revolution completely shattered Newtonian laws, inciting a crisis of thought that challenged scientists to think differently about matter and subatomic particles. The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of compiles the essential works from the scientists who sparked the paradigm shift that changed the face of physics forever, pushing our understanding of the universe on to an entirely new level of comprehension. Gathered in this anthology is the scholarship that shocked and befuddled the scientific world, including works by Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, Erwin Schrodinger, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, as well as an introduction by today's most celebrated scientist, Stephen Hawking.
By Steve Jones
The Origin of Species may be the most famous book in science but its stature tends to obscure much of Charles Darwin's other works. His visit to the Galapagos lasted just five weeks and on his return he never left Britain again. Darwin spent forty years working on the plants, animals and people of his native land and wrote over six million words on topics as different as dogs, insect-eating plants, orchids, earthworms, apes and human emotion. Together they laid the foundations of modern biology. In this beautifully written, witty and illuminating book, Steve Jones explores the domestic Darwin, tracing the great naturalist's journey across Britain: a voyage not of the body, but of the mind.
The Day Without Yesterday
By John Farrell
Sometimes our understanding of our universe is given a huge boost by one insightful thinker. Such a boost came in the first half of the twentieth century, when an obscure Belgian priest put his mind to deciphering the nature of the cosmos. Is the universe evolving to some unforeseen end, or is it static, as the Greeks believed? The debate has preoccupied thinkers from Heraclitus to the author of the Upanishads, from the Mayans to Einstein. The Day Without Yesterday covers the modern history of an evolving universe, and how Georges Lemaitre convinced a generation of thinkers to embrace the notion of cosmic expansion and the theory that this expansion could be traced backward to the cosmic origins, a starting point for space and time that Lemaitre called "the day without yesterday." Lemaitre's skill with mathematics and the equations of relativity enabled him to think much more broadly about cosmology than anyone else at the time, including Einstein. Lemaitre proposed the expanding model of the universe to Einstein, who rejected it. Had Einstein followed Lemaitre's thinking, he could have predicted the expansion of the universe more than a decade before it was actually discovered.
Dark Hero of the Information Age
By Flo Conway, Jim Siegelman
Child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician, Norbert Wiener founded the revolutionary science of cybernetics and ignited the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. His best-selling book, Cybernetics , catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism.Based on a wealth of primary sources and exclusive access to Wiener's closest family members, friends, and colleagues, Dark Hero of the Information Age reveals this eccentric genius as an extraordinarily complex figure. No one interested in the intersection of technology and culture will want to miss this epic story of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and colourful figures.
A Different Universe
By Robert B. Laughlin
In this age of superstring theories and Big Bang cosmology, we're used to thinking of the unknown as impossibly distant from our everyday lives. But in A Different Universe , Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin argues that the scientific frontier is right under our fingers. Instead of looking for ultimate theories, Laughlin considers the world of emergent properties-meaning the properties, such as the hardness and shape of a crystal, that result from the organization of large numbers of atoms. Laughlin shows us how the most fundamental laws of physics are in fact emergent. A Different Universe is a truly mind-bending book that shows us why everything we think about fundamental physical laws needs to change.
By Rock Brynner, Trent Stephens
In this riveting medical detective story, Trent Stephens and Rock Brynner recount the history of thalidomide, from the epidemic of birth defects in the 1960's to the present day, as scientists work to create and test an alternative drug that captures thalidomide's curative properties without its cruel side effects. A parable about compassion-and the absence of it-Dark Remedy is a gripping account of thalidomide's extraordinary impact on the lives of individuals and nations over half a century.
By Gerald Weissmann
In this retrospective of Gerald Weissmann's best-known essays, the reader is treated to his unique perspective on what C. P. Snow once dubbed "the Two Cultures"-art and science. In Darwin's Audubon, Weissmann examines the powerful influence that the two exert over one another and how they have helped each other evolve. From listening to the scientists who gather ever year to sing at the Woods Hole Cantata Consort to looking at the influence of Audubon's watercolours on Darwin's On the Origin of Species from comparing William Carlos Williams's poetry to his unedited case books to watching Oliver Wendell Holmes grow as doctor and as poet, Weissmann weaves a rich tapestry that will delight fans and newcomers alike.
The Dark Side Of Man
By Joshua Bilmes, Michael Ghiglieri
In The Dark Side of Man, Michael Ghiglieri, a biologist and protégé of Jane Goodall, takes on one of the most highly charged debates in modern science: the biological roots of bad behaviour. Beginning with rape, and moving on to murder, war, and genocide, Ghiglieri offers the most up-to-date, comprehensive look at the male proclivity for violence. In a strong narrative voice, he draws on the latest research and his own personal experiences,both as a primatologist and as a soldier,to explain that male violence is largely innate, a product of millions of years of evolution. In the process, he debunks many of our most clung-to, politically correct" notions: that the differences between men and women are strictly due to socialization, that rape is really about power,not sex,and that genocide is only possible with a single madman at the helm. Well-argued, evenhanded, yet never dull, this important book illuminates the darkest impulses of the male psyche, and suggests ways for modern society to curb them.
Disturbing The Universe
By Freeman Dyson
Spanning the years from World War II, when he was a civilian statistician in the operations research section of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, through his studies with Hans Bethe at Cornell University, his early friendship with Richard Feynman, and his postgraduate work with J. Robert Oppenheimer, Freeman Dyson has composed an autobiography unlike any other. Dyson evocatively conveys the thrill of a deep engagement with the world-be it as scientist, citizen, student, or parent. Detailing a unique career not limited to his ground-breaking work in physics, Dyson discusses his interest in minimizing loss of life in war, in disarmament, and even in thought experiments on the expansion of our frontiers into the galaxies.