What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night - John Brockman

Not much good at the typical “beach read?” Here’s the ideal vacation compromise: What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night (Harper Perennial, $15.99). Edited by John Brockman of Edge.org, the anthology boasts a breezy format of short essays, perfect for the rhythms of sun and surf. In each entry, a prominent biologist, social scientist, physicist, or theoretician presents a concern his or her work has illuminated, but that perhaps isn’t yet on everyone’s radar. The impressive list of contributors includes Steven Pinker, Evgeny Morozov, Daniel Dennett, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Ariana Huffington, and their comments cover everything from internet blackouts to internet drivel, a lack of research investment to a dearth of robots, children with iPhones and markets without growth—until at last we reach the pronouncement: “I worry about worry.” Because what is a vacation, if not a chance to put daily life in proper perspective?

What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night (Edge Question Series) By John Brockman Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062296238
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Published: Harper Perennial - February 11th, 2014

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew - Alan Lightman

Concise, lucid, and elegant in the scientific as well as other senses, Lightman’s essays ask complicated and fascinating questions to which there are some immediate answers but also opportunities for long-term speculation. A physicist as well as a novelist, Lightman extols rationality but admires a universe whose laws allow for surprise and spontaneity (or is it just that we’re surprised by the laws we find?). He reminds us that science has made a lot of discoveries but that it doesn’t know everything. He’s also open to ideas about a multi-verse and about the extent of nature’s predictability—do the laws as we observe them on Earth hold for the far reaches of the cosmos, places (if that’s the right word) we’ll never actually experience?

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew By Alan Lightman Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345805959
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2014

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air - Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes’s vivid and affectionate story of 19th-century ballooning, Falling Upwards (Pantheon, $35), grew out of his award-winning The Age of Wonder and, like that earlier chronicle, it’s a rich narrative encompassing science and literature, camaraderie and conflict. Balloons excite the imaginations of his rich and diverse cast of characters, and he details what his American and European aeronauts envisioned with this new enterprise, which changed the horizons of scientific research, travel, and entertainment. These adventurers aspired to go ever higher, to the point of asphyxiation, or to travel for longer distances; they dreamed of crossing the Atlantic or reaching the North Pole. Some, like James Glaisher, used ballooning to learn about the planet’s atmosphere. Others, for instance, Sophie Blanchard, performed heart-stopping feats of acrobatics. Holmes also shows how this new means of flight influenced writers, and how figures such as Poe and Verne in turn inspired the balloonists. Falling upwards, of course sometimes led to plunging downward, and the mishaps of the brave and foolhardy are part of the story as well.

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air By Richard Holmes Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780307379665
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - October 29th, 2013

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air: An Unconventional History of Ballooning By Richard Holmes Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780307742322
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 9th, 2014

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