By Kimberly Arcand, Megan Watzke
Light allows us to see everything around us, but humans can only see a sliver of all light, known as the electromagnetic spectrum. Here, Kim Arcand and Megan Watzke present the subject of light as never before. Organized along the order of the electromagnetic spectrum, each chapter focuses on a different type of light. From radio waves, harnessed for telecommunications, to X-rays, which let us peer inside the human body and view areas around black holes in deep space, Arcand and Watzke show us all the important ways light impacts us. An introductory chapter describes what light is and how it behaves, while hundreds of full-color photographs and illustrations demonstrate concepts and make for a stunning book that's a joy to read and browse.
Life at the Speed of Light
By J. Craig Venter
In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create 'synthetic life' -- putting humankind at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species to help us adapt and evolve for long-term survival. The science of synthetic genomics will have a profound impact on human existence, including chemical and energy generation, health, clean water and food production, environmental control, and possibly even our evolution.In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside -- detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question 'What is life?' and examine what we really mean by 'playing God'. Life at the Speed of Light is a landmark work, written by a visionary at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.
By Albert-laszlo Barabasi
A cocktail party. A terrorist cell. Ancient bacteria. An international conglomerate. All are networks, and all are a part of a surprising scientific revolution. In Linked , Albert-László Barabási, the nation's foremost expert in the new science of networks, takes us on an intellectual adventure to prove that social networks, corporations, and living organisms are more similar than previously thought. Barabási shows that grasping a full understanding of network science will someday allow us to design blue-chip businesses, stop the outbreak of deadly diseases, and influence the exchange of ideas and information. Just as James Gleick and the Erdos-Rényi model brought the discovery of chaos theory to the general public, Linked tells the story of the true science of the future and of experiments in statistical mechanics on the internet, all vital parts of what would eventually be called the Barabási-Albert model.
The Louvre Art Deck
By Anja Grebe, Erich Lessing
Based on Black Dog's best-selling book The Louvre: All the Paintings, this beautiful, informative card deck is the perfect way to experience the treasures of one of the most spectacular masterpiece collections in the world. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. The paintings of the Louvre constitute the richest and grandest collection of European art anywhere.Culled from Black Dog's best-selling book The Louvre: All the Paintings, The Louvre Art Deck distills into 100 6 3/8' x 6 3/8' cards the museum's most iconic and significant paintings. Also included are 10 other masterpieces like The Venus de Milo and I.M. Pei's Pyramid. On the front side of each card is a fullsize photograph of the painting, and on the back is text by art historian Anja Grebe on the key attributes of the work, what to look for when viewing the painting, the artist's inspirations and techniques, biographical information on the artist, and more.The cards are also fully annotated with the name of the painting and artist, the date of the work, the birth and death dates of the artist, the medium that was used, the size of the painting, the Louvre catalogue number, and the room in the Louvre in which the painting can be found.Perfect for students, art lovers, and armchair travelers alike, The Louvre Art Deck is a unique way to enjoy and learn about the greatest works of the great master artists.
By Peter M. Hoffmann
Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life's Ratchet , physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale.Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular storm,specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city,an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves.Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious life force" to drive them,as people believed for centuries,life's ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm.Grounded in Hoffmann's own cutting-edge research, Life's Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.
Lives of the Planets
By Richard Corfield
Lives of the Planets is a sweeping tour of our solar system, from the sun and demoted Pluto, to the Kuiper Belt and beyond the edge of the interstellar void. From the Neolithic computer that is Stonehenge to Galileo's telescope to Kepler's latest search for life on other planets, Richard Corfield deftly describes the colourful history of humanity's unfolding discovery of our solar system's secrets. In this era of unprecedented discovery, Lives of the Planets is a comprehensive survey of our growing knowledge and the history of how we got here.
Learning From the Octopus
By Rafe Sagarin
Despite the billions of dollars we've poured into foreign wars, homeland security, and disaster response, we are fundamentally no better prepared for the next terrorist attack or unprecedented flood than we were in 2001. Our response to catastrophe remains unchanged: add another step to airport security, another meter to the levee wall. This approach has proved totally ineffective: reacting to past threats and trying to predict future risks will only waste resources in our increasingly unpredictable world. In Learning from the Octopus , ecologist and security expert Rafe Sagarin rethinks the seemingly intractable problem of security by drawing inspiration from a surprising source: nature. Biological organisms have been living- and thriving- on a risk-filled planet for billions of years. Remarkably, they have done it without planning, predicting, or trying to perfect their responses to complex threats. Rather, they simply adapt to solve the challenges they continually face. Military leaders, public health officials, and business professionals would all like to be more adaptable, but few have figured out how. Sagarinargues that we can learn from observing how nature is organized, how organisms learn, how they create partnerships, and how life continually diversifies on this unpredictable planet. As soon as we dip our toes into a cold Pacific tidepool and watch what we thought was a rock turn into an octopus, jetting away in a cloud of ink, we can begin to see the how human adaptability can mimic natural adaptation. The same mechanisms that enabled the octopus's escape also allow our immune system to ward off new infectious diseases, helped soldiers in Iraq to recognize the threat of IEDs, and aided Google in developing faster ways to detect flu outbreaks. While we will never be able to predict the next earthquake, terrorist attack, or market fluctuation, nature can guide us in developing security systems that are not purely reactive but proactive, holistic, and adaptable. From the tidepools of Monterey to the mountains of Kazakhstan, Sagarin takes us on an eye-opening tour of the security challenges we face, and shows us how we might learn to respond more effectively to the unknown threats lurking in our future.
The Life of Super-Earths
By Dimitar Sasselov
In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus fomented a revolution when he debunked the geocentric view of the universe, proving instead that our planet wasn't central to the universe. Almost five hundred years later, the revolution he set in motion is nearly complete. Just as earth is not the centre of things, the life on it, it appears, is not unique to the planet. Or is it? The Life of Super-Earths is a breathtaking tour of current efforts to answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? Astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, the founding director of Harvard University's Origins of Life Initiative, takes us on a fast-paced hunt for habitable planets and alien life forms. He shows how the search for"super-Earths&rdquo- rocky planets like our own that orbit other stars- may provide the key to answering essential questions about the origins of life here and elsewhere. That is, if we don't find the answers to those questions here first. As Sasselov and other astronomers have uncovered planets with mixes of elements different from our own, chemists have begun working out the heretofore unseen biochemistries that those planets could support. That knowledge is feeding directly into synthetic biology- the effort to build wholly novel forms of life- making it likely that we will first discover truly"alien&rdquo life forms in an earthly lab, rather than on a remote planet thousands of light years away. Sasselov tells the gripping story of a moment of unprecedented potential- a convergence of pioneering efforts in astronomy and biology to peer into the unknown. The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a transformation in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos.
By Colin Tudge
The astonishing new discovery that could change everything . . . Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world's leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime - a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by an astonishing forty-four million years. A secret until now, the fossil - 'Ida'- is the most complete early primate fossil ever found. Forty-seven million years old, Ida rewrites what we've assumed about the earliest primate origins. Her completeness is unparalleled. With exclusive access to the first scientists to study her, the award-winning science writer Colin Tudge tells the history of Ida and her place in the world. The Link offers a wide-ranging investigation into Ida and our earliest origins - and the magnificent, cutting-edge scientific detective story that followed her discovery. At the same time it opens a stunningly evocative window into our past and changes what we know about primate evolution and, ultimately, our own.
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
By Vincent Van Gogh
A carefully selected edition of the letters of Van Gogh. For this great artist it is unusually difficult to separate his life from his work. These letters reveal his inner turmoil and strength of character, and provide an extraordinary insight into the intensity and creativity of his artistic life.
The Lightness of Being
By Frank Wilczek
Our understanding of nature's deepest reality has changed radically, but almost without our noticing, over the past twenty-five years. Transcending the clash of older ideas about matter and space, acclaimed physicist Frank Wilczek explains a remarkable new discovery: matter is built from almost weightless units, and pure energy is the ultimate source of mass. He calls it The Lightness of Being." Space is no mere container, empty and passive. It is a dynamic Grid,a modern ether, and its spontaneous activity creates and destroys particles. This new understanding of mass explains the puzzling feebleness of gravity, and a gorgeous unification of all the forces comes sharply into focus. The Lightness of Being is the first book to explore the implications of these revolutionary ideas about mass, energy, and the nature of empty space." In it, Wilczek masterfully presents new perspectives on our incredible universe and envisions a new golden age of fundamental physics.
By David Darling
To many people, the main question about extraterrestrial life is whether it exists. But to the scientific community, that question has already been answered: it does, and within our solar system. The new science of astrobiology is already being practiced at NASA's Astrobiology Institute and the University of Washington's new Department of Astrobiology. Life Everywhere is the first book to lay out what the new science of astrobiology is all about. It asks the fascinating questions researchers in astrobiology are asking themselves: What is life? How does it originate? How often does life survive once it arises? How does evolution work? And what determines whether complex or intelligent life will emerge from more primitive forms? Informed by interviews with most of the top people in this nascent field, this book introduces readers to one of the most important scientific developments of the next century.
By Edward J. Steele, Robert V. Blanden, Robyn A. Lindley
This controversial book challenges the accepted theories on the genetic mechanism of evolution. The story these three biologists have to tell may very well upset the whole field of biology.The traditional view of evolution,which grew out of the work of Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin and is strongly supported by present-day scientists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould,assumes we are at the mercy of our genes, which we inherit largely unchanged from our parents, except for rare random mutations which accumulated and lead to change over evolutionary time. Those genes are coded in the chromosomes of the sperm and egg cells of the parents, and so only changes to those two types of cell have any chance of being passed down to the parents'' offspring. Any changes, accidents, or surgery to the rest of the parent's bodies are not transmitted to the newborn.The theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics,if you build up your muscles your kids will be born with a propensity toward great strength,on the other hand, favoured by Jean Lamarck in the nineteenth-century, was brought down by nineteenth-century science. But now, as this challenging and thrilling book shows, it looks as though, at least for certain structures in the body's immune system, Lamarck may have been right after all.Based on their own ground-breaking work over the past two decades, as well as that of other molecular biologists, Steele, Lindley, and Blanden argue that for one adaptive body system there is strong molecular genetic evidence that aspects of acquired immunities developed by parents in their own lifetime can be passed on to their offspring. Certain to stimulate lively debate, Lamarck's Signature gives new life and scientific credibility to the Lamarckian heresy,the notion of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
By Ted Goertzel
One of the few unquestioned greats of twentieth-century science, Linus Pauling was the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes,one in chemistry, for deciphering the quantum physics of large molecules, and one in peace, for helping to end nuclear bomb testing. His brilliance was allied with a certain stubbornness, and when he died in 1994, at the age of 93, he was embroiled in controversy regarding his advocacy of vitamin C as a treatment for cancer. Based on thirty years of interviews, this masterful biography is filled with insights into the life and work of this complex, fascinating man.