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The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307268667
Size: 27.18 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.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1409088235
Size: 15.38 MB
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George Johnson tells the stories of ten beautiful experiments which changed the world. From Galileo singing to mark time as he measured the pull of gravity and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his own eye, to Joule packing a thermometer on his honeymoon to take the temperature of waterfalls and Michelson recovering from a dark depression to discover that light moves at the same speed in every direction - these ten dedicated men employed diamonds, dogs, frogs and even their own bodies as they worked to discover the laws of nature and of the universe.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage Books USA
ISBN: 140003423X
Size: 76.47 MB
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A distinguished science writer critically analyzes ten key experiments in the history of science and their implications for human knowledge, ranging from Galileo's measurement of the pull of gravity, to Isaac Newton's examination of how light causes vibrations in the retina. Reprint.

The Prism And The Pendulum

Author: Robert Crease
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780307432537
Size: 49.99 MB
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Is science beautiful? Yes, argues acclaimed philosopher and historian of science Robert P. Crease in this engaging exploration of history’s most beautiful experiments. The result is an engrossing journey through nearly 2,500 years of scientific innovation. Along the way, we encounter glimpses into the personalities and creative thinking of some of the field’s most interesting figures. We see the first measurement of the earth’s circumference, accomplished in the third century B.C. by Eratosthenes using sticks, shadows, and simple geometry. We visit Foucault’s mesmerizing pendulum, a cannonball suspended from the dome of the Panthéon in Paris that allows us to see the rotation of the earth on its axis. We meet Galileo—the only scientist with two experiments in the top ten—brilliantly drawing on his musical training to measure the speed of falling bodies. And we travel to the quantum world, in the most beautiful experiment of all. We also learn why these ten experiments exert such a powerful hold on our imaginations. From the ancient world to cutting-edge physics, these ten exhilarating moments reveal something fundamental about the world, pulling us out of confusion and revealing nature’s elegance. The Prism and the Pendulum brings us face-to-face with the wonder of science. From the Hardcover edition.

Elegant Solutions

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISBN: 1782625461
Size: 80.17 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.

A Shortcut Through Time

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307424510
Size: 50.46 MB
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In this remarkably illustrative and thoroughly accessible look at one of the most intriguing frontiers in science and computers, award-winning New York Times writer George Johnson reveals the fascinating world of quantum computing—the holy grail of super computers where the computing power of single atoms is harnassed to create machines capable of almost unimaginable calculations in the blink of an eye. As computer chips continue to shrink in size, scientists anticipate the end of the road: A computer in which each switch is comprised of a single atom. Such a device would operate under a different set of physical laws: The laws of quantum mechanics. Johnson gently leads the curious outsider through the surprisingly simple ideas needed to understand this dream, discussing the current state of the revolution, and ultimately assessing the awesome power these machines could have to change our world. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Fire In The Mind

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030776544X
Size: 10.36 MB
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Are there really laws governing the universe? Or is the order we see a mere artifact of the way evolution wired the brain? And is what we call science only a set of myths in which quarks, DNA, and information fill the role once occupied by gods? These questions lie at the heart of George Johnson's audacious exploration of the border between science and religion, cosmic accident and timeless law. Northern New Mexico is home both to the most provocative new enterprises in quantum physics, information science, and the evolution of complexity and to the cosmologies of the Tewa Indians and the Catholic Penitentes. As it draws the reader into this landscape, juxtaposing the systems of belief that have taken root there, Fire in the Mind into a gripping intellectual adventure story that compels us to ask where science ends and religion begins. "A must for all those seriously interested in the key ideas at the frontier of scientific discourse."--Paul Davies From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Cancer Chronicles

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0385349718
Size: 34.59 MB
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View: 2016
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When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is a revolution under way—an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from. In a provocative and intellectually vibrant exploration, he takes us on an adventure through the history and recent advances of cancer research that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease. Deftly excavating and illuminating decades of investigation and analysis, he reveals what we know and don’t know about cancer, showing why a cure remains such a slippery concept. We follow him as he combs through the realms of epidemiology, clinical trials, laboratory experiments, and scientific hypotheses—rooted in every discipline from evolutionary biology to game theory and physics. Cogently extracting fact from a towering canon of myth and hype, he describes tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body, paleo-oncologists who uncover petrified tumors clinging to the skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient human ancestors, and the surprising reversals in science’s comprehension of the causes of cancer, with the foods we eat and environmental toxins playing a lesser role. Perhaps most fascinating of all is how cancer borrows natural processes involved in the healing of a wound or the unfolding of a human embryo and turns them, jujitsu-like, against the body. Throughout his pursuit, Johnson clarifies the human experience of cancer with elegiac grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies, and other treatments. He finds compassion, solace, and community among a vast network of patients and professionals committed to the fight and wrestles to comprehend the cruel randomness cancer metes out in his own family. For anyone whose life has been affected by cancer and has found themselves asking why?, this book provides a new understanding. In good company with the works of Atul Gawande, Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Abraham Verghese, The Cancer Chronicles is endlessly surprising and as radiant in its prose as it is authoritative in its eye-opening science.

Meselson Stahl And The Replication Of Dna

Author: Frederic Lawrence Holmes
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300129663
Size: 35.78 MB
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In 1957 two young scientists, Matthew Meselson and Frank Stahl, produced a landmark experiment confirming that DNA replicates as predicted by the double helix structure Watson and Crick had recently proposed. It also gained immediate renown as a “most beautiful” experiment whose beauty was tied to its simplicity. Yet the investigative path that led to the experiment was anything but simple, Frederic L. Holmes shows in this masterful account of Meselson and Stahl’s quest. This book vividly reconstructs the complex route that led to the Meselson-Stahl experiment and provides an inside view of day-to-day scientific research--its unpredictability, excitement, intellectual challenge, and serendipitous windfalls, as well as its frustrations, unexpected diversions away from original plans, and chronic uncertainty. Holmes uses research logs, experimental films, correspondence, and interviews with the participants to record the history of Meselson and Stahl’s research, from their first thinking about the problem through the publication of their dramatic results. Holmes also reviews the scientific community’s reception of the experiment, the experiment’s influence on later investigations, and the reasons for its reputation as an exceptionally beautiful experiment.

Strange Beauty

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307765458
Size: 37.70 MB
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With a New Afterword "Our knowledge of fundamental physics contains not one fruitful idea that does not carry the name of Murray Gell-Mann."--Richard Feynman Acclaimed science writer George Johnson brings his formidable reporting skills to the first biography of Nobel Prize-winner Murray Gell-Mann, the brilliant, irascible man who revolutionized modern particle physics with his models of the quark and the Eightfold Way. Born into a Jewish immigrant family on New York's East 14th Street, Gell-Mann's prodigious talent was evident from an early age--he entered Yale at 15, completed his Ph.D. at 21, and was soon identifying the structures of the world's smallest components and illuminating the elegant symmetries of the universe. Beautifully balanced in its portrayal of an extraordinary and difficult man, interpreting the concepts of advanced physics with scrupulous clarity and simplicity, Strange Beauty is a tour-de-force of both science writing and biography. From the Trade Paperback edition.