lamdha books -
Catalogue of books on science and mathematics

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Adams, Fred, & Greg Laughlin
The Five Ages of the Universe Inside the Physics of Eternity
The Free Press/Simon & Schuster Inc., New York NY, 1999.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with gilt spine-titling; 251pp., with diagrams and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; text block to edge lightly spotted; some dog-eared pages. Dustwrapper. Very good to near fine. As the twentieth century closed, Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin captured the attention of the world by identifying the five ages of time. In The Five Ages of the Universe, Adams and Laughlin demonstrate that we can now understand the complete life story of the cosmos from beginning to end. Adams and Laughlin have been hailed as the creators of the definitive long-term projection of the evolution of the universe. Their achievement is awesome in its scale and profound in its scientific breadth. But The Five Ages of the Universe is more than a handbook of the physical processes that guided our past and will shape our future; it is a truly epic story. Without leaving earth, here is a fantastic voyage to the physics of eternity. It is the only biography of the universe you will ever need
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[Albert Einstein] Isaacson, Walter
Einstein His Life and Universe
Simon & Schuster Inc., New York NY, 2007.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with gilt spine-titling and illustrated endpapers; 680pp., untrimmed, with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear. Near fine in like dustwrapper. "In 2005, astronomers and cosmologists celebrated - in style - the 100th anniversary of their annus mirabilis: 1905. This was the year in which Albert Einstein wrote a set of scientific papers - including one containing the equation E=mc2 that changed our understanding of the universe - and which became the cornerstones of quantum mechanics and general relativity: the twin intellectual pinnacles of the 20th century... According to Isaacson, we should regard Einstein not as an august scientific priest, but 'as a rebel with reverence for the harmony of nature', a scientist who rated imagination far higher than knowledge and an individual whose motto, at least in his early years, was 'Long live impudence! It is my guardian angel.' Having displayed 'a sassy attitude' at the Zurich Polytechnic, where he studied physics, Einstein was his year's only graduate not to be offered a job. He was even rejected by the Swiss army for having flat feet and varicose veins. In the end, he made do with the Swiss patent office. And a good thing too, says Isaacson. Einstein did his day's work in a couple of hours and then sat back in his 'worldly cloister' order to create some of the most beautiful, challenging ideas of modern science. 'Physics was to be upended, and Einstein was poised to be the one to do it,' says Isaacson. It's one of the greatest stories of modern science and a riveting read." - Robin McKie
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al-Khalili, Jim
The House of Wisdom How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance
The Penguin Press/Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York NY, 2010.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with gilt spine and upper board titles; 302pp., with 8pp. of colour and monochrome plates. Minor wear. Dustwrapper. Near fine. British-Iraqi physicist Jim Al-Khalili unveils the Arabic legacy of science and philosophy to fascinating effect by returning to its roots in the hubs of Arab innovation that would advance science and jump-start the European Renaissance. Inspired by the Koranic injunction to study closely all of God's works, rulers throughout the Islamic world funded armies of scholars who gathered and translated Persian, Sanskrit, and Greek texts. From the ninth through the fourteenth centuries, these scholars built upon those foundations a scientific revolution that bridged the one-thousand-year gap between the ancient Greeks and the European Renaissance. Many of the innovations that we think of as hallmarks of Western science were actually the result of Arab ingenuity: Astronomers laid the foundations for the heliocentric model of the solar system long before Copernicus; physicians accurately described blood circulation and the inner workings of the eye ages before Europeans solved those mysteries; physicists made discoveries that laid the foundation for Newton's theories of optics. But the most significant legacy of Middle Eastern science was its evidence-based approach - the lack of which kept Europeans in the dark throughout the Dark Ages. The father of this experimental approach to science - what we call the scientific method - was an Iraqi physicist who applied it centuries before Europeans first dabbled in it. Al-Khalili details not only how discoveries like these were made, but also how they changed European minds and how they were ultimately obscured by later Western versions of the same principles.With transporting detail, Al-Khalili places the reader in the intellectual and cultural hothouses of the Arab Enlightenment: the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, one of the world's greatest academies, the holy city of Isfahan, the melting pots of Damascus and Cairo, and the embattled Islamic outposts of Spain. Al-Khalili tackles two tantalizing questions: Why did the Arab world enter its own Dark Age after such a dazzling enlightenment? And how much did Arabic learning contribute to making the Western world as we know it? Given his singular combination of expertise in both the Western and Middle Eastern scientific traditions, Al-Khalili is uniquely qualified to solve those riddles.
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Bryson, Bill
A Short History of Nearly Everything Illustrated
Doubleday/Transworld Publishing/Random House (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Milsons Point NSW, 2005.
First edition thus: quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine titling and decorated endpapers; 624pp., with many full-colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; previous owner's ink inscription to the half-title page. Dustwrapper rubbed and edgeworn. Very good to near fine. In Bryson's biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand - and, if possible, answer - the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world's most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
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[Charles Darwin] Nicholas, F.W. & J.M.
Charles Darwin in Australia - signed copy With illustrations and additional commentary from other members of the "Beagle's" company including Conrad Martens, Augustus Earle, Captain FitzRoy, Philip Gidley King, and Syms Covington
Cambridge University Press, Sydney NSW, 1989.
Quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling and endpaper maps; 175pp., with a colour portrait frontispiece and many full-colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; text block top edge dusted; signed by the authors in ink to the title page. Dustwrapper lightly spotted on the verso; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Based on a new transcription of the entire Australian section of Darwin's diary supplemented by extracts from the notebook he carried on a trip to Bathurst. The trip is covered thus in detail. His observations concern not only the flora and fauna but also the society of the day.
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Collins, Harry
Gravity's Kiss The Detection of Gravity Waves
Massachusetts Institute of Technology/The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2017.
Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titles; 408pp., with diagrams and monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Scientists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves for fifty years. Then, in September 2015, came a "very interesting event" (as the cautious subject line in a physicist's email read) that proved to be the first detection of gravitational waves. In "Gravity's Kiss", Harry Collins - who has been watching the science of gravitational wave detection for forty-three of those fifty years and has written three previous books about it - offers a final, fascinating account, written in real time, of the unfolding of one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever made. Predicted by Einstein in his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves carry energy from the collision or explosion of stars. Dying binary stars, for example, rotate faster and faster around each other until they merge, emitting a burst of gravitational waves. It is only with the development of extraordinarily sensitive, highly sophisticated detectors that physicists can now confirm Einstein's prediction. This is the story that Collins tells. Collins, a sociologist of science who has been embedded in the gravitational wave community since 1972, traces the detection, the analysis, the confirmation, and the public presentation and the reception of the discovery - from the first email to the final published paper and the response of professionals and the public. Collins shows that science today is collaborative, far-flung (with the physical location of the participants hardly mattering), and sometimes secretive, but still one of the few institutions that has integrity built into it.
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Costa, James T.
Darwin's Backyard How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory; including do-it-yourself experiments
W.W. Norton & Company Inc., New York NY, 2017.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with gilt spine titles; 441pp., with many monochrome diagrams and illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin's childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle, where his ideas on evolution began, and on to Down House, his bustling home of forty years. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even the cellar and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution through an astonishing array of experiments without using specialized equipment. From those results, he plumbed the laws of nature and drew evidence for the revolutionary arguments of "On the Origin of Species" and other watershed works. This unique perspective introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, collaborator, and, especially, an incorrigible observer and experimenter. And it includes eighteen experiments for home, school, or garden.
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Coveney, Peter & Roger Highfield
Frontiers of Complexity The Search for Order in a Chaotic World
Faber & Faber, London, 1995.
First edition: octavo hardcover; charcoal boards with white spine titling; 462pp., colour plates and b&w illustrations and diagrams. Mild rubbing to board edges and corners; spotting to text block edges. Black illustrated dustwrapper, slightly rubbed and edgeworn, now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. At the cutting edge of the sciences, a dynamic new concept is emerging: complexity. In this groundbreaking new book, Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield explore how complexity in mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, and even the social sciences is transforming not only the way we think about the universe, but also the very assumptions that underlie conventional science. Complexity is a watchword for a new way of thinking about the behavior of interacting units, whether they are atoms, ants in a colony, or neurons firing in a human brain. The rise of the electronic computer provided both the key and the catalyst to our exploration of complexity. A new generation of computers that runs on light and exploits the bizarre properties of quantum mechanics promises to deepen our understanding still further. The advances we have already witnessed are spectacular. The authors take us inside laboratories where scientists are evolving the genetic molecules that enabled life to emerge on earth and generating universes teeming with virtual creatures in cyber-space. We witness the utterly realistic behavior of a school of virtual fish - computer-generated replicas that have been trained to swim gracefully, hunt for food, and scatter at the approach of a leopard shark. Compelling in its clarity, far-reaching in its implications, vibrant with the excitement of new discovery, Frontiers of Complexity is an arresting account of how far science has come in the past fifty years and an essential guide to the rapidly approaching future.
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Cushing, James T.
Philosophical Concepts in Physics The Historical Relation between Philosophy and Scientific Theories
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1998.
Octavo; trade paperback; 424pp., with diagrams. Mild wear; covers a little rubbed and edgeworn; spine sunned. Very good.
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Darwin, Charles
The Origin of Species
Flame Tree, London, 2019.
Octavo; hardcover; decorated black boards, silver endpapers and gilt and white titles; 503pp. No dustwrapper. Remainder. New.
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Davies, Paul
How to Build a Time Machine: signed copy
Penguin Books (Aust.) Ltd., Camberwell Vic., 2002.
Square octavo; paperback; 148pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Inscribed in ink to the owner. Minor wear; a few faint spots on text block edge. Very good.
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Davies, Paul
The Mind of God Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning
Simon & Schuster, London, 1992.
First edition: octavo; hardcover; 254pp. Mild wear; pages a little toned; spotted upper text block edge. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. Throughout history, humans have dreamed of knowing the reason for the existence of the universe. In The Mind of God, physicist Paul Davies explores whether modern science can provide the key that will unlock this last secret. In his quest for an ultimate explanation, Davies reexamines the great questions that have preoccupied humankind for millennia, and in the process explores, among other topics, the origin and evolution of the cosmos, the nature of life and consciousness, and the claim that our universe is a kind of gigantic computer. Charting the ways in which the theories of such scientists as Newton, Einstein, and more recently Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman have altered our conception of the physical universe. Davies puts these scientists' discoveries into context with the writings of philosophers such as Plato. Descartes, Hume, and Kant. His startling conclusion is that the universe is "no minor by-product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." By the means of science, we can truly see into the mind of God.
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Davis, Philip J., & Reuben Hersh
Descartes' Dream The World According to Mathematics
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers Inc., San Diego CA, 1986.
First US edition. Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards; 321pp., with many diagrams and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; spotting to the text block edges; retailer's bookplate to the front pastedown. Price-clipped dustwrapper mildly edgeworn; rear flap creased; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. Rationalist philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes visualized a world unified by mathematics, in which all intellectual issues could be resolved rationally by local computation. This series of provocative essays takes a modern look at the seventeenth-century thinker's dream, examining the physical and intellectual influences of mathematics on society, particularly in light of technological advances. These essays survey the conditions of civilization that elicit the application of mathematical principles; the effectiveness of these applications; situations in which the applications are beneficial, dangerous, or irrelevant; and how applied mathematics constrain lives and transform perceptions of reality. Highly suitable for browsing, the essays require different levels of mathematical knowledge that range from popular to professional.
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Dawkins, Richard
Science in the Soul
Penguin Random House LLC. New York NY, 2017.
First US edition. Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with silver-gilt spine titles; 439pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New.
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Day, David
The Weather Watchers 100 Years of the Bureau of Meteorology
Melbourne University Publishing, Carlton Vic., 2007.
Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling and decorated endpapers; 530pp., colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear only. Dustwrapper. Near fine. Part institutional history, part drama and part natural history, this book is the story of the Bureau of Meteorology and the significant and often colourful figures who have been part of the Bureau since its inception 100 years ago.
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Docker, Edward Wybergh
Darwin's Australian Disciple Raymond Dart on the Origins of Man
Halstead Press, Braddon ACT, 2007.
Octavo; paperback; 160pp., with many colour and monochrome illustrations. Minimal wear to edges. Near fine. Raymond Dart was born above his father's fruit shop in Queensland but went from these humble beginnings to become one of the most groundbreaking palaeontologists of the Twentieth Century. Mostly ignored in his own country, Dart's excavations and discoveries in Africa not only filled in the gaps of how human beings evolved but vindicated many of Darwin's theories regarding that process. He discovered Australopithecus and posited the notion of a "cousin species" to Homo sapiens, igniting debate about whether or not human violent tendencies stem from territorial aggression between these races. This book resolves the oversight of Dart by his national peers, placing him back firmly amongst the giants of evolutionary science.
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Einstein, Albert
Special & General Relativity
Flame Tree, London, 2019.
Octavo; hardcover; decorated black boards, silver endpapers and gilt and white titles; 239pp. No dustwrapper. Remainder. New.
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Fortey, Richard
The Earth - Folio Society edition An Intimate History
The Folio Society, London, 2011.
First printing. Octavo; hardcover, illustrated papered boards with gilt spine titling; 416pp., with many colour illustrations. Minor wear only. Fine in a like slipcase. Beginning with Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption in Roman times helped spark the science of geology, and ending in a lab in the West of England where mathematical models and lab experiments replace direct observation, Richard Fortey tells us what the present says about ancient geologic processes. He shows how plate tectonics came to rule the geophysical landscape and how the evidence is written in the hills and in the stones. And in the process, he takes us on a wonderful journey around the globe to visit some of the most fascinating and intriguing spots on the planet.
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Friedrich, Walter L. (Alexander R. McBirney, trans.)
Fire in the Sea The Santorini Volcano: Natural History and the Legend of Atlantis
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 2001.
Quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 258pp., with many colour illustrations. Minor wear only. Slightly scuffed dustwrapper. Near fine. "Fire in the Sea is a geological history of Santorini (Thera), a volcanic island in the Aegean that exploded in the middle of the second millennium BC and which is a likely source for the legend of Atlantis. Santorini is part of the Aegean volcanic island arc produced by the collision of the African and European plates and built by volcanic activity over the last two million years... The Minoan eruption left clear traces over a wide area and can be dated using a variety of methods- archaeology, Greenland ice-cores, radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology - giving a date of 1645 BC, to within five or ten years... Friedrich presents some clever 'detective work' to show that a caldera must have existed before the explosion. And he goes on to explore the possible connection of Santorini with the legend of Atlantis... Fire in the Sea is lavishly, almost extravagantly, provided with colour photographs of island landscapes, rocks and rock formations, and archaeological artefacts. It also has an extensive assortment of maps and diagrams. Appendices contain the relevant portions of Plato's Timaeus and Critias (the sources of the Atlantis legend) and complete lists of known island fossils and flora." - Danny Yee
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Gardner, Martin
The Night is Large Collected Essays, 1938-1995
St. Martin's Press, New York NY, 1996.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in cloth with gilt spine titles; 587pp, untrimmed, with a monochrome frontispiece and many illustrations likewise. Minor wear; spine heel softened; text block top edge very lightly dusted. Dustwrapper is rubbed and edgeworn; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Gould, Stephen Jay
Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History
Hutchinson, London, 1991.
First UK edition: octavo hardcover; black boards with yellow endpapers; 540pp., b&w illustrations. Moderate wear; foxing to endpapers and half-title page; spotting and a few marks to text block edges. Slightly toned illustrated dustwrapper with mild wear to edges and corners; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Gould, Stephen Jay
Eight Little Piggies Reflections in Natural History
W W Norton, New York, 1993.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo; quarter bound orange papered boards with beige cloth spine and red gilt spine titling; 479pp., monochrome illustrations. Spotting and rubbing to board edges; mildly spotted endpapers; spotting to text block upper edge with one or two spots otherwise; slightly sunned spine panel. Very good. Wrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film.
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Gould, Stephen Jay
The Flamingo's Smile Reflections in Natural History
W.W. Norton, New York, 1985.
First edition. Octavo hardcover; quarter bound cream boards with maroon cloth spine and gilt spine titling; 476pp., b&w illustrations. Toned text block and page edges; offsetting to title page. Illustrated dustwrapper with browning and slight wear to edges, now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film, Very good. "The Flamingo's Smile is about history," writes Gould "... and about what it means to say that life is the product of a contingent past, not the inevitable and predictable result of simple, timeless laws of nature. Quirkiness and meaning are my two not-so-contradictory themes."
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Gould, Stephen Jay
The Lying Stones of Marrakech Penultimate Reflections in Natural History
Jonathan Cape, London, 2000.
First edition: octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 372pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; mild scattered spotting to text block edges; small mark on preliminaries. Dustwrapper spine mildly faded; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Once again Stephen Jay Gould has applied biographical perspectives to the illumination of key scientific concepts and their history, ranging from the origins of palaeontology to modern eugenics and genetic engineering. The essays elucidate the puzzles and paradoxes great and small that have fuelled science and brought to our attention unexpected wonders.
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Gould, Stephen Jay
An Urchin in the Storm Essays about Books and Ideas
Collins Harvill, London, 1988.
First edition. Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 255pp. Mild wear; toning with scattered spotting on text block edges. Dustwrapper slightly rubbed; mild edgewear; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Harkness, Deborah E.
The Jewel House Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution
Yale University Press, New Haven CT, 2007.
Octavo; hardcover; 349pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Shaken; binding a touch rolled; some light marks to text block edges; small faint discolouration to upper corner of front board. Else very good in like dustwrapper. Author Deborah Harkness explores the streets, shops, back alleys, and gardens of Elizabethan London, where a boisterous and diverse group of men and women shared a keen interest in the study of nature. These assorted merchants, gardeners, barber-surgeons, midwives, instrument makers, mathematics teachers, engineers, alchemists, and other experimenters, she contends, formed a patchwork scientific community whose practices set the stage for the Scientific Revolution. While Francis Bacon has been widely regarded as the father of modern science, scores of his London contemporaries also deserve a share in this distinction. It was their collaborative, yet often contentious, ethos that helped to develop the ideals of modern scientific research. The book examines six particularly fascinating episodes of scientific inquiry and dispute in sixteenth-century London, bringing to life the individuals involved and the challenges they faced. These men and women experimented and invented, argued and competed, waged wars in the press, and struggled to understand the complexities of the natural world. Together their stories illuminate the blind alleys and surprising twists and turns taken as medieval philosophy gave way to the empirical, experimental culture that became a hallmark of the Scientific Revolution.
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Holford-Strevens, Leofranc
A Short History of Time - Folio Society edition
Folio Society, London, 2007.
First printing. Octavo hardcover; blue decorated boards with gilt spine titling and dark blue endpapers; 137pp., monochrome illustrations and diagrams. Near fine in dark blue slipcase.
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Holmes, John
The Age of Wonder How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
HarperPress/HarperCollins Publishers, London, 2008.
Octavo; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titles and endpaper maps; 554pp., with a full-colour frontispiece and 24pp. of monochrome and full-colour plates. Minor wear; remainder mark to the text block bottom edge. Dustwrapper with a promotional sticker to the front panel; a small tear to the top edge of the front panel; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. "The Romantic generation examined here stretches from Joseph Banks voyaging to the South Seas in the 1760s to William Whewell coining the word 'scientist' in 1833. The central figures are William Herschel and Humphry Davy, stars of the 'second scientific revolution', as Coleridge called it in a lecture of 1819. Holmes sees this revolution as inspired by breakthroughs in astronomy and chemistry, bringing a 'new imaginative intensity' to the rational approach of the Enlightenment. He gives us stories of individuals braving great odds, taking risks, undergoing physical and intellectual tests of endurance. In "The Age of Wonder" we follow a series of such journeys, physical, emotional, imaginative and intellectual...we share their experience, like the amazed joy of Banks watching the Tahitians surfing...The overarching conception, the author reveals, is not of solitary striving but a relay race, in which the baton is handed from one person to another. Communication itself is therefore part of Holmes's subject...The later chapters show how the discoveries of Humphry Davy led not only to considerations of the material universe but to meditations on consciousness, the nature of 'the soul' and the hidden principle of generation...A writer's skill can make a lost world live, and Richard Holmes does that here..."The Age of Wonder" gives us a whole set of 'newly connected and newly modified ideas', a new model for scientific exploration and poetic expression in the Romantic period. Informative and invigorating, generous and beguiling, it is, indeed, wonderful." - Jenny Uglow
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[Isaac Newton] Dry, Sarah
The Newton Papers The Strange & True Odyssey of Isaac Newton's Manuscripts
Oxford University Press, New York NY, 2014.
Octavo; hardcover; 238pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. In the 1940s, a visitor to the Sir Isaac Newton Library on the campus of the Babson Institute could find herself transported to the front parlor of the house on St. Martin's Street in London where Newton had lived between 1710 and 1725. Grace Knight Babson, wife of the shrewd investor and millionaire Roger Babson, had purchased the room - including its original pine-paneled walls and carved mantelpiece - and brought the pieces to Massachusetts, where it was reassembled as a tribute to the man who had lived and worked within it. Roger Babson had made his fortune, he said, by espying Newton's 'law of action and reaction' in business cycles. To Babson and his wife, Newton was a seer who had divined the laws of markets as well as of nature. This was a quirky view of Newton, to be sure. But from the moment Newton died in 1727, different visions of the man arose. In The Newton Papers, Sarah Dry tells the story of these competing images of Newton by following the trail of the manuscripts Newton left behind. At his death, Newton left some eight million words written on what an assessor of his estate called 'loose and foul sheets,' unlabeled, tied with string and stuffed into boxes in no apparent order. His nephew John Conduitt planned to use them to write a biography of Newton, whom he idolized as a kind of intellectual saint. Conduitt soon realized the papers contained not only mathematical and scientific notes but also writings on alchemy, theology and church history - some demonstrating that his uncle held the heretical belief of 'Anti-Trinitarianism,' The incredible bulk of papers overwhelmed Conduitt, and he died in 1737 before completing his task. Newton's estate passed to his descendants, the Portsmouth family, and most of the manuscripts were deposited in their home at Hurstbourne Park. The secretary of the Royal Society, Samuel Horsley, proposed publishing a complete edition of Newton's writings in 1775 and was granted access to the papers. In the end only nine items - all related to Newton's scientific pursuits - were printed. Horsley abandoned the plan of publishing the complete manuscripts, 'most likely,' Ms. Dry speculates, 'because of the papers' heretical content.' After Horsley, no one was interested in the papers for decades. Ms. Dry contends that for 150 years after Newton's death the papers were 'hidden from sight' because they threatened Newton's image as a 'paragon of rationality,' showing him to be 'an obsessive heretic' interested in turning base metals into gold. But it is not clear that the papers were suppressed so much as ignored. In the author's own telling, few thought it worthwhile to consult them. The indifference to Newton's papers in the 18th century is even more astonishing - especially given today's compulsion to pore over the ephemera of the famous - than the conjecture that the papers were purposely hidden away. In the 19th century, Ms. Dry asserts, interest in unpublished letters and manuscripts suddenly became 'all the craze.' ... In the 1880s, most of Newton's scientific manuscripts were donated by the Portsmouths and deposited in the Cambridge University Library, where they remained ignored by scholars for 60 more years. Finally in 1939, much of the stash remaining at Hurstbourne - the material dealing with alchemy and theology - was auctioned off. The economist John Maynard Keynes purchased and studied Newton's alchemical manuscripts, concluding that 'Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians.' .. As she traces the path of Newton's manuscripts, she also narrates a history of the antiquarian book-selling trade, describing the eventual formation of a 'Newton industry' of scholars in the kind of publication-by-publication detail that only a member of that field could enjoy. Her book, though, does succeed in showing how each of the different images of Newton that arose in the centuries after his death could indeed be found in Newton the man - and in the papers he left behind." - Laura Snyder
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Kaplan, Robert (Ellen Kaplan, illus.)
The Nothing That Is A Natural History of Zero
Penguin Books (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Camberwell Vic., 1999.
Octavo; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titling; 225pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; board edges lightly discoloured. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. Robert Kaplan's "The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero" begins as a mystery story, taking us back to Sumerian times, and then to Greece and India, piecing together the way the idea of a symbol for nothing evolved. Kaplan shows us just how handicapped our ancestors were in trying to figure large sums without the aid of the zero. (Try multiplying CLXIV by XXIV). Remarkably, even the Greeks, mathematically brilliant as they were, didn't have a zero - or did they? We follow the trail to the East where, a millennium or two ago, Indian mathematicians took another crucial step. By treating zero for the first time like any other number, instead of a unique symbol, they allowed huge new leaps forward in computation, and also in our understanding of how mathematics itself works. In the Middle Ages, this mathematical knowledge swept across western Europe via Arab traders. At first it was called "dangerous Saracen magic" and considered the Devil's work, but it wasn't long before merchants and bankers saw how handy this magic was, and used it to develop tools like double-entry bookkeeping. Zero quickly became an essential part of increasingly sophisticated equations, and with the invention of calculus, one could say it was a linchpin of the scientific revolution. And now even deeper layers of this thing that is nothing are coming to light: our computers speak only in zeros and ones, and modern mathematics shows that zero alone can be made to generate everything.
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Langford-Smith, F.
Radio Designers Handbook: two volumes 4th Edition Vol.1 & 2
The Vintage Audio Company, Brynhelygen Wales UK, 1996.
Reprint: two volumes, quarto; hardcover, with gilt upper board and spine titling; 1498pp. [700pp. + 798pp.], with many monochrome diagrams and black ribbon markers. Inscription. Very minor wear only. Fine. No dustwrappers as issued.
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Lardner, Dionysius
The Electric Telegraph Popularised With one hundred illustrations
Lockwood & Co., London, nd. (c.1874).
Octavo; hardcover, half-bound in green calf with gilt rules, upper board and spine decorations and gilt spine titles on a red morocco label; 653pp., text block edges marbled, with many engraved illustrations. Moderate wear; covers rubbed and edgeworn; corners bumped with some fraying; book prize plate tipped-in to the front pastedown; light scattered foxing throughout. Very good. This lavish binding collects several pamphlets written by the indefatigable Dionysius Lardner on various aspects of Physics, but concentrating primarily on those which outline the state of the art of telegraphy at the time. Presented as a prize by the Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol to a colleague who had succeeded in government scientific examinations, this compilation surely indicates the career path upon which this fellow was about to set forth. Beginning with a history and overview of the technology involved with the telegraph, the pamphlets discuss the apparatus's use in meteorology and astronomy as well as the relevant mechanical skills that would be useful in overseeing the operation of such a device. In the final few chapters such things as the physical operation of mirrors and a discussion of how poets record physical phenomena in their work and incompetently assign such things to 'higher powers' rather than natural forces in action. As a miscellany of scientific observations, this volume will provide many hours of useful and enlightening reading.
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Mandelbrot, Benoit B.
The Fractalist Memoir of a Scientific Maverick
Pantheon, New York NY, 2012.
Octavo; hardcover; 324pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. A fascinating memoir from the man who revitalized visual geometry, and whose ideas about fractals have changed how we look at both the natural world and the financial world.
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[Marie Curie] Emling, Shelley
Marie Curie and Her Daughters The Private Lives of Science's First Family
Palgrave Macmillan, New York NY, 2012.
Octavo; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titling; 219pp., monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; toned text block edges with remainder mark on the upper edge. Very good to near fine otherwise in like dustwrapper. "Journalist Emling opens with Marie receiving her second Nobel Prize a few years after the death of husband, Pierre, with whom she shared her first Nobel. While many Curie biographies pay scant attention to this last quarter-century of her life, Emling explores the later years of 'the woman, mother, and friend behind the pioneering scientist,' bolstered by the Curie family's personal letters, given to the author by Curie's granddaughter, Helene Langevin-Joliot. Emling describes Curie's life trying to balance the demands of her scientific research with the needs of her two daughters. At the time of her second Nobel, Curie's career was nearly derailed when news emerged of an affair between her and a married former student, physicist Paul Langevin. Although the scandal died down eventually, Curie would remain wary of journalists for the rest of her life, save one: American magazine editor and socialite Marie -Missy- Meloney, who befriended Curie and brought her to America as part of a campaign to raise funds for Curie's Radium Institute. Emling explores in full the scientific career of Curie's daughter Irene; working together, Irene and her husband followed in her parents' footsteps, sharing a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 - an honor Marie did not live to see, having died the previous year. Unfortunately, Eve, the daughter who opted for a career as a musician and journalist, receives scant attention; Emling relegates the details of her life to a single chapter, which feels obligatory and tacked on." - Kirkus
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Miller, Arthur I.
Empire of the Stars Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes
Little Brown, London, 2005.
Octavo hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 400pp., colour and monochrome plates. Mild wear; lightly browned and spotted text block edges; scattered spotting throughout with a few small marks. Mild wear to dustwrapper edges. Very good. On January 11 1935, the young Indian astrophysicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, known to all as 'Chandra', presented a revolutionary piece of work at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society. To an audience of eminent colleagues, Chandra showed how dying stars that are sufficiently fat will be unable to support themselves. The force of gravity will squeeze them away to nothingness, points of infinite concentration in space and time. Using an elegant amalgam of new-fangled ideas, he came up with an iron clad mathematical result that overturned the standard model of stellar evolution. Yet at this meeting, Chandra was humiliated and crushed. Sir Arthur Eddington, the high priest of British astrophysics, ridiculed his result with such venom that he left Chandra deeply traumatised. History is littered with scientific spats. Disagreement can strengthen a field of research, preventing bad ideas from emerging to the forefront. It can sharpen arguments in support of novel theories and concepts, making them even more compelling. Yet often the thrust of the discussion is distorted by personal prejudices and agendas. And when the intricacies of the social status of the participants is thrown into the mix, the intellectual merit of the different positions can be clouded. Arthur I. Miller has chosen a striking example of this. The young Chandra's research into the collapse of what are known as white dwarfs opened a plausible physical route to the formation of the most exotic of objects, black holes, nuggets in Albert Einstein's theory of gravity. Eddington was feverishly working on a theory that he believed would supersede Einstein's. He felt threatened by Chandra's result and did everything in his power to prevent its acceptance by the community at large. His relentless campaign delayed research in black holes for at least 30 years. Miller goes to great lengths to unpick the various forces at play in this row and to build up complex profiles of the two participants. Chandra's inner life is scrutinised in some detail. Newly arrived in Cambridge, he rapidly concluded that 'The formality of introduction is so great and even then it is not worth the trouble of getting introduced.' This inability to find a comfortable place within his social environment stayed with him throughout his life. Chandra would constantly be seduced by the establishment while at the same time feeling rejected by it, instilling in him a sense of unjustifiable insecurity. He was a flawed, tortured character who never really took pleasure in his outstanding talents. Eddington, on the other hand comes across as an unlikable character. He thrives in the parochial atmosphere of Oxbridge, relishing the power of his prestigious appointment and the social interplay of Trinity College. He is duplicitous with Chandra, supporting his research in private but publicly ridiculing him in his lectures and writings. In fact, Eddington clearly gets a kick out of making public jibes at all his junior colleagues. The scientific themes of the debate are developed in great detail. Miller unpeels the various conceptual layers that went into Chandra's argument. The range of topics is so vast that some explanations are inevitably insufficient, paragraphs too short to explain complex issues. But the collapse of white dwarfs, which lies at the core of Chandra's calculation, is explained so thoroughly and from so many different angles that it becomes crystal clear; while, to give us an idea of the importance of Chandra's discovery, Miller pursues the developments in astrophysics over the last 40 years. The story of the fight between Chandra and Eddington had to be told. Miller has had access to a wealth of private correspondence, enabling him to construct a compelling picture of the participants. The result is a disturbing tale of how personal ambitions and insecurities can leave a long-lasting aftershock in the progress of scientific thought." - Pedro G. Ferreira
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Morton, Oliver
Mapping Mars
Picador, New York, 2002.
First edition: hardcover, octavo; red boards with silver gilt spine titling and map endpapers; 357pp., colour & monochrome plates. Minor wear only; near fine in like dustwrapper. A narrative history of the men and women who have explored Mars and mapped its surface from afar, and in so doing conditioned our understanding of our nearest planetary neighbour. The maps of Mars are exquisitely detailed representations of a land as large as all the continents of the earth combined. Yet they are being drawn before any human eye has seen the wonders they contain. In this fascinating mix of science, travel and the history of scientific imagination, Oliver Morton tells the story of the men and women who are mapping a dramatic, mysterious landscape, without having once set foot on its surface. Filled with awe-inspiring detail about volcanoes twice the height of Everest, basins deeper than the Pacific, 'Mapping Mars' is a breathtaking account of a world opening up to the imagination.
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Moyal, Ann
'A Bright & Savage Land' Scientists in Colonial Australia
William Collins Pty. Ltd., Sydney NSW, 1986.
Quarto; hardcover; 192pp., with many full-colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; lightly edgeworn. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. In the first hundred years after European settlement, scientists shipped preserved specimens of animals and flowers, and rocks to an excited Europe with much the same mystery and suspense as dust and photographs are now brought from the moon. With the aid of their letters, diaries and journals, Ann Moyal describes the work and characters of these pioneers. They were a diverse band of 'amateur and gentlemen' scientists: colonial doctors, clergymen, public servants, European travellers and British and American naturalists on the brink of distinguished careers. They joined together as colleagues, squabbled over priorities, fretted for greater contact with the centres of research and pushed the boundaries of knowledge outwards. Many of the early naturalists were also illustrators or they were accompanied by artists who left beautifully executed pictures of Australia's early scientific endeavour bringing rich information of the flora and fauna, the Aboriginal people and the landscape before the world.
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Nasar, Sylvia
A Beautiful Mind
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1998.
First edition: octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in cloth with papered boards with gilt spine titling; 459pp., with many monochrome plates. Minor wear; a few tiny spots on text block edges. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound - such as that of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-Minded Professor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to the library as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall," a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of the maths and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writing numerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who had spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work had been in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large part of economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prize for game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up - only to be dismissed, since the prize clearly could not go to a madman. But in 1994 Nash, in remission from schizophrenia, shared the Nobel Prize in economics for work done some 45 years previously.
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Newton, Isaac
The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Flame Tree, London, 2020
Octavo hardcover; illustrated boards; 479pp. No dustwrapper. Remainder. New.
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Popper, Karl R.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery
Hutchinson, London, 1960.
Second impression. Octavo hardcover; gray cloth boards with red spine label and gilt titling, pale green endpapers; 479pp.; top edge dyed red. Minor wear; toning and spotting to text block edges; owners' names and bookshop stamp; foxing to early pages with some scattered random spotting thereafter; marginal pen mark on page 262. Gray card dustwrapper with red titles; browning along spine panel and edges, general rubbing; small tears, chipping and creasing at corners and head of spine panel especially, clipped; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film and white paper backing. Very good.
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[Radio and Hobbies in Australia]
Radio and Hobbies in Australia, Vol.1, No.1 (April 1939)
Radio and Hobbies, n.p., 1939.
Octavo; paperback, stapled booklet; 72pp, with many monochrome illustrations. Foxing and toned pages; mild wear only to paper covers. Very good.
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Ridley, Matt
The Origins of Virtue
Viking, London, 1996.
First edition. Octavo hardcover; black boards with gilt spine titling; 295pp., b&w illustrations. A few pen markings and marginal notations. Toned and mildly spotted text block and page edges. Very good in like dustwrapper; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. The author explores the issues surrounding the development of human morality. The book, written from a sociobiological viewpoint, explores how genetics can be used to explain certain traits of human behaviour, in particular morality and altruism. Starting from the premise that society can on a simplistic level be represented as a variant of the 'prisoner's dilemma', Ridley examines how it has been possible for a society to arise in which people choose to co-operate rather than defect. Ridley examines the history of different attempts which have been made to explain the fact that humans in society do not defect, looking at various computer generated models which have been used to explain how such behaviour could arise. In particular he looks at systems based on the idea of tit for tat, where members of the group only cooperate with those who also cooperate and exclude those who do not. This allows altruistic behaviour to develop, and causes the optimum solution to the dilemma, to no longer be to defect but instead to cooperate. He applies this to humans and suggests that genes which generated altruistic-tit for tat behaviour would be likely to be passed on and therefore give rise to the kind of behaviour we see today. From this argument Ridley argues that society operates best in groups of around 150 individuals, which he suggests is the level at which humans are capable of being sure about which members to cooperate with and which to exclude. Although he avoids drawing any specific political points, Ridley ends his book by arguing for a smaller state operating on a more local level.
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Scott, William Taussig, & Martin X. Moleski
Michael Polanyi - signed Scientist and Philosopher
Oxford University Press Inc., New York NY, 2005.
Octavo; hardcover, full cloth with silver-gilt spine titles; 364pp., with 10pp. of monochrome plates. Mild wear; inscribed to person by Martin Moleski in ink to the flyleaf. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine.
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Segre, Gino
Faust in Copenhagen A Struggle for the Soul of Physics
Jonathan Cape Ltd./Random House Ltd., London, 2007.
Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling and black endpapers; 310pp., with monochrome illustrations and 8pp. of monochrome plates. Minor wear; somewhat rolled; text block edges toned. Dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. "As though their knowledge of the quantum secrets came with the power of prophecy, some three dozen of Europe's best physicists ended their 1932 meeting in Copenhagen with a parody of Goethe's Faust. Just weeks earlier, James Chadwick had discovered neutrons - the bullets of nuclear fission - and before long Enrico Fermi was shooting them at uranium atoms. By the time of the first nuclear explosion a little more than a decade later in New Mexico, the idea of physics as a Faustian bargain was to its makers already a cliche. Robert Oppenheimer, looking for a sound bite, quoted Vishnu instead: 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' Innocent of all that lay before them, the luminaries gathering at Niels Bohr's Institute for Theoretical Physics were in a whimsical mood. Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac and Lise Meitner were there. Max Delbruck, the young scientist charged with writing the spoof - it happened to be the centennial of Goethe's death - couldn't resist depicting Bohr himself as the Lord Almighty and the acerbic Wolfgang Pauli as Mephistopheles. They were perfect choices. The avuncular Bohr, with his inquisitive needling, had presided over the quantum revolution, revealing the strange workings within atoms, while the skeptical Pauli, who famously signed his letters 'The Scourge of God' could always be counted on for a sarcastic comment. Faust, who in the legend sells his soul for universal knowledge, was recast as a troubled Paul Ehrenfest, the Austrian physicist who despaired of ever understanding this young man's game in which particles were just smears of probability. Disguised with makeup, younger physicists played the parts of their 'elders.' (Pauli, who skipped the meeting, was just turning 32.) Faust's tormented love, Gretchen, appeared as the fairylike neutrino. It was only in retrospect that the silliness became profound. The players were becoming possessors of 'a truth with implicit powers of good and evil,' Gino Segre writes in Faust in Copenhagen, his inventive new book about the era. And 'the devil ... was in the details.' The story of the quantum revolution has been told so many times that it has become as ritualized as the stations of the cross. How Max Planck, faced with some curious observations about hot glowing objects, reluctantly proposed that light is sputtered out in packets - the quanta. How Albert Einstein, seeing deeper, realized that light must also travel that way, that its waves were also particles. How Bohr brought the graininess into the atom, with electrons hopping between orbits in quantum jumps. How Heisenberg, marooning himself on the bleak isle of Helgoland, saw that there were no orbits, that what happened inside atoms was different from anything that could be pictured by a human brain. Any reluctance I had to revisit these shrines was quickly overcome by Segre's inviting touch. A theoretical physicist at the University of Pennsylvania and a nephew of Emilio Segre, who collaborated with Fermi on radioactivity research, the author begins with the Faust parody and circles back to it again and again. It acts like a magnet, reshaping the familiar into an interesting new design. One of the most striking things about the quantum revolutionaries was their youthfulness. Heisenberg was 23 when he had his epiphany. Pauli, when not quite 25, came up with a fundamental tenet called the exclusion principle. Dirac was just a little older when he predicted the positron - another particle discovered the same year as the Copenhagen fest. By then the threesome was already past its prime. 'Old age is a cold fever / That every physicist suffers with!' the actor playing Dirac complained. 'When one is past 30, / He is as good as dead!' Bohr at 46 was the grand old man. Absent altogether was Einstein, past 50 and out of the loop, trying to overthrow quantum mechanics with a wastebasket full of crumpled ideas. In the Copenhagen Faust he has a cameo role - the king leading his pet fleas. In Goethe's telling, no one in the court dared complain about the pests, and so it was, the devilish Pauli proclaims, with the aging Einstein: Half-naked, fleas came pouring/From Berlin's joy and pride,/Named by the unadoring:/'Field Theories - Unified.' In the end the most inspired part of the production was the transformation of Ehrenfest into Ehrenfaust. Assailed by self-doubt and family problems, and overwhelmed by the rapid pace of the new physics, he was falling into a dark depression. Trading his soul for enlightenment might have seemed like a good deal. The shocking details of his suicide the following year, and the way Segre ties them back to the Faust legend, brings a solemn close to a memorable retelling of one of science's most heroic eras." - George Johnson
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Sheller, Mimi
Aluminum Dreams The Making of Light Modernity
The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2014.
First edition: octavo; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titles; 367pp., with many monochrome and colour illustrations. Very minor wear; reviewer's sticker to the first page. Dustwrapper. Fine. Aluminium shaped the Twentieth Century. It enabled high-speed travel and gravity-defying flight. It was the material of a streamlined aesthetic that came to represent modernity. And it became an essential ingredient in industrial and domestic products that ranged from aeroplanes and cars to designer chairs and artificial Christmas trees. It entered modern homes as packaging, foil, pots and pans and even infiltrated our bodies through food, medicine, and cosmetics. In "Aluminum Dreams", Mimi Sheller describes how the materiality and meaning of aluminium transformed modern life and continues to shape the world today.
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Sobel, Dava
Galileo's Daughter A Drama of Science, Faith and Love
Fourth Estate Ltd., London, 1999.
First edition: octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling; 429pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; text block edges lightly toned. Dustwrapper lightly rubbed and edgeworn; sunned along the spine panel. Very good.
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Uglow, Jenny
The Lunar Men The Friends Who Made the Future, 1730-1810
Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 2002.
First edition. Octavo; hardcover, 588pp., with 16pp. of full-colour and monochrome plates and many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; lightly dusted text block top edge. Dustwrapper lightly edgeworn. Near fine. In the 1760s a group of amateur experimenters met and made friends in the Midlands. Most came from poor families, all lived far from the centre of things, but they were young and their optimism was boundless: together they would change the world. Among them were the ambitious toy-maker Matthew Boulton and his partner James Watt, of steam-engine fame; the potter Josiah Wedgwood; Erasmus Darwin, physician, poet, inventor and theorist of evolution (forerunner of his grandson Charles). With a small band of allies, including the exuberant followers of Rousseau, Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Thomas Day, they formed the Lunar Society of Birmingham (so called because it met at each full moon). Blending science, art and commerce the Lunar Men built canals, launched balloons, named plants, gases and minerals, changed the face of England and the china in its drawing rooms and plotted to revolutionise its soul. Jenny Uglow's vivid, exhilarating account uncovers the political passions, love affairs, friendships, and love of knowledge and power that drove these extraordinary men. It echoes to the thud of pistons and the wheeze and snort of engines, and brings to life the tradesmen, artisans and tycoons who shaped and fired the modern age.
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