The Violinist's Thumb - Sam Kean

Sam Kean ‘s clever and engaging biography of DNA covers far more than biology; it explores how one elegant molecule structures our bodies and lives, and it captures the complex discoveries of scientists—and their equally complex personalities—in an entertaining narrative style. The Violinist’s Thumb (Little, Brown, $15.99) is full of amazing facts (did you know that there’s enough DNA in our bodies to stretch to the moon?) and illuminating analogies (the nimble, ever-shifting RNA is compared to ancient oral storytelling, while sturdy, consistent DNA is like writing). The book’s broad range makes it ideal for readers of history, biology, psychology, and politics; the many tales of A, T, C, and G reveal what our genes mean to us and how they have shaped us as a culture, a species, and as individuals.
The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code By Sam Kean Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316182331
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - July 16th, 2013

Letters to a Young Scientist - Edward Osborne Wilson

Edward O. Wilson’s Letters to a Young Scientist (Liveright, $21.95) might be subtitled “letters from a young scientist,” so fresh and exuberant is this eminent biologist about his work, even after sixty years in the field and nearly thirty books. Wilson’s twenty letters blend practical advice about choosing a specialty, navigating the demands of academia, and functioning in science without being a math whiz, with examples—adventure stories, really—of the scientific method in action as he guides readers to the world in a rotting tree stump and tracks down elusive species in places as far flung as Vanuatu, Sri Lanka, and, when he truly was a young scientist, Rock Creek Park. As much as hard work, knowledge, and talented colleagues matter to a solid scientific career, Wilson believes that “the ideal scientist thinks like a poet and only later works like a bookkeeper.” Emphasizing the creative side of science, Wilson extols passion, dreams, and a spirit of play—scientists of all ages should set up the odd experiment for the sheer delight in seeing what will happen.

Letters to a Young Scientist By Edward O. Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871403773
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Liveright - April 15th, 2013

Letters to a Young Scientist By Edward O. Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871403858
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright - April 7th, 2014

How to Create a Mind - Ray Kurzweil

If artificial intelligence once seemed daunting or simply unrealistic, those days are gone. As Ray Kurzweil, one of AI’s most energetic visionaries points out, today we’re surrounded by the fruits of AI, from email and smart phones to Watson, the “15-terabyte” Jeopardy! Champion—not to mention the automated factories that built these machines. In How to Create a Mind (Viking, $27.95), Kurzweil tells us what’s next. But first, like the innovative science he describes, he looks back. Surveying the human mind’s great accomplishments, such as the theories of evolution and relativity (and problems it’s still working on, like the nature of consciousness and free will), Kurzweil lays out the fascinating neuroscience of thinking, focusing on the brain’s predilection for patterns. The brain doesn’t only identify patterns, it’s made of them itself, and by turning this information back on its source, we can create ever more complex synthetic versions of mind. As he did in his ground-breaking The Age of Spiritual Machines, Kurzweil makes cutting-edge technology clear and vivid; after all, everyone is part computer geek now.

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed By Ray Kurzweil Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143124047
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 27th, 2013