Elegant Solutions

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISBN: 1782625461
Size: 36.60 MB
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Devising and performing a scientific experiment is an art, and it is common to hear scientists talk about the 'beauty' of an experiment. What does this mean in chemistry, the experimental science par excellence? And what are the most beautiful chemical experiments of all time? This book offers ten suggestions for where beauty might reside in experimental chemistry. In some cases the beauty lies in the clarity of conception; sometimes it is a feature of the instrumental design. But for chemistry, there can also be a unique beauty in the way atoms are put together to make new molecules, substances not known in nature. The ten experiments described here offer a window into the way that chemists think and work, and how what they do affects the rest of science and the wider world. This book aims to stimulate the reader to think anew about some of the relationships and differences between science and art, and to challenge some of the common notions about particular 'famous experiments'. Elegant Solutions: Ten Beautiful Experiments in Chemistry is accessible to all readers, including those without a scientific background and can provide an unusual point of entry into some of the basic concepts of chemistry. Phillip Ball is a renowned, prolific, award winning science writer.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307268667
Size: 41.88 MB
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A dazzling, irresistible collection of the ten most groundbreaking and beautiful experiments in scientific history. With the attention to detail of a historian and the storytelling ability of a novelist, New York Times science writer George Johnson celebrates these groundbreaking experiments and re-creates a time when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces and scientists were in awe of light, electricity, and the human body. Here, we see Galileo staring down gravity, Newton breaking apart light, and Pavlov studying his now famous dogs. This is science in its most creative, hands-on form, when ingenuity of the mind is the most useful tool in the lab and the rewards of a well-considered experiment are on exquisite display.

Critical Mass

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780374530419
Size: 45.75 MB
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Ball shows how much can be understood of human behavior when we cease to predict and analyze the behavior of individuals and instead look to the impact of individual decisions--whether in circumstances of cooperation or conflict--on our laws, institutions and customs.

The Same And Not The Same

Author: Roald Hoffmann
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231101394
Size: 74.62 MB
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Nobel laureate Roald Hoffman confronts some of the major ethical controversies in chemistry today. Expertly weaving together examples from the worlds of art, literature, and philosophy, Hoffmann illustrates his uniquely accessible dialectic about the creative activity of chemists.

The Mad Science Book

Author: Reto Schneider
Publisher: Quercus Books
ISBN:
Size: 18.70 MB
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You don't have to be an eccentric obsessive to be a scientist, but it helps...In The Mad Science Book, Reto Schneider tells the extraordinary tales of 100 of the more unusual experiments conducted across seven centuries of science. From the attempts of the 14th-century Dominican monk Theodoric von Freiberg to discover the cause of the rainbow, to the efforts of the 20th-century psychologist Harry Harlow to be the perfect mother to a family of reluctant rhesus monkeys, these are stories that are often bizarre, sometimes mind-boggling - occasionally stomach-churning - but always diverting, informative and enlightening.Among the myriad delights on display in this cabinet of scientific curiosities are the renowned doctor from Padua who sat in a pair of scales for 30 years, recording the minutest changes in his weight; the sheep, the duck and the rooster who became the world's first air passengers; the disgusting Dr Stubbins Ffirth, who swallowed other people's vomit in an attempt to prove that yellow fever cannot be transmitted from one person to another; the hapless soldier Alexis St Martin, left with a hole in his stomach after an accident with a musket; and the ever-optimistic Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, who injected himself with essence of guinea pigs' testicles as an anti-ageing remedy. There is trivia here in abundance, but also quirky, but genuinely influential, science, notably Merrill Flood's and Melvin Dresher's experiments with choices of outcomes, which have been widely influential as game theory.A fizzing cocktail of fascinating science and rich entertainment, The Mad Science Book tells the extraordinary stories of some truly, madly, geeky people. It should be top of every self-respecting science buff's Christmas 2008 wishlist.

Serving The Reich

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022620457X
Size: 55.76 MB
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After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany’s premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons. Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball’s gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated “the grey zone between complicity and resistance.” Ball’s account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state. Serving the Reich considers what this problematic history can tell us about the relationship of science and politics today. Ultimately, Ball argues, a determination to present science as an abstract inquiry into nature that is “above politics” can leave science and scientists dangerously compromised and vulnerable to political manipulation.

Galileo S Finger

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191622508
Size: 34.24 MB
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Any literate person should be familiar with the central ideas of modern science. In his sparkling new book, Peter Atkins introduces his choice of the ten great ideas of science. With wit, charm, patience, and astonishing insights, he leads the reader through the emergence of the concepts, and then presents them in a strikingly effective manner. At the same time, he works into his engaging narrative an illustration of the scientific method and shows how simple ideas can have enormous consequences. His choice of the ten great ideas are: * Evolution occurs by natural selection, in which the early attempts at explaining the origin of species is followed by an account of the modern approach and some of its unsolved problems. * Inheritance is encoded in DNA, in which the story of the emergence of an understanding of inheritance is followed through to the mapping of the human genome. * Energy is conserved, in which we see how the central concept of energy gradually dawned on scientists as they mastered the motion of particles and the concept of heat. * All change is the consequence of the purposeless collapse of energy and matter into disorder, in which the extraordinarily simple concept of entropy is used to account for events in the world. * Matter is atomic, in which we see how the concept of atoms emerged and how the different personalities of the elements arise from the structures of their atoms. * Symmetry limits, guides, and drives, in which we see how concepts related to beauty can be extended to understand the nature of fundamental particles and the forces that act between them. * Waves behave like particles and particles behave like waves, in which we see how old familiar ideas gave way to the extraordinary insights of quantum theory and transformed our perception of matter. * The universe is expanding, in which we see how a combination of astronomy and a knowledge of elementary particles accounts for the origin of the universe and its long term future. * Spacetime is curved by matter, in which we see the emergence of the theories of special and general relativity and come to understand the nature of space and time. * If arithmetic is consistent, then it is incomplete, in which we learn the origin of numbers and arithmetic, see how the philosophy of mathematics lets us understand the nature of this most cerebral of subjects, and are brought to the limits of its power. C. P. Snow once said 'not knowing the second law of thermodynamics is like never having read a work by Shakespeare'. This is an extraordinary, exciting book that not only will make you literate in science but give you deep enjoyment on the way.

Made To Measure

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691009759
Size: 39.93 MB
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This text describes how scientists are inventing thousands of materials, ranging from synthetic skin, blood and bone, to substances that repair themselves and adapt to their environment. It outlines how newly-invented materials will transform our lives in the 21st century.

Chemical Misconceptions

Author: Keith Taber
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISBN: 9780854043866
Size: 11.87 MB
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Part 1 deals with the theory of misconceptions, by including information on some of the key alternative conceptions that have been uncovered by research.

Curiosity

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022604582X
Size: 10.82 MB
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With the recent landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, it seems safe to assume that the idea of being curious is alive and well in modern science—that it’s not merely encouraged but is seen as an essential component of the scientific mission. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of unanswered questions, and all knowledge wasn’t equal—for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned—when it changed from a vice to a virtue and how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world. Looking closely at the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Ball vividly brings to life the age when modern science began, a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton. In this entertaining and illuminating account of the rise of science as we know it, Ball tells of scientists both legendary and lesser known, from Copernicus and Kepler to Robert Boyle, as well as the inventions and technologies that were inspired by curiosity itself, such as the telescope and the microscope. The so-called Scientific Revolution is often told as a story of great geniuses illuminating the world with flashes of inspiration. But Curiosity reveals a more complex story, in which the liberation—and subsequent taming—of curiosity was linked to magic, religion, literature, travel, trade, and empire. Ball also asks what has become of curiosity today: how it functions in science, how it is spun and packaged for consumption, how well it is being sustained, and how the changing shape of science influences the kinds of questions it may continue to ask. Though proverbial wisdom tell us that it was through curiosity that our innocence was lost, that has not deterred us. Instead, it has been completely the contrary: today we spend vast sums trying to reconstruct the first instants of creation in particle accelerators, out of a pure desire to know. Ball refuses to let us take this desire for granted, and this book is a perfect homage to such an inquisitive attitude.