Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Natural Sciences - books
Quarks, Chaos and Christianity by
Call Number: TOK 261.55 POL
Publication Date: 2006
Physicist John Polkinghorne explores the gap between science and religion. "Do we have to choose between the scientific and religious views of the world, or are they complementary understandings that give us a fuller picture than either on their own would provide?" Quarks, Chaos, & Christianity shows the ways that both science and religion point to something greater than ourselves. Topics include: chaos theory; evolution; miracles; cosmology; guest for God; how God answers prayer; our human nature; religious fact and opinion; scientists and prayer.
Call Number: TOK 530.12 LIN
Publication Date: 2008
Werner Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle” challenged centuries of scientific understanding, placed him in direct opposition to Albert Einstein, and put Niels Bohr in the middle of one of the most heated debates in scientific history. Heisenberg’s theorem stated that there were physical limits to what we could know about sub-atomic particles; this “uncertainty” would have shocking implications. In a riveting account, David Lindley captures this critical episode and explains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history, which has since transcended the boundaries of science and influenced everything from literary theory to television.
Call Number: TOK 576.8 CHA
Publication Date: 2003
Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was created essentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Less than 150 years ago, the special creation by God of living species was still dominant. The relentless application of the scientific method of inference from experiment and observation, without reference to religious, or governmental authority has completely transformed our view of our origins and relation to the universe, in less than 500 years. Few would dispute that this programme has been spectacularly successful, particularly in the twentieth century. This book is about the crucial role of evolutionary biology in transforming our view of human origins and relation to the universe, and the impact of this idea on traditional philosophy and religion. The purpose of this book is to introduce the general reader to some of the most important basic findings, concepts, and procedures of evolutionary biology, as it has developed since the first publications of Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago. Evolution provides a unifying set of principals for the whole of biology; it also illuminates the relation of human beings to the universe and each other. In addition, many aspects of evolution have practical importance; for instance, the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs are pressing medical problems.
A Dice World by
Call Number: 519.2 CLE
Publication Date: 2014
"Clegg's writing style is highly readable, and the contemporary cultural references impressed upon me . . . how accessible [Dice World] is."#151;Chemistry World Perfect for anyone convinced of the utter randomness of existence, (including fans of Luke Rhinehart's cult novel Dice Man) this title from popular science genius Brian Clegg (Inflight Science) shows how modern science has revealed that probability and chaos lie at the heart of nature. Described as "methodical, clear, entertaining, and just a bit mind-boggling" by the Irish Times, Dice World uncovers the truths and lies behind probability and statistics, explains how chaos theory is behind every great success in business, and demonstrates the possibilities quantum mechanics has given us for creating unbreakable ciphers and even for Star Trek-like teleportation. Brian Clegg is an acclaimed science writer published by Icon Books and St. Martin's Press. His books include Inflight Science, The Quantum Age (forthcoming), The Universe Inside You, Gravity, and Extra-Sensory.
Six Easy Pieces by
Publication Date: 1994-11-20
Richard P. Feynman was widely recognized as the most creative physicist of the post-World War II period. His career was extraordinarily expansive. From his contributions to the development of the atomic bomb a Los Alamos during World War II to his work in quantum electrodynamics, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965, Feynman was celebrated for his brilliant and irreverent approach to physics.It was Feynman's outrageous and scintillating method of teaching that earned him legendary status among students and professors of physics. Six Easy Pieces, taken from his famous Lectures on Physics, represents the most accessible material from this series. In these six chapters, Feynman introduces the general reader to the following topics: atoms, basic physics, the relationship of physics to other topics, energy, gravitation, and quantum force. With his dazzling and inimitable wit, Feynman presents each discussion without equations or technical jargon.Readers will remember howusing ice water and rubberFeynman demonstrated with stunning simplicity to a nationally televised audience the physics of the 1986 Challenger disaster. It is precisely this abilitythe clear and direct illustration of complex theoriesthat made Richard Feynman one of the most distinguished educators in the world. Filled with wonderful examples and clever illustrations, Six Easy Pieces is the ideal introduction to the fundamentals of physics by one of the most admired and accessible scientists of our time. UWC Librarian note: chapter 3, relating physics to other sciences, ranging from Chemistry to Psychology, may be particularly helpful for TOK candidates.
The Science Delusion by
Call Number: 501 WHI
Publication Date: 2014
In The Science Delusion, Curtis White argues that the rich philosophical debates of the 19th century have been almost totally abandoned. People no longer wonder 'why is there something instead of nothing?' or 'what is our purpose on earth?'. Instead, students are taught that science can resolve all questions without the aid of philosophy, politics or the humanities. It's a message echoed in the work of the recent glut of bestselling 'new atheists'.
In addition to the suggestions above, you can also try databases, such as JSTOR, Project Muse and ProQuest Central, on the Reference Sites page of the College Portal (website).
Natural sciences - books
Call Number: TOK 574.8 HOW
Publication Date: 2001
Darwin's theory that our ancestors were apes caused a furore in the scientific world and outside it when The Origin of Species was published in 1859. Arguments still rage about the implications of his evolutionary theory, and scepticism about the value of Darwin's contribution to knowledge is widespread. In this analysis of Darwin's major insights and arguments, Jonathan Howard reasserts the importance of Darwin's work for the development of modern biology.
Measuring the Universe: our historic quest to chart the horizons of space and time by
Call Number: TOK 523.1 FER
Publication Date: 2000
More than 2,000 years ago, Eratosthenes, in Alexandria, used a stick, a hole in the ground, sunllght at summer solstice, and elementary geometry to measure the circumference of the Earth with surprising accuracy, long before anyone was able to circumnavigate it. Today, scientists are attempting to measure the entire universe and to determine its origin. Although the methods have changed, the quest to chart the horizons of space and time continues to be one of the great adventures of science. Measuring the Universe is an eloquent chronicle of the men and women– from Aristarchus to Cassini, Sir Isaac Newton to Henrietta Leavitt and Stephen Hawking–who have gradually unlocked the mysteries of "how far" and in so doing have changed our ideas about the size and nature of the universe and our place in it. Kitty Ferguson reveals their methods to have been as inventive as their results were–and are–eye-opening. Advances such as Copernicus's revolutionary insights about the arrangement of the solar system, William Herschel's meticulous creation of the first three-dimensional map of the universe, and Edwin Hubble's astonishing discovery that the universe is expanding have by turns revolutionized our concept of the universe. Connecting centuries of breakthroughs with the political and cultural events surrounding them, Ferguson makes astronomy part of the sweep of history. To measure the seemingly immeasurable, scientists have always pushed the boundaries of the imagination–today, for example, facing the paradox of an ever-expanding universe that doesn't appear to expand into anything. In Kitty Fergeson’s skillfill hands, the unimaginable becomes accessible and the splendid quest something we all can share.
The Moral Landscape: how science can determine human values by
Call Number: 171.2 HAR
Publication Date: 2011
Sam Harris's first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people-from religious fundamentalists to non-believing scientists-agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the primary justification for religious faith. In this highly controversial book, Sam Harris seeks to link morality to the rest of human knowledge. Defining morality in terms of human and animal well-being, Harris argues that science can do more than tell how we are; it can, in principle, tell us how we ought to be. In his view, moral relativism is simply false-and comes at an increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality. Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience by
Call Number: 212.7 PIC
Publication Date: 2004
In his most ambitious book yet, Clifford Pickover bridges the gulf between logic, spirit, science, and religion. While exploring the concept of omniscience, Pickover explains the kinds of relationships limited beings can have with an all-knowing God. Pickover's thought exercises, controversial experiments, and practical analogies help us transcend our ordinary lives while challenging us to better understand our place in the cosmos and our dreams of a supernatural God. Through an inventive blend of science, history, philosophy, science fiction, and mind-stretching brainteasers, Pickover unfolds the paradoxes of God like no other writer. He provides glimpses into the infinite, allowing us to think big, and to have daring, limitless dreams.
The beginning of infinity by
Call Number: 530.01 DEU
Publication Date: 2011
Concerned with explanations and truth, Deutsch connects scientific developments with the wider world.
The Blind Watchmaker: why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design by
Call Number: 575.01 DAW
Publication Date: 1996
Twenty years after its original publication, The Blind Watchmaker, framed with a new introduction by the author, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the eighteenth-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte. Natural selection--the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process Darwin discovered--has no purpose in mind. If it can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker in nature.
Why Evolution Is True by
Call Number: 576.8 COY
Publication Date: 2009
Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design," there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned-the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection. Even Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, while extolling the beauty of evolution and examining case studies, have not focused on the evidence itself. Yet the proof is vast, varied, and magnificent, drawn from many different fields of science. Scientists are observing species splitting into two and are finding more and more fossils capturing change in the past-dinosaurs that have sprouted feathers, fish that have grown limbs. Why Evolution Is True weaves together the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the "indelible stamp" of the processes first proposed by Darwin. In crisp, lucid prose accessible to a wide audience, Why Evolution Is True dispels common misunderstandings and fears about evolution and clearly confirms that this amazing process of change has been firmly established as a scientific truth.
A Dice World by
Call Number: 519.2 CLE
Publication Date: 2014
As troubling as we pattern-seeking humans may find it, modern science has repeatedly shown us that randomness is the underlying heartbeat of nature. In Dice World, acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg takes readers on an incredible trip around our random universe, uncovering the truths and lies behind probability and statistics, explaining how chaotic intervention is behind every great success in business, and demonstrating the possibilities quantum mechanics has given us for creating unbreakable ciphers and undergoing teleportation. He explores how the ,clockwork universe' imagined by Newton, in which everything could be predicted given enough data, was disproved bit by bit, to be supplanted by chaos theory and quantum physics. Clegg reveals a world in which not only is accurate forecasting often impossible but probability is the only way for us to understand the fundamental nature of things. Forget theclockwork universe. Welcome to Dice World, a unique portrait of a startlingly complex cosmos, from the bizarre microscopic world of the quantum to the unfathomable mechanics of planetary movements, where very little is as it seems...