Recent Science Picks in October

These are just a few of the gems that we have had come into the library in recent times. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverBlack hole : how an idea abandoned by Newtonians, hated by Einstein, and gambled on by Hawking became loved / Marcia Bartusiak.
“For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers engaged in heated dispute over the possibility of black holes in the universe. The weirdly alien notion of a space-time abyss from which nothing escapes–not even light–seemed to confound all logic. This engrossing book tells the story of the fierce black hole debates and the contributions of Einstein and Hawking and other leading thinkers who completely altered our view of the universe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to bake Π : an edible exploration of the mathematics of mathematics / Eugenia Cheng.
“What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it? In How to Bake Pi, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen: we learn, for example, how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number 5, and why making a good custard proves that math is easy but life is hard. At the heart of it all is Cheng’s work on category theory, a cutting-edge “mathematics of mathematics,” that is about figuring out how math works. So, what is math? Let’s look for the answer in the kitchen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fascinating world of graph theory / Arthur Benjamin, Gary Chartrand, Ping Zhang.
The fascinating world of graph theory goes back several centuries and revolves around the study of graphs–mathematical structures showing relations between objects. With applications in biology, computer science, transportation science, and other areas, graph theory encompasses some of the most beautiful formulas in mathematics–and some of its most famous problems. Requiring readers to have a math background only up to high school algebra, this book explores the questions and puzzles that have been studied, and often solved, through graph theory. An eye-opening journey into the world of graphs, this book offers exciting problem-solving possibilities for mathematics and beyond.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat if Einstein was wrong? : asking the big questions about physics / editor, Brian Clegg ; foreword by Jim Al-Khalili.
“This title challenges a team of scholars to experiment with 50 topical science speculations, at a time when the hunt for the Higgs boson particle is threatening to undermine the foundations of our knowledge. Consider what time travel, warp speed, artificial gravity, or the loss of Schrodinger’s cat would mean to us, and en route accumulate the knowledge you need to debate the shape that our science might take in the future.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving with the stars : how the human body is connected to the life cycles of the Earth, the planets, and the stars / Karel Schrijver and Iris Schrijver.
Living with the Stars describes the many fascinating connections between the universe and the human body, which range from the makeup of DNA and human cells, growth and aging, to stellar evolution and the beginning of the universe. This popular science book should be of interest to anyone who wonders about the processes going on in our human bodies that connect us to our environment on Earth, to the Solar System, to the stars in our Galaxy, and even to the origin of the universe.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe developing genome : an introduction to behavioral epigenetics / David S. Moore.
“Why do we grow up to look, act, and feel as we do? Through most of the twentieth century, scientists and laypeople answered this question by referring to two factors alone: our experiences and our genes. But recent discoveries about how genes work have revealed a new way to understand the developmental origins of our characteristics. These discoveries have emerged from the new science of behavioral epigenetics–and just as the whole world has now heard of DNA, “epigenetics” will be a household word in the near future. What matters is what our genes do. And because research in behavioral epigenetics has shown that our experiences influence how our genes function, this work has changed how scientists think about nature, nurture, and human development. The Developing Genome is an introduction to this exciting new discipline.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from Huia PublishersGeothermal treasures : Māori living with heat and steam / contributing writers, Vanessa Bidois, Cherie Taylor and Robyn Bargh.
“Natural geothermal phenomena – geysers, hot springs and mud pools – have drawn people to the thermal region of New Zealand for years. Locals and tourists are captivated by the beauty and magic of bubbling mud, steam and hot water gushing from the earth. New Zealand’s world-class geothermal resource is a source of energy, a tourist attraction and a treasure of great historical, cultural, spiritual and economic importance for Maori. In this book, Maori traditional stories, understandings and history stand alongside geothermal science in an exploration of the thermal phenomena of the Volcanic Plateau.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe soul of an octopus : a surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness / Sy Montgomery.
“In 2011 Sy Montgomery wrote a feature for Orion magazine entitled ‘Deep Intellect’ about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death. It went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms. But with a beak like a parrot, venom like a snake, and a tongue covered with teeth, how can such a being know anything? And what sort of thoughts could it think? By turns funny, entertaining, touching and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJourney to the centre of the Earth : the remarkable voyage of scientific discovery into the heart our world / David Whitehouse.
“Our planet appears tranquil from outer space. And yet the arcs of volcanoes, the earthquake zones and the auroral glow rippling above our heads are testimony to something remarkable happening inside … For thousands of years these phenomena were explained in legend and myth. Only in recent times has the brave new science of seismology emerged. One hundred and fifty years after the extraordinary, imaginative feat of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, David Whitehouse embarks on a voyage of scientific discovery into the heart of our world. Whitehouse’s enthralling journey vividly charts all we are able to understand about the mysteries of the deep Earth. His book encompasses the history of our planet and the latest findings about its inner core, allowing us to embark on an adventure that brings us closer to the enigma of our existence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe walking whales : from land to water in eight million years / J.G.M. “Hans” Thewissen ; with illustrations by Jacqueline Dillard.
“Hans Thewissen, a leading researcher in the field of whale paleontology and anatomy, gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast. In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Thewissen also journeys to Japan and Alaska to study whales and wild dolphins. Thewissen argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.” (Syndetics summary)