Recent Science books – Maths, Physics, and the end of it all
If you like the Big Bang Theory, and you are in to Maths and Physics – or are just curious – we have the books for you!
The music of the primes : why an unsolved problem in mathematics matters / Marcus du Sautoy.
“The paperback of the critically-acclaimed popular science book by a writer who is fast becoming a celebrity mathematician. Prime numbers are the very atoms of arithmetic. They also embody one of the most tantalising enigmas in the pursuit of human knowledge. How can one predict when the next prime number will occur? Is there a formula which could generate primes? These apparently simple questions have confounded mathematicians ever since the Ancient Greeks. In 1859, the brilliant German mathematician Bernard Riemann put forward an idea which finally seemed to reveal a magical harmony at work in the numerical landscape. The promise that these eternal, unchanging numbers would finally reveal their secret thrilled mathematicians around the world. Yet Riemann, a hypochondriac and a troubled perfectionist, never publicly provided a proof for his hypothesis and his housekeeper burnt all his personal papers on his death. Whoever cracks Riemann’s hypothesis will go down in history, for it has implications far beyond mathematics. In business, it is the lynchpin for security and e-commerce. In science, it has critical ramifications in Quantum Mechanics, Chaos Theory, and the future of computing. Pioneers in each of these fields are racing to crack the code and a prize of $1 million has been offered to the winner. As yet, it remains unsolved. In this breathtaking book, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy tells the story of the eccentric and brilliant men who have struggled to solve one of the biggest mysteries in science. It is a story of strange journeys, last-minute escapes from death and the unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Above all, it is a moving and awe-inspiring evocation of the mathematician’s world and the beauties and mysteries it contains.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
The calculus diaries : how math can help you lose weight, win in Vegas, and survive a zombie apocalypse / Jennifer Ouellette ; [illustrations by Jason Torchinsky].
“Jennifer Ouellette never took math in college, mostly because she-like most people-assumed that she wouldn’t need it in real life. But then the English-major-turned-award-winning-science-writer had a change of heart and decided to revisit the equations and formulas that had haunted her for years. The Calculus Diaries is the fun and fascinating account of her year spent confronting her math phobia head on. With wit and verve, Ouellette shows how she learned to apply calculus to everything from gas mileage to dieting, from the rides at Disneyland to shooting craps in Vegas-proving that even the mathematically challenged can learn the fundamentals of the universal language.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Quantum theory cannot hurt you : a guide to the universe / Marcus Chown.
“Anyone bemused by the CERN collider should lay their hands on this charming and revelatory guide to the innards of atoms. Chown gently coaxes the reader from the fairly straightforward – the first evidence of atoms was an observation in 1800 of pollen grains zigzagging in water “like drunkards returning from the pub” – to the mind-boggling. Quantum computers (already in prototype) can “represent a zero and a one simultaneously”, a phenomenon best explained by the existence of “multiple universes”. Time travel is also possible in theory, but Stephen Hawking has doubts: “Where are the tourists from the future?” – (adapted from The Independent summary)
In pursuit of the unknown : 17 equations that changed the world / Ian Stewart.
“In this new work, Stewart (mathematics, emeritus, Univ. of Warwick, UK; The Mathematics of Life) reviews 17 equations from the Pythagorean theorem of ancient times to the Black-Scholes formula of the late 20th century, including Newton’s law of gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity in between. He explains the origins of each equation and its initial uses and then goes on to describe ensuing development and newer applications. Stewart’s expertise and his well-developed style (enhanced by a nice sense of humor) make for enjoyable reading. Although readers with an already established background in mathematics and its functions will benefit the most, others will find much to enjoy. In some of the chapters, Stewart’s treatment of historical origins seems a bit perfunctory. VERDICT Overall, a worthwhile and entertaining book, accessible to all readers. Recommended for anyone interested in the influence of mathematics on the development of science and on the emergence of our current technology-driven society.-Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
How to teach relativity to your dog / Chad Orzel.
“Orzel (physics & astronomy, Union Coll.; How To Teach Physics to Your Dog) tackles the seemingly impossible world of relativity. Playing Gracie Allen to Orzel’s George Burns is the endearing Emmy, the canine star of his previous book. No matter whether Emmy thinks she will be younger by pulling fast on her leash or that she will suddenly fit through a hole in the fence by running as fast as she can toward it, Orzel talks her (and readers) through the principles of relativity, including time dilation and length contraction. No prior mathematical knowledge is required for this book, but some basic knowledge in physics might make readers more comfortable, even if that knowledge comes from watching or reading other popular science titles. Verdict Readers who enjoy Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, or Neil deGrasse Tyson will love this book. Full of sf quotes, math jokes, and silly canines, the book strives to make its audience amazed by, not frightened of, physics. With exuberant Emmy at the lead, readers can’t help but be dragged (willingly!) toward a better understanding of special and general relativity.-Rachel M. Minkin, Michigan State Univ. Libs., East Lansing (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Tweeting the universe : tiny explanations of very big ideas / Marcus Chown & Govert Schilling.
“In 140 pages, two masterly popularisers present 140 explanations of the biggest questions in physics – in the form of 10 or so tweets per page. They set themselves the challenge of boiling down what is essential on each subject into sentences of 140 characters, and the results are both entertaining and brilliantly informative. Not a word is wasted. The reader is not patronized and learns something on every page. If only all science writing could be so precise and so economical. Only science writers of a very high calibre could achieve such compression. Marcus Chown – “the finest cosmology writer of our day” (Matt Ridley) – has known the Dutch writer Govert Schilling for twenty years. Schilling pioneered this very swift form of explanation in a Dutch newspaper, and suggested to Chown that they collaborate on bringing it to a wider audience. “Tweeting the Universe” is unlike any other science book.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
First contact : scientific breakthroughs in the hunt for life beyond Earth / Marc Kaufman.First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth
“Kaufman details the incredible true story of science’s search for the beginnings of life on Earth and the probability that it exists elsewhere in the universe.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
How it ends : from you to the universe / Chris Impey.
“Although we may try to keep it tucked at the back of our minds, most of us are aware of our own mortality. But few among us know what science, with insights yielded from groundbreaking new research, has to say about endings on a larger scale. What happens when we die? And how will our species and biosphere; the Earth, Sun, and Milky Way; and finally our entire universe meet their eventual ends?How It Ends takes us to the frontiers of science in order to answer these ever-intriguing questions. Along the way, astronomer Chris Impey covers such fascinating topics as the technologies that are being developed to lengthen human lives and the “big rip” that scientists speculate will annihilate our universe. With a healthy dose of humor and an irresistible sense of curiosity, How It Ends opens our eyes to the surprising future of our world. Book jacket.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)