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Book Review


A Theory of Theory of Mind

Michael Bérubé

A review of Getting Inside Your head, by Lisa Zunshine. Zunshine employs concepts from cognitive science to explain humans’ appetite for fictional scenes in which characters’ mental states are unintentionally revealed to us. This theory, says Bérubé, is “helpfully specific,” although the effort to extend it over a wide range of scenarios and art forms falls a bit flat

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Imperial Imagery

Peter H. Raven

A review of Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment, by Daniela Bleichmar. Naturalists and artists on Spanish expeditions to the New World created thousands of botanical images; this well-researched book explores an archive of them

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A Wealth of Complexities

Carol Dorf

A review of Complexities: Women in Mathematics, edited by Bettye Anne Case and Anne M. Leggett, and A Wealth of Numbers: An Anthology of 500 Years of Popular Mathematics Writing, edited by Benjamin Wardhaugh. These two very different anthologies open unique windows on mathematical history

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The Fraught History of a Watery World

Nancy Langston

A review of The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples, from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina, by Christopher Morris. Environmental and social issues converge at the mouth of the Mississippi River: Morris documents a history of repeated attempts to control the river's flow, many made at the expense of African Americans

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Father of Fractals

Brian Hayes

A review of The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick, by Benoit B. Mandelbrot. In this posthumously published memoir, Mandelbrot is not shy about proclaiming his own achievements. But his choice to exclude some important characters in his stories of mathematical and scientific advancement is troublesome, says Hayes

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Curie as Celebrity

Emily Buehler

A review of Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family, by Shelley Emling. This biography of Curie and her daughters Irene and Eve tends toward the dramatic early on, but later chapters reveal much about the lives of the women that are its subject, as well as about their contemporaries

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Ecological Dependency

Katie L. Burke

A review of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, by David Quammen. Quammen’s latest book tackles the thorny questions and sometimes-gruesome details of the quest to understand diseases transmitted from animals to humans. His fans will not be disappointed

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Living Cartography

Tim Stallmann

A review of Atlas of Design, Volume 1, edited by Timothy R. Wallace and Daniel P. Huffman. This collection of maps focuses on cartography that takes design as seriously as it does science, says Stallmann. The result is a diverse set of maps that illuminates new directions in the practice of cartography

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Conservation for the Win

Daniel Simberloff

A review of Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success, by Andrew Balmford. Balmford presents seven conservation efforts that are working, says Simberloff, primarily because they begin by trying to understand the human actors involved

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A Tale of Tales

Michael Bérubé

A review of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, by Jonathan Gottschall. Evolutionary biology and neuroscience may have lessons for the study of literature, says Bérubé, but thus far the concept is not entirely convincing

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Total Records : 1218


 

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