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41. How the Mind Works
$106.50 $24.75
42. Psychological Science: Mind, Brain,
$117.33 $64.90
43. Calculus with Applications for
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44. New Cosmic Horizons: Space Astronomy
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45. The Nature of Mathematics (with
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46. Analysis and Design of Flight
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47. Descartes' Error : Emotion, Reason,
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48. Statistical Issues in Drug Development
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49. The Phenomenon of Life: The Nature
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50. Basic Animal Nutrition and Feeding
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51. The Quantum Brain: The Search
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52. The Classical Theory of Fields
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53. Muscles: Testing and Function
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54. Single Variable Calculus : Concepts
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55. Fundamental Statistics for Behavioral
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56. More Than Human : Embracing the
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57. On the Origin of Phyla
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58. What Do You Care What Other People
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59. Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy:
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60. Understanding Human Sexuality

41. How the Mind Works
by Steven Pinker
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393318486
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 4568
Average Customer Review: 3.59 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (139)

5-0 out of 5 stars Steven Pinker's 'How the Mind Works' Précis
Steven Pinker begins his explanation of "How the Mind Works" arguing that the mind is best understood in terms of a computational model and that, in part, by reverse engineering the mind one can understand many aspects of cognition. He also examines why aspects of cognition, such as consciousness, knowledge, meaning, free will, self, morality, etc. still remain beyond the purview of cognitive science. Pinker identifies natural selection as the process which shaped the mind; subsequently, history, cognitive and social psychology, and human ecology are the most important factors which for him continue to shape the mind. The significance of the book lies, in part, in Pinker's differentiation of what reverse engineering can show from what is still beyond the tools of cognitive science. Pinker suggests that the reason biologically unnecessary aspects of human behavior such as language, art, wit, music, literature, etc. are so significant to people and remain problematic may be because scientists don't yet have the cognitive equipment to solve them and suggests that consciousness and free will, for example, may ultimately remain elusive aspects of the mind.

By arguing that "the mind is a system of organs of computation, designed by natural selection to solve the kinds of problems our ancestors faced in their foraging way of life, in particular, understanding and outmaneuvering objects, animals, plants, and other people," (21) Pinker rejects most other views of the mind that have held sway in the last century. By insisting on the complexity of the mind, Pinker claims that a) thinking is a kind of computation used to work with configurations of symbols, b) that the mind is organized into specialized modules or mental organs, c) that the basic logic of the modules is contained in our genetic program, and d) that natural selection shaped these operations to facilitate replication of genes into the next generation (21, 25). Pinker thus shows that the computational model of mind is highly significant because it has solved not only philosophical problems, but also started the computer revolution, posed important neuroscience questions, and provided psychology with a very valuable research agenda (77).

By examining mental processes which are reverse-engineerable, Pinker lays the groundwork for examining which cognitive processes aren't yet understandable. For example, chapter 4, "The Mind's Eye," describes how the mind's vision process turns retinal images into mental representations, how the mind moves "splashes of light to concepts of objects, and beyond them to a kind of interaction between seeing and thinking known as mental imagery" (214). By describing a specific modular process, Pinker shows how this modular process fits together like a puzzle, as well as with other parts of the mind. Taken together the chapters thus also show what processes, such as sentience and especially consciousness, are still not readily explained.

Pinker asks not only how scientists might understand "the psychology of the arts, humor, religion, and philosophy within the theme of this book, that the mind is a naturally selected neural computer" but also why they are so resistantly inscrutable (521). He suggests that the arts "engage not only the psychology of aesthetics but the psychology of status," thus making the arts more readily understood by economics and social psychology (521).

According to Pinker, consciousness, too, resists understanding. He asks: "How could an event of neural information-processing cause the feel of a toothache or the taste of lemon or the color purple?" (558) thus highlighting the important 'Gordian-knot' question of causality in consciousness. In suggesting that such questions are difficult because Homo Sapiens' minds don't have the cognitive equipment to solve them, "because our minds are organs, not pipelines to truth" (561), he emphasizes the significance of natural selection in shaping the mind to solve matters of life and death for our ancestors (356) and leaves open the possibility of explaining consciousness at a later date. Pinker's book is significant, therefore, because it explains both how many aspects of the mind work, as well as what we don't yet know about how the mind works. In his conclusion, Pinker offers only tentative answers about why scientists don't understand consciousness, for example, and leaves open the possibility that we may never understand it.

5-0 out of 5 stars brilliant
with simple, familiar language MIT professor Pinker delves into how the mind evolved and how it works. Of special interest to me were the parallells he drew between computer code (logic) and brain tasks. Easy to read (considering the material) and right on as far as factual material goes, 5 stars for me. He could have cut the book down to ~500 pages or so (i struggled through most of the chapter on perception and finally just skipped on) but overall a great book.

3-0 out of 5 stars In and Out of his element
Steven Pinker certainly knows his stuff when it comes to how our brain works. If you have the endurance and are a scientist already, you may get through this incredibly monotonous book. He is able to comprehend the mechanics of how the human mind works, but flops when it comes to drawing any meaningful implications. His views about religion and philosophy are stale and hackneyed. While his discussions about the biology of the brain and its varied mechanisms are within his expertise, his discussions of religion and philosophy are shallow and un-thoughtful-bordering upon arrogance. I would still recommend the book; it is better than counting sheep!

5-0 out of 5 stars Three pounds of hamburger
Great book about how the Brain works but should be titled, "How the Brain Works". Without the Soul, there is no mind. The Soul IS the mind operating within the brain. Three pounds of hamburger with ten trillion neurons flashing is still not MIND!.

3-0 out of 5 stars Families not Species?
I enjoy Mr Pinker's books - this is not the first one I have read.A nd yet I find myself balking at some of it. Indeed I have a personal characteristic, not unique of course, that separates me from a lot of what is said here. A physical characteristic, not an emotional one. Consequently I keep finding myself challenging, defending, objecting .....

Previously I had read 'Why Sex is Fun?' by Jared Diamond and during this book I realised that the title is totally misleading. It suggests that sex was developed by a conscious entity who thought - 'How can I make this work? I know, I'll make it fun.' For me this is back to front. We are here - our species - because sex just happens to be fun. If it were unpleasant or a chore we probably wouldn't be here.

So here we are again looking at evolution and trying to justify human behaviour as somehow driven by genetic imperatives - as if the genes are trying to meet objectives. For me, this is crazy. The genes are the accidental vehicles that keep the species going, but they don't do it by design.

And midway through the chapter on families in Mr Pinker's book I realised something new. All we can tell about our existence from evolution is that the species is still here, and something about the way we do things has contributed to that. But Bonobos are here too and they behave in an entirely different way - despite that, they are successful in terms of evolution. But as soon as Mr Pinker talks of the individual male wanting to promote his genes in advance of another man's I know the argument has gone off the rails. We are now talking about - not persistence of the species (which is demonstrable), but persistence of the particular family (which I suspect is not demonstrable). As far as the species is concerned what difference does it make whose genes are being contributed as long as there is variety.

OK, men do not like to be cuckolded but I don't think that that is an evolutionary matter. The psychological studies need to look elsewhere.

I recommend this book because it will get you thinking, not that I agree with it necessarily.

Recommended other reading:
'Why is Sex Fun?' by Jared Diamond

One that you might like to consider, but I hated:
'The Red Queen' by Matt Ridley ... Read more


42. Psychological Science: Mind, Brain, and Behavior
by Michael S. Gazzaniga, Todd F. Heatherton
list price: $106.50
our price: $106.50
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Asin: 0393975878
Catlog: Book (2002-09)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 70796
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Major principles and contemporary themes drive this narrative overview of the field touching on the latest ideas and findings in biological, cognitive, social, developmental, personality, and clinical psychology. Gazzaniga and Heatherton provide the latest insights on a wide array of topics and issues including the growth of children's minds, the ways we learn, the impact of serious head injuries on behavior, the reasons why we discriminate against one another, the possibility of changing our personalities, and the causes and treatments of psychological disorders. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Alternative to Hardcover - Ebook
As an alternative to the Hardcover edition, please consider the eBook (PDF Version) which is split into Part I and Part II. Pricing for the eBook versions is considerably less than the hardcover.

Search for "Psychological Science: Mind, Brain, and Behavior" in the toolbox, or directly to ASIN B0002VC6SG and B0002VC6SQ for the eBook versions.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Complete Introduction
This book is very complete introduction to psychology. It has clear diagrams and is written well. A good textbook to a more complete understanding of the basis of psychology. Woot. ... Read more


43. Calculus with Applications for the Life Sciences
by Raymond N. Greenwell, Nathan P. Ritchey, Margaret L. Lial
list price: $117.33
our price: $117.33
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Asin: 0201745828
Catlog: Book (2002-10-14)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 182206
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting applications
If you are majoring in the life sciences, then the authors have striven to teach calculus in a manner that will interest and motivate you. Here, life sciences encompasses both the biological sciences and various social sciences like finance and economics.

The authors customise the course via numerous examples and problems in each chapter. To be sure, in the text, outside the examples, it is a straightforward explanation of the important ideas in caculus, like finding derivates and solving differential equations. Which is as it should be. The maths is independent of the applications, after all. But much of the value of the book to you is in those examples and problems.

There is a fascinating plethora of problems. I will only cite a few: Modelling a foot and mouth disease epidemic. Alcohol concentration in a person's blood as a function of time. Rate of pollution entering a lake. The Gini coefficient of income inequality in a country.

The book shows that the uses of calculus in the life sciences are myriad and worthy of your understanding and appreciation. ... Read more


44. New Cosmic Horizons: Space Astronomy from the V2 to the Hubble Space Telescope
by David Leverington
list price: $60.00
our price: $24.00
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Asin: 0521658330
Catlog: Book (2001-02-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 453607
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

New Cosmic Horizons tells the extraordinary story of space-based astronomy since the Second World War. Starting with the launch of the V2 rocket in 1946, this book explores the triumphs of space experiments and spacecraft designs and the amazing astronomical results that they have produced. David Leverington examines the fascinating way in which the changing political imperatives of the United States, USSR/Russia and Western Europe have modified their space astronomy programs. He covers all major astronomy missions of the first fifty years of space research: the Soviet Sputnik and American Explorer projects, the subsequent race to the moon, solar and planetary missions, and the wonders of modern astrophysics culminating in the exciting results of the Hubble Space Telescope. Extensively illustrated, New Cosmic Horizons offers amateur and professional astronomers an unusual perspective on the history of astronomy in our time.David Leverington was Design Manager of the GEOS Spacecraft and Meteosat Program Manager for ESA in the 1970s. During his tenure as Engineering Director at British Aerospace in the 1980s, he was responsible for the Giotto spacecraft that intercepted Halley's comet, and the Photon Detector Assembly and solar arrays for the Hubble Space Telescope. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He lives in Essex, England. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The fascinating history of space-based astronomy
In New Cosmic Horizons: Space Astronomy From The V2 To The Hubble Space Telescope, David Leverington reveals the fascinating history of space-based astronomy from the launching of the V! rocket in 1946 down to the present day. Here are all the triumphs of the space experiments and spacecraft designs that have produced the spectacular astronomical results in the last half of the twentieth century. Profusely illustrated and with a comprehensive, "reader friendly" text ideal for both astronomy students, astronomy professionals, and the interested non-specialist general reader, New Cosmic Horizons will prove to be an essential, core addition to any personal, academic or community library reference collection. ... Read more


45. The Nature of Mathematics (with InfoTrac)
by Karl J. Smith
list price: $113.95
our price: $113.95
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Asin: 053440023X
Catlog: Book (2003-08-22)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 66996
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Karl Smith's loyal customers adopt his book for its clear writing, its coverage of historical topics, selection of topics, level, exercise sets (featuring great applications problems), and emphasis on problem solving. Since the First Edition of Smith's text was published, thousands of liberal arts students have "experienced" mathematics rather than just doing problems. Smith's writing style gives students the confidence and ability to function mathematically in their everyday lives. The emphasis on problem solving and estimation, along with numerous in-text study aids, encourages students to understand the concepts while mastering techniques. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A math text for the masses
This book satisfies the informal definition of the liberal arts "discipline." A little bit about a lot of things, but not too much of any one thing. Which is precisely the targeted audience.
The following topics are covered, and one should preface each with the word elementary: set theory, deductive reasoning, computers, number theory, algebra, the mathematics of finance, geometry, functions, probability, statistics, and mathematical modeling. All presentations are structured so that one can pick and choose without serious loss of continuity. Large numbers of problems are given at the end of each chapter, and the solutions to the odds are in the back of the book.
The text is written in a style that is described as humanistic. Features included in the text are as follows: birthdates of famous mathematicians at the start of the chapters, brief biographical sketches in the margins; cartoons; historical notes; and news clips. All of these add a note of relaxation that serves to improve the quality.
The only criticism is one that stems from personal bias. The chapter on computers does not have enough material to even begin to achieve computer literacy. With the incredible and expanding diversification of computer use, only a full course can begin to prepare people. It would have been better to leave this topic out.
This book is an excellent example of a math text for the masses. Any potential user can find what they want here.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

5-0 out of 5 stars Need Math this is the book to get!
If you ever wanted to know about Math this is the book to get. ... Read more


46. Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures
by E. F. Bruhn
list price: $70.00
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Asin: 0961523409
Catlog: Book (1973-06-01)
Publisher: Jacobs Pub
Sales Rank: 145881
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic book
I think every aircraft structures designer should get this book. I have gone through many other books but its unique and the best.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Aerospace Standard
In my 16 years in the Aerospace Industry I have rarely come across a more quoted or well known text with the possible exception of Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain. Bruhn is the basis for most Aerospace company strength manuals. It is truly the Bible of flight vehicle analysis.

However, there is no index, only a cursory table of contents. A very good reference for a great deal of practical formulas but abrupt on theoretical explanation in most cases. Many example problems but again very abrupt on explanation. Could have better illustrations.

For all of the above reasons Bruhn gets high marks as a reference but as a text for learning it is lacking; even for someone with a background and education in basic stress analysis. It is still one of the most comprehensive and practical aircraft structural text around and still a must read for any flight vehicle structural engineer.

5-0 out of 5 stars A structural engineers best friend
The work presented in this book has been used since it's inception by aircraft engineering professionals as the bible to be used for structural analysis - probably referenced as frequently as Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain.

4-0 out of 5 stars THE classic structures textbook
This has most everything for structural design and analysis, and is used by everyone. Not the easiest read in the field, though! ... Read more


47. Descartes' Error : Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
by Antonio R. Damasio
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0380726475
Catlog: Book (1995-11-01)
Publisher: Quill
Sales Rank: 11916
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this wondrously lucid and engaging book, renowned neurologist Antonio Damasio demonstrates what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking.

Descartes' Error takes the reader on an enthralling journey of scientific discovery, starting with the case of Phineas Gage--a construction foreman who in 1848 survived a freak accident in which a 3 1/2 foot iron rod passed through his head--and continuing on to Damasio's experiences with modern-day neurological patients affected by brain damage. Far from interfering with rationality, his research shows us, the absence of emotion and feeling can break down rationality and make wise decision making almost impossible.

... Read more

Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine work, but Ryle got there first.
Damasio brings some some fascinating cases to bear on one of the oldest problems in philosophy and psychology. It's a good read and an important subject. It would be a mistake, however, to think that "Descartes' error" was just now being pointed out. In fact, practically no contemporary philosopher worth his or her salt subscribes to the Cartesian two-substance theory of body and mind. In his 1949 masterpiece, The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that Descartes' view was fatally flawed (and he wasn't really the first to point this out, either), and called it the "ghost in the machine" view of the body/mind relationship. If you get right down to it, Descartes himself would agree with Damasio that the emotions are not radically different kinds of things from the reasoning faculties, since he believed that experiencing an emotion was simply another mode of thought, just as drawing an inference is a mode of thought. But Descartes must be used to being a whipping boy by now, 350 years after his death; and the historical perspective aside, Damasio's book is an excellent contribution to scholarship on the effects of emotion on rationality.

3-0 out of 5 stars the body minded brain
Have you ever left the massage table with a clear head and lots of energy? Damasio thinks he knows why. His idea is that the mind cannot be conceived without some sort of embodiment (hence Descartes' Error). There is no Self which gives rise to a unified Mind; instead there are just so many synchronized systems of the body (the visceral, musculo-skeletal etc.) whose combined output results in a background "feeling". It is that feeling which represents the self ; self can therefore also be defined as a continuous experience of the body. During massage we relax the mind by relaxing the body .

According to Damasio, each movement (of the limbs or bowels) results in a specific "feeling" loaded into our subconsciousness. These feelings and associated emotions are at the very core of cognition. Indeed, this book is intended to prove to the lay public Damasio's belief that he has experimentally deconstructed the wittgensteinian/russelian illusion (which claims that formal logic will get us to the best available solution for any problem). On the contrary, D. found that certain patients whose emotional centers are disabled by stroke but whose logical abilities remain intact become functional invalides: they cannot decide and when they do, they tend to make wrong decisions (they cannot use their "gut feelings" and therefore end duped or easily misled). The integration of emotions and reasoning is orchestrated by the prefrontal cortex and a large part of the book is devoted to explaining the specific neural circuits dedicated to this task.

In my opinion, D. has not been able to prove Descartes was wrong. It is obvious that our minds depend on (internal and external) sensory input to generate "representations" which ultimately result in "decision-making"; however, Plato would say that an absence of a functional brain region does not necesarily disprove the existence of the Self - it merely prevents that Self from expressing itself.

The book has interesting and important things to say. I think, however, that it will be of limited use to an average reader. I often found it to be unnecessarily technical; moreover, unlike, say, Ramachandran's book, which is a veritable explosion of provoking ideas and speculations, Desartes' Error is basically about one single idea... as a result, the same thing is repeated over and over again and i had to clench my canines to maintain interest. It would definitely benefit from good editing.

2-0 out of 5 stars VERY Disappointing for the Philosopher
"And indeed, if the interested layman picks up any of a half a dozen standard text books on the brain, as I did, and approaches them in an effort to get the answers to sorts of question that would immediately occur to any curious person, he is likely to be disappointed." -John Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Science" (1984)

This quote, more than any one I could think of, sums up my view on Dr. Antonio R. Damasio's "Descartes' Error." In preparation for a graduate seminar on the philosophy of mind (which kicked off by reading Descartes, by the way) I picked up this book so that I may glean a neurophysiologist's take on the mind-body problem. To say that this book was an amazingly unhelpful tool for this purpose would be the understatement of the century. While I don't agree (with another reviewer) that "a degree" is required to do philosophy (but one can help but admit that the vast majority of good philosophy is produced by those who hold at least two of them), at least some grasp of the philosophical topic is prudent prior to writing a book even remotely advertising itself as having something to do with it. This is where Damasio falls short, and not by a little.

Because so many reviewers have summarized this book's substantive content, for the sake of avoiding duplicity, I decided to scour other reviews for the more egregious claims about this book. First of all, one common theme is that this book is stimulating philosophically, and that it is a "must read" for philosophers interested in the mind (see the NY Times Book Review above). In case it isn't obvious at this point, I don't think anything could be further from the truth. If you are a philosopher, don't waste your time or money with this book unless you've literally read everything else and want nothing but the science. Nowhere does Damasio mention any of the interesting paradoxes intertwined in this fantastically fascinating area of philosophy, other than occasional name dropping, not including the 5+ pages he devotes to actually discussing Descartes' "Error" (247-52). The only problem here, though, is that Damasio, while not getting Descartes entirely wrong, entirely misses the substantive point of Descartes' "dualism" and the point of the dream argument. Damasio repeats the cogito a couple times, and then moves on to dismiss the scientific inaccurracies of Descartes' philosophy (i.e., "errors" entirely beside the point of the current debate about dualism and the existence of phenomenal properties).

Damasio severely, severely underestimates the weight of Descartes' dualism, as well as naively assumes that all forms of it died with the dawn of science. The point isn't that Descartes was so wrong to assume that the mind/soul/spirit could survive the body - or that brains can't really exist in a vat (Damasio explains how this is impossible given current science - I'm serious) - the point is the epistemic value of inconceivability and the role of direct acquaintance of conscious, thinking experience. All of this is completely and utterly missed by Damasio, which is likely due, I'm afraid, to a severe underestimation and underappreciation for the relevant philosophical texts and the people who wrote them. We all know "that mind comes from the brain," the problem is explaining the connection in an unproblematic, coherent way.

Another common misconception about this book is its "readability." Here is one paragraph (that's right, paragraph) as a sample: "The minimal neural device capable of producing subjectivity thus requires early sensory cortices (including the somatosensory), sensory and motor cortical association regions, and subcortical nuclei (especially thalamus and basal ganglia) with convergence properties capable of acting as third-party ensembles." Now, if this is your idea of "readable," then by all means, go for it. The book is absolutely chalk-full of neurophysiological terminology to the point of reading like a text book (see Searle's quote above). I consider myself a very active reader (in the sense that I virtually always have a dictionary nearby and virtually never skip over words I don't understand the meaning of), but this book was just crazy-loaded with technical jargon. The writing itself is above average to average.

Damasio's effort should be commended, which is why I give this book two stars, based entirely on the book's scientific value alone. The mischaracterization of Descartes, as well as Damasio's own philosophical shortcomings, are, in my own opinion, errors far more egregious than any Descartes ever made.

5-0 out of 5 stars Some hints for enjoying this book more
Other reviewers have surely summarized and analyzed this fine book far better than I could, so here are some hints that may help you productively enjoy it:
1.) scan sections of the book before and after you read them. The author's simple expositions are terrific but the organization and data blending can be confusing, and the pace of such a book often slows uncomfortably. 2.) If you are new to this subject (and any non-professional who hasn't had a CNS course recently is probably a beginner) I'd supplement this book with a good but lighter introduction to brain research (I'd strongly recommend the NYT Book of the Brain). 3.) I'd advise using a good neuroanatomy text or atlas like Barr or Hanaway. The author's maps are surprisingly skimpy and I strongly hope he includes a few pages of neuroanatomical diagrams in any future editions. 4.) You may want to underline terms and definitions, and note the reference at the back of the book -- the book has no glossary and the index is annoyingly weak. 5.) I thought the most valuable sections were on the Somatic Marker Hypothesis, the Body-Minded Brain, and the Postscriptum -- consider scanning these sections first.
Good luck and enjoy. The author's credentials are superb, his perspective complements other authors such as Edelmann and LeDoux, and he brings the unique and empathetic perspective of a neurologist who has specialied in analyzing the changes associated wtih discrete neuropathological conditions. The ideas you may receive from this wonderful book should be well worth the effort, and you should gain some insight into the miracle of how we think/feel/are.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Error of Cartesian People
To the "December 18, 2003" reviewer:

"To write a book about Philosophy or related issues one MUST HAVE a degree in Philosophy, in the same way if somebody decides to write about Neurology he/she needs to have the proper qulifications to do so."

That's the typical authoritarian speech of people who hide behind their jobs, their qualifications, their deegrees, etc. Not exactly the right quote, but it describes the context: "Holier Than Thou". Yes, recognition by the expert authorities is a key to being heard, but I ask: when were these high authorities the driving force within ANY thought revolution? Maybe because someone DOESN'T have a deegree on a particular subject, he can express views which aren't tainted by the "academia's" notion of what is correct and incorrect. Most of the radical developments in human thought came without the approval of the "status quo". Ironically, the "status quo" absorves the knowledge of such revolutions when they have been tamed down or when the revolutionaries themselves have become the "status quo".

You, the reviewer, might even be right about Damasio... but you used a VERY lousy argument... ... Read more


48. Statistical Issues in Drug Development
by StephenSenn
list price: $145.00
our price: $126.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471974889
Catlog: Book (1997-08)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 476295
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Statistics in Practice A new series of practical books outlining the use of statistical techniques in a wide range of application areas:
* Human and Biological Sciences
* Earth and Environmental Sciences
* Industry, Commerce and Finance
Statistical Issues in Drug Development Stephen Senn Professor of Pharmaceutical & Health Statistics, University College, London Statistical Issues in Drug Development provides an accessible text for those working directly in drug development, regulatory and marketing departments within the pharmaceutical industry. As a consequence of regulatory authorities demanding increasingly higher standards, statistics has become a critical element in the design and conduct of drug development programmes. The concepts covered in this volume guide the non-statistician through the most pressing statistical issues and controversies in drug development. Key issues covered include:
* Design & interpretation of clinical trials
* Bayesian & frequentist methods
* Sequential & cross-over trials
* Drug monitoring & pharmaco-economics
The book has been prepared in two sections. The first section considers the role of statistics in drug development from four different perspectives: historical, philosophical, technical and professional. The second section covers a series of controversial topics such as fixed versus random effects for meta-analysis, one-sided versus two-sided tests and the ethics of placebo run-ins. The approachable and wide-ranging coverage of this book will make it invaluable to all those working in drug development and regulation.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars heavy on issues, provocative and with minimal mathematics
Senn is a great writer. He has written an excellent text on cross-over trials that raises many issues about when such design can be used and what their limitations are. This book covers the gamut of issues in drug development concentrating on important and sometimes subtle issues in clinical trials including design and analysis, intention to treat principle, multiple testing, Bayesian and frequentist approaches and interpretations, meta analysis, regulatory issues and ethics. It also covers cross-over designs, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacoeconomics.

The introduction gives you a feeling for the approach in the book and how it splits into two parts. Part I, consisting of chapters 2-5, provides some history of the development of statistical methods and some introductory topics that are fundamental to the discussion in Part II.

Part II is the heart of the book where the practical statistical issues in clinical trials are raised. The text is intended for non-statisticians who work in the pharmaceutical industry but to quote part of Senn's preface he states "Although addressed to the life-scientist it is my hope that many statisticians, in particular those studying medical statistics or embarking on a career in drug development, will also find it useful. Above all I hope that it will help communication between the disciplines: a process by which the statistician stands to benefit as much as any other professional in drug development."

I can really appreciate what Senn has done. He explains the issues of intention-to-treat, washout, multiplicity and other problems that I have had to wrestle with and try to explain to MDs and clinical managers. But even more importantly to me than helping me communicate the many issues that I was aware of, he also raises many subtle issues that I was not aware of. This includes questions of bioequivalence, the use of baseline information and particularly percentage change from baseline versus covariate adjustment, problems of inference regarding measurements taken after titration and issuesw in N of 1 trials. I even learned a few new techniques (e.g. Taves minimiization and Atkinson's generalization of it for allocating patients to treatment groups).

The only complaint I can see is that there is not enough detail. However, remember the text was not designed for statisticians and so much of the mathematics and technicalities are deliberately left out.

But Senn does provides a detailed list of relevant references at the end of each chapter that allows the reader to find in texts and journal articles all the detail one might need. Also to aid with communication there is a large glossary of terms at teh back of the book.

This is a great reference for scientists and statisticians as well! ... Read more


49. The Phenomenon of Life: The Nature of Order, Book 1
by Christopher Alexander
list price: $75.00
our price: $63.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0972652914
Catlog: Book (2003-06)
Publisher: Center for Environmental Structure
Sales Rank: 22122
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What is happening when a place in the world has life? And what is happening when it does not? In Book 1 of this four-volume work, Alexander describes a scientific view of the world in which all space-matter has perceptible degrees of life, and sets this understanding of living structure as an intellectual basis for a new architecture.

He identifies fifteen geometric properties which tend to accompany the presence of life in nature, and also in the buildings and cities we make. These properties are seen over and over in nature, and in cities and streets of the past, but have all but disappeared in the deadly developments and buildings of the last one hundred years.

The book shows that living structure depends on features which make a close connection with the human self, and that only living structure has the capacity to support human well-being.

The other three volumes of The Nature of Order continue this thesis with three complementary views giving a masterful prescription for the processes which allow us to generate living structure in the world. They show us what such a world must gradually come to look like, and describe the modified cosmology in which "life" as an essential quality, together with our inner connection to the world around us-towns, streets, buildings, and artifacts-are central to a proper understanding of the scientific nature of the universe.

". . . Five hundred years is a long time, and I don't expect many of the people I interview will be known in the year 2500. Christopher Alexander may be an exception."-David Creelman, author, interviewer and editor, HR Magazine, Toronto

Christopher Alexander is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, architect, builder and author of many books and technical papers. He is the winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, and after 40 years of teaching is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, worthy of close study
"The whole is more than the sum of its parts" is commonly said or writ, but never before have i read so much detail, amply illustrated, of just how that works. There are pictures of beautiful things, and some horrendously ugly things (a certain postmodern house in particular made me laugh out loud), and some side-by-side comparisons of two moderately beautiful things that made me think...which has more "life"?

My interest in architecture is limited to a desire to build an Earthship or cob house sometime in the next few years. I wonder why i find such houses more beautiful than the conventional kind?

Well, understanding the 15 properties gives one an excellent mental toolkit for studying beauty and beautiful things, and figuring out how to make a place or structure more welcoming to human life. Practical exercises and advice, along with all the examples, help the reader develop an eye for these qualities.

As an artist, i can apply these properties to creating and
critiquing my works, and perhaps even to know better how to fix an image that has gone awry. The author's sketches of beautiful patterns of objects, some in which he didn't quite capture the magical essence of life and examines why, enlightened me as i followed the development of his ideas through the book. Always a doodler, i've had a great time hanging out in coffee shops with some 4x6 cards, pencils, Alexander's book, experimenting with following and sometimes deliberately (and sometimes accidently) violating each of the properties, coming to understand them better. Be warned: really "grokking" the material will take much time and much fun!

I actually started with volume 2 then went into volume 1, and that worked okay. Volume two reviews the 15 properties sufficiently, and i found processes to be a more interesting place to start. But partway through vol. 2 i just had to dive into vol 1 wholeheartedly to really understand all 15 of the properties.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Architects
Christopher Alexander's latest series of books, "The Nature of Order", propose new ways of understanding the built environment, as well as new methods of practicing architecture, and as such should be part of every architect's library. As a practicing architect, I have found that "The Nature of Order" series has had a profound impact on the way that I design and create buildings, as well as on the way that I understand architecture and its connection to the larger physical world. The theoretical framework that Alexander sets up in his first book, The Phenomenon of Life, coupled with the analysis and exploration of generative processes presented in his second book, The Process of Creating Life, propose a fascinating and intriguing new way of understanding the physical structure of the world. Alexander presents us with a unified theory where art and science are part of an integrated system that together define the physical structure of all matter, including "life" itself.

In the first book, The Phenomenon of Life, Alexander proposes that the physical environment consists of discreet entities that form specific geometrical relationships, and that these geometrical relationships each have an intrinsic value; a value that can be objectively identified and measured with a significant degree of accuracy and agreement among many observers. Alexander goes on to identify this degree of value as "life", expanding the current biological definition to one that includes strong coherence of geometrical structure. In analyzing thousands of examples, Alexander and his colleagues have identified 15 geometrical properties that, when present in a physical structure or design, help to increase the degree of life, in that particular place or object. These properties can be easily identified and measured, by each one of us, and thus form the basis for an objective form of aesthetic judgment. Questions that address degrees of value, such as "what is a good building?", "what is a good piece of art?", and "what is a good environment?" can now be answered using objective criteria, where consistent agreement among individuals is possible.

It is Alexander's objective approach for judging aesthetic quality, combined with his unified view of the physical and aesthetic world, that has profoundly influenced my own work. As I work on projects every day, going through the process of testing different ideas and possibilities, I now have the tools and framework for making good design decisions - decisions that can be objectively evaluated in terms of their impact on the "life" of each project. In addition, Alexander has provided me with a deeper understanding of the place of my own work in the physical world - how whatever I make, whether it is the creation of window seat or the lay-out of a series of buildings, has a direct connection to the larger and smaller geometrical structures of which it is a part. Of course this approach leads to a sense of deep responsibility for the enhancement and betterment of the physical world; a responsibility that I believe should be fundamental to the practice of architecture.

5-0 out of 5 stars The question of judgement in architecture
"The Nature of Order" is a series of four books, a work that has taken 30 years to complete. It is an ambitious attempt at synthesis, a near-impossible challenge to join together, in one generative thought, all the aspects of man in the universe. Consequently, the critical and wary reader will possibly detect traces of what could possibly resemble an immense megalomania, as Christopher Alexander aims to reunite physics, biology, and the wholeness of human beings in a geometric conception of the universe. Nevertheless, this same reaction is triggered by every real effort of synthetic thought that tries to build a vision of the world less fragmented than today's.

Often in the scientific community, great researchers allow themselves, towards the end of their career, some philosophical height in order to consider the world in the light of the particular discoveries they have made. Some of them -- the most reductionistic -- try to explain whole phenomena by a generalisation of laws they had previously discovered in a particular context. In fact, they reduce the whole world to the phenomena they are able to explain, and try to affirm the supremacy of a particular point of view. These are, for example, the common "all is social", or "all is biological", explanations. Some other scientists, much less pretentious, explain that their discoveries come to support or to lighten in some way certain elements of forgotten and ancestral wisdom. Thus, they indirectly point towards a return of those wisdoms, but without necessarily showing the way. Christopher Alexander belongs to a third category of scientific researchers : those who develop during a lifetime of inquiry their own general vision of the world, continuously nourishing it with the particular progresses of science and the local lessons of practice.

If Christopher Alexander appears to have been obsessed all his life by one and only question (how to make good architecture?), he did not lock himself up in architectural practice, nor in a particular scientific discipline, nor in any philosophy. This is why he knew how to develop and considerably deepen a way of building that is not directly linked to ancestral techniques but possesses even today their immensely wise qualities.

Because of the vast implications of Christopher Alexander's work, I will comment on only one aspect of the first volume (The Phenomenon of Life) ; that is, the issue of judgement in architecture.

In this first book, Christopher Alexander introduces and describes a single criterion to define the architectural value of any building. This criterion is (1) empirical, based on experience, and (2) objective, because it can be shared among several individuals. Each building, each construction, can be characterized by its degree of life. Provided with this criterion it is possible to discriminate between "good architecture" and "bad architecture". This degree of life depends on the presence or the absence of a spatial structure which he calls living structure and which can be used to explain judgements after they have been made. Provided with the properties and qualities of this living structure, it is then possible to look for the processes that governed its growth, in order to formalize a knowledge of the ways of designing and building that lead to "good architecture".

The empirical results are based on comparisons of objects, photographs, situations, or buildings. They are obtained by asking one question : which one of these two buildings has more life ? This question can be reformulated as follows : which one of these two buildings best represents the whole of yourself, which one best represents at the same time all your qualities and all your faults, all your forces and all your weaknesses, all the events you lived and all the ones you hope to live in the future, all the things you love and all the ones you hate, etc. If the answer to this question is sincere, the results are shared in common for a majority of people, and the measurement, which is made by comparison, is valid. For my own part, I did not find anything to object to the possible validity of this method.

If one starts to analyze this question, one realizes that it cancels (or tries to cancel) the majority of the determinisms that we are carrying and that we inherited more or less luckily during our life. It cancels the determinism of personal history by the opposition of past versus future, it cancels psychological determinism since it calls upon forces and weaknesses, it cancels aesthetic determinism by opposing what one loves and hates, etc. Finally, this form of judgement tries to reach the Wholeness which is present in each one of us. It aims at a criterion which is both personal and objective.
By raising this question, one establishes empirical results without dividing the individual into biological, psychological, sociological (and many more) components, because this question addresses the individual in his wholeness. And good architecture should not address only the psychological component of the individual, or the sociological or the historical ones, but the whole individual. Hence this form of judgement constitutes a solid proposal to define the value of architecture.

However it is not easy to apply in today's world, because obviously, we are not used to asking ourselves this type of question. One could even think that all the analytical developments around architectural and urban questions that exist today have as a principal function to circumvent this question that we refuse to ask ourselves directly, and when faced with it, the majority of us is in great difficulty. But to avoid judging is to make ourselves unable to judge, therefore unable to appreciate the things that have value. Most importantly, avoiding this judgement consequently makes us incompetent to design and to build valuable buildings. The issue of judgement, which introduces this first volume of The Nature of Order, is an essential precondition to the construction of a true knowledge in architecture.

Thus my opinion on this book is extremely positive. Without doubt, it is the best book on architecture I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Nature of Order: Why I strongly recommend this work.
First of all I'd just like to clarify that I am in the relatively unique position of having read through this material, as a developing work in progress, four different times over the course of a ten year period from 1988 to 1998. During this time I had the opportunity to study with Professor Alexander and then to help teach scores of students working on learning and applying the material that forms the basis of these books.

My experience has been that for those students who were willing to approach this material with an open mind, and with sincere effort, the Nature of Order is a challenging and inspiring work. Alexander, in my estimation, is proposing an approach to understanding and shaping the built environment that not only has the potential to produce beautiful satisfying, endlessly unique and deeply personal places, this approach also happens to be one that is exceptionally creative, unique to each person and a great deal of fun.

Perhaps it is risky to speak of fun, as this can seem to make light of a subject of momentous importance, which this subject is, if you are someone who cares deeply about the world you live in. Nevertheless, my experience has been that students who not only read this work attentively, but actually throw themselves into learning to apply this material, appear to have the most fun of any architecture students I have ever known. Their work reflects this joy, this satisfaction that comes from struggling to make something that goes beyond expressing their own ego to somehow being a thing that many people could love. And what's more, their work has been quite good, in many cases outstanding and the improvement has been at times rather dramatic.

(I myself won several design competitions after I began to gain some understanding of this material.)

Please understand that the Nature of Order proposes some thought provoking, eye opening insights that can prove quite challenging. It also includes what I consider to be powerful tools that have the capacity drastically increase ones effective creativity and mastery of ones own creative process. Gaining proficiency in these skills takes time and practice.

If you want to make places or art or furniture that come from a place inside you drawing upon the very best that you have to offer, then I highly recommend reading and rereading this four volume work. This is a monumental work oriented more towards expanding the creativity of the reader than any other book I have ever encountered. If I had to sum up the Nature of Order in one word, that word would be liberation.

I am an architect living and working in California.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Magnum Opus from a central figure in design theory
This four-volume work is Christopher Alexander's magnum opus of architectural philosophy, and a book on which he has been working for over twenty years. Like Steven Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" -- to which it has been compared by a number of authors -- it is long (almost 2,000 pages), richly illustrated, and suggestive of nothing less than a new scientific world view.

The essence of that view is this: the universe is not made of "things," but of patterns, of complex, interactive geometries. Furthermore, this way of understanding the world can unlock marvelous secrets of nature, and perhaps even make possible a renaissance of human-scale design and technology.

As to the second assertion, one may be appropriately skeptical until more evidence is seen. As to the first, there are emerging echoes of this world view across the sciences, in quantum physics, in biology, in the mathematics of complexity and elsewhere. Theorists and philosophers throughout the twentieth century have noted the gradual shift of scientific world view away from objects and toward processes, described by Whitehead, Bergson and many others. Alexander, like Wolfram, takes it a step further, arguing that we are on the verge of supplanting the Cartesian model altogether, and embarking on a revolutionary new phase in the understanding of the geometry of nature.

This is much more than speculative mysticism, as some poorly-read critics will doubtless be eager to claim. The Cambridge-educated mathematician backs up his beautifully illustrated assertions with copious mathematical formulas and notes, and he includes extensive discussions of the philosophical ideas of Descartes, Newton, Whitehead and many others. He paints an extremely detailed and convincing picture of a vast world of geometric structure that is just now coming into the range of human comprehension.

Alexander even goes beyond Wolfram and the other complexity theorists in one crucial respect: he argues that life does not "emerge" from the complex interactions of an essentially dead universe, but rather manifests itself, in greater or lesser degrees, in geometric order. For Alexander, the universe is alive in its very geometrical essence, and we ourselves are an inextricable part of that life. This is a "hard" scientific world view which is completely without opposition to questions of "meaning" or "value", "life" or "spirit". For Alexander, such questions are hardly irrelevant: in fact, they are of the essence in the most physical, concrete sense.

Alexander started his career as a highly influential design theorist, and the ideas of this book are its direct if surprising progeny. Early on he was a pioneer of computer-aided design methodology, and his book "Notes on the Synthesis of Form" is a classic in the field. (Curiously, Alexander's work has more recently spawned an entire new field of computer programming language, as well as popular computer games like "The Sims".)

Later on, Alexander sought a method to handle the unwieldy thickets of complex data generated by the computer. He soon identified design "patterns" that repeatedly occurred in the built environment, and that together formed systems or "languages." Such languages, he argued, were readily observable in traditional design methodologies, and were in large part responsible for their unity and wholeness. Implicit in this phase of work was the belief that the priesthood of architects hardly had an exclusive claim to good design, and that ordinary people could be taught to make quite handsome and satisfying buildings, as they have been known to do throughout history.

A Pattern Language was met with great success, and even at $65 per copy, it is still one of the best-selling books on architecture -- some 25 years after it was first published.

But Alexander and his colleagues were disturbed to find that many of the designers inspired by A Pattern Language produced work that was crude and artless. How, short of returning to the unsatisfactory methods of the priesthood of trained professionals, could this be corrected? What was missing from the methodology he and his colleagues were offering?

Alexander came to believe what was needed was an essential grasp of the geometry of nature, in the broadest sense. The effort to come to terms with the implications of this, and to document the ideas for his readers, would occupy him for the next 25 years, and require nothing short of an overhaul of the Cartesian worldview that he believed underlies the conception of the design problem.

Alexander studied the designs of cultures throughout history and across the world, and formulated some empirical notions about their geometric properties. He distilled these down to 15 recurrent geometric properties, and developed them into a powerful and versatile theory of design.

At the core of his theory is the idea that good design is not a matter of elements working properly in a mechanistic system, but rather of regions of space amplifying one another in a larger totality. That is, one cannot take the environment apart into elements, but must see the environment as a field of wholes, each supporting and amplifying one another in an interlocking totality. One can be very precise and descriptive about these wholes, but one cannot avoid looking at the totality at each step of the way.

Alexander calls each spatial region a "center," emphasizing that it is not an isolated entity, but an embedded field within an infinitely larger system of fields, with gradually diminishing contextual influences. One cannot look at a part of the whole without looking at its relation to the whole, and the complex influences of its location within the field.

This geometric holism is not a new view of things, although perhaps, as Alexander suggests, it holds revolutionary implications for the way we order the architecture of modern society. If so, this work is a major advancement.

It is not an accident that scientists are often Alexander's biggest fans, for they understand his ideas more deeply than do many architects. If history is any guide, thoughtful people would do well to pay close attention to the insights of this fascinating, brilliant, important theorist. ... Read more


50. Basic Animal Nutrition and Feeding
by Wilson G.Pond, D. C.Church, Kevin R.Pond
list price: $92.95
our price: $92.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471308641
Catlog: Book (1995-01)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 669335
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Book Description

This updated and expanded edition offers current knowledge of nutrient metabolism and the formulation of diets from an array of available feedstuffs. Discusses animals' role in ecological balance, environmental stability and sustainable agriculture and food production. A new section on life-cycle feeding of individual animal classes features chapters contributed by authorities in their respective fields of animal nutrition. These new chapters include cattle, poultry, rabbits, sheep, swine, horses, cats, fish and exotic animals. ... Read more


51. The Quantum Brain: The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man
by JeffreySatinover, Jeffrey Satinover
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471441538
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 12027
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The Quantum Brain is an adventure in the science of ideas. It is the first book on the brain that combines a grasp of the physics of the microcosm and the technologies of artificial intelligence, neural networks, and self-organizing systems, with a recognition of the transcendant properties that define the mind and differentiate it from matter. Although the subject is inherently difficult and novel, Jeffrey Satinover is an inspired guide through the fertile areas of convergence among the pivotal sciences of the age. From such insights will emerge both new technologies and new philosophies and theologies for the twenty-first century."
–George Gilder, Editor, Gilder Technology Report

"Many authors have written about one or two of the topics covered in The Quantum Brain. Jeffrey Satinover’s book is unique in trying to tie everything together."
–Michael E. Kellman, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry, University of Oregon

"Thoroughly researched . . . and told as a gripping tale, thanks to Dr. Satinover’s . . . gift for the narrative. A marvelous introduction to the most fascinating question the human brain can address: its own working."
–R. Shankar, Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Yale University

"A thrilling journey through the world of brain research. The author has set new standards for popular science writing by making arcane topics . . . easy to follow. A tapestry of insights."
–Jack Tuszynski, Professor of Physics, University of Alberta

"I wish I had written this visionary book."
–Professor Hugo de Garis, Head, Starbrain Project, Starlab’s Artificial Brain Project ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Jeffrey Satinover has written a wonderful book here. What I find so impressive is the book's scope and accessibility. Satinover covers a wide variety of complex topics and explains them in ways that the lay-reader can easily understand. Essentially, the book serves as a wonderful introduction to problems in quantum physics, neural nets, computing, cellular automata, genetic algorithms, artificial intelligence, and some of the basic philosophy of mind problems.

If these kinds of topics have always interested you but you didn't know where to begin, Satinover provides a fun to read and easy to understand introduction. Readers who are already well-versed in these areas may find Satinover's approach to be a little "light-weight", but I think they could perhaps appreciate the manner in which he explains these things.

In the end, I was left somehow feeling a little skeptical of the author's contention of the brain serving to amplify quantum phenemonon to produce free will. But Satinover is weaving a complex argument and attempting to connect a lot of dots. Each of these dots is well-explained and I'm inclined to think that the failure to connect is most likely my limitation and failure and not Satinover's.

So to summarize I'd say this is a wonderful introduction to the discoveries in a broad array of fields such as mathematics, cognition, physics, and biology from the last 100 years. It's a pleasure to read and highly acessible. The index and bibliography are both extensive, giving the reader ample opportunity to further investigate these topics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweeping synthesis
It takes a psychiatrist trained in physics and well versed in modern
technology to understand the impact of quantum mechanics
and neural networks first on computation and then on the human condition.
Dr. Satinover reviews the history of perceptrons, the rise and
tribulations of symbolic artificial intelligence and
related subdisciplines of psychology and biology.
This is a sweeping book, broad in scope and
provocative in its thesis: quantum phenomena are not just a
curiosity for physicists, they underlie our very thought.
It's the kind of book that will, after
a period of gestatation, lead to new research directions
and new speculations in the philosophy of mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Profound synthesis of quantum physics to neurobiology
One of the best books I have ever read. For those of us who have not followed the cutting edge research in quantum physics, neurobiology and artificial intelligence, this book provides an elegant and well-written overview and synthesis of these topics. Although the author may have a bias towards seeing God behind the cloak of quantum randomness, he does lay out the possibilties in a balanced way that can only leave the thoughtful reader further in awe of the miracle of sentience and wondering if free will and God do indeed express themselves through "quantum wierdness". This scientific treatise is a novel path to the BIG questions. Absolutely wonderful. Beware; you'll want to read it again once you've finished.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book
I have found this book very interesting. It is written in a readable and attractive style. A fascinating description of artificial neural network research, weird quantum phenomena, chaos theory and unexpected connection between those 3 fields... Although the relation between quantum computing and brain physiology is far from proven, the book comes with new and inspiring ideas that go beyond Penrose's suggestions. I consider this book as a prophetic one. There is much inspiration in the book also for philosophy and theology. Reading this book was for me one of my greatest intellectual experiences of the year.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
What if a butterfly flapped its wings and started a chain of events that caused a tornado in kansas? This is the main idea behind this book. Except that the butterfly is the strange completely random behavior of subatomic particles and the tornado is what you and I are thinking right now. The first half of the book makes the argument that everything is deterministic in nature. For example: if I throw a ball and know how fast its going, what direction, its spin etc., then I can determine where it will end up. If this is true, why isn't the human brain any different? The second half of the book argues that this is not true. Satinover explains a wide variety of scientific discoveries that all link together to explain how our thoughts can harness the complete randomness of quantum phenomenons. Even the lay person can pick this book up and read it. He explains step by step all of the ideas. Anyone who likes learning how new things work should pick up this book. I've learned a great deal from it. ... Read more


52. The Classical Theory of Fields : Volume 2 (Course of Theoretical Physics Series)
by L. D. Landau
list price: $66.95
our price: $66.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750627689
Catlog: Book (1980-01-01)
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann
Sales Rank: 118553
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The fourth edition contains seven new sections with chapters on General Relativity, Gravitational Waves and Relativistic Cosmology. The text has been thoroughly revised and additional problems inserted.


The Complete course of Theoretical Physics by Landau and Lifshitz, recognized as two of the world's outstanding physicists, is published in full by Butterworth-Heinemann. It comprises nine volumes, covering all branches of the subject; translations from the Russian are by leading scientists.
... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Classic Reference Work
This is a magnificent book carefully crafted by two of the leading theorists of the twentieth century. If you have a basic grounding in mechanics, vector analysis and tensor analysis then much of this book will be accessible. The early parts of the book are concerned with Special Relativity and the classical electromagnetic field using the action principle and tensor form of Maxwell's Equations. Later in the book there is in depth presentation of the General Theory of Relativity. This is very much a reference book rather than one to approach these subjects for the first time. There are no exercises or problems but it is a truly masterly work and well worth the money spent upon it and time invested studying it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate treatise on classical field theory
This book is simply the best treatment of the subject that can be found. Period. Having been written by Landau it comes with the guarantee that the material is presented in the most elegant, yet logically consistent manner possible. And this book delivers all of that and more. Similar to the approach in "Mechanics" the principle of least action plays a prominent role in all the theories: relativistic mechanics, electromagnetic theory and Einstein GR. As a result Landau develops the whole material through very plausible and very physical arguments, thus providing a very deep understanding for the material.

To put it simply, the derivation of Maxwell's equations are stunning. I have never seen a clearer, more convincing treatment. And as we have come to expect from this series, it is almost impossible to find any flaws(except for some typos which unfortunately still exist even in the most recent reprint.) The sections on radiation of electromagnetic waves and

The treatment of relativity is very consice and it is rather unfortunate that we could not get a more detailed exposition on the subject from Landau. It would have been extremely interesting to see what Landau would have had to say had he written this section after the "Golden Area for Black Holes Rsearch" As it is the discussion of Relativity from, as is to be expected, a principle of least action(Hilbert Action) is very cleverly done. Every section of the book is very physically motivated rather than purely geometric arguments. Reading this book gives you a fairly good intuitive understanding for the actual physics involved rather than simply an ability to write and solve field equations.

It might be a very good idea to read some sections of their Vol1. on Mechanics before attemting this book, with special attention to Chapters 1,2 and the last chapter on the Hamiltonian treatment.

But all in all, this is probably one of my favorite books both in terms of contect as well as sheer elegance of presentation. A geneuine masterpiece.

4-0 out of 5 stars A cult classic.
Seriously, a cult classic. And one should beware of cults. It's a very elegant, pristine presentation. However, this is often at the expense of sweeping some messier issues under the rug. Landau's reasoning has a very fluid intuitive quality, and it is easy to float along with as long as you don't stop an notice that sometimes it doesn't really make sense. I once heard a prominent physicist say of Landau's papers "everything's wrong except the answers". An exaggeration but some truth to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best !
This is, in my opinion, still the best book on Relativistic Electrodynamics and General Relativity. The way the energy-momentum tensor and the E-M pseudotensor, in GR, are discussed, including the part on how to define the 4-momentum Pi in GR, is among the best you can find on the subject. Moreover the discussion on syncronous frames is also very instructive. This is a must have reference for theoretical physicists.
Even the last part about basic aspects of cosmology is still a solid base one can start on. I love this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars About the way of material presentation
I believe the book was much better if authors avoided their short-cut introduction to the tensor calculus. The worse such an introduction I never saw. Unfortunately this leaved a mark on a following material.

The other weakness is rationalization. For example about the fact that maximum speed exists (almost on the first page). It looks like the speed limit is mathematically necessary, however it's not correct and logic of authors is flawed there. The phisical experiment only convince about existance of such a limit. ... Read more


53. Muscles: Testing and Function
by Florence Peterson Kendall, Elizabeth Kendall McCreary
list price: $66.95
our price: $66.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0683045768
Catlog: Book (1993-04-01)
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Sales Rank: 27769
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A true classic.
I think of this book as the "bible" of muscle testing. I bought this book when I was in PT school and have not stopped using it since- in fact it sits on my desk as a reference when I have to test that "odd" muscle now and then. I give it five stars easy. Also liked "Treat Your Own Knees" for knee pain patients.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have For All Body Therapies!
This is an excellent book.
It is a important reference book which I use and read cover to cover. The biggest plus about this book is the concept of alignment, and the various grouping of restrictions and weaknesses within the body. It shows this and explains these (rectrictions vs weakeness) very clearly and specifically which makes it easy to pick up theses patterns in people's bodies.
Although there are better books which are set out better, the commentary and insights contained within the book are invaluable.
It is a bit of a bible in many physical therapy circles.
Don't get too caught up, and remember that this book should only be a start point as things are more complicated than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile purchase
If you ever needed to know what all the muscles in the body were, where exactly they attached to the skeleton, what movement they created, and ways to test how strong they are this is the bible. As a physical therapist, this has been an invaluable book to have both as a student and as a clinician.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book to work with
This is a refined and refinded text of an excellent book. It has a place in so many therapists bookcase eg.Osteopaths chiropractors physiotherapists etc etc. Go and buy! ... Read more


54. Single Variable Calculus : Concepts and Contexts (with CD-ROM, Make the Grade, and InfoTrac)
by James Stewart
list price: $112.95
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Asin: 0534434665
Catlog: Book (2000-12-13)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 91560
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

James Stewart's well-received SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS: CONCEPTS AND CONTEXTS, Second Edition follows in the path of the other best-selling books by this remarkable author. The First Edition of this book was highly successful because it reconciled two schools of thought: it skillfully merged the best of traditional calculus with the best of the reform movement.This new edition continues to offer the balanced approach along with Stewart's hallmark features:meticulous accuracy, patient explanations, and carefully graded problems.The content has been refined and the examples and exercises have been updated.In addition, CALCULUS: CONCEPTS AND CONTEXTS, Second Edition now includes a free CD-ROM for students that contains animations, activities, and homework hints.The book integrates the use of the CD throughout by using icons that show students when to use the CD to deepen their understanding of a difficult concept.In CALCULUS: CONCEPTS AND CONTEXTS, this well respected author emphasizes conceptual understanding - motivating students with real world applications and stressing the Rule of Four in numerical, visual, algebraic, and verbal interpretations.All concepts are presented in the classic Stewart style:with simplicity, character, and attention to detail.In addition to his clear exposition, Stewart also creates well thought-out problems and exercises.The definitions are precise and the problems create an ideal balance between conceptual understanding and algebraic skills. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Wish i had the solutions manual
I have used this book for two semesters now andi wish i had hte solutions manual.I would buy it but i dont know which one it is there are so many and James stewart has written many calc books.Overall this book is ok, but i would recommend getting hte solutions manual, whichever it is.And if anyone knows which solutions manual to buy let me know pleasepenguinGamer@gmail.com .Thanks

3-0 out of 5 stars From another Cornell student
This book deserves 1 star for listing "L'HoSpital's rule" in the index... L'Hopital's = L'Hospitals?
In any case, this book isn't bad. I've been using it for 2 semesters now. Examples and solutions are explained well enough. The solutions manual is a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Intro Calc Book
I used this book for a first semester calculus course at Cornell University last summer, and I thought that the book was very good.The examples were helpful, and the book was able to cover a reasonable amount of material in the applications of calculus while remaining focused on teaching the calculus.The only problem with the book is that for high school students taking AP Calculus BC this book lacks topics in polar and vector calculus, but that is a very minor part of the test which shouldn't be too hard to learn from your teacher.For Calculus AB, however, the book covers everything you need.This is a great textbook. ... Read more


55. Fundamental Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
by Robert B. McCall
list price: $111.95
our price: $111.95
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Asin: 0534577806
Catlog: Book (2000-08-03)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 147088
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This eighth edition of McCall's well-respected book continues to present concepts in a way that students can easily understand. The new edition has been updated throughout and now includes recommendations by the APA Task Force on Statistical Inference. As in previous editions, McCall helps students see the many real applications of statistics to research in the behavioral sciences. Taking a traditional approach to teaching the basic statistical concepts and methods used in behavioral research. McCall emphasizes building an understanding of the logic of statistics rather than stressing the mechanics. In this exciting revision, McCall continues to keep the data for the computational problems simple, so your students can focus on the rationale and outcome of techniques rather on the calculations themselves. Using clear discussion, a wide variety of end-of-chapter exercises, and examples drawn from actual studies, McCall helps students learn how to choose appropriate statistical methods and correctly interpret the results. Also retained in this edition are the author's step-by-step explanations for each proof and his clear definitions of symbols--the essential vocabulary of statistics--that have been so successful in helping students master the material. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Joy of Statistics?
Although it is a rare segment of the human population who could claim to find scientific statistics "enjoyable", Robert McCall has somehow managed to take some of the pain out of what is generally deemed a horrifying experience. I thank Mr. McCall and the hands-on approach of his book for enabling me to make it through Stats this time with a passing grade! ... Read more


56. More Than Human : Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement
by Ramez Naam
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0767918436
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 12069
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Realistic and optimistic
In the last few years there have been a number of books that have served as excellent apologies for the ongoing and very rapid technological developments. The authors of these books have their own beliefs as to the actual rate of technological progress, but they are uniform in their unrelenting optimism about this progress. This is indeed refreshing, considering that most authors that discuss scientific and technological development seem to have one singular goal: to instill anxiety and foreboding in their readers. The author of this book will have none of that, and has written a book that projects a future that is both believable and scientifically realistic. In addition, the author does not hesitate to speculate, but is always careful to note when his speculations begin and end. He also points out the risks that are involved in human modification, and exhibits caution when it is appropriate.

One particular topic that the author addresses early on is gene therapy, and considering the hit that gene therapy has taken in the press recently, this is an appropriate choice of topics. It would be unwise to dismiss the viability of gene therapy so early in the game, and the biotech industry needs to be more aggressive in its development. The author discusses some of the applications of gene therapy, including that of the isolation of the growth hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in order to treat anemia. EPO gene therapy could be used by athletes to boost performance, but the author cautions that EPO is probably responsible for the deaths of several athletes in the early 1990's. He also describes alternative strategies using gene promoters, that will allow the control of the EPO levels, and also "hybrid" approaches that involve both the taking of pills and gene therapy. Also discussed are gene therapies for cosmetic enhancement, for curing baldness, and for curing Alzheimer's disease. Gene therapy for the latter involves the modification of neurons in order that they have extra copies of the gene responsible for production of NGF (nerve growth factor).

Some laboratory evidence involving laboratory mice indicates that NGF gene therapy could improve their learning and memory. The author points out one experiment where extra levels of NGF enabled mice to navigate a maze about 60 percent faster than normal mice. He also discusses research where mice were genetically engineered to have extra copies of the NR2B gene, which produces proteins that are needed for the NMDA receptors in the hippocampus. These mice learned things more quickly at any age than normal mice. The downside of this genetic engineering is that the mice also "unlearned" more quickly, and seemed to be more susceptible to pain than ordinary mice.

Another unique feature of this book that sets it apart from other apologies for enhancement technologies is the inclusion of statistical evidence for many of its assertions. The reader will find bar graphs, references to pertinent statistical studies in the literature, and other graphs as appropriate. Particularly interesting is the graph on worldwide life expectancy, since it indicates that life expectancy at later age has not risen much in the last one hundred years. The author then proceeds to give a fascinating account of the research that has been done in life extension in the last few years. Some of this research involved the changing of a single gene, which for the case of the nematode worm resulted in the tripling of its life span. Even though his discussion is fairly short, the author gives enough to motivate the reader to search for more in-depth discussion of the research in this very exciting area. The possibility of increasing human life spans by decades or more will of course raise the interest of the majority of people. The author believes that therapies that can increase human life span will enter into human trials within the next decade. This is a very optimistic projection considering the current perceptions of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

Readers who are impatient to get on with the genetic engineering of humans will have to wait a little longer. As the author reminds us, the germline genetic engineering of a human embryo has not been attempted as of yet. The gene therapy for Ashanti DeSilva was `somatic' gene therapy, and could not be passed on to her children. The author though mentions a procedure that would blur the distinction between germline genetic engineering and somatic gene therapy. It involves in utero gene therapy, and is done while the fetus is still in the mother's womb. Such a technique was never carried out, due to regulatory restrictions, but the author gives several reasons why it could be viable. Genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart problems could be eliminated he says by this technique. The author points out, interestingly, that 59 percent of the American population approves of the use of genetic engineering to eliminate disease from the unborn. It is actually surprising, at least to this reviewer, that this figure is so high, given the anxiety about genetic engineering in general, even in areas as "trivial" ethically as genetically modified crops. In addition, and this is most refreshing to read, the number of Americans who approve of genetic engineering to create desired traits in children went from 10 percent in 1994 to 20 percent in 2002, according to a study quoted in the book. This is a promising trend, and gives one hope that the population as a whole will eventually appreciate the ethical soundness of using genetic engineering.

The author also addresses the controversy on human reproductive cloning, noting correctly that it is not safe to perform today, but supporting its use when safety concerns have been overcome. Reproductive cloning will hopefully become routine in this century, and human clones will enjoy the rights that all humans have. Banning reproductive cloning is not necessary, the author argues. Clones will be ordinary people, like the rest of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lucid and wonder inducing, M.T.H. is a must read!
In More Than Human, Naam's writing is a compelling look at our probable future. Through genetic techniques, drugs, computer and robotic technology, we will have many avenues to enhance our minds and bodies.

Naam presents a wonderful and engaging survey of current, cutting-edge scientific research across various fields including medicine, genetics, biology, robotics, and computers. The central theme, of course, is that all of these endeavors involve improving the human body and/or mind.

Unfortunately, many oppose the idea of enhancing our minds and bettering our bodies. They argue that such desires are "unnatural" and go against what it means to be human. They further believe that decisions on the future technologies of bio-enhancement should be made by a select few. Naam convincingly argues that the desire to improve and enhance ourselves is in fact a central trait that defines our humanity. Indeed, nothing could be more "natural" than the interest in improving ones abilities, including the ability to have better, longer, and healthier lives. Naam also demonstrates how the governance of these issues by an elite cadre of political appointees is ultimately more harmful than allowing the billions of inviduals who will make use of these bio-enhancements to choose for themselves.

In sum, Naam writes clearly and with infectious excitementabout topics that could easily be confused as science fiction. The great wonder however, as Naam is able to show us, is that these topics are very much science fact. We can not avoid what bio-enhancement will do to us as individuals and to our society. We should allow our enthusiasm and optimism to fully accept the inevitable changes that are coming, so that with full understanding we can properly integrate them into our lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rare voice: rigorous and accessible
Naam describes recent scientific advances with the rigor of an academic researcher, but in terms that you don't need a PhD to understand.He also does an insightful job of relating recent breakthroughs to historic scientific firsts.For example, he makes a credible case that someday choosing the genes of your children will be just as common and non-creepy as in-vitro fertilization is today.He covers a wide range of topics, describing science that could lead to 150 year lifespans or being able to google things just by thinking about them.I was hoping for a bit more about nanotechnology, but maybe it's still a bit early for that.;)

He explains how these technologies can be helpful to society if embraced.The more compelling argument is how frightening they could be if restricted.He draws astute connections to the rise of already common technologies like reading or antibiotics.Even if you don't agree with everything he believes, his position is well argued, and insightful.

Most importantly, from a crowd screaming in panic about a changing world, Naam's perspective stands out as calm, optimistic, logical and caring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why I Wrote This Book
In 1999, a friend suggested to me that within a few decades we'd have Matrix-esque implants in our brains that would, among other things, allow us to interact in a completely believable virtual reality and beam our thoughts instantly to one another.I pooh-pooh'ed the idea.The brain and body are much too complex to manipulate in that way, or so I thought.

That same year a scientist named Phil Kennedy in Atlanta implanted an electrode into the brain of a paralyzed patient named Johnny Ray - a stroke victim who was completely unable to move, speak, or feed himself.The electrode monitored the activity of just a few neurons inside the patients brain. But through it Johnny was able to learn to control a computer - moving a cursor around on a screen and typing out messages.

Later that year, Joe Tsien at Princeton made the cover of Time Magazine with his Doogie mice - genetically engineered mice that could learn at astounding speeds, up to five times as fast as genetically normal mice.

And that year is also when I learned of the pioneering longevity research of scientists like Tom Johnston at Colorado, who had genetically altered nematode worms to more than double their lifespan and preserve youthful health into old age.

Suddenly, it seemed, science was resembling science fiction.

At the same time, there are a number of voices raised in concern over these technologies.What does it mean to extend our lives, boost our mental abilities, or integrate our minds with computers?Would we still be human?What would happen to society?To equality?To the meaning of life?

I wrote this book to cover these two, interrelated topics:

1)The science of human enhancement - what's actually happening in the labs and what that could lead to in the near future.

2)The ethics, social consequences, and policy challenges of human enhancement.Basically, what we should or shouldn't do with this technology.

More Than Human is an optimistic book, but it's a cautious optimism.Along the way it looks at issues like the effect of longer lives on overpopulation, on socio-economic stratification and whether these technologies would help the rich pull further away from the poor, and at issues like human identity, and whether we could even call ourselves human after changing ourselves in such ways.

It's not a utopian book.There can be no doubt that using biotechnology to alter the human mind, body, and lifespan will lead to problems.But the conclusion I come to in the book is that these technologies will solve more problems than they create.And that the alternative - to prohibit their use - will create many more problems than it will solve.

You can read more at http://www.morethanhuman.org/

I hope you enjoy the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent though too optimistic account of humanity's future
Naam touches on many of the most crucial milestones in the most optimistic visions of humanity's future: genetic medicine, drug therapies, human cloning, and cybernetic enhancement to name a few. He does so in a way that is scientifically rigorous without becoming mired in the details in a way that would make the account difficult to read for those without a scientific background.

Some readers may be put off by the directness with which he approaches issues which are very controversial, but these technologies are already in use and Naam makes a persuasive argument that, like it or not, the rest of them will be in regular use sooner or later.

While I am personally skeptical of the rose colored glasses through which Naam looks at the future, this book is an undeniably excellent introduction to our technological future and is an enjoyable read at that. ... Read more


57. On the Origin of Phyla
by James W. Valentine
list price: $55.00
our price: $55.00
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Asin: 0226845486
Catlog: Book (2004-06-18)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 159606
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Book Description

Owing its inspiration and title to On the Origin of Phlya, James W. Valentine's ambitious book synthesizes and applies the vast treasury of theory and research collected in the century and a half since Darwin's time. By investigating the origins of life's diversity, Valentine unlocks the mystery of the origin of phyla.

One of the twentieth century's most distinguished paleobiologists, Valentine here integrates data from molecular genetics, evolutionary developmental biology, embryology, comparative morphology, and paleontology into an analysis of interest to scholars from any of these fields. He begins by examining the sorts of evidence that can be gleaned from fossils, molecules, and morphology, then reviews and compares the basic morphology and development of animal phyla, emphasizing the important design elements found in the bodyplans of both living and extinct phyla. Finally, Valentine undertakes the monumental task of developing models to explain the origin and early diversification of animal phyla, as well as their later evolutionary patterns.

Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla will take its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, affecting the work of paleontologists, morphologists, and developmental, molecular, and evolutionary biologists for decades to come.

... Read more

58. What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
by Richard P. Feynman
list price: $13.95
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Asin: 0393320928
Catlog: Book (2001-01)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 6735
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The best-selling sequel to "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"--funny, poignant, instructive. One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman's last literary legacy, which he prepared as he struggled with cancer. Among its many tales--some funny, others intensely moving--we meet Feynman's first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love's irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger's explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster's cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. A New York Times bestseller. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars ¿Continuation of a curious character¿
This book is a continuation and addendum of sorts to Mr. Feynman's first biography, "Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman". The two major stories of the book involve Mr. Feynman's enormously influential first wife, Arlene and the second story involves Mr. Feynman's work in the Challenger disaster investigation. Sprinkled around these two major bookends are other humorous adventures and observations about a trip to Japan, being labeled a sexist pig by feminists, and hotel hunting in Europe to name just a few.

The Challenger investigation takes up a sizable chunk of the book and is sometimes filled with drier material. But the compelling event and frustrating insight into government bureaucracy holds some interest to make up for the technical specifications.

The first part of the book where his wife Arlene is discussed is so touching and powerful that the reader will be hard pressed not to get teary-eyed.

As noted in the review about the first biography, Mr. Feynman was an extremely curious person who explored things out of simple curiosity. His life's quest was nothing simpler than a desire to understand Nature. All the while, he tried to have the best time he could. Hopefully this reader can take away at least a little bit of that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scientific background is not a prerequisite
A lot of books written by scientific people claim to be "down-to-earth" and for the "layman" but end up creeping into the obscure. Not so here. Feynman starts with his feet planted firmly on the ground and never strays.

The first few stories range from the serious to the light-hearted. From the pain of losing his wife to being invited to speak at a funeral for a man whom he can't remember. These accounts give you a good look at the ability of Feynman to convey a story and make it interesting. The majority of the book however is given to the time he spent on the committee that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Using no nonsense, straight-forward writing he takes you through the process of how he and the others, despite a lot of bureaucratic red tape, managed to find out what went wrong on that fateful day. What could very well be a dry and uninspiring subject becomes quite informative and engaging through his telling.

This is my first book by Feynman, but having absorbed the whole thing in one sitting it surely won't be my last.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Joking this time
The follow-up to the successful, "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" this book offers four pretty distinct parts.

First section describes how his father taught him to think about the world and his father's ambition to make young Richard a scientist. The end of the book is Feyman's case for the importance of science. In between we get the sad, but sweet story of his first wife and the utterly compelling story of his time on the committee investigating the challenger explosion. It was my favorite part of the book.

The description of how government committees decide facts and make recommendations was eye opening. It was the best description of how these things work that I've ever read. Feynman was constantly up against a committee chairman that wanted to keep everyone in a room asking questions of experts. Feynman didn't like that setup. He wanted to travel out to NASA and talk to engineers, so he did.

Going to Huston and Canaveral, Feynman learned something about the nature of NASA that probably goes for any big organization. He found that NASA was a unified force when their goal was putting a man of the moon. Information was shared freely and appreciated at every level. Once that goal was met NASA became compartmentalized.

Leaders at the top spent their time reassuring Congress that NASA would achieve their goals with low costs and high safety. Engineers at the bottom realized that this wasn't entirely possible. The middle managers didn't want to hear the challenges because they would be forced to report it to the top bosses who didn't want to hear it. It was much easier for top bosses to paint a rosy picture to Congress if they were unaware of the actual challenges of making it work. The end result was that top bosses said that the likelihood of a mission death was 1-100,000 while engineers on the ground felt that the likelihood was more like 1-300.

Feynman concludes that maybe the shuttle program was a bad idea. It could never live up to the ambitious projections of the leaders and the American public was being lied to. NASA should be honest with the American people, Feynman thought, then Congress and voters can decide if they are getting enough for their money. It was a surprisingly thing to hear from an advocate of science and discovery. But Feynam reckoned that the amount of science and discovery has been little compared to the cost. He complained years after the first shuttle launch he still hadn't read any significant experiments in scientific journals.

In all, I liked this book a little better than "Surely You're Joking." It was a little more thought provoking than those fun tales.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting follow up
This book is the follow on to the book "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feynman". In the first book there was a time line that progressed from youth to Professor at Caltech. This book is much different in that 45% of the book describes his pre- 1986 life and 55% describes his involvement in the Challenger shuttle accident investigation. This investigation was a mere 2 years of his life (and the final 2 years as well). The same brilliant character shines through in both parts of this book. There are many interesting vignettes of this iconoclast that are not in the first book. The most interesting part is the description of his relationship with his first wife Arlene who succumbed to TB while he was still a young man. He really had a great heart for those close to him. He didn't suffer fools willingly and often was abrupt to the point of rudeness. More interesting observations are available at feynmanonline^com. Detailed there is a more balanced view of the man and his foibles.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hero worship can blind you to reality
Yes, Feynman was brilliant. Yes, Feynman revolutionized the teaching of physics. Yes, he seems to have been a delightful, charming, handsome, womanizing, fun guy to hang out with. But the Feynman cottage industry ran dry a long time ago. I expect his grocery lists to be published any day now to feed the insatiable hunger for anything that he touched. The essays and articles in this book are bland and nearly worthless. One is introduced as "uproarious." Uproarious is defined as "provoking hilarity." If you think anecdotes about Feynman running up a stairway to bring his heart rate up are hilarious, you are easily amused. This book was a complete waste of time and money. ... Read more


59. Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy: A How-To Manual, Second Edition
by Barry G. Hall
list price: $31.95
our price: $31.95
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Asin: 0878933123
Catlog: Book (2004-06)
Publisher: Sinauer Associates
Sales Rank: 66999
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Book Description

Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy helps beginners get started in creating phylogenetic trees from protein or nucleic acid sequence data. Although aimed at molecular and cell biologists who may not be familiar with phylogenetic or evolutionary theory, it also serves students who may be familiar with phylogenetic theory but are unfamiliar with the tools used to apply that theory. The reader is led, step by step, through identifying sequences that are homologous to a sequence of interest, downloading these sequences from databases, creating multiple alignments, and using several different methods to construct trees."Learn More" boxes present background on the various concepts and methods, and an accompanying CD and Website provide files needed for working through the tutorials in the text.Key changes to the Second Edition include:

* discussion and screen shots updated to reflect current software versions
* all software discussed available for Macintosh, PC, and UNIX platforms
* detailed discussion of PAUP* for both Macintosh and Windows
* inclusion of PHYLIP as an alternative to PAUP*
* addition of "Advanced Topics," including constructing deep phylogenies from protein structure comparisons, ancestral sequence reconstruction, and measuring positive selection as evidence of adaptive evolutionEvery copy of the Second Edition includes a CD with current Windows and Macintosh beta versions of PAUP*. These time-limited versions will allow semester-length use of this popular software, giving students hands-on experience in tree-building as they work through the text. ... Read more


60. Understanding Human Sexuality
by Janet Shibley Hyde, John D. Delamater
list price: $85.55
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Asin: 0073662046
Catlog: Book (1999-07-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Sales Rank: 399041
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The science of sexuality. Research based, inter-disciplinary and contextually diverse Hyde and DeLamater present a comprehensive and engaging introduction to the study of human sexuality. The seventh edition continues to combine a readable, engaging style that appeals to students from diverse backgrounds, with exceptionally careful scholarship and a unique feminist perspective. It is the standard by which other texts in this field are judged. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Covers all aspects of understanding human sexuality
Covers operant conditioning theories, classical conditioning theories, ect... This book is a true gem for anyone who is taking a course in understanding human sexuality, or even if you want to self teach in this area. Very well written, research topics and studies are well documented.
Go ahead, see for youself! ... Read more


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