Books to Read
closed book “The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.”
— Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), The Hero as a Man of Letters
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Science Books: sharpening your mind for a great adventure...
Richard Feynman, Meaning Of It All Richard Feynman, Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist (1999), Perseus Books; ISBN: 0738201669— Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was one of the most famous and beloved physicists of all time. In 1963, two years before he received the Physics Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics, he gave three remarkable lectures at the University of Washington. Feynman spoke not as a physicist but as a concerned fellow citizen, revealing his uncommon insights into the religious, political, and social issues of the day. The book is divided into three chapters: Uncertainty of Science, Uncertainty of Values, This Unscientific Age— reproducing the 1963 lectures that had never been published until now. Here Feynman expounds on the inherent conflict between science and religion, on people's distrust of politicians, and on our universal fascination with flying saucers, faith healing, and mental telepathy. Washington Post Book World: “Feynman is one of the century's premier intellectual optometrists: After only a few minutes, he adjusts your mental vision so that previously fuzzy concepts stand out in stunning clarity” You'll find numerous “Ah ha” moments here, marvelling at Feynman's razor-sharp mind as he cuts through a jungle of paradoxes and superstitions as you share his insights. This book is pure gold, pure poetry, pure Feynman. Avg. Review (16): 4 stars
Theoni Pappas, 
Joy of Mathematics: Discovering Mathematics All Around You Theoni Pappas, Joy of Mathematics: Discovering Mathematics All Around You (1989), Wide World Pub Tetra, ISBN: 0933174659— To experience the joy of mathematics is to realize that math is so entwined in every aspect of our lives. So many things around us can be described by mathematics. Mathematical concepts are even inherent in the structure of our living cells. This book unveils concepts, ideas, questions, history, problems, and pastimes which reveal the influence and nature of mathematics. It makes us aware of the inseparable relationship of mathematics and the world by presenting glimpses and images of mathematics in the many facets of our lives. It is similar to the experience of discovering something for the first time— a child-like feeling of wonder that stays with us forever. This book is designed to be opened at any point. Each section of 1-4 pages is essentially self-contained. Pappas has open the minds of young and old alike to the sheer joy of mathematics, so that the reader will desire to learn more. Avg. Review (2): 5 stars
Theoni Pappas, Magic of Mathematics: Discovering the Spell of Mathematics (1994), ISBN: 0691001723
Rudy Rucker, David Povilaitis, 
The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes Rudy Rucker, David Povilaitis (Illustrator), The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes (1985), Houghton Mifflin, ISBN: 0395393884— The fourth dimension— myth, reality, dream, equation, hypercube, face of God, photo of everything at once... and now, The Fourth Dimension is a wonderful book. The result is a fantastic, enlightening, and mind- expanding reading experience. In text, pictures, and puzzles, Rudy Rucker immerses his readers in an amazing exploration of a mysterious realm— an area once seen only by mystics, physicists, and mathematicians. This book is the most engaging tour of other dimensions since Edwin Abbott's Flatland. Povilaitis' 200 cartoon drawings illustrate Rucker's heady insights while dozens of puzzles and problems make the book a delight to the eye and mind. This book is mind-dazzling and magical, because like everything else in the fourth dimension, this is more than a book. It's a mental spaceship capable of grand tours of universes far beyond our own. Avg. Review (6): 4 stars
Rudy Rucker, Infinity and the Mind: Science and Philosophy of the Infinite (1995), ISBN: 0691001723
Michio Kaku, 
Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century Michio Kaku, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century (1998), Bantam Books, ISBN: 0385484992— Dr. Kaku examines in vivid detail how the three scientific revolutions that profoundly reshaped the 20th-century— the quantum, biogenetic, and computer revolutions— will transform the way we live in the 21st century. What makes Dr. Kaku's vision of the future of science so compelling and authoritative is that it is based on the groundbreaking research already underway at leading laboratories around the world. Weaving interviews with over 150 scientists— many of them Nobel laureates— into a rich, inspiring narrative, Dr. Kaku reveals the growing consensus among key scientists about how science will likely evolve through the 21st century. Today, we are making an epochmaking transition in human history— from being passive observers of Nature to being active choreographers of Nature. This is the central message of Michio Kaku's Visions: “The era now unfolding makes this one of the most exciting times to be alive, allowing us to reap the fruits of the last 2,000 years of science. The Age of Discovery in science is coming to a close, opening up an Age of Mastery.” Avg. Review (22): 4.5 stars
James S. Trefil, Edge of the Unknown James S. Trefil, The Edge of the Unknown: 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either (1996), Houghton Mifflin, ISBN: 0395728622— James Trefil takes the reader on a thrilling tour across the borders of current scientific knowledge. From astronomy to genetics, from information technology to cosmology, he surveys the great contested questions that preoccupy researchers today and will become the headlines of tomorrow. In a series of elegant three-page summations, written with wit and wisdom, Dr. Trefil predicts the course of future breakthroughs over the whole range of the sciences. He asks and answers such questions as: Is there an asteroid in our future? What's the likelihood of discovering proof of extraterrestrial intelligence? Can we reasonably hope to cure brain tumors with an injection? What's the future of "designer drugs" and DNA repair? Will we ever understand consciousness? How worried should we be about killer bees and mutant viruses? This book is an ideal gift for browsers of the science pages and for curious readers who want to get up to speed on the great scientific discoveries that will help shape our future. Avg. Review (3): 4.5 stars
Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science (1996), DK Publishing, ISBN: 0789435128— When was the Jurassic Period? How do bionic parts work? Is there a face on Mars? While most dictionaries and science books only tell you the answers, The Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science shows you! Each picture is an accompanied by concise, clear explanations that make the most complex subjects easy to understand. The 1600 color photos and illustrations make this book a visually dazzling delight. Cross sections and diagrams provide a unique view from a microscopic flower to the macroscopic Big Bang Universe. There are some 15,000 terms with sections on physics, chemistry, life sciences & ecology, human anatomy, Earth sciences, astronomy & astrophysics, electronics & computer science, and mathematics. Includes biographies of key figures, and a glossary. A companion volume to the hugely successful Ultimate Visual Dictionary. Avg. Review (1): 5 stars
Margaret Wertheim, Pearly Gates of Cyberspace Margaret Wertheim, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet (1996), Norton & Company; ISBN: 039304694X— Is the Internet the closest thing to heaven on earth? In our day and age cyberspace may seem an unlikely gateway for the soul. But as science commentator Margaret Wertheim argues in this bold new book, cyberspace has more and more become a repository for immense spiritual yearning. Wertheim explores the underpinnings of this mapping of spiritual desire onto digitized space and suggests that the modem today has become a metaphysical escape-hatch from a materialism that many people find increasingly unsatisfying. Proof that we are more than just the atoms of our bodies, cyberspace opens up a collective space beyond the laws of physics— a space where mind rather than matter reigns. And this strange refuge returns us to an almost medieval dualism, with a physical space of body and an immaterial space of mind and psyche. In a remarkable journey through the history of space, Wertheim traces the combined story of physical space and spiritual space from the Middle Ages to the present, and she shows how reality has come to be defined as the exclusive domain of the physical world. It is against this profoundly materialist world picture that Wertheim, with impeccable scholarship, persuades us of the appeal and the ultimate failure of cyberspace to satisfy spiritual needs. Avg. Review (7): 3.5 stars

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