Archive for the 'all sciences' Category

Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

emperorBy Roger Penrose, Martin Gardner, Martin Gardner (Foreword by)

For decades, proponents of artificial intelligence have argued that computers will soon be doing everything that a human mind can do. Admittedly, computers now play chess at the grandmaster level, but do they understand the game as we do? Can a computer eventually do everything a human mind can do?
In this absorbing and frequently contentious book, Roger Penrose–eminent physicist and winner, with Stephen Hawking, of the prestigious Wolf prize–puts forward his view that there are some facets of human thinking that can never be emulated by a machine. Penrose examines what physics and mathematics can tell us about how the mind works, what they can’t, and what we need to know to understand the physical processes of consciousness.
He is among a growing number of physicists who think Einstein wasn’t being stubborn when he said his “little finger” told him that quantum mechanics is incomplete, and he concludes that laws even deeper than quantum mechanics are essential for the operation of a mind. To support this contention, Penrose takes the reader on a dazzling tour that covers such topics as complex numbers, Turing machines, complexity theory, quantum mechanics, formal systems, Godel undecidability, phase spaces, Hilbert spaces, black holes, white holes, Hawking radiation, entropy, quasicrystals, the structure of the brain, and scores of other subjects. Call Number Q325 .P415 1989

Source Barnes&Noble.com

Flu: The Story of The Great Influenza Pademic of 1918 and the Search of the Virus That Caused it

Friday, October 3, 2008

by Gina Kolata

call #  RC150.4 .K64 2005

Synopsis

When we think of plagues, we think of AIDS, Ebola, anthrax spores, and, of course, the Black Death. But in 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated 40 million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the U.S. population with it, 1.5 million Americans would die.

In Flu, Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy.

A gripping work of science writing, Flu addresses the prospects for a great epidemic’s recurrence and considers what can be done to prevent it.

Source BarnesandNoble.com

Astronomy Essentials

Friday, October 3, 2008

by Charles O. Brass

Call # QB62 .B73 1998

Product Description
Includes the historical perspective of astronomy, sky basics and the celestial coordinate systems, a model and the origin of the solar system, the sun, the planets, Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, planetary satellites, asteroids, eclipses, tides, stars, time, and binoculars and telescopes.

Sourcre Amazon.com

Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 15th Edition

Friday, September 19, 2008

By Richard J. Lewis

Call Number: QD5 .H396 2007

Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 15th Edition is a compilation of technical data and descriptive information covering thousands of chemicals and chemical phenomena, trade name products, processes, reactions, products, and related terminology.

The 100 Most Important Chemical Compounds: A Reference Guide

Friday, September 19, 2008

By Richard L. Meyers and Rusty L. Meyers

Call Number: TP9 .M94 2007

What is a chemical compound? Compounds are substances that are two or more elements combined together chemically in a standard proportion by weight. Compounds are all around us – they include familiar things, such as water, and more esoteric substances, such as triuranium octaoxide, the most commonly occurring natural source for uranium. This reference guide gives us a tour of 100 of the most important, common, unusual, and intriguing compounds known to science. Each entry gives an extensive explanation of the composition, molecular formula, and chemical properties of the compound. In addition, each entry reviews the relevant chemistry, history, and uses of the compound, with discussions of the origin of the compound’s name, the discovery or first synthesis of the compound, production statistics, and uses of the compound.

The 100 Most Important Chemical Compounds provides readers not only with the understanding of the chemistry of these substances and the practical uses of these compounds, but also includes numerous interesting historical details about the scientific discoveries:
-Hannibal employed acetic acid in crossing the Alps
-A disgruntled family doctor’s pleas to do medical research leads to the use of insulin to treat diabetes -Charles Francis Hall’s research as a high school student resulted in a cheap process to produce aluminum and the founding of ALCOA
-A bitter priority dispute among several doctors over the discovery of ether as an anesthetic lead to suicide, prison, and early deaths.
-Dupont scientists researching the production of CFCs accidentally produced a white waxy substance now known as Teflon
-A chemist synthesized methylphenidate and administered it to his wife Rita. He named the compound after her — Ritalin

The reference guide includes a glossary, a guide to further reading, and numerous chemical illustrations to help illuminate the text.

barnesandnoble.com

Blip, Ping, & Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar

Monday, July 28, 2008

By Mark Denny

Call Number: TK6576 .D46 2007

With twenty years’ experience explaining technical concepts to non-experts in the radar industry, Mark Denny is the perfect guide to understanding just how remote sensing — radar or sonar — works. Weaving together interesting history and simple science, Denny reveals the world of echolocation to the curious student, technology buff, and expert alike.

barnesandnoble.com

Copernicus’ Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began

Friday, July 25, 2008

By Jack Repcheck

Call Number: QB36 .C8 R387 2007

Nicolaus Copernicus gave the world perhaps the most important scientific insight of the modern age, the theory that the earth and the other planets revolve around the sun. He was also the first to proclaim that the earth rotates on its axis once every twenty-four hours. His theory was truly radical: during his lifetime nearly everyone believed that a perfectly still earth rested in the middle of the cosmos, where all the heavenly bodies revolved around it.

One of the transcendent geniuses of the early Renaissance, Copernicus was also a flawed and conflicted person. A cleric who lived during the tumultuous years of the early Reformation, he may have been sympathetic to the teachings of the Lutherans. Although he had taken a vow of celibacy, he kept at least one mistress. Supremely confident intellectually, he hesitated to disseminate his work among other scholars. It fact, he kept his astronomical work a secret, revealing it to only a few intimates, and the manuscript containing his revolutionary theory, which he refined for at least twenty years, remained “hidden among my things.”

It is unlikely that Copernicus’ masterwork would ever have been published if not for a young mathematics professor named Georg Joachim Rheticus. He had heard of Copernicus’ ideas, and with his imagination on fire he journeyed hundreds of miles to a land where, as a Lutheran, he was forbidden to travel. Rheticus’ meeting with Copernicus in a small cathedral town in northern Poland proved to be one of the most important encounters in history.

Copernicus’ Secret recreates the life and world of the scientific genius whose work revolutionized astronomy and altered our understanding of our place in the world. It tells the surprising, little-known story behind the dawn of the scientific age.

barnesandnoble.com