The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science - Richard Holmes

The Romantic period wasn’t only for literature—it caught up scientists and explorers as well (many of whom were also writers). Together, the groundbreaking work of men like Mungo Park, Joseph Banks, Humphrey Davy, and the sibling astronomers, William and Caroline Herschel, made the late 18th and early 19th century “the second scientific revolution.” In his Age Of Wonder (Pantheon, $40), Richard Holmes, biographer of Coleridge and Shelley, brings this era vividly to life. Encompassing global exploration, botany, geography, geology, chemistry, and astronomy, it led to inventions like the hot air balloon, the dynamo, the miners’ safety lamp, and the smallpox vaccine. Scores of comets and meteors were tracked, and Uranus was discovered. Holmes clearly explains the relevant scientific principles, but it is his details of the actual experience of carrying out forays into the unknown that sets this history apart. He describes, for instance, just how cold and dark a winter night was when spent in a top-heavy telescope tower, buffeted by the wind. Or what Humphrey Davy hallucinated when he overdosed himself in a laughing gas experiment.

Combining adventure, exploration, and biography, the multi-award-winning Age Of Wonder (Pantheon, $17.95) satisfies the needs for excitement, suspense, and plain-old good story-telling. Richard Holmes opens the treasure trove of knowledge and ambition that was Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, taking to the open seas with Captain Cook, experiencing the sensuous exotica of Tahiti with Joseph Banks and his crew, and surveying the night sky over England with William and Caroline Herschel. Then there’s Humphrey Davy and his experiments with laughing gas, unpredictable hot-air balloon flights, Mary Shelley’s examination of humanity’s Promethean aspirations, and the growth of the Royal Society. Holmes has a quick wit and an eye for the telling quirk, making his narrative as entertaining as it is informative.

The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science By Richard Holmes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400031870
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - March 2nd, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution - Richard Dawkins

Rarely have man and mission been more suited than Richard Dawkins and evangelizing for evolution.  The explanatory germ of the Darwinian idea is so simple and powerful it demands to be shouted from the rooftops.  Yet its ramifications are so extensive, intricate, and sometimes paradoxical, that a kind of rigorous but joyful empiricism is called for to suss them out. Dawkins is the master scientific explicator of our time, but he is worried.  The Greatest Show On Earth (Free Press, $30) is a fusillade of illustration, argument, and rebuttal directed against “the history deniers,” that sizable faction of our polity dumb to the majesty and sheer, comprehensive veracity of the story of life.  Dawkins’s tremendous fluency of analogy convinces and informs us of the evidence for evolution, rather than merely popularizing it. In this respect, he is a worthy heir of Darwin himself.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution By Richard Dawkins Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416594796
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - August 24th, 2010

The Human Brain Book - Rita Carter

The Human Brain Book (DK, $40), by Rita Carter, a prize-winning medical journalist, was immediately praised by our professional health-care customers. This profusely-illustrated volume, with sophisticated graphics conveying complex neuron activities and cognitive functions, is the ultimate reference book on the signature organ that defines our humanity. An accompanying DVD carries a wealth of additional neurological information about the normally functioning brain as well as a caseload of diseases and disorders.

The Human Brain Book: An Illustrated Guide to its Structure, Function, and Disorders By Rita Carter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781465416025
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: DK - March 3rd, 2014