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Math & Science

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137: Jung, Pauli and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession

Author: MILLER, ARTHUR
$16.95
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Is there a number at the root of the universe? A primal number that everything in the world hinges on? This question exercised many great minds of the twentieth century, among them the groundbreaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Their obsession with the power of certain numbers including 137, which describes the atom s fine-structure constant and has great Kabbalistic significance led them to develop an unlikely friendship and to embark on a joint mystical quest reaching deep into medieval alchemy, dream interpretation, and the Chinese Book of Changes. 137 explores the profound intersection of modern science with the occult, but above all it is the tale of an extraordinary, fruitful friendship between two of the greatest thinkers of our times. Originally published in hardcover as Deciphering the Cosmic Number."
99 VARIATIONS ON A PROOF

99 VARIATIONS ON A PROOF

Author: ORDING, PHILIP
$24.95
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An exploration of mathematical style through 99 different proofs of the same theorem

This book offers a multifaceted perspective on mathematics by demonstrating 99 different proofs of the same theorem. Each chapter solves an otherwise unremarkable equation in distinct historical, formal, and imaginative styles that range from Medieval, Topological, and Doggerel to Chromatic, Electrostatic, and Psychedelic. With a rare blend of humor and scholarly aplomb, Philip Ording weaves these variations into an accessible and wide-ranging narrative on the nature and practice of mathematics.

Inspired by the experiments of the Paris-based writing group known as the Oulipo--whose members included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Marcel Duchamp--Ording explores new ways to examine the aesthetic possibilities of mathematical activity. 99 Variations on a Proof is a mathematical take on Queneau's Exercises in Style, a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, and it draws unexpected connections to everything from mysticism and technology to architecture and sign language. Through diagrams, found material, and other imagery, Ording illustrates the flexibility and creative potential of mathematics despite its reputation for precision and rigor.

Readers will gain not only a bird's-eye view of the discipline and its major branches but also new insights into its historical, philosophical, and cultural nuances. Readers, no matter their level of expertise, will discover in these proofs and accompanying commentary surprising new aspects of the mathematical landscape.

A MIND SO RARE: Evolution of Human Consciousness

A MIND SO RARE: Evolution of Human Consciousness

Author: DONALD, MERLIN
$16.95
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In this masterful rebuttal to the prevailing neuroscientific arguments that seek to explain away consciousness, Merlin Donald presents a sophisticated conception of a multilayered consciousness drawing much of its power from its cultural matrix (Booklist). Donald makes a persuasive case...for consciousness as the central player in the drama of mind (Peter Dodwell), as he details the forces, both cultural and neuronal, that power our distinctively human modes of awareness. He proposes that the human mind is a hybrid product, interweaving a super-complex form of matter (the brain) with an invisible symbolic web (culture) to form a distributed cognitive network. This hybrid mind, he argues, is our main evolutionary advantage, for it allowed humanity as a species to break free of the limitations of the mammalian brain. Donald transcends the simplistic claims of Evolutionary Psychology, ...offering a true Darwinian perspective on the evolution of consciousness.--Philip Lieberman
A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

Author: KRAUSS, LAWRENCE
$16.99
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Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place.

"Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?"

One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss's characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved--and the implications for how it's going to end.

Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.

ABEL'S PROOF

ABEL'S PROOF

Author: PESIC, PETER
$24.95
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The intellectual and human story of a mathematical proof that transformed our ideas about mathematics.

In 1824 a young Norwegian named Niels Henrik Abel proved conclusively that algebraic equations of the fifth order are not solvable in radicals. In this book Peter Pesic shows what an important event this was in the history of thought. He also presents it as a remarkable human story. Abel was twenty-one when he self-published his proof, and he died five years later, poor and depressed, just before the proof started to receive wide acclaim. Abel's attempts to reach out to the mathematical elite of the day had been spurned, and he was unable to find a position that would allow him to work in peace and marry his fiancé.

But Pesic's story begins long before Abel and continues to the present day, for Abel's proof changed how we think about mathematics and its relation to the real world. Starting with the Greeks, who invented the idea of mathematical proof, Pesic shows how mathematics found its sources in the real world (the shapes of things, the accounting needs of merchants) and then reached beyond those sources toward something more universal. The Pythagoreans' attempts to deal with irrational numbers foreshadowed the slow emergence of abstract mathematics. Pesic focuses on the contested development of algebra--which even Newton resisted--and the gradual acceptance of the usefulness and perhaps even beauty of abstractions that seem to invoke realities with dimensions outside human experience. Pesic tells this story as a history of ideas, with mathematical details incorporated in boxes. The book also includes a new annotated translation of Abel's original proof.

ABOMINABLE SCIENCE!: ORIGINS OF THE YETI, NESSIE, AND OTHER FAMOUS CRYPTIDS

ABOMINABLE SCIENCE!: ORIGINS OF THE YETI, NESSIE, AND OTHER FAMOUS CRYPTIDS

Author: LOXTON, DANIEL
$19.95
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Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology.

Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its highly publicized sightings; the evolution of the Great Sea Serpent; and Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind the persistent belief in paranormal phenomena, identifying the major players in cryptozoology, discussing the character of its subculture, and considering the challenge it poses to clear and critical thinking in our increasingly complex world.

ACCIDENTAL MIND: HOW BRAIN EVOLUTION HAS GIVEN US LOVE, MEMORY, DREAMS & GOD

ACCIDENTAL MIND: HOW BRAIN EVOLUTION HAS GIVEN US LOVE, MEMORY, DREAMS & GOD

Author: LINDEN, DAVID
$23.00
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You've probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain's elegant design in reverent tones.

To which this book says: Pure nonsense. In a work at once deeply learned and wonderfully accessible, the neuroscientist David Linden counters the widespread assumption that the brain is a paragon of design--and in its place gives us a compelling explanation of how the brain's serendipitous evolution has resulted in nothing short of our humanity. A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history. Moreover, Linden tells us how the constraints of evolved brain design have ultimately led to almost every transcendent human foible: our long childhoods, our extensive memory capacity, our search for love and long-term relationships, our need to create compelling narrative, and, ultimately, the universal cultural impulse to create both religious and scientific explanations. With forays into evolutionary biology, this analysis of mental function answers some of our most common questions about how we've come to be who we are.

ACTION IN PERCEPTION

ACTION IN PERCEPTION

Author: NOE, ALVA
$23.00
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Perception is not something that happens to us, or in us, writes Alva Noë. It is something we do. In Action in Perception, Noë argues that perception and perceptual consciousness depend on capacities for action and thought--that perception is a kind of thoughtful activity. Touch, not vision, should be our model for perception. Perception is not a process in the brain, but a kind of skillful activity of the body as a whole. We enact our perceptual experience.

To perceive, according to this enactive approach to perception, is not merely to have sensations; it is to have sensations that we understand. In Action in Perception, Noë investigates the forms this understanding can take. He begins by arguing, on both phenomenological and empirical grounds, that the content of perception is not like the content of a picture; the world is not given to consciousness all at once but is gained gradually by active inquiry and exploration. Noë then argues that perceptual experience acquires content thanks to our possession and exercise of practical bodily knowledge, and examines, among other topics, the problems posed by spatial content and the experience of color. He considers the perspectival aspect of the representational content of experience and assesses the place of thought and understanding in experience. Finally, he explores the implications of the enactive approach for our understanding of the neuroscience of perception.

ACTS OF MEANING

ACTS OF MEANING

Author: BRUNER, JEROME
$9.95
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Jerome Bruner argues that the cognitive revolution, with its current fixation on mind as "information processor," has led psychology away from the deeper objective of understanding mind as a creator of meanings. Only by breaking out of the limitations imposed by a computational model of mind can we grasp the special interaction through which mind both constitutes and is constituted by culture.
ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN

ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN

Author: ULAM, S.M.
$33.95
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The true story that inspired the 2020 film.

The autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of the great scientific minds of the twentieth century, tells a story rich with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with lively anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate some of the most dramatic changes of the postwar world. He was among the first to use and advocate computers for scientific research, originated ideas for the nuclear propulsion of space vehicles, and made fundamental contributions to many of today's most challenging mathematical projects.

With his wide-ranging interests, Ulam never emphasized the importance of his contributions to the research that resulted in the hydrogen bomb. Now Daniel Hirsch and William Mathews reveal the true story of Ulam's pivotal role in the making of the "Super," in their historical introduction to this behind-the-scenes look at the minds and ideas that ushered in the nuclear age. An epilogue by Françoise Ulam and Jan Mycielski sheds new light on Ulam's character and mathematical originality.