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121. Empire of the Stars : Friendship,
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122. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove
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123. Science and the Akashic Field:
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124. Get the Facts on Anyone (Get the
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125. Multivariate Statistics for Wildlife
$79.95 $72.24
126. Research Design and Statistical
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127. Science Friction : Where the Known
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128. World Regional Geography: A Development
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129. The Science of God
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130. Nightingales : The Extraordinary
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131. e: The Story of a Number
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132. The Pleasure of Finding Things
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133. Geology of U.S. Parklands (Geology
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134. Polio: An American Story
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135. Scientific Revolutions : Primary
136. Personal Knowledge : Towards a
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137. Himmler's Crusade : The Nazi Expedition
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138. Reading and Understanding Research
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139. QED
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140. Athena Unbound: The Advancement

121. Empire of the Stars : Friendship, Obsession, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes
by Arthur I. Miller
list price: $26.00
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Asin: 061834151X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 21466
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Book Description

In August 1930, on a voyage from Madras to London, a young Indian looked up at the stars and contemplated their fate. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar —Chandra, as he was called — calculated that certain stars would suffer a most violent death, collapsing to virtually nothing. This extraordinary claim, the first mathematical description of black holes, rankled one of the greatest astrophysicists of the day, Sir Arthur Eddington, who in 1935 publicly ridiculed Chandra, sending him into an intellectual and emotional tailspin — and hindering the progress of astrophysics for nearly forty years.

Tracing the rise of two great theories, relativity and quantum mechanics, which meet head on in black holes, Empire of the Stars is the dramatic story of this intellectual feud and its implications for
twentieth-century science. It"s also the moving tale of one man"s struggle against the establishment and of the deep-seated prejudices that plague even rational minds. Indeed, it wasn"t until the cold war that scientists realized the importance of Chandra"s work, which was finally awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983.

Set against the waning days of the British Empire, this sweeping history examines the quest to understand one of the most forbidding objects in the universe as well as the passions that fueled that quest over the course of a century.
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122. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove
by Peter Goodchild
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Asin: 0674016696
Catlog: Book (2004-10-29)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 43902
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Book Description

One Nobel Prize-winning physicist called Edward Teller, "A great man of vast imagination...[one of the] most thoughtful statesmen of science." Another called him, "A danger to all that is important...It would have been a better world without [him]." That both opinions about Teller were commonly held and equally true is one of the enduring mysteries about the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb." In the story of Teller's life and career, told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Peter Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."

Goodchild's biography draws on interviews with more than fifty of Teller's colleagues and friends. Their voices echo through the book, expressing admiration and contempt, affection and hatred, as we observe Teller's involvement in every stage of building the atomic bomb, and his subsequent pursuit of causes that drew the world deeper into the Cold War--alienating many of his scientific colleagues even as he provided the intellectual lead for politicians, the military, and presidents as they shaped Western policy. Goodchild interviewed Teller himself at the end of his life, and what emerges from this interview, as well as from Teller's Memoirs and recently unearthed correspondence, is a clearer view of the contradictions and controversies that riddled the man's life. Most of all, though, this absorbing biography rescues Edward Teller from the caricatures that have served to describe him until now. In their place, Goodchild shows us one of the most powerful scientists of the twentieth century in all his enigmatic humanity.

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123. Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything
by Ervin Laszlo
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Asin: 1594770425
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: Inner Traditions International
Sales Rank: 10565
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Book Description

Introduces the embracing world-concept long sought by scientists, mystics, and sages: an Integral Theory of Everything.

• Explains how modern science has rediscovered the Akashic Field of perennial philosophy.

• Reveals how the universe stores a record of all that is happening and has ever happened on Earth and throughout the cosmos.

• Explores the origins, role, and future of life and consciousness in the universe.

Mystics and sages have long maintained that there exists an interconnecting cosmic field at the roots of reality that conserves and conveys information, a field known as the Akashic record. Recent discoveries in the new field of vacuum physics now show that this Akashic field is real and has its equivalent in the zero-point field that underlies space itself. This field consists of a subtle sea of fluctuating energies from which all things arise: atoms and galaxies, stars and planets, living beings, and even consciousness. This zero-point Akashic-field--or "A-field"-- is not only the original source of all things that arise in time and space; it is also the constant and enduring memory of the universe. It holds the record of all that ever happened in life, on Earth, and in the cosmos and relates it to all that is yet to happen.

Scientist and philosopher Ervin Laszlo conveys the essential element of this vision of the "informed universe" in language that is accessible and clear. The informed universe lends credence to our deepest intuitions of the oneness of life and the whole of creation. We discover that, as philosopher William James stated, "we are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep." ... Read more

124. Get the Facts on Anyone (Get the Facts on Anyone)
by Dennis King
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Asin: 0028628217
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Arco Pub
Sales Rank: 41274
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars awesome guide
This guide was comprehensive, thorough, and was chock full of information. Get the Facts on Anyone, was full of resources, both online and offline of getting information. This book can be used to verify information you think you already know, or find out what you may not know. Well worth the investment.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
I have read or looked into almost every book on this topic and feel Get the Facts on Anyone is one of the best and a worthwhile investment. It is logically laid out, professionally written and full of usable action items. Don't hesitate to purchase this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars How to find people and hide yourself.
This book is very helpful in pointing out the mistakes and preconceived ideas of how to change your identity. Helpful hints on tracking anyone. ... Read more

125. Multivariate Statistics for Wildlife and Ecology Research
by Kevin McGarigal, Sam Cushman, Susan Stafford
list price: $49.95
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Asin: 0387986421
Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Sales Rank: 262042
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wildlife researchers and ecologists make widespread use of multivariate statistics in their studies. With its focus on the practical application of the techniques of multivariate statistics, this book shapes the powerful tools of statistics for the specific needs of ecologists and makes statistics more applicable to their course of study. Multivariate Statistics for Wildlife and Ecology Research gives the reader a solid conceptual understanding of the role of multivariate statistics in ecological applications and the relationships among various techniques, while avoiding detailed mathematics and underlying theory. More important, the reader will gain insight into the type of research questions best handled by each technique and the important considerations in applying each one. Whether used as a textbook for specialized courses or as a supplement to general statistics texts, the book emphasizes those techniques that students of ecology and natural resources most need to understand and employ in their research. Detailed examples use real wildlife data sets analyzed using the SAS statistical software program.

The book is specifically targeted for upper-division and graduate students in wildlife biology, forestry, and ecology, and for professional wildlife scientists and natural resource managers, but it will be valuable to researchers in any of the biological sciences.

Kevin McGarigal is Assistant Professor and Sam Cushman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management at the University of Massachusetts. Susan Stafford is Head of the Forest Science Department at Colorado State University. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars grad students
I am an ecology grad student and I have returned to this text again and again. ... Read more

126. Research Design and Statistical Analysis
by Jerome L. Myers, Arnold D. Well
list price: $79.95
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Asin: 0805840370
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Lea
Sales Rank: 187486
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127. Science Friction : Where the Known Meets the Unknown
by Michael Shermer
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Asin: 0805077081
Catlog: Book (2005-01-05)
Publisher: Times Books
Sales Rank: 211215
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Book Description

Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time

A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself.

In each of the fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.
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128. World Regional Geography: A Development Approach, Eighth Edition
by David L. Clawson, James Fisher, Samuel Aryeetey-Attoh, Roger Theide, Jack F. Williams, Merrill L. Johnson, Douglas L. Johnson, Christopher A. Airriess, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov, Bella Bychkova Jordan, Ellen Hamilton, Beth Mitchneck
list price: $103.00
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Asin: 013101532X
Catlog: Book (2003-08-15)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 416363
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Organized around the theme of human development, this book is written by experts on each region of the world to create a comprehensive volume on world regional geography that presents a vital overview of the topic, providing a deep understanding of the character of the world's people. A rich art package assists the reader in gaining a personal feeling for the inner essence of each world region.This book covers the geographic, social, and economic issues for each world region, including the United States and Canada; Europe; Russia and the Eurasian States; Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands; Asia; the Middle East and North Africa; Africa south of the Sahara; and Latin America.This book can serve as an excellent tool for any reader who is interested in the world's regions and its people; it is an excellent reference work for geographers, cultural anthropologists, and others working in those fields. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Seriously Biased
The tendency of this book to ridicule America (its history, its culture, its priorities, etc.) really calls into question the objectivity and political persuasion of its authors. Whether it's the destruction of the environment or world poverty, America and the American people are always to blame. We use too much energy; we don't share enough; blah blah blah. America does more to promote peace and economic development throughout the world than any other country. While the authors of this book don't seem to be so, I, for one, am PROUD to be an American

5-0 out of 5 stars As a text
The general feel of this book is dark and dull. Graphics are oddly benign,upside, the Geography in Action sections offer realistic insight into Geographic concepts. Clawson and Fisher tried. ... Read more

129. The Science of God
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 076790303X
Catlog: Book (1998-10-20)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 6102
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Uniting staunchly opposed viewpoints into one groundbreaking new perspective, this startling and timely work illuminates the complete interdependence between Biblical reports and modern scientific discoveries. Comparing key events from the Old Testament with the most current findings of biochemists, paleontologists, and physicists, Gerald Schroeder resolves age-old debates about miracles, the origins of the universe, the first life on Earth, and the meaning of free will. Through thoughtful, engaging discussions--even using Einstein's theory of relativity to validate a six-day creation timetable--The Science of God ultimately proves both Darwin and creationists right. ... Read more

Reviews (78)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Diference between faith and reason
One of the most interesting facts of this book, in my experience, is people's reactions after reading it. Religous christians attack it for being unorthodox. Religous Jews tend to want to debate its points. Why?

Because Schroeder, a religous Jew, accepts the value of the many supportive texts that Jews read along with the bible. Christians reject these texts and look mainly to the texts obvious meaning. That is unfortunate.

Imagine, a 12th century Jewish comentator described the "big bang" in almost exactly the way a high school physiscs teacher would in 2001?. The writers of the talmud saw each stage of creation "evolving" into the next and discussed whether 6 days for the divine was the same as 6 days as they experience it. For me, such facts are mind blowing.

I urge anyone interested in understanding a Jewish approach to the world to read this text. We believe people were created with reason exactly so we could probe the mysterys of creation and help in the divine plan. Along with everything else, Schroeder demonstrates that much current science was prefigured by religous scholars who used holy texts as their source.

If you want to understand why faith and reason are not in conflict, I urge you to read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing, thought-provoking read
I never realized that a book dealing with science could be so poetic and intriguing. Yet Dr. Schroeder has written such a book: a real page turner. Using information from the fields of micro-biology to quantum mechanics to cosmology, as well as traditional biblical commentaries from past centuries, Dr. Schroeder brings amazing and convincing data to support his thesis that science and the Bible are not only compatible but the study of one is enhanced by the study of the other. The knowledge brought from both do not compete or contradict, but converge.

Without being in any way dogmatic or preachy, Dr. Schroeder shows how biblical texts have within them the hidden meanings known in ancient times which we can only now more completely understand with the help of science. One cannot come away from this book without a deeper appreciation of the intricacies of of the world we live in from the smallest particle to the scope of the expanding universe. The "how" that we can learn from science is absolutely mind-boggling. Dr. Schroeder helps synthesize this with the no less intriguing "why" that we can gain form biblical sources.

Anyone interested in such diverse topics as what kind of statistical possibilities are necessary for random evolution, the naturalness of miracles, and what kind of god allows the good to suffer will appreciate this awesome book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Science of the Goofed!
The most charitable comment I can give to this book is that "it is a journey". More specifically, it is a torturing journey. The author tends to mix up very simple scientific methodology and metaphysical philosophy. Often, Gerald seems to look like an armchair philosopher and jumps to unsupported onotological conclusion. One may find plenty philosophical problems in the analysis, arguments from personal credulity and incredulity. The arguments are not even close to being convincing. I would not recommend this chauvinistic exegesis to anyone would like to 'find things out'.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box,-- a seminal effort worth a read
As a scientist in an ongoing search for truth, I have been disappointed by ham-handed efforts of the creation crowd to cling to extreme minority viewpoints of credentialed scientists from diverse fields of science that would collectively be required to support a *literal* interpretation of Genesis. Similarly, I have been mystified by scientists who reflexively dismiss the idea of some kind of intelligent design outright by way of circular reasoning, arguing that since intelligent design can never be disproven, it is not scientific and thus could not be truth, since only science can properly assess truth.

It is hard to understate, then, the moxie of Schroeder's innovative attempt to reconcile with Genesis scientifically DOMINANT paradigms (i.e. universe many billions of years old, terrestrial life hundreds of millions of years old, species variation to extensive degree by alteration or differential expression of genes). Schroeder introduces his intent thus: "In the following chapters, I attempt to avoid the subjective tendency of bending Bible to match science or science to match Bible." (softcover p.19) Whether he was successful or not is in the eye of the reader, but the explicit intent is refreshing.

This book, then, would be of particular interest to two groups:

1) Scientists who wonder how their mainstream conclusions could possibly be reconciled with ancient accounts of creation from the Hebrew Torah.

2) Jews and Christians who are discomforted by the apparent incompatability between the text of their faith versus the observed truth about our planet and universe as collected and interpreted by the VAST MAJORITY of professional scientists.

The prime example of this reconciliation is Schroeder's attempt to fit a 15-billion year old universe with the six-day account of Genesis by arguing that: 1) from a collective, "Creation-wide" perspective, time advanced differently in the primordial hot universe (time dilation), and 2) that "days" in the ancient hebrew text only adopted the terrestrial perception (instead of universal perception) of time passage upon the creation of man late in the "creation" process.

Later chapters address other issues, such as the likelihood that genetic variation by mutation at rates observed in today's laboratories (or even much greater rates) were sufficient to generate the speciation evidenced in the fossil record within the abbreviated time-frame indicated by the fossil record itself.

By virtue of his theological background and professional training (MIT-trained physicist), Schroeder is uniquely qualified to attempt such a reconciliation. However, as evidenced by several previous reviews, this training is not enough-- at least not enough to win over skeptical scientists. It may be that the sheer enormity of burgeoning data within each of the fields (molecular genetics, population genetics, paleontology, geology, as well as cosmology and particle physics) is simply too great for one individual to incorporate into solid perspective within *each and every* discipline to present an airtight case on all scientific fronts.

Previous reviewers have asserted gross inaccuracies with the science presented in this book. As a clinical neuroscientist, I am not in a position to assault or defend Schroeder on evolution, genetics, particle physics or cosmology. However, I would argue against throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For example, the latest data on cosmic background radiation indicates an accelerating expansion of the universe, and an approximate age of 13.7 billion years instead of the 15 Schroeder cites. Must this nullify the core of his whole premise? Maybe so, but not enough to discard this book out of hand.

The strength of this work is in its innovation. Schroeder rightly notes that the Bible is silent on many subjects, and actually leaves room for many observed phenomena, such as speciation and niche-filling by DNA alteration. It is only the rigid mindset of many religious individuals that closes this possibility.

The weaknesses of the book lie in the specific physical science undergirding Schroeder's arguments, as well as in his over-reliance on conjecture. I thus was left with the same mind-set I had before I read the book, namely that the simplest explanation for why the Genesis account is not borne out by the findings of mainstream science is that Genesis was inspired and spoke great *truth* on a metaphorical and didactic level-- but not at a literal level.

On the whole, I found it a fascinating read. In accord with previous reviewers, I liken this effort to a Model-T. Crude in the light of today, yet innovative at its introduction, with the potential to be honed with further investment in this line of reasoning. This whole line of inquiry would benefit enormously by some kind of COLLABORATIVE work, with each chapter penned by a bona-fide expert in that field of the physical sciences, where this expert can build a much more solid case in conjunction with the totality of data in his or her field. I could even envision anonymous contribution, inasmuch as publicly arguing for some kind of intelligent designer is probably not conducive to garnering tenure in the Paleontology Department of Secular State University....

3-0 out of 5 stars Great subject to attempt to tackle
Not one of his best books. I thought the hidden face of God was much better for the money. Schroeder sympathizes with the intelligent design movement and makes a compelling case for his cause from a theological standpoint. For Schroeder, the mind can be converted into energy and energy can then be converted into mass. This is the next great step in physics and is just a few years before discovering the path for this venture. However there is much speculation and little evidence to back up the claims presented. The book is often lax on supportive evidence and testimony.

Schroeder believes physics will drastically change in the following years but his revolutionary view ends with that subject. Schroeder seems to blindly accept many other avenues without fail, such as geological dating, human evolution, and even embryology. Subjects which have much more subjective and questions marks. Further Schroeder's rational for doing so is not much more than simply accepting the status quo. His whole argument, for instance, against YEC and Noah's flood revolve around dated writing tablets. Schroeder argues the flood could not have altered dating schemes because certain writing pieces are dated at 10,000ys old. This is simply flawed reasoning and can be explain by skewed dates produced because of the flood.

There were several chapters were Schroeder went off topic and started going on some tirade. The chapter on free will was interesting but I expected more. His chapter on randomness and how mathematically evolution has many problems was very detailed. I thought that his take on Adam being the first human with a soul was an interesting way of interpreting genesis. A tough topic to cover, but Schroeder does ok. ... Read more

130. Nightingales : The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale
list price: $27.95
our price: $16.77
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Asin: 0345451872
Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 1826
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131. e: The Story of a Number
by Eli Maor
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0691058547
Catlog: Book (1998-05-04)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 11007
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Until about 1975, logarithms were every scientist's best friend. They were the basis of the slide rule that was the totemic wand of the trade, listed in huge books consulted in every library. Then hand-held calculators arrived, and within a few years slide rules were museum pieces.

But e remains, the center of the natural logarithmic function and of calculus. Eli Maor's book is the only more or less popular account of the history of this universal constant. Maor gives human faces to fundamental mathematics, as in his fantasia of a meeting between Johann Bernoulli and J.S. Bach. e: The Story of a Number would be an excellent choice for a high school or college student of trigonometry or calculus. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars If Not Satisfied with Pi Try e
This writer had written three books, as far as I know, the one before you, "Trigonometric Delights" and "To Infinity and Beyond." If this does not convince you to read this book, then nothing will.

I read this after Dr Beckmann's "A History of Pi," and found it to be the right choice. (for a review of that book click on the blue "a_mathematician" above to see it in its proper place). As Pi is closely associated with the circle, then so is e associated to logarithms and differential equations. It is even called the natural base!

Maor does an excellent job in accounting the historical points about e. In the beginning of the book we see e associated with the logarithms and then we see its characterization as the limit of some sequence of numbers. Then we go into some summary of the origin of calculus to see that the exponential function with base e is its own derivative.

If you find all this difficult to grasp right now, do not worry, because it is explained in the book in simple language.

The book then goes into spirals, and then to hyperbolic trig functions which are defined in terms of the exponential functions base e, and the book is concluded with the Euler's equation, the equation containing the four most important numbers in mathematics: Pi, e, 1, and zero.

I can't emphasize this enough, but the language of the book is understandable by anyone. Maybe you would be convinced if I tell you that my native language is not English, yet I could understand the insights of the writer. If you liked the book try a better one, Singh's "Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem." (For a review please click on the blue a_mathematician above)

5-0 out of 5 stars A story well told
I read the book several times. It is an easy reading book for a begining math major (like me).The author did a very good and kind job to us. The other side of the my experience is that I had also tried to read the book "Euler, master of us all" (by a different author) and had found Euler's originals were easier to follow than that "expository" book.
I had always been wondering how people calculated logarithms initially and how logarithm was originated. Well, the story explained to me from the very beginning. Each chapter it tells me something interesting and beautiful that I did not know before. While most textbooks rarely spare the ink to tell the reader how and where some of the most important math ideas and formulas had come along, this book tells me in a gentle and lucid way. I consider this book to be a good friend and I suspect that perhaps even advanced learners may find it a enjoyable read as well. Well, I also think it will be very nice if calculus professors use this book as one of their references.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Interesting, though last chapters are challengi
This is one of the best history of mathematics books I have read. It was comprehensive and easy to follow even for the uninitiated. However the last two or so chapters are challenging even for those who have a strong math background. This is not in anyway saying that the book is not worth reading, just that one might take care to put off reading the last few chapters until later in one's math carreer or seek the guidence of a wiser more experienced mathematician. Additionally I have actually taken a history or math course with Dr. Maor and would like to add he is a great lecturer as well... I highly recomend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Making Math Understandable
Many textbooks state very little or nothing about the background behind the history mathematics. Maor describes the thought processes of the mathematicians in such a way that one can appreciate Mathematics more. e: The Story of a Number speaks to a broad audience so that, regardless of your mathematical experience, you will understand mathematics better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical Description of Natural Log and Math History
It would be a great side reading for Real Analysis and Multivariable Calculus class. The greatest wonder I had during the first half of Real Analysis (Rudin's book) class was answered. I thought 'e' should rather be called "magical log" rather than natural log because of all the fascinating features it has. Maor discusses every aspect of this magic number in a language that is friendly to non-mathematicians. I liked the real world application of natural log such as music and finance, and the derivation of Euler's Formula e^(i*pi)+1=0.
Excellent. ... Read more

132. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman
by Richard P. Feynman, Jeffrey Robbins
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0738203491
Catlog: Book (2000-08)
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Sales Rank: 45339
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The national best seller--an unparalleled collection of timeless writings by one of the most beloved and original thinkers of the twentieth century.

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a magnificent treasury of the best short works of Richard Feynman, from interviews and speeches to lectures and printed articles. A sweeping, wide-ranging collection, it presents an intimate and fascinating view of a life in science-a life like no other.

From Feynman's ruminations on science in our culture to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this book will fascinate anyone interested in the world of ideas. Newcomers to Feynman will be moved by his wit and his deep understanding of the natural world and of the human experience; longtime admirers will discover many treasures available nowhere else. ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliance and charm: Feynman as a teacher
I very much enjoyed this entertaining and delightful collection of lectures, talks and essays by the world-renown and sorely missed Professor Feynman, Nobel Prize winning physicist, idiosyncratic genius and one of the great men of the twentieth century.

I particularly enjoyed the subtle yet unmistakable way he scolded the people at NASA for putting their political butts before the safety of the space program they were managing in his famous "Minority Report to the Space Shuttle Challenger Inquiry." But the chapter that really sold me on Richard P. Feynman, boy wonder grown up, was "It's as Simple as One, Two, Three" in which he explores the ability to do two things at once through an experiment with counting. Such a delight he took in learning as a kid from his friend Bernie that we sometimes think in pictures and not in words. And then the further delight he took in learning that some people count with their inner voice (himself), and others (his friend John Tukey) count by visualization.

I was also loved the chapter, "What is Science?", a talk to science teachers in which Feynman demonstrates that the real difference between science and other ways of "knowing" (e.g., religion) is the ability to doubt. In science we learn, as Feyman said he himself learned, to live with doubt. But in the religious way of "knowing" doubt is intolerable. Feynman gives an evolutionary illustration of why doubt is essential. He begins with the "intelligent" animals "which can learn something from experience (like cats)." At this stage, he says, each animal learned "from its own experience." Then came some animals that could learn more rapidly and from the experience of others by watching. Then came something "completely new...things could be learned by one animal, passed on to another, and another, fast enough that...[the knowledge] was not lost to the race...," and could be passed on to a new generation.

Now, let's stop for a moment. What a great teacher does--and here and elsewhere Feynman proves himself to be a great teacher (although he said he doubted that!)--is to guide the student just enough so that the student arrives at or anticipates the point of the lesson before the teacher gets there. What is the punch line of this lesson for the science teachers? Namely this: with the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next it became also possible to pass on false knowledge or "mistaken ideas." Feynman calls this a "disease."

"Then a way of avoiding the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio, again from experience, what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past..."

In other words, don't blindly accept the word of authority. Test it for yourself! And this is what science does. It tests and it tests again, and it doubts and it doubts--always.

I loved this because one of my dictums is "always guide the experts"--the lawyer, the doctor, the insurance adjustor, et al. Always guide them because, although they are the experts, you're the one who really cares. To this I can now add that you should also doubt the experts because even though they are experts they can be wrong. And, as Feynman showed in his report on the Challenge disaster, they can be wrong for reasons that have nothing to do with their expertise.

I also liked the commencement address he gave at Caltech on "Cargo Cult Science...and How to Not Fool Yourself." We fool ourselves a lot. The managers at NASA fooled themselves; what's their names of cold fusion delusion fame fooled themselves. Feynman has noted that he has fooled himself. Science, he avers, is a tool to help us to not fool ourselves. He is profoundly right. Without science we would go on fooling ourselves with all sorts of mumbo-jumbo, "revealed" religiosity and scientific-seeming stuff such as Rhine's ESP experiments some years ago at Duke, the entire litany of New Age pseudobabblese, and--yes!--such stuff as the amazing Cargo Cult Science in which some Pacific Islanders, in an attempt to attract the big birds of the sky with their cargoes of goodies, built "nests," that is, landing fields with empty cargo boxes, and faux towers, etc. in the hope that the planes flying overhead would see them and land on their island. Feynman has taken this as an example of pseudoscience, that is, behavior in the form of science without the substance of science, without the "integrity" of science.

The integrity of science, Feynman advised the graduates, demands that all the information about the experiment be given, even detrimental facts. Feynman contrasts this idea with that of advertizing in which only that which makes the product look good is given.

When reading this book it helps to imagine that one is listening to Feynman speak. The text includes repetitions and the omissions which he no doubt conveyed with his voice, expression or gesture. When one reads him this way, some of Feynman's endearing charm and the gentle, self-effacing humor for which he is famous comes through. Here's a joke from pages 206-207: He is at Esalen in a hot bath with another man and a girl. The man begins to massage the girl's foot. He feels something in her big toe. He asks his instructor, "Is that the pituitary?" The girl says, "No, that's not the way it feels." Feynman injects, "You're a hell of a long way from the pituitary, man." And they both look at him. "I had blown my cover, you see--and she said, It's reflexology. So I closed my eyes and appeared to be meditating." Yes, Feynman is a long way from reflexology.

4-0 out of 5 stars Find out
Anyone who became familiar with Richard Feynman from his hugely popular memoirs What Do You Care What Other People Think, and Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman will find The Pleasure of Finding Things Out an intermediate step between those books and the dense scientific texts behind his Nobel Prize and reputation as one of the 20th century's great minds.

This book is not meant to be entertaining, but I suppose a glimpse into Mr. Feynman's mind cannot help but be entertaining, even when it is a series of lectures based entirely on science. Here he talks about what he calls the "thrill" of boldly finding out what no man knew before, on subjects ranging from the discovery of the reasons behind the crash of the space shuttle Challenger to the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos and from the role of science in society to his Nobel acceptance speech. And while it is not specifically written with the non-scientist in mind, a strong background in science is not necessary to understand and enjoy the wind-ranging collection of philosophies, musings, and remarks collected on these pages.

2-0 out of 5 stars scraping the bottom of the feynmaniana barrel
This book is yet another posthumous compilation of Feynman's musings. With each successive book - starting from the wonderful transcriptions of Leighton, Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman - they have been declining in quality for years. Well, this is a hodgepodge of paper scraps and even raw oral interviews that have been thrown together to exploit just about the last drop of these kinds of things, and I can say that I don't think the process should continue.

There are some amusing things in this book and some interesting details, but there really isn't anything special except for the fact that Feynman enjoys the personality cult associated with a zany physics genius. He was an original character and, in physics, a truly great thinker. But that doesn't make every last little thing that he ever said or scribbled down interesting, except to uncritical devotees who live with the fantasy that everything he said was better than worthwhile. Indeed, if you know about something in great depth he writes (well talks) about, his views appear as superficial as the rest of non-specialists on the subjects. Where he is truly interesting in on physics, mathematics, and science - and the overwhelming majority of what he produced on those subjects is already available.

I would not recommend this book, except as a source of Feynman trivia if that is your bag. Indeed, I had heard most of these things before - either in films about the man or from his earlier writings. As such, that makes this book the crassest attempt to commercially exploit the legacy of this great man yet again. If such a thing were possible, the editor should be ashamed.

1-0 out of 5 stars different but in a way too different
I found this book to be complicating as it jumped from subject to subject. It wasnt really that informative. It gave out the authors personal information and feelings rather than actual facts. I guess it was something that one with the same mind frame as him could relate to. I had to read this book for school. I got nothing out of it, except the ignorant and close minded thoughts of the author. The grammar was also terrribe. It wasnt written in a way that one could follow. I had to use my imagination to kind of figure out the authors feelings of whatever he was talking. It was written in a way as if he was actually talking to in person rather than through a book. But I do have to say that it was different. I guess if you are into and study science it is the book for you. But its not really a book to learn from. Instead its more like a book to say "Oh! I feel that way too." To conclude, I dont know what to say to those of you who are into science, but to those of you who do not have much of an interest in it i would reccomend that you choose another book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A grab-bag of a book.
This book is a hodge-podge of personal and professional reminiscenses and interviews. Feynmann tells stories about building the A-bomb, his Dad, teaching his children, curiosity, learning, "the big picture," and how he learned that different minds work differently. I enjoyed parts of the book, particularly the parts most related to the book's title, like how his Father taught him scientific curiosity.

It is obvious that a lot of people have respect for Feynman, and I don't doubt he earned it. But as a story-teller, while he is sometimes interesting, frankly a lot of the time he is rather incoherent. The interviews are especially inarticulate, fumbling for words. I guess you had to be there. Elsewhere, Feynman comes across as another famous scientist piddling in other fields in his spare time. As an educator he is interesting, though not always fully syntactical. What he teaches well is his own infectious enthusiasm for "finding things out." Like some other scientists who are not very familiar with other fields, he tends to depict that pleasure as an almost exclusively scientific one. But of course Confucius, Origen, and Augustine knew the same pleasure, as do we in the contemporary humanities. As a teacher myself, I agree that enthusiastic curiosity is itself the greatest lesson. Feynman communicates that well, among other things.

Feynman admits that "in a field that is so complicated that true science is not able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom." It would be truer to say that science is one in a continuum of epistomological methods, from the most direct (and limited), like math, to "hard sciences" like physics and chemistry, to "soft sciences" (paleontology) and up through history to psychology and finally theology. Like many scientists, and antagonistic philosophers (Rorty), Feynman confuses epistomological "hardness" with rationality, in the sense of finding out what truly is, and being reasonably certain about it.

The odd thing about Feynman's excursions into other fields is that he admits, "I'm still a very one-sided person and don't know a great deal." His editors think he's just being modest, I guess.

Most of the time Feynman treats religion with formal respect (one gets the feeling he's been scolded before and doesn't want to pour oil on the fire). He is, in fact, rather ignorant on the subject, refuting silly heresies, and thinking he has got to the heart of the matter. At one point he compares the "Catholic religion in the Middle Ages" to Hitler and Stalin. I'm not Catholic, but in my opinion that reflects poorly on his understanding of the historical roots of science and democracy. For all Feynman's love of science, it's a pity he should be ignorant of where it came from.

That such a grab-bag of a book would inspire the loyalty that is revealed in reviews below, is something I have great sympathy for. But it also demonstrates what many observers have commented on, the priest-like status that scientists have attained in Western culture. Books like this make me mourn for the sins of modern thought: over-specialization, the cults of celebrity and science, and philosophical confusion about how we know things. The book did make me think about how to teach, however, and introduced me to an interesting scientist.

author, Jesus and the Religions of Man ... Read more

133. Geology of U.S. Parklands (Geology of Us Parklands)
by Eugene P.Kiver, David V.Harris
list price: $90.00
our price: $90.00
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Asin: 0471332186
Catlog: Book (1999-05-28)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 338374
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The National Parks of the United States provide some of the world's most spectacular examples of a wide range of geological features. From the shores of Cape Cod to the volcanoes of Hawaii, this book teaches the principles of physical geology by example, re-creating the history of the earth and the development of its landforms, mountains, rivers, and oceans. By presenting a brief outline of the science of geology, and devoting chapters to individual geographical regions, the authors describe in detail the stunning geological features of each park. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Geology of U.S. Parklands, Fifth Edition
I teach a course in geology of America's National Parklands at a community college. I have tried another book for the required text for the course, with mixed success. Therefore when I found out that Geology of U.S. Parklands, fifth edition, was being released, I ordered it for the course even before I had seen my review copy. Previously when traveling I have consulted The Geologic Story of the National Parks and Monuments by the same authors, and was sufficiently impressed with the content, clarity of writing, and extent of coverage that I eagerly ordered the revised version. In my opinion this new book is THE one to use for similar college courses, and should also serve well for travelers with or without geologic training who want to know more about the geology of the magnificent federal parklands of our nation. There is a sufficient short course on general geologic principles in the initial chapter. I like the clarity, accuracy and dry humor of the text, which is better than the style and content in the book previously used - Geology of America's National Park Areas by Brooks Ellwood. Although the latter is quite a bit less expensive and has better quality if not more useful pictures, it is often too simplistic for my use in this course. I may have more to say after having used Kiver and Harris book as a text for a quarter or two, but my initial reaction to it is very favorable. Other books cover the geology of one or a few park areas, but this book has the entire country including Hawaii. However, for some reason the parklands of Alaska are excluded, probably because their inclusion could add many pages to what is already a massive volume (902 pages). I should have liked to see higher quality photographs and a lower cost, but other than those minor quibbles, this book will very likely set the standard to which all others on the subject will strive. ... Read more

134. Polio: An American Story
by David M. Oshinsky
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0195152948
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 17859
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

All who lived in the early 1950s remember the fear of polio and the elation felt when a successful vaccine was found. Now David Oshinsky tells the gripping story of the polio terror and of the intense effort to find a cure, from the March of Dimes to the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines--and beyond.Here is a remarkable portrait of America in the early 1950s, using the widespread panic over polio to shed light on our national obsessions and fears. Drawing on newly available papers of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and other key players, Oshinsky paints a suspenseful portrait of the race for the cure, weaving a dramatic tale centered on the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin. Indeed, the competition was marked by a deep-seated ill will among the researchers that remained with them until their deaths. The author also tells the story of Isabel Morgan, perhaps the most talented of all polio researchers, who might have beaten Salk to the prize if she had not retired to raise a family. As backdrop to this feverish research, Oshinsky offers an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by FDR and Basil O'Connor. The National Foundation revolutionized fundraising and the perception of disease in America, using "poster children" and the famous March of Dimes to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from a vast army of contributors (instead of a few well-heeled benefactors), creating the largest research and rehabilitation network in the history of medicine. The polio experience also revolutionized the way in which the government licensed and tested new drugs before allowing them on the market, and the way in which the legal system dealt with manufacturers' liability for unsafe products. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, Oshinsky reveals that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. But in baby-booming America--increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed--the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, soon became a cloud of terror over daily life.Both a gripping scientific suspense story and a provocative social and cultural history, Polio opens a fresh window onto postwar America. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Immunize yourself against historical ignorance of polio
As part of the generation of Americans who has grown up without the fear and/or experience of having contracted polio, I found Dr. Oshinsky's research into this epidemic a very enlightening read. Imagining what a world without vaccines was like is very chilling.

Coupled with then-constructions about people with disabilities and medical technology limitations, the specter of polio captured the imaginations and fears of whole communities. During the summer months, people were advised to be very careful about where they swam unless they too had wanted to end up with polio. The March of Dimes inadvertently helped to publicize people with disabilities even while the thrust of their founding campaign against Polio was eradication of the disease through a vaccine.

The development of that vaccine brings us into 1954, approximately 10 years after Roosevelt's own death. Jonas Salk made America's first polio vaccine using a killed-virus sample, and this product remained a virtual favorite for many years afterward. Although Albert Sabin's live-virus vaccination soon became the preferred model, it says a lot that the Salk product has reemerged to finally conquer polio once and for all.

Because society naturally has a tendency to anoint public figures and thus remove them from having any flaw, I actually did appreciate his research into the personal character traits of the scientists. Although these men ultimately helped to save America, they were personally imperfect. I feel this humanizing approach makes them more accessible figures to me and other readers.

Presidential action from FDR was instrumental in encouraging the eradication of polio in America.Now as this highly-readable book is released, the United Nations has set an equally ambitious goal of eradicating the world of polio by 2008.

1-0 out of 5 stars Is it safe?Not hardly
Only the Bush administration could produce such a pack of lies.The Salk vaccine "safe?"Salk a genius?

The blunt facts are that pressure from the March of Times resulted in the Salk vaccine being marketed despite its contamination with simian virus.Moreover, as marketed by Cutter in the '50's it contained live virus and gave hundreds polio.

Sabin went on to develop the vaccine which gave me and millions of others protection--in Russia!The March of Times campaigned to forestall Sabin's performing the necessary research here at home.

Read the full-length book, no longer in print, you'll find at

5-0 out of 5 stars Social history plus medical history equals thriller
I was too young to live through the polio epidemic but those just a few years older know how it terrified their parents, and them, as much as the fear of nuclear war that also loomed over the 50s. David Oshinsky weaves a gripping story that tells us not just about the scientific race for the vaccine (which was a neck and neck contest between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin), but also about the ways that the polio "crusade" changed American society, American medicine, and American philanthropy. For those who remember the polio years, this will bring them back vividly; for those like me to whom they're history, this tells us why our elders have never forgotten the euphoria they felt when the vaccine was announced. ... Read more

135. Scientific Revolutions : Primary Texts in the History of Science
by Brian S. Baigrie
list price: $46.20
our price: $46.20
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Asin: 0130990914
Catlog: Book (2003-12-08)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 202544
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Book Description

Covering physics, astronomy, chemistry, the various branches of biology, and geology, this book is the perfect introduction to the history of science. A compilation of interesting readings, Scientific Revolutions reflects the richness and diversity of scientific culture and practice.Its primary focus is on the extraordinary bursts of scientific activity that propel science in new and different directions.Useful as a reference work for readers interested in the sciences. ... Read more

136. Personal Knowledge : Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy
by Michael Polanyi
list price: $18.00
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Asin: 0226672883
Catlog: Book (1974-08-15)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 90859
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting study of tacit knowing and Polanyi's philosophy
Polanyi continues where Gestalt psychology left off, claiming, as Kant also did, that perception is an active reformer of experience (in other words, the mind actively creates meanings out of phenomena at all times). He agrees again with Kant that the mind is not a tabula rasa on which experience writes but rather it is the presupposed structures of the mind (subsidiary and focal awareness) that form our perception of the world. The author eventually leads us to the question of epistemology itself, "How do we know what we know?" Polanyi believes that via tacit thought, say knowing how to play a piece of music fluently yet not being able to adequately describe our knowledge of it, we make knowledge personal. Skills such as music can only be inarticulately known, that is, they can somehow be understood tacitly and though our cognition may understand the relation of their parts we have difficulty describing these relations through our ability to communicate, i.e. explicit language. This is only the tip of the iceberg in Polanyi's thought but I highly recommend this in-depth study of personal knowledge. If you can get through the first few chapters the book gets easier to understand. It's heavy but it's very much worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Polanyi's brilliant attack on naive objectivism
Books on epistemology tend to be dreary affairs. Epistemology, which is the branch of philosophy that studies how human beings acquire and "validate" their knowledge, tend to be largely speculative and logical. Most theories of epistemology that are inflicted upon the world are nothing more than the highly artificial constructions of some philosopher telling us all how we "ought" to attain and validate our knowledge. Any correspondence to how men really attain knowledge is usually pure coincidence. Moreover, in many instances, the epistemological philosopher has some special agenda which he is seeking to impose on his readers by confusing them with a mass of epistemological pedantry. He may be trying to prove the validity of a largely speculative form of "reason" or of definitions or of certainty or of a perfect and immaculate form of "objectivity" or of some other equally utopian and irrelevant principle.

In the light of all this philosophical pretension, it is refreshing to come across a book like Polanyi's "Personal Knowledge." Polanyi was a chemist trained in the methods of science. He understands, as few merely speculative philosophers do, the necessity of deriving theories from facts, rather than facts from theories. Yet Polanyi is more than just a scientist; he is also a very shrewd and critical thinker who does not shrink from challenging long cherished assumptions within his own discipline of science. "Personal Knowledge" is, among other things, an attack on what might be called "naive objectivism," which can be defined as the epistemological view which holds that the only valid knowledge is that which can be articulated and tested by strictly impersonal methods. Polanyi demonstrates why this view of knowledge is untenable. Some of man's most important knowledge, he argues, is tacit and inarticulable, like the knowledge of how to swim or how to judge a work of art. Yet men use such knowledge and even depend on it for their survival.

Polanyi's book is rich in such insights. Anyone interested in epistemology needs to read this book. It will change one's thinking about human knowledge and give one a great appreciation of the depth and wonder of the human mind.

4-0 out of 5 stars In response to "Good for it's time, but..."
"Personal Knowledge" by Michael Polanyi is still a valuable contribution, even now.

"Magellan" has said that subjectivist investigations don't buy you much anymore, but consider this:

Objectivist investigations don't tell you anything about how to use your own mind- the only tool you have for understanding Science to begin with. Yes, our brain is incredibly complex- yes, it has scientifically-investigatable structures which may be responsible for our consciousness- but without the actual, unavoidably personal use of your brain, you have nowhere to begin. I have all the structures that Magellan discussed in my brain, serving me at this very moment- but their function is underneath even what Polanyi calls "subsidiary knowledge". We can be aware of how our mental processes appear to behave to our conscious mind, but we are not aware of the work and usage of our individual neurons. If Magellan can show me how to become aware of the individual structures in my brain with all their individual neurons, and consciously micro-mangage their function in a way that results in me obtaining a better understanding of the world than I have only through the subjective perspective of my conscious mind, then I will say Polanyi is useless.

Until then, exclusively Objectivist investigations of the conscious mind won't buy you much, in terms of understanding how you (necessarily working out of the perspective of your own state of consciousness) comprehend the world we live in. If you want to learn something, anything, from science-- and still retain a sense that you can legitimately use your own subjective mind (albiet carefully) as you learn-- then it is worth reading Polanyi.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay for its time, but...
I don't think much of personological/subjective explanations of science, such as Kuhn's and Polanyi's, but I think their views should be heard and considered nevertheless. Western writers seem to have an odd fascination with this sort of approach, for reasons that are understandable historically but that I believe are still untenable, most of which is related to the west's obsession with the individual ego and individual consciousness and with the phenomenological and existential approaches to reality that grew out of that.

While I respect Polanyi as a scientist (he was a noted physical chemist), unfortunately I think he's pretty much gone off the deep end in terms of his subjectivistic interpretation of scientific method and of the work of the scientist, which amounts to a form of neo-Kantianism.

The first problem I have with this is that by making the human mind the final arbiter of all knowledge and sense data, a systematic ghost of an illusion pervades Polanyi's, and indeed, all Kantian theories, because there is no strong connection to external reality anymore. While I would agree with Polanyi in regard to Kant's basic thesis, that the mind is actively involved in organizing the data of the senses, and that ideas about the external world could not exist unless there were corresponding mental capabilities and constucts to match, this idea, although fine for its day, really doesn't buy you much anymore in my opinion. This is for two reasons, which is the problem of illusionism which I just mentioned, and the second is the approach that has now emerged from the last 75 years of work in neurobiology and the brain sciences, of which these writers seem blissfully unaware.

Although we still have a lot to learn, the picture that has emerged so far is both fascinating and impressive. For example, there are 60 trillion cells in a human brain organized into 14,000 major and minor brain centers, and they are all networked together. Each individual neuron has between 3,000 and 100,000 connections with other neurons, producing a neural web of unbelievable complexity.

Most sensory neurons are devoted to using feature-detecting algorithms that require advanced calculus to understand, as David Marr has shown. For example, to mention just a few of his important ideas, Marr's demonstrations that retinal receptive field geometry could be derived by Fourier transformation of spatial frequency sensitivity data, that edges and contours could be detected by finding zero crossings in the light gradient by taking the Laplacian or second directional derivative, that excitatory and inhibitory receptive fields could be constructed from "DOG" functions (the difference of two Gaussians), and that the visual system used a two-dimensional convolution integral with a Gaussian prefilter as an operator for bandwidth optimation on the retinal light distribution, showed that the level of mathematical sophistication as well as just brute computational power that is being devoted to sensory information processing is beyond anything we could have imagined.

Since Marr's time, there has been further progress in this area, such as the Bela Julesz's demonstrations that the visual system can extract and compute binocular disparity cues point-by-point for depth information from abstract, non-representational pictures such as random-dot stereograms. There is also the extension of Marr's ideas about monochromatic edge detection into color edge detection, the mathematical theories of nonlinear visual field distortions present in optical illusions, and many other areas.

Finally, consciousness itself may yield to research on the brain. In the last few years, consciousness has been shown to be composed of many different separate mechanisms in the brain that are being coordinated in time in order for consciousness to occur. It isn't a single process or central program that runs in the brain, nor is there a "master" brain center that one can point to where it can be said that consciousness resides, contrary to classical philosophical models which regarded it as unitary and indivisible.

Hence, there is very little reason anymore to insist on the fundamental subjectivity of perception in the Kantian sense. It is true that there are visual illusions at the higher levels of sensory perception, but those are now regarded as special cases, and they are being shown to be explainable in terms of mathematical visual field-distortion theories of these mechanisms that can be quantified just like the basic sensory processes, as I mentioned above.

Another reason neo-Kantian theories don't buy you much is to consider the work of cognitive psychologists and psychometricians like J.P. Guilford. Guilford has evidence for 120 different, discrete mental abilities. We have only just started to find out how all these areas and abilities actually work, but the resulting theories will far surpass in detail and complexity the simplistic philosophical generalizations of previous centuries about how knowledge is acquired and ideas are formed.

The bottom line at this point is that classical ideas like Kant's really aren't wrong, but they are like what classical Newtonian physics was after Einstein, correct as far as it goes, but just a piece of a much more profound, bigger picture. And the rest of that picture will be filled in by work in neurobiology and cognitive psychology, not by further vague philosophical speculation, which can only propose the most general explanations about these epistemological questions, rather than demonstrate in detail how the mind and the brain actually perceive and extract information from reality and then use the information from sense data to generate ideas about the real world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who should read this book?
I am fairly familiar with Polanyi's work and I thought it might be helpful to suggest who could benefit from this book. I would recommend this text to scientists and students who are interested in the philosophical issues and implications of their work, epistemology enthusiasts, philosophy students, and anyone trying to grapple with why Cartesian philosophy doesn't seem to explain reality.

Personal Knowledge is a dense read and Polanyi expects the reader to be familiar with many scientific and philosophic histories. It will require several reads to begin to get a grasp on the core of the material, but even a cursory reading is enjoyable and will challenge your thinking.

If you are not hip on philosophy, but are still interested in Polanyi's view of knowing reality, there are several texts available. If you don't know what the Cartesian Enlightenment is, then Meek's text "Longing to Know" is an excellent lucid primer that a high-schooler can understand. Drucilla Scott's text, "Everyman Revived" does a good job of expositing Polanyi with some biographical data as well.

The reason I rated this text 5 stars is because it is one of the best books I have ever read. However, it is not for everyone. not even a small minority of people will truly enjoy this book. So I hope I helped you become a member of the fractional minority or vice versa. ... Read more

137. Himmler's Crusade : The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race
by ChristopherHale
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
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Asin: 0471262927
Catlog: Book (2003-10-03)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 50514
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"As the Indiana Jones films showed, Nazis, new age mumbo-jumbo and exotic locations are a formula that works. Christopher Hale's gripping and well-researched tale of an SS-sponsored scientific mission to Tibet in 1938-39 has the whole shebang: mad occult beliefs, mountains, strange charactors called Bruno or Ernst and stomach-churning concentration camp experiments to round things off."
—The Sunday Times (London)

A scientific expedition or a sinister mission?

Why would the leader of the Nazi’s dreaded SS, the second-most-powerful man in the Third Reich, send a zoologist, an anthropologist, and several other scientists to Tibet on the eve of war? Himmler’s Crusade tells the bizarre and chilling story one of history’s most perverse, eccentric, and frightening scientific expeditions. Drawing on private journals, new interviews, and original research in German archives as well as in Tibet, author Christopher Hale recreates the events of this sinister expedition, asks penetrating questions about the relationship between science and politics, a nd sheds new light on the occult theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis.

Combining the highest standards of narrative history with the high adventure and exotic locales of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Himmler’s Crusade reveals that Himmler had ordered these men to examine Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan physiology, undermine the British relationship with the ruling class, and sow the seeds of rebellion among the populace. Most strangely, the scientists–all SS officers–were to find scientific proof of a grotesque historical fantasy that was at the center of Himmler’s beliefs about race.

Set against the exquisite backdrop of the majestic Himalayas, this fast-paced and engaging narrative provides new and troubling insight into one of the strangest episodes in the history of science, politics, and war. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars What's in a name, what's in a title?
First, let me congratulate Mr. Hale on such a worthy feat of scholarly research. He has really gone "out on a limb" to try and present something new which we can "all" learn from. In the context of we i am speaking about many of us who read about this period in history in the hope for a better understand of humanity and existence. Why is humanity sacrificed to such degrees in the name of science? Is this still happening again today? Are there other atrocities taking place in world whereby, social, economic or political beliefs are sacrificing humanity in the name of science, experimentation, etc. Would economics (capitalism, socialism, communism) and religion(Christianity, Islam, paganism) have anything to do with this?

Mr. Hale, from the perspective of shedding any new academic thought, theory or light on these precious subjects has failed miserably. Much like the great propaganda machines of the later day third reich and Doctor Goebbels and the present day apparatus of the Blair-led British government combined with US social science experimentation(pre-emptive strikes, internet wire-tapping, falsifying of evidence, off-shore torture labratories, Guanamtomo, etc) it seems Mr. Hale could be trying to only lend support to the status quo.

To pick-up on Hale's technique one only needs to draw attention to how he chooses to describe is main characters. Schafer, the main character is carefully described throughout the book in terms such as, "shameless", "raging", "developing fixations",etc. The average reader could actually be convinced that these German explorers are rabid racists and architects of the final solution that culminated in Auswitz. Perhaps it is all of this archealogical work they have been forced to do through forced occult ceremonies by Himmler that have somewhat hypnotised what were once normal and highly educated cultured University graduates and professionals of the world's scientific community. Hale even goes so far as Goebbels would in his scholorship by citing references from Nietzsche, "'we cannot fail to see the blond beast of prey..avidly prowling round for spoil and victory'...He has warned, 'The beast must come out again, and return to the wild.' By the beginning of 1939,the beast was loose." Perhaps, Hale should spend some more time researching Nietzsche instead of copying what other writers/propagandists have to say about Nietzsche and the third reich. I am certain the great Walter Kaufmann: Basic Writings of Nietzsche, would welcome Hale as a student in an attempt to further rid yet another propagandist on the true value/meaning of Nietzsche's works.

If one is still in doubt of my somewhat lowly opinion of Hale who should be taken as a serious propagandist one only needs tp read the cleverly titled chapter at the end named Aftermath. Hale sums up his vast library of "original" research by implying that archeological expeditions sponsored in the name of lost civilisations will ultimately lead to a 'slippery slope descending into darkness.' the darkness he is referring to is what culminated in the nazis concentration camps. The path he is suggesting we stay clear of is today's renewed interest in lost civilisations and cultires vis-a-vi Hancock: Fingerprints of the Gods." Perhaps, hidden somewhere in Hale's research is an explanation for the construction of the pyramids, lost unaccounted Inca treasure, interpretation of the ruins in Tiwanaku, etc. Most likely, with a little more research and a grant from the mainstream British/American science community Hale could recycle traditional science's excellent many modern day theories on this subject: hard labour primitive tools, world was created a few hundred years before Christ in 7 days, etc. As for the 'dangerous slippery slope of darkness' I wonder if he would include British/American War adventurism as a descent into darkness based on economic trade alchemy and scientific technological warfare and torture in the same category.

Hale is a propagandist who has highjacked the "holy grail" of WW2 subject matter - himmler and the occult - to once again hammer home the point of bad versus good. Bad in the world of Hale translates into the shameless practice of tracing our ancestorial origins, contrary to mainstream beliefs. Ultimately asking to many questions and searching to far will push us towards evil and darkness. Perhaps Hale and the conformist "matrixed" community of commerical hypothesis demanding members he represents should look in the mirror more often. If they look hard enough they might even have the will to smash it with an honest attempt to give history a new name.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Chilling and Compelling Account of a Nazi Obsession
This is a gripping historical account of a little known chapter of Nazi history. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was indeed based on truth stranger than fiction. Hale details the Nazi quest for the origins of the "Aryan master race" in a German led expedition to Tibet in 1938 supported by nut-bar extraordinaire, mass murderer and head of the S.S., Reichsf├╝hrer Heinrich Himmler himself.

Hale brilliantly documents from a wide range of sources a strange brew of bizarre Nazi race theories, poisonous ambition and swashbuckling adventures in China and Tibet ending in the horrors of Auschwitz.

In a time of when the shameless Madame Blavatsky is still taken seriously and the outer fringes of New Age ideas verge on the lunatic- David Ick et al- this book is a powerful reminder of the requirement for clear-headed rational scientific thinking.

Bravo to Christopher Hale for writing a story that needed to be told!

5-0 out of 5 stars a compelling book
I found this account of the Himmler sponsored expedition to find the mythical origins of the Aryan race utterly absorbing, not only because it sheds light on one of the odd, yet central strands of the Nazi cosmology but also because of the ways in which it was observed by the British. I had little idea that Tibet formed the locus of Western spiritual projections over so many decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Account of History
This is a brilliant and incredibly well researched book analyzing a little known, but powerfully important, part of Nazi history. I picked the book to read because it received such a stellar review by Michael Burleigh, the most renowned international authority on the Third Reich. Immediately, I was entranced by every aspect of Hale's account of an SS-sponsored expedition to Tibet in 1938-39. Hale goes way beyond doing a comprehensive book study of the subject. He actually conducted his own expedition to Tibet, retracing the steps that the SS-sponsored expedition leaders took and interviewing individuals who were either part of the expedition or who were associated with it. For example, throughout the book Hale provides astonishing information from his interviews with Bruno Beger, an anthropologist and SS member who would later be brought to trial and imprisoned for selecting over 100 inmates for "study" at Auschwitz (all of whom were gassed). I would recommend Hale's book for anyone interested in the origins and perpetuation of Nazism. Himmler's Crusade is already a classic in the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Underlying forces in the Third Reich
This is an excellent book. It describes the mostly unknown drive of the Nazis to discover the roots of their people and their influences around the world for many thousands of years before the Third Reich. It doesn't get any more interesting than this. The title is somewhat of a misnomer, however. The Nazis never questioned where the Aryan race originated, they were only trying to discover their history and influences around the world. Modern archaeology shows us that caucasian peoples were in North America over 11,000 years ago. The northern European caucasian mummies found in the arid lands of northeastern China show the unrelenting wanderlust of the curious peoples from the north. These exoduses of the European peoples are what the Nazis sought to discover. These are the real "diaspora peoples" whose languages have been confused and who have been spread around the world. That is what drove them in Indiana-Jones-like fashion to try to find these things. Still, it is an excellent book full of great information to those who have never thought or read about these things. Most books parrot the tired old terms about Hitler: "Monster", "Murderer", etc. It is nice to see a book which shows a glimmer of the kinds of underlying motivations which could so fanatically compel an extremely advanced and intelligent population to do the things they did. This book serves to help raise that curtain. ... Read more

138. Reading and Understanding Research
by Lawrence F. Locke, Stephen J. Silverman, Waneen Wyrick Spirduso
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
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Asin: 0761927689
Catlog: Book (2004-03-03)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Sales Rank: 227669
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Book Description

Click 'Additional Materials' for downloadable sample

“The authors have hit another home run. This terrific text provides the layperson and graduate students a wonderful entrée into the research process. In eight carefully crafted and readable chapters, the reader is supported via excellent examples, group exercises, and supplemental readings to significantly improve their abilities to read, understand, and critique qualitative and quantitative research reports and research reviews.”
 —Mary O'Sullivan, Associate Dean, College of Education, Ohio State University

“This is the best book I know of on how to read and use published research. It is pervaded by common sense, a nontechnical and user-friendly approach, and an insightful treatment of key issues that other books rarely address, such as the important things you can get from research reports besides ‘results.’ This edition provides greater coverage of qualitative and mixed methods research, and an expanded, annotated bibliography. While it is aimed primarily at consumers of research, a great deal of the content will also be useful to those doing research.” 
— Joseph Maxwell, George Mason University

The book that has helped demystify qualitative and quantitative research articles for thousands of readers has now been fully updated and revised.

Reading and Understanding Research, Second Edition is based on the notion that helping to demystify the process of consuming research will not only make for better students, but will help make for better research. The authors presume no special background in research, and begin by introducing and framing the notion of reading research within a wider social context. Next they offer insight on when to seek out research, locating and selecting the right reports, and how to help evaluate research for trustworthiness. A step-by-step reading of reports from qualitative and quantitative studies follows, and the final chapters examine in greater detail the different types of research to be encountered and how to examine the research more critically. This book is ideal for a novice researcher (and those that teach them!). 

New to the Second Edition:

• A new chapter on the utilization of research
• Expanded coverage of qualitative methods
• Updated resource lists
• More coverage of the twelve steps for understanding different types of research

... Read more

139. QED
by Richard Phillips Feynman
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0691024170
Catlog: Book (1988-10-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 13123
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Quantumelectrodynamics (QED) was the subject of "QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter," the popular book by Richard Feynman which was first published by Princeton University Press in 1985.Feynman makes passing references to the fact that the book is based on a series of general lectures on QED which were first delivered in New Zealand.Feynman had doubts about the accessibility of the lectures on QED to a general audience, and chose not to initially deliver these lectures at his native Caltech.Rather he chose remote New Zealand as his testing ground and in the process, gave the New Zealand physics community the dubious honor of being the guinea-pigs for his QED lectures.At Auckland University, these lectures were delivered in 1979, as the Sir Douglas Robb Lectures. Althoug h the published version of "QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter" is an excellent self-contained description of the subject, watching an unedite d Feynman delivering the lectures reveals his style and enthusiasm for his subject in a way which is impossible in a printed medium.Direct quotation s from the lectures provide fascinating additional insight both into the material of QED itself and into Feynman's character.4 VHS video cassettes .NTSC version (North American standard). ... Read more

Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic in the physics community!
QED. It's not Quod Erat Demonstrandum; no, it's not even Quickly Ends Dandruff. Then, what is it? Quantum ElectroDynamics. Now, if you're ignorant of physics, you're probably still thinking, "That says a whole lot. What is it?" By this rather formidable name, you might not be able to tell if you want to read the book or not, so I'll synopsize. Over three quarters (75%, if you prefer--ooh, I can do math!) of this book explains movements and interactions of electrons and photons expressed as probabilities. The last section discusses a variation of QED, quantum chromodynamics (i.e. quarks). Unlike some abstruse conjectures (most notably, string theory), quantum electrodynamics can be and has been experimentally verified. In fact, it is the most accurate theory ever devised! This does not mean that QED is totally compliant with common sense (fortunately; physics addicts often find common sense to be rather dull--and incorrect!). The reader learns to accept that light does not always travel in straight paths, that light reflects from all parts of a mirror, and that electrons can travel backward in time. Richard Feynman, who (along with Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and Julian Schwinger) was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize for his work on this theory, elucidates QED so that even those who have never before studied physics can understand it. (To be more accurate, they can understand *how* QED works; Feynman admits that no one, himself included, truly understands *why* QED works.) If you already are familiar with the theory, you are likely to become bored with this book. On the other hand, I'm not sure that this book is the best for physics neophytes, since it is specific in explaining this one given area (even skipping the historical background present in most popular accounts of physics). You might want to first obtain more general knowledge of modern physics. If you find optics interesting, definitely read this book. For anyone who wants a deeper knowledge of modern physics or chemistry, an understanding of quantum electrodynamics is a sine qua non, and this book is probably the most explicit introduction on the market.


5-0 out of 5 stars Earnest Enthusiasm and Elfish Delight
*QED* is an edited version of four lectures delivered to a lay audience at UCLA in 1983. It conveys Feynman's unique combination of earnest enthusiasm and elfish delight at the fact that "the way we have to describe Nature is generally incomprehensible to us." (p. 77) It is probably true that the book can be profitably read by every class of reader, from Feynman's physicist peers to street people (if this is not the contemporary equivalent of "the man in the street," why isn't it??) who have never studied physics. Feynman was a great communicator, and knew how to throw out a lifeline of wit, reason, or good sense in the midst of the most bewildering complexities. Twenty-first century humanity urgently needs to integrate something of the quantum view of reality into its common understanding of things, and Feynman's work is a precious contribution toward that end. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Illuminating
Get it? Illuminating. This book explains the interaction between light and matter, which is illuminating. If you understand the pun, then you have the brain capacity to understand this book.

Richard Feynman possessed some kind of special brand of genius which enabled him to masquerade as a regular guy. He was able to cut to the quick of Nature's mysteries and explain in plain english what he saw there for the benefit of those of us lacking in genius.

Feynman freed us from the need to relate to quantum physics by memorizing a set of arcane mathematical expressions, and delivered to us a way of understanding the probabilistic nature of quantum reality by drawing a bunch of little arrows pointing this way and that. His method, known as "Feynman diagrams", is so simple that it seems almost childlike, yet it works every time.

The theory of Quantum ElectoDynamics is the most complete theory that science has in its arsenal. The theory explains 99% of everything we see at the classical level of reality. Feynman was never quite able to tie in the oddities observed in the interaction of nuclei or gravitrons, but reality as we observe it is more or less dictated by the interaction of electrons, and this theory describes that interplay perfectly.

Feyman's "sum over histories" explains reality even better than Newton's seemingly incontrovertable laws of Nature, which in actuality, decribe only the end result of the sum over histories. Where Newton described one reality, the one observed by all of us, Feynman described every microscopic reality, each as real as the other, and all culminating in the one macroscopic reality as described by Newton. Feynman described particles moving faster than light, and even backwards in time - all of which is explained in his "strange theory of light and matter", and all of which is endlessly verifiable in the laboratory.

For anyone willing to break out of the Newtonian mindset which humanity has been in for over 300 years, and which is still taught in today's high school science classrooms, this book is a must read. Treat yourself to 150 pages of plain english which will infuse you with wonder for the rest of your days.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I am an Electrical Engineer and had the usual education. It is a delight to read this book and learn about the fundamental theory upon which much of the Electrical Engineering profession is based.

Much of what we are taught in schools is an approximation and sometimes wrong. It is great to learn, even if it is only qualitatively, about more accurate representations.

I wish that Feynman were alive to keep updating his lectures with the latest developments. The lectures seem to have been last updated in 1980s and I am sure Physics has moved on since then.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily understood intro to QED
Richard Feynman, along with Schwinger and Tomonaga, won Nobel prizes in the 1960's for their development of quantum electrodynamics (QED). In this book, Feynman attempts to bring this esoteric field down to the layman's level and succeeds as usual. The chapters in the book are taken from lectures he presented to a largely nonscientific audience, but the material is not dumbed down. Of course, many of the details are left out since only years of study can provide a true understanding of the theory, but Feynman presents his lectures in such a way that only a reasonable amount of thought is needed to appreciate the basics of QED.

"The Strange Theory of Light and Matter" is an entirely appropriate subtitle to a book that attempts to explain the theory behind phenomena that escape our everyday experience and intuition. QED is arguably the most successful scientific theory in existence. Its predictions have correlated extraordinarily well with experiment although "prediction" in the QED sense is not what we are generally used to. The quantum world is inherently probabilistic. There are certain things we just cannot "know." We cannot predict which photons will reflect of a glass surface, but with QED, we can at least accurately calculate the percentage of photons that do reflect. That's just one of the results of QED that Feynman attempts to explain, and he does so in a very straightforward fashion.

Feynman never insults the intelligence of his audience by pretending that the basics of QED are beyond its grasp, but instead repeatedly insists that no one really understands QED, but that should not prevent anyone from appreciating some of its results. With this attitude, Feynman explains the basics of partial reflection, particle interactions, and the discoveries of new particles, and he does all this through numerous figures and analogies rather than mathematical equations.

Richard Feynman was not your ordinary physicist. He was a physicist's physicist and a great teacher (read James Gleick's bio of Feynman called Genius). His teaching abilities are in full display in this book as he is able to bring an incredibly strange theory down to the average reader's level. I highly recommend this book. It will tax your thinking abilities but will never insult them. ... Read more

140. Athena Unbound: The Advancement of Women in Science and Technology
by Henry Etzkowitz, Carol Kemelgor, Brian Uzzi
list price: $27.99
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Asin: 0521787386
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 442765
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Athena Unbound
I read this book with tremendous interest. The stories it contains resonated in me or seemed to fit friends and colleagues. I have given Athena Unbound to family members upon graduation (from engineering school) and to my own women Chemistry students for graduation. I think it is important for my students to know what problems may lie before them and how they may be side-stepped. This book does a great job of outlining what these problems may be. Science is still a man's world. Forewarned is forearmed!

2-0 out of 5 stars More like a research paper than a book
I picked this book for my engineering ethics class thinking how great it would be to read about the experience of other females in engineering. To my dismay the book was slow and repetitive. The books studies white American women in science. The data through out the book is presented in a rough research paper like format. This is not a peasant to read book. If you can identify with white American women in the scientific field, then read this book. Otherwise the focus of this book is too narrow and the authors of the book does not present any practical solutions to the problems encountered by women in the scientific field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Subject
This book is one of the best books I have read on the subject of women in science. It will appeal to the general public, who tire quickly of statistic upon statistic. Instead, this book gives a broad overview of the gender issues surrounding science and approached to resolve these issues. Should be required reading in any gender or science history class, I think, though the focus is on contemporary issues not historical documentation. ... Read more

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