> SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND
A review of Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, by George Dyson
After a nearly 70-year run, the Scientists’ Bookshelf will cease publication
A review of The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements, by David Berlinski. “Berlinski offers a meditative monologue on Euclid’s place in the history of mathematics and the history of ideas,” says Hayes
A review of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, by William Souder. Souder’s sensitive and thorough biography of Carson, Warren writes, “helps us see her life work as crafting a narrative in which science is used to care for Earth”
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
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
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
A brief review of Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection, by Simon Winchester, with photographs by Nick Mann
A brief review of The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great, by Alec Foege
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
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
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
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
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
A brief review of Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime, by Elizabeth A. Kessler
A brief review of An Ecology of Happiness, by Eric Lambin, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan
Each winter we peruse the year’s large-format books about science and present brief reviews of the ones we like best
A brief review of Planetfall: New Solar System Visions, by Michael Benson
A brief review of Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See: A New Vision of North America’s Richest Forest, by Bill Finch, Beth Maynor Young, Rhett Johnson and John C. Hall
A brief review of Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together, by Max Glaskin
A brief review of Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations, by Ken Druse. Botanical photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp
A brief review of Space Atlas, by James Trefil
A brief review of The Math Book, The Physics Book and The Medical Book, by Clifford Pickover
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
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
A review of Discord: The Story of Noise, by Mike Goldsmith. This social history of noise tells the story of the phenomenon from the Big Bang to the present
A review of Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices, by Holly Menino. Menino’s recounting of various research on animal vocalizations is a pleasure to read, but the scientific explanations don’t all pass muster, says Searcy
A review of Networked: The New Social Operating System, by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman. Drawing on research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project, the authors provide suggestions for how to thrive as “networked individuals”
A brief review of Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, by David K. Randall
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Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.
Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.
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