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Physical Science

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

Author: MILLER, ARTHUR
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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."
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
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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.

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
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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.

ADVERSARIES AND AUTHORITIES: Investigations into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science

Author: LLOYD, G.E.R.
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Did science and philosophy develop differently in ancient Greece and ancient China? If so, can we say why? This book consists of a series of detailed studies of cosmology, natural philosophy, mathematics and medicine that suggest the answer to the first question is yes. To answer the second, the author relates the science produced in each ancient civilization first to the values of the society in question and then to the institutions within which the scientists and philosophers worked.
AFTER PHYSICS

AFTER PHYSICS

Author: ALBERT, DAVID Z
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After Physics presents ambitious new essays about some of the deepest questions at the foundations of physics, by the physicist and philosopher David Albert. The book's title alludes to the close connections between physics and metaphysics, much in evidence throughout these essays. It also alludes to the work of imagining what it would be like for the project of physical science--considered as an investigation into the fundamental laws of nature--to be complete.

Albert argues that the difference between the past and the future--traditionally regarded as a matter for metaphysical or conceptual or linguistic or phenomenological analysis--can be understood as a mechanical phenomenon of nature. In another essay he contends that all versions of quantum mechanics that are compatible with the special theory of relativity make it impossible, even in principle, to present the entirety of what can be said about the world as a narrative sequence of "befores" and "afters." Any sensible and realistic way of solving the quantum-mechanical measurement problem, Albert claims in yet another essay, is ultimately going to force us to think of particles and fields, and even the very space of the standard scientific conception of the world, as approximate and emergent. Novel discussions of the problem of deriving principled limits on what can be known, measured, or communicated from our fundamental physical theories, along with a sweeping critique of the main attempts at making sense of probabilities in many-worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics, round out the collection.

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AGE OF LIVING MACHINES: HOW BIOLOGY WILL BUILD THE NEXT TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION

Author: HOCKFIELD, SUSAN
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A century ago, discoveries in physics came together with engineering to produce an array of astonishing new technologies that radically reshaped the world: radios, televisions, aircraft, computers, and a host of still-evolving digital tools. Today, a new technological convergence--of biology and engineering--promises to create the tools necessary to tackle the threats we now face, including climate change, drought, famine, and disease

World-renowned neuroscientist and academic leader Susan Hockfield describes the most exciting new developments and the scientists and engineers who helped to create them. Virus-built batteries. Cancer-detecting nanoparticles. Computer-engineered crops. Together, they highlight the promise of the technology revolution of the twenty-first century to overcome some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, and environmental challenges of our time.

AIM AND STRUCTURE OF PHYSICAL THEORY

AIM AND STRUCTURE OF PHYSICAL THEORY

Author: DUHEM, PIERRE
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This classic work in the philosophy of physical science is an incisive and readable account of the scientific method. Pierre Duhem was one of the great figures in French science, a devoted teacher, and a distinguished scholar of the history and philosophy of science. This book represents his most mature thought on a wide range of topics.

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ALCHEMY OF US: HOW HUMANS AND MATTER TRANSFORMED ONE ANOTHER

Author: RAMIREZ, AINISSA
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In the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us.

In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions--clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips--and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway's writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid's cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies.

Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences--intended and unintended. Filling in the gaps left by other books about technology, Ramirez showcases little-known inventors--particularly people of color and women--who had a significant impact but whose accomplishments have been hidden by mythmaking, bias, and convention. Doing so, she shows us the power of telling inclusive stories about technology. She also shows that innovation is universal--whether it's splicing beats with two turntables and a microphone or splicing genes with two test tubes and CRISPR.

ALICE AND BOB MEET THE WALL OF FIRE: THE BIGGEST IDEAS IN SCIENCE FROM QUANTA

ALICE AND BOB MEET THE WALL OF FIRE: THE BIGGEST IDEAS IN SCIENCE FROM QUANTA

Author: LIN, THOMAS
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Accessible and essential coverage of today's challenging, speculative, cutting-edge science from Quanta Magazine.

If you're a science and data nerd like me, you may be interested in Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire and The Prime Number Conspiracy from Quanta Magazine and Thomas Lin. - Bill Gates

These stories reveal the latest efforts to untangle the mysteries of the universe. Bringing together the best and most interesting science stories appearing in Quanta Magazine over the past five years, Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire reports on some of the greatest scientific minds as they test the limits of human knowledge. Quanta, under editor-in-chief Thomas Lin, is the only popular publication that offers in-depth coverage of today's challenging, speculative, cutting-edge science. It communicates science by taking it seriously, wrestling with difficult concepts and clearly explaining them in a way that speaks to our innate curiosity about our world and ourselves.

In the title story, Alice and Bob--beloved characters of various thought experiments in physics--grapple with gravitational forces, possible spaghettification, and a massive wall of fire as Alice jumps into a black hole. Another story considers whether the universe is impossible, in light of experimental results at the Large Hadron Collider. We learn about quantum reality and the mystery of quantum entanglement; explore the source of time's arrow; and witness a eureka moment when a quantum physicist exclaims: "Finally, we can understand why a cup of coffee equilibrates in a room." We reflect on humans' enormous skulls and the Brain Boom; consider the evolutionary benefits of loneliness; peel back the layers of the newest artificial-intelligence algorithms; follow the "battle for the heart and soul of physics"; and mourn the disappearance of the "diphoton bump," revealed to be a statistical fluctuation rather than a revolutionary new particle. These stories from Quanta give us a front-row seat to scientific discovery.

Contributors
Philip Ball, K. C. Cole, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Dan Falk, Courtney Humphries, Ferris Jabr, Katia Moskvitch, George Musser, Michael Nielsen, Jennifer Ouellette, John Pavlus, Emily Singer, Andreas von Bubnoff, Frank Wilczek, Natalie Wolchover, Carl Zimmer

AMAZING STORY OF QUANTUM MECHANICS: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That made Our World

AMAZING STORY OF QUANTUM MECHANICS: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That made Our World

Author: KAKALIOS, JAMES
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A highly entertaining exploration of the complicated science of quantum mechanics made easy to understand by way of pop culture.

As a young science fiction fan, physicist James Kakalios marveled at the future predicted in the pulp magazines, comics, and films of the '50s and '60s. By 2010, he was sure we'd have flying cars and jetpacks. But what we ended up with-laptop computers, MRI machines, Blu-ray players, and dozens of other real-life marvels-are even more fantastic. In The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics, he explains why the development of quantum mechanics enabled our amazing present day.

In his trademark style, Kakalios uses pop culture examples- everything from the graphic novel Watchmen to schlock horror movies of the '50s-to elucidate some of the most complex science there is. And he brings to life the groundbreaking scientists whose discoveries made our present life possible. Along the way, he dispels the misconception that quantum mechanics is unknowable by mere mortals. It's not magic; it's science!