A Little History of Science - William Bynum

Whatever first prompted people to ask why? and how?, the questions have led to discoveries ranging from photosynthesis to genes to gravity to quarks. This ongoing “human endeavor to understand the world” is the theme of A Little History of Science (Yale Univ., $25), William Bynum’s contribution to the popular series modeled on E. H. Gombrich’s enchanting A Little History of the World. Bynum, too, was charmed by the 1935 survey for young people, and he has followed his predecessor’s winning formula of brief, brisk chapters that cover an astonishing number of topics in clear, conversational language. “Science is special,” Bynum declares—and proves it, delving into its many branches and outlining the work not just of major European thinkers but those of ancient and Eastern peoples. He also defines terms, explains technologies, and traces how one experiment leads to the next. In short, the book tells a story of wonder and surprise; designed for young people, yes—but written for everyone.

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ISBN: 9780300136593
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - October 15th, 2012

A Little History of Science (Little Histories) By William Bynum Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300197136
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - September 10th, 2013

Spillover - David Quammen

In his new book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (W.W. Norton, $28.95), the veteran science and nature writer David Quammen explores the origins of zoonotic diseases, i.e., infections that jump from animals to humans, such as Ebola, AIDS, SARS, and others. His investigation into the origins of these diseases evokes a peculiar and chilling epidemiological landscape. Quammen goes out into the field and visits places like Bangladesh, Gabon, Australia, and China to talk to scientists, researchers, and survivors of these new maladies. He speculates about the source of the next big pandemic and whether we can predict, let alone prevent, its emergence. This is a masterfully done piece of scientific writing that’s as informative as it is unsettling.

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ISBN: 9780393346619
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 9th, 2013

The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America - Steven Johnson

The Invention of Air is so much more than an intellectual biography of Joseph Priestley, one of the brightest stars in the 18th Century political, religious and scientific firmament. It is a spectacular demonstration of that virtue Priestley possessed in superabundance, intellectual curiosity. Priestley is less known than he should be: Among his extraordinary generation, he is rivaled only by Jefferson in his astonishing breadth of accomplishment and lasting influence. He invented the liberal arts education, wrote the first book of popular science, discovered that air was composed of several gasses necessary for combustion and life and helped found Unitarianism. Steven Johnson goes beyond tracing Priestley's remarkable life to apply a gleefully promiscuous erudition to the questions it raises: Why does a certain group in a certain place (in this case a coffee house near St. Paul's) produce an efflorescence of achievement? How does individual talent and application jostle with socioeconomic forces in the production of knowledge? Where did the energy to power the industrial and scientific revolutions come from? Steven Johnson is a master of the dazzling superimposition. For example, using network theory to understand the scientific breakthrough that allowed us to understand that all life is an interdependent web. The Invention of Air combines the digressive enlightenment of Wikipedia and an 18th century coffee house.

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ISBN: 9781594484018
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2009