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AoK Natural Sciences
The Half-Life of Facts by
Call Number: 501 ARB
Publication Date: 2013
Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing. But it turns out there's an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman shows us how knowledge in most fields evolves systematically and predictably, and how this evolution that can have a powerful impact on our lives. Arbesman takes us through a wide variety of fields, including those that change quickly, over the course of a few years, or over the span of centuries. He offers intriguing examples about the face of knowledge: what English majors can learn from a statistical analysis of The Canterbury Tales, why it's so hard to measure a mountain, and why, for years, everyone was taught the wrong number of human chromosomes.The Half-Life of Facts can help us find new ways to measure the woorld while accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.
The Whole Shebang by
Call Number: 523.1 FER
Publication Date: 1997
A non-technical account of recent astronomical research makes all that is known about the universe accessible to the average reader, in a study that integrates scientific personalities with hard facts, vivid explanations, and authoritative speculation.
The Tao of Physics by
Publication Date: 2010
Here is the book that brought the mystical implications of subatomic physics to popular consciousness for the very first time--way back in 1975. This special edition celebrates the thirty-fifth anniversary of this early Shambhala best seller that has gone on to become a classic. It includes a new preface by the author, in which he reflects on the further discoveries and developments that have occurred in the years since the book's original publication. "Physicists do not need mysticism," Dr. Capra says, "and mystics do not need physics, but humanity needs both." It's a message of timeless importance.
AoK Human Sciences
The Black Swan by
Call Number: 003.54 TAL
Publication Date: 2007
The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible." For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, "On Robustness and Fragility," which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by
Publication Date: 2000
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.
Fermat's Last Theorem by
Call Number: 512.74 SIN
Publication Date: 1998
In 1963, a schoolboy browsing in his local library stumbled across a great mathematical problem: Fermat's Last Theorem, a puzzle that every child can now understand, but which has baffled mathematicians for over 300 years. Aged just ten, Andrew Wiles dreamed he would crack it.
The Code Book for Young People by
Call Number: 652.8 SIN
Publication Date: 2003
It’s known as the science of secrecy. Cryptography: the encoding and decoding of private information. And it is history’s most fascinating story of intrigue and cunning. From Julius Caesar and his Caesar Cipher to the code used by Mary Queen of Scots and her conspiracy to the use of the Engima machine during the Second World War, Simon Singh follows the evolution of secret writing. Accessible, compelling, and timely, this international bestseller, now adapted for young people, is sure to make readers see the past—and the future—in a whole new way. From the Hardcover edition.
Where Mathematics Comes From by
Publication Date: 2001
This book is about mathematical ideas, about what mathematics means-and why. Abstract ideas, for the most part, arise via conceptual metaphor-metaphorical ideas projecting from the way we function in the everyday physical world. Where Mathematics Comes From argues that conceptual metaphor plays a central role in mathematical ideas within the cognitive unconscious-from arithmetic and algebra to sets and logic to infinity in all of its forms.
AoK - others
Crazy Like Us by
Publication Date: 2011
The most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture across the globe has not been our golden arches or our bomb craters, but our bulldozing of the human psyche itself. American-style depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anorexia have begun to spread around the world like contagions, and the virus is us. Traveling from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka to Zanzibar to Japan, acclaimed journalist Ethan Watters witnesses firsthand how Western healers often steamroll indigenous expressions of mental health and madness and replace them with our own. In teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we have been homogenizing the way the world goes mad.
The Sound of Two Hands Clapping by
Publication Date: 2003
A unique insider's account of day-to-day life inside a Tibetan monastery, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping reveals to Western audiences the fascinating details of monastic education. Georges B. J. Dreyfus, the first Westerner to complete the famous Ge-luk curriculum and achieve the distinguished title of geshe, weaves together eloquent and moving autobiographical reflections with a historical overview of Tibetan Buddhism and insights into its teachings.
Publication Date: 1993
Why did the stock market crash more than 500 points on a single Monday in 1987? Why do ancient species often remain stable in the fossil record for millions of years and then suddenly disappear? In a world where nice guys often finish last, why do humans value trust and cooperation? At first glance these questions don't appear to have anything in common, but in fact every one of these statements refers to a complex system. The science of complexity studies how single elements, such as a species or a stock, spontaneously organize into complicated structures like ecosystems and economies; stars become galaxies, and snowflakes avalanches almost as if these systems were obeying a hidden yearning for order. Drawing from diverse fields, scientific luminaries such as Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Kenneth Arrow are studying complexity at a think tank called The Santa Fe Institute. The revolutionary new discoveries researchers have made there could change the face of every science from biology to cosmology to economics. M. Mitchell Waldrop's groundbreaking bestseller takes readers into the hearts and minds of these scientists to tell the story behind this scientific revolution as it unfolds.