Thursday, March 6, 2014

Science Corner: Recommended Reads

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.
 ― Albert Einstein

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
― Carl Sagan  

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
 ― Stephen Hawking 

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
― Douglas Adams

Here are some of the favorite science reads of library staff.  Feel free to let us know your recommendations in the comments!

Incomplete Nature begins by accepting what other theories try to deny: that, although mental contents do indeed lack these material-energetic properties, they are still entirely products of physical processes and have an unprecedented kind of causal power that is unlike anything that physics and chemistry alone have so far explained. Paradoxically, it is the intrinsic incompleteness of these semiotic and teleological phenomena that is the source of their unique form of physical influence in the world. Incomplete Nature meticulously traces the emergence of this special causal capacity from simple thermodynamics to self-organizing dynamics to living and mental dynamics, and it demonstrates how specific absences (or constraints) play the critical causal role in the organization of physical processes that generate these properties. [from the publisher]

The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening—after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The Particle at the End of the Universe has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics—all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing. 

A rising star in theoretical physics offers his awesome vision of our universe and beyond, all beginning with a simple question: Why does time move forward?

Love and Math tells the two intertwined stories of mathematics and the adventure of one man in learning it. The result is a story about how he became one of the twenty-first century's leading mathematicians, working on one of the biggest ideas to come out of mathematics in the last 50 years: the Langlands Program. As Frenkel proves, a mathematical formula can be as elegant and beautiful as a painting, a poem, or a piece of music. And the process of creating new mathematics is just that, an artistic pursuit--a deeply personal experience, which requires passion, dedication, and love. In Love and Math, Frenkel shows readers the aesthetic--and the truly powerful--side of mathematics, and enables appreciation of the field even from those who have long been terrified by it.

Book descriptions are taken from the catalog unless otherwise noted.

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