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141. The Map That Changed the World
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160. A History of Mathematics

141. The Map That Changed the World : William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
by Simon Winchester
list price: $13.95
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Asin: 0060931809
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 3241
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell -- clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world -- making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Determined to expose what he realized was the landscape's secret fourth dimension, Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. Finally, in 1831, this quiet genius -- now known as the father of modern geology -- received the Geological Society of London's highest award and King William IV offered him a lifetime pension.

The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

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Reviews (76)

3-0 out of 5 stars A review of the book about the map that changed the world
Simon Winchester, the author of the deservedly best-selling *The Professor and the Madman*, writes in *The Map that Changed the World* about William Smith, who was dubbed in 1831--a bit belatedly--The Father of English Geology by the then president of the Geological Society of London. Smith's great work was an enormous--some 8 x 6 feet--geological map of England, the data for which Smith had spent a considerable part of his lifetime collecting single-handedly. The map, which delineates in splendid color the various strata of rock that underlie England, was the first of its kind. Smith himself was a maverick intellect for his understanding of both the implications of the strata for the history of the Earth and the importance to the rocks' identification of the fossils that could be collected from them.

Smith also had an interesting personal history in that his great efforts for science were so unremunerative that he landed for some eleven weeks at the age of fifty in one of London's great debtors' prisons. Winchester makes much of this great irony in his book, that a monumental figure should be so ill-treated and so long unrespected during his lifetime.

For all Smith's merits as a subject, however, Winchester's narrative is a bit of a slog. His emphasis is very often on the science of geology rather than the personality of Smith. This is reasonable enough given the subject matter of the book, but I, at least, frequently found the author's discussion difficult to follow. Winchester may, as a one-time student of geology at Oxford, have had too high an opinion of his layman readers' capacities. (Or I, of course, may not have been the proper audience for the book.) For those who are not geologically inclined, there may be more discussion of strata, however, than is palatable: "Below the 300 feet of chalk, Smith declaimed before the others, were first 70 feet of sand. Then 30 feet of clay. Then 30 more feet of clay and stone. And 15 feet of clay. Then 10 feet of the first of named rocks, forest marble. And 60 feet of freestone." And so on.

Winchester's narrative does become more interesting toward the book's end, when Smith has, finally, published his map and he is imprisoned for debt--the great dramatic moment toward which the book has been leading. But Smith's stay in the King's Bench Prison is itself anticlimactic, because while Winchester alludes to its "horrors" earlier on, he finally describes debtors' prison as a sort of country club, where the indebted middle-class pass their time playing cards or bowling and drinking beer. Trying and embittering it may have been to be locked away while his possessions were riffled through and sold off, but it was evidently not horrific.

Winchester's writing is at its most charming--and he does write charmingly--in the most personal section of the book, when he tells the story of his discovery at the age of six of an ammonite fossil. He and his fellow convent boys were led by the sisters of the Blessed Order of the Visitation on a miles-long walk to the sea, an expedition they undertook once a week. Winchester's account of the boys' riotous plunge into the sea shows just how nicely he can turn a phrase:

"Up here there always seemed to be a cool onshore breeze blowing up and over the summit. It was tangy with salt and seaweed, and the way it cooled the perspiration was so blessed a feeling that we would race downhill into it with wing-wide arms, and it would muss our hair and tear at our uniform caps, and we would fly down toward the beach and to the surging Channel waves that chewed back and forth across the pebbles and the sand.

"I seem to remember that by this point in the weekly expedition the dozen or so of us--all called by numbers, since the convent's peculiar regime forbade the use of names; I was simply 46--were well beyond caring what the nuns might think: The ocean was by now far too magnetic a temptation. Once in a while we might glance back at them as they stood, black and hooded like carrion crows, fingering their rosaries and muttering prayers or imprecations--but if they disapproved of us tearing off our gray uniforms and plunging headlong into the surf, so what? This was summer, here was the sea, and we were schoolboys--a combination of forces that even these storm troopers of the Blessed Visitation could not overwhelm."

Perhaps Winchester will one day expand on this passage with further autobiographical fare.

4-0 out of 5 stars Geologist's Dream - Readers Beware
"The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology," by Simon Winchester, proved to be a bit of a disappointment. It's a wonderful book, and I'm sure for those who make their life in geology it's an excellent read, but for me it was a let down.

The problem may be that Winchester is too good a writer, or too accurate a biographer, to put down any details of which he's not 100% certain. Add to that the fact that the source materials focus on William Smith's professional work almost to the exclusion of any personal detail, and you have what should be a compelling personal journey that winds up reading more like a geology text in too many chapters.

Smith's place in history was assured by his 1815 publication of a map of England showing the geological strata and graphically demonstrating his theories that one could tell the age of the rocks from examining the fossils found within. This was radical stuff in 1815, and the work that led to this map took Smith some 30 years. Along the way he picked up a wife, who was possibly crazy, and adopted a nephew, who became his assistant, had business and financial troubles, which led to his being held in debtor's prison, and had a long running class-based feud with England's scientific establishment, which led to his works not being properly recognized for many years after their publication.

Unfortunately, only the last aspect of Smith's life is covered in any detail because that's all he wrote about in his own journal, or is covered in other source material. About the wife we're told that she was a burden to him, often sick, probably crazy, and possibly even a nymphomaniac. We're told all that, but we're never given examples, or are told how Smith felt about her. Did he love her anyway? Did they ever try to have children of their own? Did she embarrass him publicly? We don't know. About the nephew we're told that Smith took over his care when his sister and brother-in-law died, and that he became his assistant, but we're told nothing of their personal relationship. Was their's a close, familial relationship, or only one of master or mentor to apprentice? We don't know. And such is the frustration with the book (mine, at least).

What's left is endless descriptions of the various layers of the earth's crust, and how Smith could tell if an outcropping belonged to the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods.

I picked up this book because I loved Winchester's previous "The Professor and the Madman" so much. That's a book that's rich in personal detail, and is as important and fascinating in the descriptions of the lives of the subjects as it is in the descriptions of their professional works. "The Map that Changed the World" is likely stunning for students of geology, but may bore beyond belief the reader who doesn't care or know about item one of earth science.

So - In the end, I suppose a mixed review. If you get this joke (and think it's funny): "Subduction leads to orogeny" - or, if you have a bumper sticker that says "Stop Plate Tectonics" - Then this is a five star book that you will love every page of. If you don't even care to look up any of those words, then this is a three star book you should avoid. Which averages out to four stars: An occasionally fascinating and well-written book that is often dry and disappointing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Deadly dull
I'm sorry, but not even Simon Winchester's earnest enthusiasm and lyrical prose can save this tale. It's just too dull. I got through about halfway, and couldn't finish.

Winchester is a glorious writer in his twin histories of the Oxford English Dictionary. But here his subject is just too obscure and trivial, and try as he might, Winchester can't make it seem interesting.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fairly interesting story swamped by dreadful writing
It's a matter of taste, but I'm mystified by people who find Winchester's writing "charming." The author's cardinal rule seems to be: "When in doubt, slather on another thick coat of adjectives, adverbs, and clichés." This kind of prose is too politely described as turgid, florid, and repetitive.
I wouldn't normally review a book after reading 1/4 of it, but I feel about this one the way I do after watching 20 minutes of a movie, and the direction, acting, and story are already tired and weak. It's usually a waste of time to stick it out on the off chance of an improvement.
Given that, I can't comment on whether the underlying story will come close to living up to its grandiose title, but I can say that I have a hard time trusting an author on the big picture once I've seen him get the details wrong in areas that I am intimately familiar with (e.g. coal mining in this case).
As several other readers suggested, John McPhee is an incomparably better writer and researcher, on geology or any other topic he cares to tackle.

1-0 out of 5 stars pass on this title
I had many hours of flying ahead of me and this was the wrong book to have taken. The fact that it was the only book I had gave me great incentive to like it. I didn't. I left it on the plane for someone more desperate than myself. ... Read more

142. GREAT BRIDGE : The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
by David McCullough
list price: $18.00
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Asin: 067145711X
Catlog: Book (1983-01-12)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 4757
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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In the 19th century, the Brooklyn Bridge was viewed as the greatest engineering feat of mankind. The Roeblings--father and son--toiled for decades, fighting competitors, corrupt politicians, and the laws of nature to fabricate a bridge which, after 100 years, still provides one of the major avenues of access to one of the world's busiest cities--as compared to many bridges built at the same time which collapsed within decades or even years. It is refreshing to read such a magnificent story of real architecture and engineering in an era where these words refer to tiny bits and bytes that inspire awe only in their abstract consequences, and not in their tangible physical magnificence. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars McCullough: The Master Storyteller
McCullough is an amazing researcher and writer. His narrative style turns almost unknown historical events into "epic stories." And "The Great Bridge" is no exception. I came to know McCullough after "John Adams" was published, but have since decided to take the time to read all of his works. He never ceases to amaze me. "The Great Bridge" is a well-written, interesting, detailed history of the Broklyn Bridge, the Eight Wonder of the Modern World.

The characters come to life in this story, and the reader is transported into late nineteenth century New York City as an insider to watch the bridge rise from the caissons below the East River to the two gothic arches that dominated the skyline at their completion. From there, the reader can vividly visualize the wire and roadway stretch across the river until the bridge's completion. The book then ends with a spectacular grand opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. McCullough also focuses on the politics and people behind the bridge, and finishes his masterpiece by quoting an elderly woman from Long Island that remembers that the excitement in 1969, when two men walked on the moon, was nothing compared to the day the Brooklyn Bridge opened.

I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates good history. This book is not just for lovers of New York City and civil engineers. "The Great Bridge" is another McCullough masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic mix of engineering, social and medical history.
It would be difficult to overpraise this splendid book - and indeed one might have thought it a unique achievement had McCullough not pulled off the trick equally well in "The path Between the Seas". The main theme may be the conception, design and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, but into this are woven absorbing accounts of the social and political history of Gilded Age New York, the development of the technologies of underwater-foundations and of cable manufacture and spinning, the agonising quest to understand and treat the phenomenon of "the bends', the challenge of managing a project of a size unprecedented since classical times and, above all, the characters of a remarkable collection of men and women who were undauntedly resourceful in taking on the impossible. The story may be dominated by two engineers, the Roeblings, father and son, and by the latter's formidable wife, but a host of other fascinating personalities are brought to life, ranging from audaciously corrupt politicians, through noble and heroic army officers, down to individual technicians and workers. Mr.McCullough has a special gift for explaining technical complexities in simple and fascinating terms - this applies not only to the construction of the bridge and its foundations, but to the horrific and initially misunderstood challenge of what was termed "caisson sickness". The narrative never flags and the dangers and discomforts - indeed the sheer dreadfulness of working under pressure in the foundation caissons - are brought vividly to life. The writer excels at the moments of the highest drama - such as the almost catastrophic fire in one of the caissons, when the tension is almost unbearable, even when the final outcome is known to the reader a century and a quarter later. Every aspect of American life of the period seems to be covered somewhere in this book - the experience of immigration and assimilation, service in the most bloody campaigns of the Civil War, Spiritualism, the Beecher adultery scandal and the apogee, decline and fall of Tammany, all described with verve and elegance. The well-chosen illustrations complement the text admirably. In summary this is a book to treasure - to read once at the gallop, breathless to know what happened next, and then to read again at leisure - and again, and again. Wonderful!

5-0 out of 5 stars "...and yet the bridge is beautiful..."
In this day and age, what the name David McCullough means to part-time history buffs and amatuer historians (like myself) is excellence in writing, research and comprehensiveness. This reputation was undoudbtedly built based on classics like "The Great Bridge", written in 1972. Herein, the reader is exposed to spectactular writing and research that not only covers the planning and building of the Brooklyn Bridge, but indeed a history of the Gilded Age in New York city. With an enlightening style and insight that exceeds most other histories, McCullough defines "readable history" and in the process produces a classic that has and will continue to be the apex of literary history.

And what a story it is! Following the Civil War, master bridge builder John Roebling decides that a great suspension bridge between Brooklyn and New York city (present day Manhattan) is not only needed, but would continue his reputation as bridge builder par-excellance. His son, Civil War General Washington Roebling (notable at Gettysburg and Petersburg) becomes Chief Engineer when his father tragically dies during the initial stages of construction on the bridge and proceeds to project an aura of moral integrity and spiritual "high-ground" that sets the tone for the subsequent 14 years that it took to complete this masterpiece. McCullough's account documents this and goes on to explain the initial planning and technical issues of such a massive project. The theory of suspension bridges and all the engineering technicalities is succinctly described by McCullough and this base understanding is what the rest of the story is based on (wires/cable hung form two large towers is the base format).

The construction of the (2) towers is eloquently descibed at the sinking of the timber caissons (large "rooms" made of timber that the stone towers were to be built upon) and the subsequent details of working within them. Frustration abounds as the the Brooklyn side tower caisson goes slower than planned and McCullough describes the technical problems along with an amazingingly comprehensive discussion of the "mysterious maladay", ultimately known as the "bends". Worker-level stories surface here to give immediacy to the story and McCullough is masterful at describing them. The cable construction and subsequent controversey surrounding the contract and testing of the steel/iron would be boring to most readers, but McCullough makes this an intriguing part of the story.

The political side of the bridge construction is not given short-shrift either as McCullough deftly descibes New York city Gilded era politics and specifically discloses the rise and fall of the "Boss Tweed Ring" and Tammany politics in general. This side of the bridge story, McCullough states, is as important to the final product as the engineering and construction...again, he makes this exceedingly readable while extolling it's importance to the story. Commitee upon commitee are formed to decide on both the technical and personal issues associated with project completion and here is where the controversy surrounding Washington Roebling's health (he was an unfortunate victim of the bends among other things) and mental capacity are manifested upon the completion...McCullough is again masterful at integrating this major poltitcal milestone with the story.

The last few chapters are dedicated to describing completion and subsequent public reaction to the bridge and McCullough is superb at depicting late 19th century life in New York. The celebration on May 20th 1883 is a grand one and is placed in perspective in the last paragraph of the book:

"In another time and in what would seem another world, on a day when two young men were walking on the moon, a very old woman on Long Island would tell reporters that the public excitement over the feat was not so much compared to what she had seen 'on the day they opened the Brooklyn Bridge' "

Having walked and driven over the bridge many times, and having derived the name for my daughter from it, I can say that I have a somewhat personal stake and appeal in it. I also can say that I never gave a second thought about it's construction or the fascinating story that went into building it when I walked and drove it, until now. My compliments to David McCullough for giving us a marvelous story and book and giving those of us who've taken the bridge for granted a new perspective. I can't wait to go back and view it with this new knowledge of it's consruction and I'd wager that this is David McCullough's greatest gift...I give this work my highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Bridge
It is hard for me to be objective about this book. First off, I am a great admirer of David McCullough's histories. Second, I have published two novels which are set in New York during the mid-19th Century. But what probably makes it hardest for me to be objective is that I have walked over that bridge for my own personal pleasure so many times over the decades that I consider it an old friend. It's my bridge.

Having said all that, I can say that Mr. McCullough has written a history that is not only about a bridge and its builders, which are fascinating subjects in their own right, but it is also about what New Yorkers were thinking back then. This was still a horizontal world; the era of early skyscrapers was a few decades away. Because of this and the rapid growth in population after the Civil War, Manhattan was mostrously choked by block after block of four- and five-story tenements, warehouses and factories. The need for a reliable means to get to the vast open spaces of Brooklyn was urgent. Ironically, however, it wasn't the horizontal--the length of the bridge--which stunned the witnesses to the construction. Instead they marvelled at the height of the towers and the height of the roadway over the East River.

Not as ironic, however, were the people who didn't marvel at the bridge's beauty and the strength of its construction. They were too busy licking their lips, wringing their hands and wondering how much of the bridge's budget would make its way into their wallets. The elements of corruption, then as now, always lurked near a great public work in New York. McCullough covers this tainted side just as carefully as he reports on the glory of the growth of the bridge. Heroes (the Roeblings) and villains (Tweed & Co.) abound, while New York's most beautiful and efficient structure comes to life.

I've been as honest as possible. I recommend this book highly to anyone with an interest in engineering, New York history, or just a good story with great characters.

Rocco Dormarunno
Instructor, College of New Rochelle

1-0 out of 5 stars wonderful story
I've have spent the last 21 years in the constuction trade , as a carpenter working my way up to a superintendent.I have worked on every thing from your basic home , to high rises in San Francisco and L.A. This book (along with McCullough's book on the Panama Canal)have to be the most enjoyable and engrossing consturction books I have ever read. In fact David McCullough has renewed my flagging interest in my own trade, the story's are very colorful, it's not hard to feel as if you are there.A great read,don't pass it up! ... Read more

143. Investigations
by Stuart A. Kauffman
list price: $21.50
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Asin: 0195121058
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 219561
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the tradition of Schrodinger's classic What Is Life?, this book is a tour-de-force investigation of the basis of life itself, with conclusions that radically undermine the scientific approaches on which modern science rests-the approaches of Newton, Boltzman, Bohr, and Einstein. Kauffman's At Home in the Universe, which The New York Times Book Review called "passionately written" and nature named "courageous," introduced pivotal ideas about order and evolution in complex life systems. In investigations, Kauffman builds on these theories and finds that classical science does not take into account that physical systems--such as people in a biosphere--effect their dynamic environments in addition to being affected by them. These systems act on their own behalf as autonomous agents, but what defines them as such? In other words, what is life? By defining and explaining autonomous agents and work in the contexts of thermodynamics and of information theory, Kauffman supplies a novel answer to this age-old question that goes beyond traditional scientific thinking. Much of Investigations unpacks the progressively surprising implications of his definition. Kauffman lays out a foundation for a new concept of organization, and explores the requirements for the emergence of a general biology that will transcend terrestrial biology to seek laws governing biospheres anywhere in the cosmos. Moreover, he presents four candidate laws to explain how autonomous agents co-create their biosphere and the startling idea of a "co-creating" cosmos. A showcase of Kauffman's most fundamental and significant ideas, Investigations presents a new way of thinking about the basics of general biology that will change the way we understand life itself--on this planet and anywhere else in the cosmos. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A rugged read of a book
I have followed the writings of Stuart Kauffman very closely since his first book 'Origins of Order'. The Santa Fe Institute with which he is associated is a wonderful think-tank of multi-disciplinary, but converging studies. Kauffman's contribution to this group has been huge.

I find that Kauffman's world view is compelling, resonant and deeply fascinating. This book contains the ideas within 'At Home in the Universe' and then extends them into the 'adjacent possible'.

Be prepared when reading this book to be taxed on your knowledge of cell chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics and evolution. The rapid jumps between disciplines are handy for explaining some rather obtuse ideas, but Kauffman may isolate many readers by diving in to unelaborated detail on the idiosyncracies of these subjects. Even a brief overview of some of the terms used in his metaphors would be a great help to those without PhDs.

Personally, I buy Kauffman's worldview hook, line and sinker which makes any of his writings a must-read for me, but I am convinced that the audience for this book was not carefully considered, and as a result it seems that it is written for himself primarily. It could do with a thorough edit removing the grandiose language.

Stu, I know you can do better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life in a Complex Universe
"Investigations" marks a new phase in Stuart Kauffman's seminal work on self-organization and complexity. In this fascinating extension of his theoretical approach to the generation of order in the universe, he focusses on the idea of the autonomous agent, which forms the basis for a new and more precise definition of the living organism. The autonomous agent, according to Kauffman, is an organization of matter that extracts works from its environment in order to maintain its structural and functional integrity over time. An autonomous agent is one that does work on its own behalf. Kauffman goes into considerable physical detail to show how this is not only possible but inevitable. Because of the intimate relation between work and self-maintenance in this schema, Kauffman speaks of organisms as exemplifying a fourth law of thermodynamics that allows for increasing organizational complexity in the midst of a universe whose entropy is constantly increasing.

The fourth law explains how the diversity of the biosphere continues to increase through an exploration of "the adjacent possible," the realm of alternative organizations reachable through single mutations. In this view, the proliferation of life forms is not so much the result of chance as it is of a working out of the natural tendency of existing entities to self-organize into structures of greater and greater complexity.

Kauffman's muscular writing in "Investigations" once again demonstrates an exceptional combination of rigorous scientific logic and a poetic vision that encompasses a fertile and abundant universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Questions which shake science
This is a great book. Not by the suggested answers to the problems related to the notion of Life, but by the questions which are asked. It breaks dogmas in physics which simply do not allow the comprehension of biology from a physical perspective. Kauffman notes limits of our actual physics, and proposes tentative ways of exploring.
This book is good for anyone with an inquisitive mind and a desire to explore the nature of Life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Confusion is Part of the Solution
Stuart Kauffman has been probing the "deep structure" of life for decades. He is one of the founding members of the Santa Fe Institute, the leading center for the emerging sciences of complexity. His work therein started in complex Boolean networks in which he found "order for free" in a void seeming to consist of nothing but chaos. This lead him to highly dynamical yet self-structuring autocatalytic sets (now known as "Kauffman sets") which eventually lead him to search for a general biology from which all of life could extrapolate. Kauffman never was much for neo-Darwinism or natural selection, and here he continues his holistic approach to self-organizing biospheres.

Investigations attempts, in part, to outline four candidate laws governing biospheres (large dynamical systems full of self-organizing autonomous agents - such as the universe itself). A lofty pursuit to be sure, givien that biospheres are teeming with so much complexity, interdependence and obscured initial states (to name just a few of the obvious pitfalls). There are also the problems, as Kauffman points out, that biospheres are "nonergodic" and their "nonequilibrium" flowing into a "persistent adjacent other."

Recondite minutia notwithstanding, Investigations is fun in a way not many books of this intellectual magnitude are. Kauffman cuts the hard science with wit and pondering of the utmost human persuasion. While he undermines the very foundations on which modern science stands (the work of Newton, Boltzman, Einstein and Bohr), Kauffman compares the geniuses of Shakespeare and Einstein ("I'm not sure whose genius is the more awesome, " he says.) and emphasizes the importance of story in understanding our lives in the universe.

With a healthy mix of speculation, cutting-edge science and hypothesis steeped in years of grappling with the hard questions, Stuart Kauffman's Investigations is sure to inspire and intrigue, as well as confound and confuse. As he says, "Oh, confusion. Perhaps a certain confusion is healthy. We have not tried to embrace all of this at once before."

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas but get this man a decent editor
Normally I'd dismiss out of hand anyone who claims to have found a fourth law of thermodynamics but from Stuart Kauffman, I'll hear what he has to say. I've been following Kauffman's work for years and his thinking is as engaging as ever. Unfortunately, his prose is not. Grandiose, clumsy and over-written, he sells his ideas short. The language is unreadably uneven as it ranges from patronising pop-sci gobbley-gook to technical minutaie of molecular biology.

Kauffman attempts to articulate something that he calls "general biology". This is simply a dressed-up term for the classic problem of the origin of life. Unfortunately, his explanation also follows the classic pop-sci strategy of explaining one mysterious thing (life) by replacing it with other equally mysterious concepts (work and semantics). In this part of the book, the writing is woefully repetitive and elliptic. No real conclusions are drawn, which is a a monumental let-down given the ego-maniacally overblown introduction. There is an intellectual abyss between Kauffman's definition of life as auto-catalytic systems with one work cycle, and real cells that undergo reproduction and darwinian evolution.

Nevertheless, there are many nuggets of gold in the later chapters. Probably the most interesting is the idea of the adjacent possible. The adjacent possible is the set of all possible chemicals that can be synthesized in one chemical step from all existing chemicals. Unlike other concepts introduced in the book, it is something that can be computed (though not exhaustively). Kauffman then proposes a fourth law of chemical thermodynamics: a chemical system advances into the adjacent-possible as fast as it can. Kauffman shows how this hypothetical fourth law can be analysed by relating this to his previous work on sustainable chemical diversity. Indeed, the best parts of the book are where Kauffman re-caps his previous work on auto-catalytic systems and genomes of real organisms, and then extends the analysis to explain his fourth law of thermodynamics.

Kauffman makes some neat analogies between the chemical adjacent-possible with economics. He points out that classical economic models of pricing rely on the assumption of a finite prestable collection of goods and services. Instead, a more fruitful model for an economy of products can be made in analogy to the ever-explanding set of catalytic chemicals. There is also a great analysis on the limits of the economy of scale where Kauffman makes a analogy between the Ksat problem and the problem of producing diverse products in a single factory. And finally, in the grand tradition of pop-sci books, there is a final chapter where all the problems of quantum mechanics and cosmology are solved with the application of one special idea. Although this last chapter is pure science fiction, the book is worth perservering as some of the ideas are original, useful and genuinely thought provoking. ... Read more

144. Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials
list price: $39.95
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Asin: 0761926879
Catlog: Book (2003-02-13)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Sales Rank: 224927
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Book Description

"This book is a must for anyone teaching, or wishing to better understand, qualitative research . . . This handbook is destined to be a classic text in the field of qualitative research that belongs on every student's and researcher's bookshelf."


Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, the third volume in the paperback version of the Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition, considers the tasks of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting empirical materials, and comprises the Handbook's Parts IV ("Methods of Collecting and Analyzing Empirical Materials") and V ("The Art of Interpretation, Evaluation, and Presentation").

Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials introduces the researcher to basic methods of gathering, analyzing and interpreting qualitative empirical materials. Part 1 moves from interviewing to observing, to the use of artifacts, documents and records from the past; to visual, and autoethnographic methods. It then takes up analysis methods, including computer-assisted methodologies, as well as strategies for analyzing talk, and text. Esther Madriz reads focus groups through critical feminist inquiry, and Erve Chambers discusses applied ethnography.

"This may well be 'the one book on qualitative research' that one would want to take 'to a desert island,' as the editors hope."


The Handbook of Qualitative Research, Second Edition is widely considered to be the state of the art in evaluating the field of qualitative inquiry. Now published in paperback in response to the needs of classroom teachers, Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, Second Edition will be an ideal supplement for a course on research methods, across a wide number of academic disciplines.

"The Handbook of Qualitative Research represents a major publishing event. It comprehensively gathers together and organizes rapidly-growing developments in the philosophy, theory, and method of conducting qualitative research."


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145. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass
by Marc Lange
list price: $34.95
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Asin: 0631225013
Catlog: Book (2002-07-15)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Sales Rank: 212771
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read
This is just an excellent book. With questions that all early physics students ask and are usually shunned for asking them. Is the electric field a real entity? What is the difference between a real quantity and a math tool that gives us the right answer. Spactiotemperal locality is covered very well, the mix of physics and philosophy is superb. The last chapter on quantum mechanics could be expanded and perhaps the author can do a seperate book on that topic. This book is a must for all students of physics and philosophy. ... Read more

146. The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley
by Leslie Berlin
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0195163435
Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 23694
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Book Description

Hailed as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of Silicon Valley, Robert Noyce was a brilliant inventor, a leading entrepreneur, and a daring risk taker who piloted his own jets and skied mountains accessible only by helicopter.Now, in The Man Behind the Microchip, Leslie Berlin captures not only this colorful individual but also the vibrant interplay of technology, business, money, politics, and culture that defines Silicon Valley.Here is the life of a giant of the high-tech industry, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel who co-invented the integrated circuit, the electronic heart of every modern computer, automobile, cellular telephone, advanced weapon, and video game. With access to never-before-seen documents, Berlin paints a fascinating portrait of Noyce: he was an ambitious and intensely competitive multimillionaire who exuded a "just folks" sort of charm, a Midwestern preacher's son who rejected organized religion but would counsel his employees to "go off and do something wonderful," a man who never looked back and sometimes paid a price for it.In addition, this vivid narrative sheds light on Noyce's friends and associates, including some of the best-known managers, venture capitalists, and creative minds in Silicon Valley.Berlin draws upon interviews with dozens of key players in modern American business--including Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, Gordon Moore, and Warren Buffett; their recollections of Noyce give readers a privileged, first-hand look inside the dynamic world of high-tech entrepreneurship.A modern American success story, The Man Behind the Microchip illuminates the triumphs and setbacks of one of the most important inventors and entrepreneurs of our time. ... Read more

147. Holographic Universe
by Michael Talbot
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Asin: 0060922583
Catlog: Book (1992-05-06)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 3776
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Today nearly everyone is familiar with holograms, three-dimensional images projected into space with the aid of a laser. Now, two of the world's most eminent thinkers -- University of London physicists David Bohm, a former protege of Einstein's and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists, and Stanford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, one of the architects of our modern understanding of the brain -- believe that the universe itself may be a giant hologram, quite literally a kind of image or construct created, at least in part, by the human mind. This remarkable new way of looking at the universe explains now only many of the unsolved puzzles of physics, but also such mysterious occurrences as telepathy, out-of-body and near death experiences, "lucid" dreams, and even religious and mystical experiences such as feelings of cosmic unity and miraculous healings.

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Reviews (131)

5-0 out of 5 stars Are individual experiences valid scientific data?
This is one of the most provocative books I have read in years. In the first few chapters Mr. Talbot describes the emerging holographic paradigm in science, drawing on David Bohm's work in quantum physics and Karl Pribam's work in neuroscience. I found both descriptions to be fascinating, and especially enjoyed the historical context for the work of these two seminal thinkers. As a person with a master's degree in neuroscience and chaos/complexity theory, I found a couple of his simplifications misleading, but would give him high marks for his overall comprehension of the conclusions of Pribam and his followers.

The remaining 2/3 of the book is a discussion of how the holographic paradigm may provide a rational basis for interpreting a wide variety of phenomenon located around the fringes of established science. He looks at everything from strange historical "miracles" like stigmata and appearances of the Virgin Mary to modern psychic abilities and LSD experiences, from out-of-body and near-death-experiences to UFO abductions. In addition, he compares language used in the modern scientific discussion of holography with the language used by ancient mystical traditions.

Mr. Talbot's writing style is unusually clear and lucid. All of this makes for a highly engaging book. It kept me up late every night for more than a week. I am a person who has had an OBE/NDE (out-of-body, near-death-experience), and can tell you that his description of such events is an astoundingly accurate portrayal of what I experienced.

I am also a scientist, and know that most of my highly rational, empirical colleages would have trouble accepting a majority of Mr. Talbot's conclusions. This work addresses something so completely out of the realm of everyday experience for most people, and probes a world that is normally invisible to the five senses. Hence, objective, empirical science -- as defined by a conventional theorist or practicing technician -- simply cannot address these experiences. They are outside the range of focus of the tool that Western minds currently rely on.

The service that Mr. Talbot provides is a challenge to rethink the conventional definition of science so that it can take into account a much wider range of human experience. What he argues for is the acceptance, as valid scientific data, of the experiences of individual humans, across cultures and throughout history, that are remarkably consistent with one another. These experiences address aspects of reality that are invisible to the skeptical eye, but become obvious to the person who chooses to develop other forms of perception.

As a person who was unwittingly thrown into an OBE/NDE experience, I am naturally inclined to read a book like this one with an open mind, and felt immensely rewarded for doing so. However, if I had reviewed the same book before having my own personal experience of some of the phenomena it describes, I would have reviewed it as a new-age excursion into a realm of fantasy. I am completely sympathetic to some of the reviewers who see it that way, and respectfully disagree.

I believe there is an extraordinary synthesis happening among the realms of human experience, one that can validate each individual's story, however unusual, and also one that honors all the different ways of knowing. I see Mr. Talbot's work as one of the more important bridges yet constructed between traditional science and spirituality, between rational discourse about repeatable, empirically verifiable phenomenon and the quirky, esoteric or mythological elements of personal experience that actually define most people's experience of reality. This book is a "must read" for any passionate seeker of truth.

3-0 out of 5 stars Science Or Pseudo-Science?
When I originally purchased and began to read Talbot's presentation, I was intrigued by the way he proposed to explain some of the mysterious or unexplained phenomena of the past and present through an honest inquiry. He applied a blend of both scientific theory and speculations from traditional mysticism to the table. He includes discussions of some of the stranger aspects of quantum physics that have challenged modern physicists with their counter-intuitiveness and introduces the concept of the HOLOGRAPH as a possible model of reality. Yet he feels the need to combine these points with paranormal or "supernatural" mysteries from the past, as well as his own experiences. In the end, however, he clearly veers towards his own assumptions and uncritically accepts much of the dubious superstitions and supernatural claims of less enlightened historical times. He does not actually present any real evidence for his argument or hypothesis, but descends into personal anecdotes (i.e. unverified claims) about his own bizzare "experiences"(hallucinations?). The book is interesting up to a point, but quickly degenerates into yet another "New Age" attempt to elevate magical-spiritual-supernatural nonsense to the level of legitimate and testable science. Very unfortunate indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource
The Holographic Universe is by far one of the best books quantum physics I've read. This book clearly presents a unified view of both science and spirituality.

Their are many mystical concepts that the author touches upon. The idea of a Collective Unconcious; that we all share a deeper racial memory is reminiscent of the later works of Carl Jung.

In addition, there is a small but helpful chapter devoted to Multiplicity or multiple personalities. The author articulates a theory that multiples exist as a collection of individual souls that exist in parallel dimensions as well as our own.

Physical differences are scientifically observed in different members of a multiple's system. A brain tumor is seen in the x-rays of a multiple patient. When the patient changes personalities, the brain tumor is no longer present.

I found his theories to be helpful and well thought out. For any student of psychology or self discovery, these ideas are are insightful and creative. There is a great deal we don't know and may never know. This book allows the reader the opportunity to go beyond their limited understanding of how their universe may exist.

2-0 out of 5 stars A little too new age
This book is interesting but ultimately is attempting to justify new agey feel good connectedness with a little pseudo science. Its nothing new. People have been using the wierdness of quantum theory to justify wacky meta-physical ideas since its inception.
The creditials of some of the thinkers doesn't cut it for me. Many brilliant scientists go non-linear as they get older trying to find some kind of spiritual meaning to existence. Not having traditional religion they create their own using questionable interpretations of modern physics. An excellent example of this is Tipler's 'The Physics of Immortality' where he invents his own heaven complete with all the trapping of eternal bliss in paradise. And he 'proves' it using modern cosmology. Wow.
I only write this review to warn people that are looking for science not meta-physical speculation. I bought this book without a lot of checking and thought I was getting a discourse on the holographic model used in cosmology as an information theoretic approach to physics. See for example Lee Smolin 'The Three Roads to Quantum Gravity'. Instead I got a lot of wild speculation based on anecdotes of ESP,Coincidences and miracle healings. This just isn't science. To quote the late Carl Sagan. 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cool Idea, but Where is the Correct Skepticism?
Ok, the book is really great, first of all. It has just countless paranormal experiences and explains them using the "holographic universe" point of view. Great idea, awesome analogy, and amazing stories...

One story in particular just blew my mind. On page 150 (soft cover), it talks about this guy, Sai Baba. The book claims Sai Baba could actually create any object he wanted and it would flow from his hands. It spent 4 pages on stuff Sai Baba has done, and how it's been confirmed. This intrigued me so much, I did a simple Google on "Sai Baba". After maybe 5 minutes of research, I found a website that had videos of Sai Baba producing random objects, and the videos were SOLID PROOF that Sai Baba is a fake. Not only a magician, but a terriable magician!

The book presented his knowledge with such enthusiasm that I believed it. Only after some basic research did I realize it wasn't true. It seems like the author didn't set his skepticism level high enough, and just took ANY paranormal story he could get his hands on, and printed it in his own "hologram" perspective to try and prove his point. I feel very cheated! What other stories in the book are completely false, I wonder?

Overall: awesome idea of reality, and mind blowing, but c'mon! How hard is it to do some basic research? ... Read more

148. A Dictionary of the History of Medicine
by Anton Sebastian
list price: $139.95
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Asin: 1850700214
Catlog: Book (1999-06-15)
Publisher: CRC Press-Parthenon Publishers
Sales Rank: 271050
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a unique, extensively illustrated dictionary of terms, people, events, and dates spanning the entire history of medicine. It is a monumental work of scholarship totaling some 700 double-column pages with a large number of rare and exceptional illustrations from many original sources painstakingly compiled over years of far-searching inquiry involving more than 5,000 books and hundreds of journals. It is a major resource of hard-to-find information about notable medical figures, instruments, conditions, procedures, and dates and a storehouse of captivating anecdotes and background material. The book contains a wealth of material for concise historical introductions to a broad range of subjects and is the sine qua non authority on both well and little known facts of medical history. With this single volume-an unprecedented tour de force representing more than 7,000 hours of exhaustive research-clinicians and researchers from all fields of medicine can quickly and easily find authoritative, detailed definitions and descriptions, with dates, of medical terms and of the people and events contributing to the development of medicine from earliest times to the present day. The entries range widely from such as abacterial pyuria to zygote, including Latin and Greek origins of terms, compact biographies with dates, eponymic information of all kinds, and rarely seen drawings and photographs of antique medical instruments and little-known conditions. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A book to dip into time and time again.
This is a book you will often take down from the shelf, just to browse or to enliven presentations with interesting facts. A comprehensive and well laid out text. ... Read more

149. Guerrilla Warfare: Che Guevara
by Ernesto Guevara
list price: $8.89
our price: $8.89
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Asin: 0803270755
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Sales Rank: 5762
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Che Guevara's amazing life story has lifted him to almostlegendary status.The larger-than-life hero of the 1959 revolutionaryvictory that overturned the Cuban dictatorship, Che believed thatrevolution would also topple the imperialist governments in LatinAmerica. His call to action, his proclamation of invincibilitytheultimate victory of revolutionary forcescontinues to influence thecourse of Latin American history and international relations. Thisedition of Che's classic work Guerrilla Warfare contains the text ofhis book, as well as two later essays titled Guerrilla Warfare: AMethod and Message to the Tricontinental. Also included is a detailedintroduction by Brian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., examiningGuevara's text, his life and political impact, the situation in LatinAmerica, and the United States' response to Che and to events in LatinAmerica. Loveman and Davies also provide in-depth case studies thatapply Che's theories on revolution to political situations in sevenLatin American countries from the 1960s to the present. This book willhelp readers gain a better understanding of Che's theoreticalcontribution to revolutionary literature and the inspiration that hislife and Guerrilla Warfare have provided torevolutionaries since the1960s. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars Guerrilla Warfare
I recall reading this book in highschool years ago as a study of the political climate during the 1960s (ironic considering that this book was written long before much of what the 60s were remembered as ever happened), and I've got say that it's still quite relevent, and important today.

I tend not to believe in the myth surrounding the freedom fighter know as Ernesto "Che" Guevara, but there is no denying his ability to write a handbook relating to the revolutionary ethics which he had used during the 1959 overthrow of the Batista dictatorship (which put Fidel Castro into power in Cuba).

Though little more than a rehash of the many revolutionary handbooks which currently exist (Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book", "The Warrior's Handbook" by Louis Hall, etc.) it's a great read none the less.

2-0 out of 5 stars For the Hardcore Only
I'd recommend this book to only two types of readers. The first is the serious student of Che Guevera. His prose is poor, and his logic is constrained by the shibboleths of Marxism-Leninism, but it nonetheless provides a window into Che's own thoughts on the practicalities of revolution. The second group for whom this book would be of value is the student of guerrilla warfare. Now, Che's book is probably the last I'd recommend to anyone in that area (there are too many other books that are much better), but it is not without some merit.

The bottom line of this book is that Che has some very interesting toughts on revolution and guerrilla warfare. However, for the student of guerrilla warfare, Che's words must ultimately be taken with a big grain of salt. The corruption and incompetentence of the Batista regime and its rag-tag army made Che's war in Cuba a little too easy. When he encountered tougher foes in the Congo and Bolivia, he accomplished little but his own martyrdom. This is simply not the work of one of the great military leaders in his field, merely one of the most publicized.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understand guerilla warfare and Che's mentality.
One way that "Guerilla Warfare," can be considered is as a three point plan, with each text included in the book being a different part of the plan.

The first part is the main text of the book, and discusses the tactics of a guerilla that begins in the country and builds strength until being able to fight with the regular army in standard battles. Che discusses propaganda, health care, education and industry that should be implemented in liberated territory as well as the roles of doctors and women in a guerilla war. This text is very clear and concise; Che takes all aspects of what would go into a guerilla army's territories and columns into consideration. He also makes the claim, at the beginning of the text that the necessary conditions for a revolution do not need to exist before the revolution, that the revolution itself can create them. This would seem to be a very encouraging claim for dissidents around the world, but one has to wonder whether Che's experiences in Congo and his capture and execution in Bolivia would contradict that claim. Both situations seemed to involve countries where the, "necessary conditions for a revolution," did not exist and were not created by Che's organization and recruiting.

The second part of this book, "Guerilla Warfare, a Method," discusses what many accused Che of downplaying in the original text, the role of the urban guerillas in a social movement. He writes about how the guerillas would be covert operatives who are simply waiting for the signal to take action.

The third part of the book contains one of Che Guevara's most famous works, "Message to the Tricontinental," where he discusses the need for "many Vietnams," meaning the need for the third world to begin rebelling en masse against the U.S. dictatorships of Che's time (not to imply that they are not still in place) and eventually against the American forces themselves. This is specifically seen when he makes a reference to coming face to face with an American soldier, who is armed with the most advanced equipment and will be ruthless. For me, this is the most inspirational work that I have ever read from Che Guevara; he makes it seem that rebellion is imminent and that it is only a matter of time before the people of the third world rise up against their American-installed governments.

For those who would say that this type of warfare is ineffective, that it only worked in Cuba, I would use the Vietnam War, which the Vietnamese call the American War as a case in point to contradict that claim, where the Viet Cong were able to defeat the most powerful and imperialistic army in the world using guerilla warfare and popular support. Perhaps Che knew that victory would be the eventual outcome for them, and that was why he wanted to create so many, "Vietnams," throughout Latin America.

This book is one of the most famous pieces of dissident literature ever written. If you are a Rage against the Machine fan you will probably have noticed that it is featured in their photo of books for the Evil Empire album. Reading it, enjoying it and understanding it will truly set you apart from the right wing.

"Guerilla Warfare," is also an example of why the imperialistic and plutocratic government of the United States saw the need to neutralize Che. He was both a man of action and of progressive thought, a combination that the American government loathes seeing in any individual whose world-view is different from its own. There are militant groups in the United States today whose views are not left leaning but ultra-conservative racist, and coincidentally these groups manage to exist without government harassment. Timothy McVeigh was a member of the Neo Nazi group the Arian Nation, but no investigation has been made into that organization. But Sherman Austin, the webmaster of the now offline Raisethefist website, was arrested and convicted because somebody posted a link to a website that had bombmaking instructions on it, somebody who was not even connected to the webmaster. So it can be seen that the government hates people like Che Guevara (and Sherman Austin, Malcom X and the Black Panthers) because they have the nerve to both think progressively and take action, a mentality that this book showcases proudly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Know your enemy, Know yourself, your victory will be total!!
I have read many Guerrilla Warfare lit., but this one I would have to say it follows the basic principles that Zedong Mao wrote in his essay on Guerrilla Warfare during the China's FUBAR Communist revolution. Well the book starts out talking about his life. For example, Che is a indian name for boy. Than it goes into the essay itself talking about information, propaganda, terrorism, tactics, and explosives. In addition, the book is based on the Communist Cuba's revolution. Dam the Communists. There like cockroaches you kill one another pops out!!! Well like I sayed earlyer "Know your enemy, Know yourself. And your victory will be not be endanger. Know the Grounds, Know the weather. Your victory will be total." Sun Tzu "The Art of War"

"Through a hundred battles and a hundred victorys, is not the acme of war. Winning without fighting is the acme of war."
Sun Tzu "The Art of War"

Long live President Bush!!!!!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars That's my brother
Although Ernie is my brother, I am giving this book only three stars. Sorry Ernie but no excuses.

The cover is not very imaginative, and does not portray my beard correctly, second a better title would have been "This is your Life Che Guevara" you know like the TV show.

I don't know why I care since I am dead anyway. By the way Ernie don't forget to pick up some cereal for mom she knows that I've been very busy being dead and all ... Read more

150. Before The Fallout : From Marie Curie to Hiroshima
by Diana Preston
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.82
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Asin: 0802714455
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 14752
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Human Chain Reaction That Led To The Atom Bomb
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." A mere 47 years later, "Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima's 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.
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5-0 out of 5 stars Fifty Years that Transformed Physics
In 1895, I've heard, the director of the patent office resigned saying that there was nothing new to invent.

Also in 1895 Rontgen discovered X-Rays.

In 1905 a young man no one had heard of published three articles in one issue of the most promient journal of Physics. The first would have gained him an honorable mention in the chemistry texts of today. The second would get him a Nobel prize, and become the foundation of what we now know of as television. The third article was the theory of relativity.

Forty years later Paul Tibbets, piloting the 'Enola Gay' dropped the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

This book is the story of those fifty years. It's a fascinating story of people with genius level minds making new breakthroughs in physics nearly every year. It is also a story of people, of Lise Meitner making a magnificant discovery but having it ignored because she was female.

Those fifty years transformed the world of physics from a backwater of levers and pulleys into the queen of all the sciences. ... Read more

151. Pasteurs Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation
by Donald E. Stokes, Stokes
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
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Asin: 0815781776
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Sales Rank: 100374
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Over fifty years ago,Vannevar Bush released his enormouslyinfluential report, Science, the Endless Frontier, which asserted adichotomy between basic and applied science. This view was at the coreof the compact between government and science that led to the goldenage of scientific research after World War II--a compact that iscurrently under severe stress. In this book, Donald Stokes challengesBush's view and maintains that we can only rebuild the relationshipbetween government and the scientific community when we understand whatis wrong with that view.

Stokes begins with an analysis of thegoals of understanding and use in scientific research. He recasts thewidely accepted view of the tension between understanding and use,citing as a model case the fundamental yet use-inspired studies bywhich Louis Pasteur laid the foundations of microbiology a century ago.Pasteur worked in the era of the "second industrial revolution," whenthe relationship between basic science and technological change assumedits modern form. Over the subsequent decades, technology has beenincreasingly science-based. But science has been increasinglytechnology-base--with the choice of problems and the conduct ofresearch often inspired by societal needs. An example is the work ofthe quantum-effects physicists who are probing the phenomena ofsemiconductors from the time of the transistor's discovery after WorldWar II.

On this revised, interactive view of science andtechnology, Stokes builds a convincing case that by recognizign theimportance of use-inspired basic research we can frame a new compactbetween science and government. His conclusions have major implicationsfor both the scientific and policy communities and will be of greatinterest to those in the broader public who are troubled by the currentrole of basic science in American democracy.
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars How to make science more accountable?
This book is not about antiscientism, it is about accountibality of science funding. There are several economical myths related to the state policy of basic science funding. Two of them : "..basic research is performed without thought of practical ends" and "...basic research is the pacemaker of technological progress" as well as famous Baconian "linear model",( a sequence extending from basic science to technology: basic science - applied research - development - production and operations) are dramatically reevaluated and critizied in the reviewing book. The most important implications of agruments presented in this well written book are: a) Basic science must be accountable as any other state funding activities and based on "informed judgments of research promise and social need"; b) Progress of science and technology have "semiautonomous trajectories", therefore state investment in basic research does not provide progress in the technology and economical growth. It looks like it is a good time "to end" so-called "endless frontiers" of unaccountable spending of taxpayer's money for funding useless basic science research. Everybody who is interested in the basic science funding policy must read this excellent book. It demonstrates a difference between the economical reality and propaganda of illusions. ... Read more

152. Analytic Trigonometry : with Applications
by Raymond A.Barnett, Michael R.Ziegler, Karl E.Byleen
list price: $95.95
our price: $95.95
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Asin: 0470000120
Catlog: Book (2002-08-09)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 99416
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring rich applications and integrated coverage of graphing utilities, this hands-on trigonometry text guides students step by step, from the right triangle to the unit-circle definitions of the trigonometric functions. Examples with matched problems illustrate almost every concept and encourage students to be actively involved in the learning process. Key pedagogical elements, such as annotated examples, think boxes, caution warnings, and reviews help students comprehend and retain the material. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for all levels
It provides wide range of practical applications, with plain English, colorful pages, step by step from basic to advanced approach. It has got answers at the back. I recommend it`s Instructor`s solutions manual as well... ... Read more

153. Alfred Tarski : Life and Logic
by Anita Burdman Feferman, Solomon Feferman
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0521802407
Catlog: Book (2004-10-04)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 29398
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Book Description

Alfred Tarski, one of the greatest logicians of all time, is widely thought of as "the man who defined truth."His mathematical work on the concepts of truth and logical consequence are cornerstones of modern logic, influencing developments in philosophy, linguistics and computer science. Tarski was a charismatic teacher and zealous promoter of his view of logic as the foundation of all rational thought, as well as a bon-vivant and a womanizer, who played the "great man" to the hilt. Born in Warsaw in 1901 to Jewish parents, he changed his name and converted to Catholicism, but was never able to obtain a professorship in his home country.A fortuitous trip to the United States at the outbreak of World War 1 saved his life and turned his career around, even though it separated him from his family for years. By the war's end, Tarski was established as a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he started a department in logic and methodology that attracted students and distinguished researchers from all over the world. From the cafes of Warsaw and Vienna to the mountains and deserts of California, this first full- length biography places Tarski in the social, intellectual and historical context of his times.It presents a vivid picture of a personally and professionally passionate man, interlaced with an account of his major scientific achievements. Anita Burdman Feferman is an author and biographer who has written on noted figures such as Jean van Heijenoort and Georg Kreisel. Solomon Feferman is a professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at Stanford University.Both authors were closely acquainted with Tarski and in a unique position to write about his life. ... Read more

154. Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics
by Howard Whitley Eves, Howard Eves
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.87
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Asin: 048669609X
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 21372
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Third edition of popular undergraduate-level text offers overview of historical roots and evolution of several areas of mathematics. Topics include mathematics before Euclid, Euclid’s Elements, non-Euclidean geometry, algebraic structure, formal axiomatics, sets, more. Emphasis on axiomatic procedures. Problems. Solution Suggestions for Selected Problems. Bibliography.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Swiss Army Knife' of Upper Level Mathematics
I totally agree with the previous two reviewers on what they had to say about this wonderful book. However, I did want to briefly note that -- beyond merely being a fascinating overview of the development of beyond-calculus mathematics -- it is also a great resource for people needing to look up or review topics in advanced mathematics (especially mathematical logic). Again, to repeat what the others have said, buy this book if you have ANY interest in mathematics. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview. Belongs on Your Bookshelf.
Howard Eves presents this five-star story of mathematics as two intertwined threads: one describes the growing content of mathematics and the other the changing nature of mathematics. In exploring these two elements, Eves has created a great book for the layman. I find myself returning to his book again and again.

My few semesters of calculus, differential equations, and other applied math failed to formally introduce me to abstract algebras, non-Euclidian geometries, projective geometry, symbolic logic, and mathematical philosophy. I generally considered algebra and geometry to be singular nouns. Howard Eves corrected my grammar.

"Foundations and Fundamental Concepts" is not a traditional history of mathematics, but an investigation of the philosophical context in which new developments emerged. Eves paints a clear picture of the critical ideas and turning points in mathematics and he does so without requiring substantial mathematics by the reader. Calculus is not required.

The first two chapters, titled "Mathematics Before Euclid" and "Euclid's Elements", consider the origin of mathematics and the remarkable development of the Greek axiomatic method that dominated mathematics for nearly 2000 years.

In chapter three Eves introduces non-Euclidian geometry. Mathematics is transformed from an empirical method focused on describing our real, three-dimensional world to a creative endeavor that manufactures new, abstract geometries.

This discussion of geometries, as opposed to geometry, continues in chapter four. The key topics include Hilbert's highly influential work that placed Euclidian geometry on a firm (but more abstract) postulational basis, Poincaire's model and the consistency of Lobachevskian geometry, the principle of duality in projective geometry, and Decartes development of analytic geometry. For the non-initiated these topics may seem daunting, but Eves' approach is clear and quite fascinating.

Chapter five, which might have been titled "The Liberation of Algebra", may at first be a bit overwhelming to those unaware of algebraic structures like groups, rings, and fields. But take solace as even mathematicians in the early nineteenth century still considered algera to be little more than symbolized arithmetic. As Eves says, non-Euclidian geometry released the "invisible shackles of Euclidian geometry". Likewise, abstract algebra created a parallel revolution. (Again, don't be intimidated by the terminology. Eves is quite good.)

The remaining four chapters look at the axiomatic foundation of modern mathematics, the real number system, set theory, and finally mathematical logic and philosophy. Eves concludes with the surprising discovery of contradictions within Cantor's set theory as well as Hilbert's unsuccessful effort to define procedures to avoid inconsistencies or contradictions within an axiomatic system.

Eves mentions Godel's fundamental contribution to mathematical logic, but stops short of delving into Godel's Proof. For additional reading I highly recommend "Godel's Proof" by Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman.

I also highly recommend Richard Courant's and Herbert Robbins' classic, "What is Mathematics?", a more detailed examination of the development of fundamental ideas and methods underlying mathematics. I would suggest that most readers, particularly non-math majors, first read Eves and later tackle Courant and Robbins.

I have read "Foundations and Fundamentals of Mathematics" at least twice. I gave my son a copy for Christmas. He says that the book is great and he even claims to be reading it as he walks across his campus between classes. The price is great. It belongs in your book collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ecellent description of the history of mathematical thinking
There are several books available on the history of mathematics. Some give an account on the development of a certain area, others focus on a group of persons and some do hardly more than story telling. I was looking for one that tells the story of the development of the main ideas and the understanding of what mathematics and science in general is (or what people thought it is and should be). Howard Eves' book is the first book I bought that gives me the answers I was looking for. Starting with pre-Euclidean fragments, going on with Euclid, Aristotle and the Pythagoreans, straight to non-Euclidean geometry it focuses on the axiomatic method of geometry. What pleased me most here is that the author really takes each epoch for serious. He quotes longer (and well chosen) passages from Euclid, Aristotle and Proclus to demonstrate their approaches. Each chapter ends with a Problems section. I was surprised to see how much these problems reveal of the epoch, its problems and thinking.

The book goes on with chapters on Hilbert's Grundlagen, Algebraic Structure etc, always showing not only the substance of these periods but also the shift in the way of thinking and the development towards rigor. The last chapter is titled Logic and Philosophy. Eves divides "contemporary" philosophies of mathematics into three schools: logistic (Russel/Whitehead), intuitionist (Brouwer) and the formalist (Hilbert).

The book ends with some interesting appendices on specific problems like the first propositions of Euclid, nonstandard analysis and even Gödel's incompleteness theorem. Bibliography, solutions to selected problems and an index are carefully prepared to round up an excellent book.

Should you buy this book ? Yes. What kind of mistake can you make in spending US$ 12.95 on a book that has withstood the test of time through three editions (each with a different publisher). I havent completed reading the book yet, but I dont regret having bought it. ... Read more

155. What Is Mathematics?: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods (Oxford Paperbacks)
by Richard Courant, Herbert Robbins, Ian Stewart
list price: $21.50
our price: $15.05
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Asin: 0195105192
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 11333
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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A 1996 revision of a timeless classic originally published in 1941. Highly recommended for any serious student, teacher or scholar of mathematics. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic that will challenge and inspire.. A MUST HAVE!!
This book will give you a superb introduction to basic mathematics culminating in the CALCULUS. The topics and manner of presentations are excellent. I have the 1978 edition that I still use to much benefit. Things such as numbers, matrices, algebra and trig are introduced in rapid but detailed segments. If you have been away from mathematics for a while you will soon get drawn into the text and the exercises. If you are into math today this will serve as an excellent review and perhaps give you a gem or two. However, if you have been put off by math in the past you may want to approach with caution. For even though the pace is within speed limits the text does expect a good effort to reap the rewards. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the theory behind mathematics. A real jewel for your library and personal enjoyment. Just superb!

4-0 out of 5 stars theoretically very good
This is an interesting and wide ranging book. In the main it presents, develops and explains it's ideas very well, although I did not always find it, as one reviewer, a mister Albert Einstein described it, "easily understandable". I have two minor complaints about this book:

1) Print quality
For no apparent reason the text size varies occasionally, and in places the printing is slightly blurred, so that sometimes the subscripts and superscripts on formulae are illegible. Perhaps they skimped on typesetting costs by photoreproducing formulae from the original printing?

2) Incompleteness
If you bought this book because the front cover says "...representation of the fundamental concepts and methods of the whole field of mathematics" (another A.E. quote) you may be disappointed to find this is not the case. Trigonometry, for example, is not discussed, except where it crops up in other topics such as applying calculus to trig functions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
For the most part I love this book. It is informative, and relatively simple to understand. This book is an "elementary approach to ideas and methods" for the whole field of mathmatics. In fact, this book is one of the reasons I changed my major to mathmatics.

However, there are two main problems with this book. First the quality of the print varies. Occasionally, whole sets of subscripts are blurred, which makes understanding the equation of the moment difficult, if not impossible.

Second, the order of steps for solving or understanding a problem are in an unexpected order, which is confusing. Often, I find that a difficult passage doesn't deal with difficult concepts, its just that the concepts are explained in an unusual way.

Aside from those problems, this is an extraordinary introduction to mathmatics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not an 'easy' read
This is a demanding book. One cannot read it listening to Bach. [a clash of complexities]. The construction of he book is 'old style' [which is every seeming possible variation is mentioned] which has fallen into disfavor as confusing,

That written it is very complete and I really enjoyed many parts of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Book. Belongs on Your Bookshelf.
Courant's 500-page text is not entirely suitable for the layman. Its target audience includes those who enjoy reading and studying mathematics and have a good background through precalculus or higher. "What is Mathematics?" is a mathematics book, not a book about mathematics.

"What is Mathematics?" is not a new book. It was first published in 1941. New editions appeared in 1943, 1945, and 1947. My soft cover fourth edition by Oxford University Press is in its 12 printing.

The authors indicate that it is no means necessary to "plow through it page by page, chapter by chapter". I fully agree. I have skipped around, jumping to chapters of particular interest, but I have now read nearly every chapter.

I initially skipped to page 165 and delved directly into projective geometry (chapter IV), proceeded to topology (chapter V), and then jumped backwards to the beginning to explore the theory of numbers. After moving to geometry, I finally returned to the later chapters on functions and limits, maxima and minima, and the calculus.

Courant engages the reader in discussions on mathematical concepts rather than focusing on applications and problem solving. "What is Mathematics?" is a great textbook for students that have completed a year or more of calculus and wish to pull all of their mathematical learning together before moving on to more advanced studies. I suspect that it would even be welcomed by students that have completed an undergraduate degree in mathematics.

I cannot resist quoting Albert Einstein's comment on What is Mathematics? - "A lucid representation of the fundamental concepts and methods of the whole field of mathematics...Easily understandable."

Richard Courant was a highly respected mathematician. He taught in Germany and in Cambridge and was director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (now renamed the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences). Courant has authored other widely acclaimed mathematical texts including Methods of Mathematical Physics (co-authored with David Hilbert) and his popular Differential and Integral Calculus. ... Read more

156. Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future
by James Hughes
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 0813341981
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Westview Press
Sales Rank: 78347
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Book Description

In the next fifty years, life spans will extend well beyond a century. Our senses and cognition will be enhanced. We will have greater control over our emotions and memory.Our bodies and brains will be surrounded by and merged with computer power. The limits of the human body will be transcended as technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering converge and accelerate. With them, we will redesign ourselves and our children into varieties of posthumanity.

This prospect is understandably terrifying to many. A loose coalition of groups-including religious conservatives, disability rights and environmental activists-has emerged to oppose the use of genetics to enhance human beings. And with the appointment of conservative philosopher Leon Kass, an opponent of in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research and life extension, to head the President's Council on Bioethics, and with the recent high-profile writings by authors like Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben, this stance has become more visible-and more infamous-than ever before.

In the opposite corner a loose transhumanist coalition is mobilizing in defense of human enhancement, embracing the ideological diversity of their intellectual forebears in the democratic and humanist movements. Transhumanists argue that human beings should be guaranteed freedom to control their own bodies and brains, and to use technology to transcend human limitations.

Identifying the groups, thinkers and arguments in each corner of this debate, bioethicist and futurist James Hughes argues for a third way, which he calls democratic transhumanism. This approach argues that we will achieve the best possible posthuman future when we ensure technologies are safe, make them available to everyone, and respect the right of individuals to control their own bodies.

Hughes offers fresh and controversial answers for many other pressing biopolitical issues-including cloning, genetic patents, human genetic engineering, sex selection, drugs, and assisted suicide-and concludes with a concrete political agenda for pro-technology progressives, including expanding and deepening human rights, reforming genetic patent laws, and providing everyone with healthcare and a basic guaranteed income.

A groundbreaking work of social commentary, Citizen Cyborg illuminates the technologies that are pushing the boundaries of humanness-and the debate that may determine the future of the human race itself. ... Read more

157. The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
list price: $24.99
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Asin: 0521016576
Catlog: Book (2003-11-20)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 191114
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Book Description

Science fiction is at the intersection of numerous fields. It is literature which draws on popular culture, and engages in speculation about science, history, and all varieties of social relations. This volume brings together essays by scholars and practitioners of science fiction, which look at the genre from different angles. It examines science fiction from Thomas More to the present day; and introduces important critical approaches (including Marxism, postmodernism, feminism and queer theory). ... Read more

158. Working at Inventing: Thomas A. Edison and the Menlo Park Experience
by William S. Pretzer
list price: $18.95
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Asin: 0801868904
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Sales Rank: 794200
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Book Description

Working at Inventing offers a fascinating study of research and development at Thomas Edison's Menlo Park (New Jersey) laboratory during the six years between 1876 and 1882 that transformed American life. Edison and his associates developed ideas that led to more than four hundred patents and made major contributions to telegraphy, telephony, and the duplication of texts. They also made breakthrough innovations in two age-old human quests: conquering the darkness of night and preserving and replaying sound. In the process, Edison demonstrated how to combine technological innovation and business strategy. Afterward, research and development became essential corporate activities.

Six experts on Edison's work deal in turn with the working conditions and the experiences at Menlo Park; the work culture of machinists and their impact on innovation; the role that telegraphy played in forming the lab's inventive activities; Edison's use of mental models in developing the telephone; the importance of visual communication in technology; and the significance of Menlo Park as a model of scientific and technological development.William Pretzer's introduction to the volume provides the context of Edison's career, while an epilogue explains the public interpretation of the Menlo Park laboratory as reconstructed by Henry Ford in his outdoor museum, Greenfield Village. ... Read more

159. Stanislaw Lesniewski: Collected Works - Volumes I and II (Nijhoff International Philosophy Series)
list price: $599.00
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Asin: 079231512X
Catlog: Book (1991-12-31)
Publisher: Springer
Sales Rank: 114515
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160. A History of Mathematics
by Carl B.Boyer, Isaac Asimov
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
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Asin: 0471543977
Catlog: Book (1991-03-06)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 81816
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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What do you mean there's no chapter 0? Whether or not you think that's a deficit, A History of Mathematics more than makes up for it with its depth and engaging analysis of the development of the "flawless science." Historian Carl B. Boyer designed it as a practical textbook for communicating math's complex timelines to interested college students in 1968; Uta C. Merzbach has gently revised it to bring it in line with current thought.Much of the early chapters are untouched, with new 19th- and 20th-century chapters covering Boyer's omissions and new and revised references guiding the reader to additional resources.

From the origins of numbering to the future of computing, the authors strive for comprehensive examination and clear, simple explanations.Some of the math will daunt those who have never taken college-level courses (or have forgotten what they learned), but some of the more elaborate technical material can be skipped if needed.Especially helpful is the extensive timeline-appendix that proceeds from the beginning of time to the late 20th century.Whether you're using it to gain a better understanding of mathematics or to broaden your awareness of the historical record, A History of Mathematics will help you make sense of the wide world of numbers. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for the serious student of history of mathematics
Boyer can write pretty well. His tendency to wax on about the virtues of the people he writes about can get annoying, but overall this probably works to make a more engaging style. This kind of writing style is entirely appropriate for a textbook designed to draw readers into the world of mathematics, but is prone to wide, sweeping generalizations and ill-supported assumptions and occasionally, factually incorrect statements.

The reader who is serious about studying the development of mathematics will learn something from this book, but there are better places to learn it. Boyer, as indicated above, seems intent on "cleaning up" history to fit the nice picture he has of it. Unfortunately, merely reciting well-known mathematical legends does more harm than good; it obscures the real process of discovery, and the way mathematics has, and still does, develop.

There are errors in the book that indicate Boyer did not do his research. To keep this review short, I'll name one: Boyer credits Poincare with the Poincare disc model of hyperbolic geometry. Anyone that has actually looked at Riemann's very important 1854 lecture (one of the most important documents of 19th century mathematics) will realize this model is due to Riemann! Since Boyer spends quite a bit of time on Riemann, this is rather puzzling.

Boyer also relies on E.T. Bell for some biographical information. No serious historian of mathematics would (or should) reference Bell for biographies of mathematicians. Bell's caricatures are entertaining, but do a disservice to the subject.

This book is only recommended for those who want to get a vague idea of the history of mathematics, but do not particularly care about the details being correct. For that purpose, Boyer does a better job than most.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on history of mathematics
I first bought the firt edition about 25 years ago when I was still a matriculation student preparing the examination to university. This book has been with me for more than one fourth of a decade. I also own the second edition of the same book.
It is a pity that the new author did not take the opportunity to expand the book to a much wider scale. ( what I mean is not to a encycoplaedic but at least expand the history of mathematics in the 20 the century. Now back to the book. What makes this book different other ones, I think it is the historical intuition of Boyer makes this book eternal. Some book arrange the content chronologically and somes book arrange the content according to the topics. However, Boyer cleverly combined that two . Also, he also extinctly discuss the topics proportional to their importance in the history. There is not too much mathematics and
there is not too few mathematics, Just a few words to describe that is " that book is really well balanced " and gives you everything and also the range of audience is wide, coupled with the very very reasonable price, it is the book on mathematical history who are interested should own one.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book tells you everything
I learned so much from this book. It's like 5 textbooks wrapped into one!

5-0 out of 5 stars TWENTY YEARS OF BOYER

5-0 out of 5 stars Wide exposition of the development of Mathematics
In this book the historian of mathematics Carl Boyer exposes the development of mathematics from the pre-history to modern times in a wide view, covering all the important mathematics and mathematicians from ancient times to our modern times. This reviewed version by Uta Merzbach is easier to read than the first edition by Boyer and its updated. I disagree that you need to be a mathematician or so to read this, all you need is the interest. In fact when I read this book I was entering high school and I found it easy and enjoyable to read. The author will not spent any time with hard mathematics, rather he is just going to cite (so all you need to know is what thouse technical names means superficially, but you don't need to know the math undergoing). This book is very nice if you want to have a deep and wide view on the history of math, so don't think this is an ultimate guide or something. Actually I think this book can be considered as a general introduction to the history of mathematics and to mathematics itself, it will make you get used to many technical terms and their intuitive meaning before getting deep in the formal math. ... Read more

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