List books in category Biographies & Memoirs / Science & Technology

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    Benjamin Franklin

    Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history.Written initially to guide his son, Franklin's autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life. Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature, one to inspire and delight readers everywhere. This charming self-portrait has been translated into nearly every language.Publisher : General Press

  • My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

    My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
    Nikola Tesla

    Serbian inventor NIKOLA TESLA (1857-1943) was a revolutionary scientist who forever changed the scientific fields of electricity and magnetism. Tesla's greatest invention, A/C current, powers almost all of the technological wonders in the world today, from home heating to computers to high-tech robotics. His discoveries gave mankind the television. And his dream of wireless communication came to pass in both the radio and eventually the cell phone. Yet his story remains widely unknown. History buffs, science enthusiasts, backyard inventors, and anyone who has ever dared to dream big will find the life of Nikola Tesla, written in his own words, engaging, informative, and humorous in its eccentricity.

  • Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

    Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants
    John Drury Clark

    This newly reissued debut book in the Rutgers University Press Classics Imprint is the story of the search for a rocket propellant which could be trusted to take man into space. This search was a hazardous enterprise carried out by rival labs who worked against the known laws of nature, with no guarantee of success or safety. Acclaimed scientist and sci-fi author John Drury Clark writes with irreverent and eyewitness immediacy about the development of the explosive fuels strong enough to negate the relentless restraints of gravity. The resulting volume is as much a memoir as a work of history, sharing a behind-the-scenes view of an enterprise which eventually took men to the moon, missiles to the planets, and satellites to outer space. A classic work in the history of science, and described as “a good book on rocket stuff…that’s a really fun one” by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, readers will want to get their hands on this influential classic, available for the first time in decades.

  • Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons

    Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons
    George Pendle

    Now a CBS All Access series: “A riveting tale of rocketry, the occult, and boom-and-bust 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles” (Booklist). The Los Angeles Times headline screamed: ROCKET SCIENTIST KILLED IN PASADENA EXPLOSION. The man known as Jack Parsons, a maverick rocketeer who helped transform a derided sci-fi plotline into actuality, was at first mourned as a scientific prodigy. But reporters soon uncovered a more shocking story: Parsons had been a devotee of the city’s occult scene. Fueled by childhood dreams of space flight, Parsons was a leader of the motley band of enthusiastic young men who founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a cornerstone of the American space program. But Parsons’s wild imagination also led him into a world of incantations and orgiastic rituals—if he could make rocketry a reality, why not black magic? George Pendle re-creates the world of John Parsons in this dazzling portrait of prewar superstition, cold war paranoia, and futuristic possibility. Peopled with such formidable real-life figures as Howard Hughes, Aleister Crowley, L. Ron Hubbard, and Robert Heinlein, Strange Angel explores the unruly consequences of genius. The basis for a new miniseries created by Mark Heyman and produced by Ridley Scott, this biography “vividly tells the story of a mysterious and forgotten man who embodied the contradictions of his time . . . when science fiction crashed into science fact. . . . [It] would make a compelling work of fiction if it weren’t so astonishingly true” (Publishers Weekly).

  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

    Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
    Nick Bilton

    The dramatic, unlikely story behind the founding of Twitter, by New York Times bestselling author and Vanity Fair special correspondent The San Francisco-based technology company Twitter has become a powerful force in less than ten years. Today it’s everything from a tool for fighting political oppression in the Middle East to a marketing must-have to the world’s living room during live TV events to President Trump’s preferred method of communication. It has hundreds of millions of active users all over the world. But few people know that it nearly fell to pieces early on. In this rousing history that reads like a novel, Hatching Twitter takes readers behind the scenes of Twitter’s early exponential growth, following the four hackers—Ev Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass, who created the cultural juggernaut practically by accident. It’s a drama of betrayed friendships and high-stakes power struggles over money, influence, and control over a company that was growing faster than they could ever imagine. Drawing on hundreds of sources, documents, and internal e-mails, Bilton offers a rarely-seen glimpse of the inner workings of technology startups, venture capital, and Silicon Valley culture.

  • Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

    Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
    Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein is the unquestioned founder of modern physics. His theory of relativity is the most important scientific idea of the modern era. In this book Einstein explains, using the minimum of mathematical terms, the basic ideas and principles of the theory which has shaped the world we live in today. Unsurpassed by any subsequent books on relativity, this remains the most popular and useful exposition of Einstein’s immense contribution to human knowledge.In this work Einstein intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general and scientific philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics. The theory of relativity enriched physics and astronomy during the 20th century. (Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein, 9789380914220)

  • Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game - Updated Edition

    Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game – Updated Edition
    Andrew Hodges

    A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira KnightleyIt is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades–all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.

  • It All Adds Up: The Story of People and Mathematics

    It All Adds Up: The Story of People and Mathematics
    Mickael Launay

    ‘Fascinating … so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn’t seem so fearsome as it once did’ SIMON WINCHESTER From Aristotle to Ada Lovelace: a brief history of the mathematical ideas that have forever changed the world and the everyday people and pioneers behind them. The story of our best invention yet. From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere. They are so indispensable that we forget how fundamental they are to our way of life. In this international bestseller, Mickaël Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. It is a journey into numbers with Launay as a guide. In museums, monuments or train stations, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, how Babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex written languages, and how ‘Arabic’ numbers were adopted from India. It All Adds Up also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace the precise day of one of the oldest battles in history, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established, and why negative numbers were accepted just last century. This book is a vital compendium of the great men and women of mathematics from Aristotle to Ada Lovelace, which demonstrates how mathematics shaped the written word and the world. With clarity, passion and wisdom, the author unveils the unexpected and at times serendipitous ways in which big mathematical ideas were created. Supporting the belief that – just like music or literature – maths should be accessible to everyone, Launay will inspire a new fondness for the numbers that surround us and the rich stories they contain.

  • Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton

    Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton
    Rob Iliffe

    After Sir Isaac Newton revealed his discovery that white light was compounded of more basic colored rays, he was hailed as a genius and became an instant international celebrity. An interdisciplinary enthusiast and intellectual giant in a number of disciplines, Newton published revolutionary, field-defining works that reached across the scientific spectrum, including the Principia Mathematica and Opticks. His renown opened doors for him throughout his career, ushering him into prestigious positions at Cambridge, the Royal Mint, and the Royal Society. And yet, alongside his public success, Newton harbored religious beliefs that set him at odds with law and society, and, if revealed, threatened not just his livelihood but his life. Religion and faith dominated much of Newton's life and work. His papers, never made available to the public, were filled with biblical speculation and timelines along with passages that excoriated the early Church fathers. Indeed, his radical theological leanings rendered him a heretic, according to the doctrines of the Anglican Church. Newton believed that the central concept of the Trinity was a diabolical fraud and loathed the idolatry, cruelty, and persecution that had come to define religion in his time. Instead, he proposed a "simple Christianity"–a faith that would center on a few core beliefs and celebrate diversity in religious thinking and practice. An utterly original but obsessively private religious thinker, Newton composed several of the most daring works of any writer of the early modern period, works which he and his inheritors suppressed and which have been largely inaccessible for centuries. In Priest of Nature, historian Rob Iliffe introduces readers to Newton the religious animal, deepening our understanding of the relationship between faith and science at a formative moment in history and thought. Previous scholars and biographers have generally underestimated the range and complexity of Newton's religious writings, but Iliffe shows how wide-ranging his observations and interests were, spanning the entirety of Christian history from Creation to the Apocalypse. Iliffe's book allows readers to fully engage in the theological discussion that dominated Newton's age. A vibrant biography of one of history's towering scientific figures, Priest of Nature is the definitive work on the spiritual views of the man who fundamentally changed how we look at the universe.

  • The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device

    The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device
    Steve Lehto

    Tracing the remarkable history of a certain kind of flying machine–from the rocket belt to the jet belt to the flying platform and all the way to Yves Rossy's 21st-century free flights using a jet-powered wing–this historical account delves into the technology that made these devices possible and the reasons why they never became commercial successes on a mass scale. These individual lift devices, as they were blandly labeled by the government men who financed much of their development, answered man's desire to simply step outside and take flight. No runways, no wings, no pilot's license were required. But the history of the jet pack did not follow its expected trajectory and the devices that were thought to become as commonplace as cars have instead become one of the most overpromised technologies of all time. This fascinating account profiles the inventors and pilots, the hucksters and cheats, and the businessmen and soldiers who were involved with the machines, and it tells a great American story of a technology whose promise may yet, one day, come to fruition.

  • Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age

    Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age
    W. Bernard Carlson

    Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius. Even at the end of his life when he was living in poverty, Tesla still attracted reporters to his annual birthday interview, regaling them with claims that he had invented a particle-beam weapon capable of bringing down enemy aircraft. Plenty of biographies glamorize Tesla and his eccentricities, but until now none has carefully examined what, how, and why he invented. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him within the cultural and technological context of his time, and focusing on his inventions themselves as well as the creation and maintenance of his celebrity. Drawing on original documents from Tesla's private and public life, Carlson shows how he was an "idealist" inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion. This major biography sheds new light on Tesla's visionary approach to invention and the business strategies behind his most important technological breakthroughs.

  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World s Most Wanted Hacker

    Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
    Kevin Mitnick

    The thrilling memoir of the world's most wanted computer hacker "Mitnick manages to make breaking computer code sound as action-packed as robbing a bank." — NPR Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies–and no matter how fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. As the FBI's net finally began to tighten, Mitnick went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated game of hide-and-seek that escalated through false identities, a host of cities, and plenty of close shaves, to an ultimate showdown with the Feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down. Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escapes–and a portrait of a visionary who forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, and forced companies to rethink the way they protect their most sensitive information.

  • The Spark: A Mother s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

    The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism
    Kristine Barnett

    Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes. The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds. The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, The Spark is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.Praise for The Spark “[An] amazing memoir . . . compulsive reading.”—The Washington Post “The Spark is about the transformative power of unconditional love. If you have a child who’s ‘different’—and who doesn’t?—you won’t be able to put it down.”—Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind “Love, illness, faith, tragedy and triumph—it’s all here. . . . Jake Barnett’s story contains wisdom for every parent.”—Newsday “This eloquent memoir about an extraordinary boy and a resilient and remarkable mother will be of interest to every parent and/or educator hoping to nurture a child’s authentic ‘spark.’”—Publishers Weekly “Compelling . . . Jake is unusual, but so is his superhuman mom.”—Booklist “The Spark describes in glowing terms the profound intensity with which a mother can love her child.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree “Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book!”—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and co-author of The Autistic Brain

  • The Weil Conjectures: On Math and the Pursuit of the Unknown

    The Weil Conjectures: On Math and the Pursuit of the Unknown
    Karen Olsson

    A New York Times Editors' Pick and Paris Review Staff Pick"A wonderful book." –Patti Smith"I was riveted. Olsson is evocative on curiosity as an appetite of the mind, on the pleasure of glutting oneself on knowledge." –Parul Sehgal, The New York TimesAn eloquent blend of memoir and biography exploring the Weil siblings, math, and creative inspirationKaren Olsson’s stirring and unusual third book, The Weil Conjectures, tells the story of the brilliant Weil siblings—Simone, a philosopher, mystic, and social activist, and André, an influential mathematician—while also recalling the years Olsson spent studying math. As she delves into the lives of these two singular French thinkers, she grapples with their intellectual obsessions and rekindles one of her own. For Olsson, as a math major in college and a writer now, it’s the odd detours that lead to discovery, to moments of insight. Thus The Weil Conjectures—an elegant blend of biography and memoir and a meditation on the creative life.Personal, revealing, and approachable, The Weil Conjectures eloquently explores math as it relates to intellectual history, and shows how sometimes the most inexplicable pursuits turn out to be the most rewarding.

  • I, Asimov: A Memoir

    I, Asimov: A Memoir
    Isaac Asimov

    Arguably the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived, Isaac Asimov also possessed one of the most brilliant and original minds of our time. His accessible style and far-reaching interests in subjects ranging from science to humor to history earned him the nickname “the Great Explainer.” I. Asimov is his personal story—vivid, open, and honest—as only Asimov himself could tell it. Here is the story of the paradoxical genius who wrote of travel to the stars yet refused to fly in airplanes; who imagined alien universes and vast galactic civilizations while staying home to write; who compulsively authored more than 470 books yet still found the time to share his ideas with some of the great minds of our century. Here are his wide-ranging thoughts and sharp-eyed observations on everything from religion to politics, love and divorce, friendship and Hollywood, fame and mortality. Here, too, is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the varied personalities—Campbell, Ellison, Heinlein, Clarke, del Rey, Silverberg, and others—who along with Asimov helped shape science fiction. As unique and irrepressible as the man himself, I. Asimov is the candid memoir of an incomparable talent who entertained readers for nearly half a century and whose work will surely endure into the future he so vividly envisioned.

  • A Midwife s Story

    A Midwife’s Story
    Penny Armstrong

    A gripping first-hand account of midwife Penny Armstrong’s journey from student midwife in Glasgow to running her own practice among the Amish in rural Pennsylvania, A Midwife’s Story never fails to enlighten, inform and surprise.Going far beyond mere biography, Armstrong’s journey of self-discovery is ultimately very moving, and it is the honesty with which she describes the world she discovers which makes this book a classic, and essential reading not just for aspiring midwives but to anyone interested in natural birth.

  • Carrying the Fire: 50th Anniversary Edition

    Carrying the Fire: 50th Anniversary Edition
    Michael Collins

    Reissued with a new preface by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moonThe years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events—technical and spiritual—of our lifetime.In Carrying the Fire, Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of that adventure. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 space walk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile earth from the other side of the moon.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    Rebecca Skloot

    Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERHer name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

  • Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War

    Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War
    Michael Neufeld

    Curator and space historian at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum delivers a brilliantly nuanced biography of controversial space pioneer Wernher von Braun. Chief rocket engineer of the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the U.S. space program, Wernher von Braun is a source of consistent fascination. Glorified as a visionary and vilified as a war criminal, he was a man of profound moral complexities, whose intelligence and charisma were coupled with an enormous and, some would say, blinding ambition. Based on new sources, Neufeld's biography delivers a meticulously researched and authoritative portrait of the creator of the V-2 rocket and his times, detailing how he was a man caught between morality and progress, between his dreams of the heavens and the earthbound realities of his life.

  • Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

    Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past
    Sarah Parcak

    National Geographic Explorer and TED Prize-winner Dr. Sarah Parcak welcomes you to the exciting new world of space archaeology, a growing field that is sparking extraordinary discoveries from ancient civilizations across the globe. In Archaeology from Space, Sarah Parcak shows the evolution, major discoveries, and future potential of the young field of satellite archaeology. From surprise advancements after the declassification of spy photography, to a new map of the mythical Egyptian city of Tanis, she shares her field’s biggest discoveries, revealing why space archaeology is not only exciting, but urgently essential to the preservation of the world’s ancient treasures.Parcak has worked in twelve countries and four continents, using multispectral and high-resolution satellite imagery to identify thousands of previously unknown settlements, roads, fortresses, palaces, tombs, and even potential pyramids. From there, her stories take us back in time and across borders, into the day-to-day lives of ancient humans whose traits and genes we share. And she shows us that if we heed the lessons of the past, we can shape a vibrant future. Includes Illustrations

  • Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center

    Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center
    Ray Monk

    Robert Oppenheimer was among the most brilliant and divisive of men. As head of the Los Alamos Laboratory, he oversaw the successful effort to beat the Nazis in the race to develop the first atomic bomb—a breakthrough that was to have eternal ramifications for mankind and that made Oppenheimer the “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” But with his actions leading up to that great achievement, he also set himself on a dangerous collision course with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his witch-hunters. In Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center, Ray Monk, author of peerless biographies of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, goes deeper than any previous biographer in the quest to solve the enigma of Oppenheimer’s motivations and his complex personality. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Oppenheimer was a man of phenomenal intellectual attributes, driven by an ambition to overcome his status as an outsider and penetrate the heart of political and social life. As a young scientist, his talent and drive allowed him to enter a community peopled by the great names of twentieth-century physics—men such as Niels Bohr, Max Born, Paul Dirac, and Albert Einstein—and to play a role in the laboratories and classrooms where the world was being changed forever, where the secrets of the universe, whether within atomic nuclei or collapsing stars, revealed themselves. But Oppenheimer’s path went beyond one of assimilation, scientific success, and world fame. The implications of the discoveries at Los Alamos weighed heavily upon this fragile and complicated man. In the 1930s, in a climate already thick with paranoia and espionage, he made suspicious connections, and in the wake of the Allied victory, his attempts to resist the escalation of the Cold War arms race led many to question his loyalties. Through compassionate investigation and with towering scholarship, Ray Monk’s Robert Oppenheimer tells an unforgettable story of discovery, secrecy, impossible choices, and unimaginable destruction.

  • The World as I See It by Albert Einstein

    The World as I See It by Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein

    The most advanced and celebrated mind of the 20th Century, without a doubt, is attributed to Albert Einstein. This interesting book allows us to explore his beliefs, philosophical ideas, and opinions on many subjects. Subjects include politics, religion, education, the meaning of life, Jewish issues, the world economy, peace and pacifism.Einstein believed in the possibility of a peaceful world and in the high mission of science to serve human well-being. As we near the end of a century in which science has come to seem more and more remote from human values, Einstein's perspective is indispensable.

  • The Soul of A New Machine

    The Soul of A New Machine
    Tracy Kidder

    Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder memorably records the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market.Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.

  • The Perfect Predator: A Scientist s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir

    The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir
    Steffanie Strathdee

    A "fascinating and terrifying" (Scientific American) memoir of one woman's extraordinary effort to save her husband's life-and the discovery of a forgotten cure that has the potential to save millions more.Epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, psychologist Tom Patterson, were vacationing in Egypt when Tom came down with a stomach bug. What at first seemed like a case of food poisoning quickly turned critical, and by the time Tom had been transferred via emergency medevac to the world-class medical center at UC San Diego, where both he and Steffanie worked, blood work revealed why modern medicine was failing: Tom was fighting one of the most dangerous, antibiotic- resistant bacteria in the world.Frantic, Steffanie combed through research old and new and came across phage therapy: the idea that the right virus, aka "the perfect predator," can kill even the most lethal bacteria. Phage treatment had fallen out of favor almost 100 years ago, after antibiotic use went mainstream. Now, with time running out, Steffanie appealed to phage researchers all over the world for help. She found allies at the FDA, researchers from Texas A&M, and a clandestine Navy biomedical center-and together they resurrected a forgotten cure.A nail-biting medical mystery, The Perfect Predator is a story of love and survival against all odds, and the (re)discovery of a powerful new weapon in the global superbug crisis.

  • The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow s World

    The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World
    Charles C. Mann

    From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493–an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world. In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups–Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces–food, water, energy, climate change–grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.

  • A Beautiful Mind

    A Beautiful Mind
    Sylvia Nasar

    In this powerful and dramatic biography Sylvia Nasar vividly recreates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize.“How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?” the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,” came the answer. “So I took them seriously.” Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who was a legend by age thirty when he slipped into madness, and who—thanks to the selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community—emerged after decades of ghostlike existence to win a Nobel Prize for triggering the game theory revolution. The inspiration for an Academy Award–winning movie, Sylvia Nasar’s now-classic biography is a drama about the mystery of the human mind, triumph over adversity, and the healing power of love.

  • The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

    The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
    Michael Lewis

    “Brilliant. . . . Lewis has given us a spectacular account of two great men who faced up to uncertainty and the limits of human reason.” —William Easterly, Wall Street Journal Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Kahneman and Tversky’s extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. In The Undoing Project, Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

  • Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

    Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
    Buzz Aldrin

    Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words “magnificent desolation.” And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control’s clearance to take off with the quip, “Roger. Understand. We’re number one on the runway.”The flight of Apollo 11 made Aldrin one of the most famous persons on our planet, yet few people know the rest of this true American hero’s story. In Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin not only gives us a harrowing first-person account of the lunar landing that came within seconds of failure and the ultimate insider’s view of life as one of the superstars of America’s space program, he also opens up with remarkable candor about his more personal trials–and eventual triumphs–back on Earth. From the glory of being part of the mission that fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon before the decade was out, Aldrin returned home to an Air Force career stripped of purpose or direction, other than as a public relations tool that NASA put to relentless use in a seemingly nonstop world tour. The twin demons of depression and alcoholism emerged–the first of which Aldrin confronted early and publicly, and the second of which he met with denial until it nearly killed him. He burned through two marriages, his Air Force career came to an inglorious end, and he found himself selling cars for a living when he wasn’t drunkenly wrecking them. Redemption came when he finally embraced sobriety, gained the love of a woman, Lois, who would become the great joy of his life, and dedicated himself to being a tireless advocate for the future of space exploration–not only as a scientific endeavor but also as a thriving commercial enterprise.These days Buzz Aldrin is enjoying life with an enthusiasm that reminds us how far it is possible for a person to travel, literally and figuratively. As an adventure story, a searing memoir of self-destruction and self-renewal, and as a visionary rallying cry to once again set our course for Mars and beyond, Magnificent Desolation is the thoroughly human story of a genuine hero.

  • My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

    My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
    Nikola Tesla

    Nikola Tesla (1857-1943) was a revolutionary Serbian scientist who forever changed the scientific fields of electricity and magnetism. His research laid much of the groundwork for modern electrical and communication systems, and his impressive accomplishments include development of the alternating-current electrical system, radio, the Tesla coil transformer, wireless transmission, and fluorescent lighting.His dream of wireless communication came to pass in both the radio and eventually the cell phone. Yet his story remains widely unknown. History buffs, science enthusiasts, backyard inventors, and anyone who has ever dared to dream big will find the life of Nikola Tesla, written in his own words, engaging, informative, and humorous in its eccentricity.

  • The Spy Who Changed the World: Klaus Fuchs, Physicist and Soviet Double Agent

    The Spy Who Changed the World: Klaus Fuchs, Physicist and Soviet Double Agent
    Mike Rossiter

    A “gripping and fast-paced” biography of the brilliant atomic physicist and Soviet double agent who smuggled nuclear secrets out of Los Alamos and Harwell (The Guardian). Klaus Fuchs, a German Communist and gifted mathematician who fled the Nazis, went on to become the head of theoretical physics at the Harwell Research Complex in England. There and at the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico, Fuchs was an integral part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. But then, in February of 1950, he was brought before London’s Old Bailey criminal court, accused of passing crucial military secrets to the Soviet Union. And his confession would shock the world. For more than sixty years, the governments of Britain, the United States, and Russia all tried to cover up the full extent of Fuchs’s treachery. Piecing the story together from their declassified archives, The Spy Who Changed the World reveals the truth about Fuchs and his long career of espionage for the first time. Historian Mike Rossiter demonstrates how Fuchs played a pivotal role in the nuclear arms race by sharing vital information about the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb with the Soviet government. It is a dramatic tale of clandestine meetings, deadly secrets, family entanglements and illicit love affairs, all set against the tumultuous years from the rise of Hitler to the start of the Cold War.

  • A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen

    A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen
    Joe Jackson

    Like Charles Seife’s Zero and Dava Sobel’s Longitude, this passionate intellectual history is the story of the intersection of science and the human, in this case the rivals who discovered oxygen in the late 1700s. That breakthrough changed the world as radically as those of Newton and Darwin but was at first eclipsed by revolution and reaction. In chronicling the triumph and ruin of the English freethinker Joseph Priestley and the French nobleman Antoine Lavoisier—the former exiled, the latter executed on the guillotine—A World on Fire illustrates the perilous place of science in an age of unreason.

  • How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

    How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
    Michael Pollan

    New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2018A New York Times Notable Book The #1 New York Times bestseller.A brilliant and brave investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan's "mental travelogue" is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.

  • The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

    The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
    Ben Mezrich

    NATIONAL BESTSELLER“The Social Network, the much anticipated movie…adapted from Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires.” —The New York TimesBest friends Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg had spent many lonely nights looking for a way to stand out among Harvard University’s elite, competitive, and accomplished student body. Then, in 2003, Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s computers, crashed the campus network, almost got himself expelled, and was inspired to create Facebook, the social networking site that has since revolutionized communication around the world. With Saverin’s funding their tiny start-up went from dorm room to Silicon Valley. But conflicting ideas about Facebook’s future transformed the friends into enemies. Soon, the undergraduate exuberance that marked their collaboration turned into out-and-out warfare as it fell prey to the adult world of venture capitalists, big money, and lawyers.

  • Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

    Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
    Gene Kranz

    This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success. A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
    William Kamkwamba

    Now a Netflix Film, Starring and Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a SlaveWilliam Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.

  • Chasing Space: An Astronaut s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances

    Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances
    Leland Melvin

    In this revelatory and moving memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space. Though his path to the heavens was riddled with setbacks and injury, Leland persevered to reach the stars. While training with NASA, Melvin suffered a severe injury that left him deaf. Leland was relegated to earthbound assignments, but chose to remain and support his astronaut family. His loyalty paid off. Recovering partial hearing, he earned his eligibility for space travel. He served as mission specialist for two flights aboard the shuttle Atlantis, working on the International Space Station.In this uplifting memoir, the former NASA astronaut and professional athlete offers an examination of the intersecting role of community, determination, and grace that align to shape our opportunities and outcomes. Chasing Space is not the story of one man, but the story of many men, women, scientists, and mentors who helped him defy the odds and live out an uncommon destiny.As a chemist, athlete, engineer and space traveler, Leland’s life story is a study in the science of achievement. His personal insights illuminate how grit and grace, are the keys to overcoming adversity and rising to success.

  • Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck
    Erik Larson

    A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush.”In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder.With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.

  • No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon

    No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon
    Buzz Aldrin

    Beloved American hero and astronaut Buzz Aldrin reflects on the wisdom, guiding principles, and irreverent anecdotes he's gathered—both in outer space and on earth—through his event-filled life, in this inspiring guide-to-life for the next generation. Everywhere he goes, crowds gather to meet Buzz Aldrin. He is a world-class hero, a larger-than-life figurehead, best known of a generation of astronauts whose achievements surged in just a few years from first man in space to first men on the moon. Now he pauses to reflect and share what he has learned, from the vantage point not only of outer space but also of time: still a non-stop traveler and impassioned advocate for space exploration, Aldrin will be 86 in 2016. No Dream Is Too High whittles down Buzz Aldrin's event-filled life into a short list of principles he values, each illustrated by fascinating anecdotes and memories, such as: · Second comes right after first. NASA protocol should have meant he was first on the moon, but rules changed just before the mission. How he learned to be proud of being the second man on the moon. · Look for opportunities, not obstacles. Buzz was rejected the first time he applied to be an astronaut. Failure is an opportunity to learn to do better. · Always maintain your spirit of adventure. For his 80th birthday, Buzz went diving in the Galapagos and hitched a ride on a whale shark. He stays fit, energetic, and fascinated with life. No Dream Is Too High is a beautiful memento, a thought-provoking set of ideas, and a new opportunity for Buzz Aldrin to connect with the masses of people who recognize his unique place in human history.

  • War of the Currents: Nikola Tesla

    War of the Currents: Nikola Tesla
    Alfonso Borello

    HE TURNED NIGHT into day with the invention of alternating current which is still the standard today; he was the father of over one hundred patents, his genius was overshadowed by malefic individuals who called him a quintessential mad scientist; he was ripped off by Thomas Edison for fifty thousand dollars, and the FBI had a large dossier of him which later disappeared. In 1943 he was found dead.

  • Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

    Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America
    Jeff Ryan

    The story of Nintendo's rise and the beloved icon who made it possible. Nintendo has continually set the standard for video-game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape. The saga of Mario, the portly plumber who became the most successful franchise in the history of gaming, has plot twists worthy of a video game. Jeff Ryan shares the story of how this quintessentially Japanese company found success in the American market. Lawsuits, Hollywood, die- hard fans, and face-offs with Sony and Microsoft are all part of the drama. Find out about: *Mario's eccentric yet brilliant creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who was tapped for the job because was considered expendable. *Minoru Arakawa, the son-in-law of Nintendo's imperious president, who bumbled his way to success. *The unexpected approach that allowed Nintendo to reinvent itself as the gaming system for the non-gamer, especially now with the Wii Even those who can't tell a Koopa from a Goomba will find this a fascinating story of striving, comeuppance, and redemption.

  • John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More

    John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More
    Norman Macrae

    John von Neumann was a Jewish refugee from Hungary — considered a “genius” like fellow Hungarians Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller — who played key roles developing the A-bomb at Los Alamos during World War II. As a mathematician at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study (where Einstein was also a professor), von Neumann was a leader in the development of early computers. Later, he developed the new field of game theory in economics and became a top nuclear arms policy adviser to the Truman and Eisenhower administrations.“I always thought [von Neumann’s] brain indicated that he belonged to a new species, an evolution beyond man. Macrae shows us in a lively way how this brain was nurtured and then left its great imprint on the world.” — Hans A. Bethe, Cornell University“The book makes for utterly captivating reading. Von Neumann was, of course, one of this century’s geniuses, and it is surprising that we have had to wait so long… for a fully fleshed and sympathetic biography of the man. But now, happily, we have one. Macrae nicely delineates the cultural, familial, and educational environment from which von Neumann sprang and sketches the mathematical and scientific environment in which he flourished. It’s no small task to render a genius like von Neumann in ordinary language, yet Macrae manages the trick, providing more than a glimpse of what von Neumann accomplished intellectually without expecting the reader to have a Ph.D. in mathematics. Beyond that, he captures von Neumann’s qualities of temperament, mind, and personality, including his effortless wit and humor. And [Macrae] frames and accounts for von Neumann’s politics in ways that even critics of them, among whom I include myself, will find provocative and illuminating.” — Daniel J. Kevles, California Institute of Technology“A lively portrait of the hugely consequential nonmathematician-physicist-et al., whose genius has left an enduring impress on our thought, technology, society, and culture. A double salute to Steve White, who started this grand book designed for us avid, nonmathematical readers, and to Norman Macrae, who brought it to a triumphant conclusion.” — Robert K. Merton, Columbia University“The first full-scale biography of this polymath, who was born Jewish in Hungary in 1903 and died Roman Catholic in the United States at the age of 53. And Mr. Macrae has some great stories to tell… Mr. Macrae’s biography has rescued a lot of good science gossip from probable extinction, and has introduced many of us to the life story of a man we ought to know better.” — Ed Regis, The New York Times“A nice and fascinating picture of a genius who was active in so many domains.” —Zentralblatt MATH“Biographer Macrae takes a ‘viewspaperman’ approach which stresses the context and personalities associated with von Neumann’s remarkable life, rather than attempting to give a detailed scholarly analysis of von Neumann’s papers. The resulting book is a highly entertaining account that is difficult to put down.” — Journal of Mathematical Psychology“A full and intimate biography of ‘the man who consciously and deliberately set mankind moving along the road that led us into the Age of Computers.’” — Freeman Dyson, Princeton, NJ“It is good to have a biography of one of the most important mathematicians of the twentieth century, even if it is a biography that focuses much more on the man than on the mathematics.” — Fernando Q. Gouvêa, Mathematical Association of America“Based on much research, his own and that of others (especially of Stephen White), Macrae has written a valuable biography of this remarkable genius of our century, without the opacity of technical (mathematical) dimensions that are part of the hero’s intellectual contributions to humanity. Interesting, informative, illuminating, and insightful.” — Choice Review“Macrae paints a highly readable, humanizing portrait of a man whose legacy still influences and shapes modern science and knowledge.” — Resonance, Journal of Science Education“In this affectionate, humanizing biography, former Economist editor Macrae limns a prescient pragmatist who actively fought against fascism and who advocated a policy of nuclear deterrence because he foresaw that Stalin’s Soviet Union would rapidly acquire the bomb and develop rocketry… Macrae makes [von Neumann’s] contributions accessible to the lay reader, and also discusses von Neumann’s relationships with two long-suffering wives, his political differences with Einstein and the cancer that killed him.” — Publishers Weekly“Macrae’s life of the great mathematician shows dramatically what proper care and feeding can do for an unusually capacious mind.” — John Wilkes, Los Angeles Times

  • Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age

    Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age
    David A. Clary

    More famous in his day than Einstein or Edison, the troubled, solitary genius Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) was the American father of rocketry and space flight, launching the world's first liquid-fuel rockets and the first powered vehicles to break the sound barrier. Supported by Charles Lindbergh and Harry Guggenheim, through fiery, often explosive, experiments at Roswell, New Mexico, he invented the methods that carried men to the moon. Today, no rocket or jet plane can fly without using his inventions. Yet he is the "forgotten man" of the space age. His own government ignored his rocketry until the Germans demonstrated its principles in the V-2 missiles of World War II. The American government usurped his 214 patents, while suppressing his contributions in the name of national security, until it was forced to pay one million dollars for patent infringement. Goddard became famous again, monuments and medals raining upon his memory. But his renewed fame soon faded, and Goddard's pivotal role in launching the Space Age has been largely forgotten.

  • My Chernobyl

    My Chernobyl
    Alexander A. Borovoi

    The devastating accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, occurred on April , 1986. On April 29, Alexander A. Borovoi, an atomic physicist with the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, was ordered to Chernobyl to help measure and control the release of lethal radioactive materials. He stayed for twenty-three years. In My Chernobyl, first published in 1996—at which time, the British magazine New World called it the best work of journalism for that year—Borovoi writes of his first two years at Chernobyl, when the initial response to the catastrophe was, as a rule, heroic, but unfortunately, not always effective.

  • My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

    My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
    Nikola Tesla

    Nikola Tesla has been called the most important man of the twentieth century. Certainly he contributed more to the field of electricity, radio, and television than any other person living or dead. Ultimately he died alone and impoverished having driven all of his friends away through his neurotic and eccentric behavior. Tesla was never able to fit into the world that he found himself in. This autobiography, originally serialized in Electrical Experimenter, is an intensely fascinating glimpse into the mind of a genius, his inventions, and the magical world in which he lived.

  • The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America s Race in Space

    The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space
    Eugene Cernan

    The basis of the 2014 award-winning feature-length documentary! A revealing and dramatic look at the inside of the American Space Program from one of its pioneers.Eugene Cernan was a unique American who came of age as an astronaut during the most exciting and dangerous decade of spaceflight. His career spanned the entire Gemini and Apollo programs, from being the first person to spacewalk all the way around our world to the moment when he left man's last footprint on the Moon as commander of Apollo 17.Between those two historic events lay more adventures than an ordinary person could imagine as Cernan repeatedly put his life, his family and everything he held dear on the altar of an obsessive desire. Written with New York Times bestselling author Don Davis, The Last Man on the Moon is the astronaut story never before told – about the fear, love and sacrifice demanded of the few men who dared to reach beyond the heavens for the biggest prize of all – the Moon.

  • Surely You re Joking, Mr. Feynman! : Adventures of a Curious Character: Adventures of a Curious Character

    “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character: Adventures of a Curious Character
    Richard P. Feynman

    A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

  • Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut

    Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut
    Mike Mullane

    On February 1, 1978, the first group of space shuttle astronauts, twenty-nine men and six women, were introduced to the world. Among them would be history makers, including the first American woman and the first African American in space. This assembly of astronauts would carry NASA through the most tumultuous years of the space shuttle program. Four would die on Challenger. USAF Colonel Mike Mullane was a member of this astronaut class, and Riding Rockets is his story — told with a candor never before seen in an astronaut's memoir. Mullane strips the heroic veneer from the astronaut corps and paints them as they are — human. His tales of arrested development among military flyboys working with feminist pioneers and post-doc scientists are sometimes bawdy, often hilarious, and always entertaining. Mullane vividly portrays every aspect of the astronaut experience — from telling a female technician which urine-collection condom size is a fit; to walking along a Florida beach in a last, tearful goodbye with a spouse; to a wild, intoxicating, terrifying ride into space; to hearing "Taps" played over a friend's grave. Mullane is brutally honest in his criticism of a NASA leadership whose bungling would precipitate the Challenger disaster. Riding Rockets is a story of life in all its fateful uncertainty, of the impact of a family tragedy on a nine-year-old boy, of the revelatory effect of a machine called Sputnik, and of the life-steering powers of lust, love, and marriage. It is a story of the human experience that will resonate long after the call of "Wheel stop."

  • Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse

    Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse
    Kenneth Silverman

    In this brilliantly conceived and written biography, Pulitzer Prize–winning Kenneth Silverman gives us the long and amazing life of the man eulogized by the New York Herald in 1872 as “perhaps the most illustrious American of his age.” Silverman presents Samuel Morse in all his complexity. There is the gifted and prolific painter (more than three hundred portraits and larger historical canvases) and pioneer photographer, who gave the first lectures on art in America, became the first Professor of Fine Arts at an American college (New York University), and founded the National Academy of Design. There is the republican idealist, prominent in antebellum politics, who ran for Congress and for mayor of New York. But most important, there is the inventor of the American electromagnetic telegraph, which earned Morse the name Lightning Man and brought him the fame he sought.In these pages, we witness the evolution of the great invention from its inception as an idea to its introduction to the world—an event that astonished Morse’s contemporaries and was considered the supreme expression of the country’s inventive genius. We see how it transformed commerce, journalism, transportation, military affairs, diplomacy, and the very shape of daily life, ushering in the modern era of communication.But we discover as well that Morse viewed his existence as accursed rather than illustrious, his every achievement seeming to end in loss and defeat: his most ambitious canvases went unsold; his beloved republic imploded into civil war, making it unlivable for him; and the commercial success of the telegraph engulfed him in lawsuits challenging the originality and ownership of his invention.Lightning Man is the first biography of Samuel F. B. Morse in sixty years. It is a revelation of the life of a fascinating and profoundly troubled American genius.

  • You re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

    You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir
    Felicia Day

    The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The Internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage of its growth—finding joy and unlikely friendships in the emerging digital world. Her relative isolation meant that she could pursue passions like gaming, calculus, and 1930’s detective novels without shame. Because she had no idea how “uncool” she really was. But if it hadn’t been for her strange background—the awkwardness continued when she started college at sixteen, with Mom driving her to campus every day—she might never have had the naïve confidence to forge her own path. Like when she graduated as valedictorian with a math degree and then headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting despite having zero contacts. Or when she tired of being typecast as the crazy cat-lady secretary and decided to create her own web series before people in show business understood that online video could be more than just cats chasing laser pointers. Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influen­tial creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety, and depression—and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming. Showcasing Felicia’s “engaging and often hilarious voice” (USA TODAY), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.

  • Darwin s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin s Views on Human Evolution

    Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution
    Adrian Desmond

    An “arresting” and deeply personal portrait that “confront[s] the touchy subject of Darwin and race head on” (The New York Times Book Review). It’s difficult to overstate the profound risk Charles Darwin took in publishing his theory of evolution. How and why would a quiet, respectable gentleman, a pillar of his parish, produce one of the most radical ideas in the history of human thought? Drawing on a wealth of manuscripts, family letters, diaries, and even ships’ logs, Adrian Desmond and James Moore have restored the moral missing link to the story of Charles Darwin’s historic achievement. Nineteenth-century apologists for slavery argued that blacks and whites had originated as separate species, with whites created superior. Darwin, however, believed that the races belonged to the same human family. Slavery was therefore a sin, and abolishing it became Darwin’s sacred cause. His theory of evolution gave a common ancestor not only to all races, but to all biological life. This “masterful” book restores the missing moral core of Darwin’s evolutionary universe, providing a completely new account of how he came to his shattering theories about human origins (Publishers Weekly, starred review). It will revolutionize your view of the great naturalist. “An illuminating new book.” —Smithsonian “Compelling . . . Desmond and Moore aptly describe Darwin’s interaction with some of the thorniest social and political issues of the day.” —Wired “This exciting book is sure to create a stir.” —Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, and author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging

  • Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

    Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
    Albert Einstein

    After completing the final version of his general theory of relativity in November 1915, Albert Einstein wrote a book about relativity for a popular audience. His intention was 'to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics.' The book remains one of the most lucid explanations of the special and general theories ever written. In the early 1920s alone, it was translated into ten languages, and fifteen editions in the original German appeared over the course of Einstein's lifetime. The theory of relativity enriched physics and astronomy during the 20th century.

  • What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics

    What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
    Adam Becker

    The untold story of the heretical thinkers who dared to question the nature of our quantum universeEvery physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. A mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, Copenhagen endured, as Bohr's students vigorously protected his legacy, and the physics community favored practical experiments over philosophical arguments. As a result, questioning the status quo long meant professional ruin. And yet, from the 1920s to today, physicists like John Bell, David Bohm, and Hugh Everett persisted in seeking the true meaning of quantum mechanics. What Is Real? is the gripping story of this battle of ideas and the courageous scientists who dared to stand up for truth.

  • Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

    Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
    Sabine Hossenfelder

    A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.

  • Einstein: His Life and Universe

    Einstein: His Life and Universe
    Walter Isaacson

    By the author of the acclaimed bestsellers Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein. How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals. These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

  • What Do You Care What Other People Think? : Further Adventures of a Curious Character

    “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
    Richard P. Feynman

    The New York Times best-selling sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!" One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman’s last literary legacy, prepared with his friend and fellow drummer, Ralph Leighton. Among its many tales—some funny, others intensely moving—we meet Feynman’s first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen.

  • Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth

    Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth
    Craig Ryan

    The untold story of an eccentric, scientific visionary whose death-defying research has saved millions of lives. Sixty years ago, cars and airplanes were still deathtraps waiting to happen. Today, both are safer than ever, thanks in part to one pioneering air force doctor’s research on seatbelts and ejection seats. The exploits of John Paul Stapp (1910–1999) come to thrilling life in this biography of a Renaissance man who was once blasted—faster than a .45 caliber bullet—across the desert in his Sonic Wind rocket sled, only to be slammed to a stop in barely a second. The experiment put him on the cover of Time magazine and allowed his swashbuckling team to gather the data needed to revolutionize automobile and aircraft design. But Stapp didn’t stop there. From the legendary high-altitude balloon tests that ensued to the ferocious battles for car safety legislation, Craig Ryan’s book is as much a history of America’s transition into the Jet Age as it is a biography of the man who got us there safely.

  • Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller

    Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller
    Gregg Herken

    The fascinating story of the men who founded the nuclear age, fully told for the first timeThe story of the twentieth century is largely the story of the power of science and technology. Within that story is the incredible tale of the human conflict between Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller-the scientists most responsible for the advent of weapons of mass destruction.How did science-and its practitioners-enlisted in the service of the state during the Second World War, become a slave to its patron during the Cold War? The story of these three men, builders of the bombs, is fundamentally about loyalty-to country, to science, and to each other-and about the wrenching choices that had to be made when these allegiances came into conflict.Gregg Herken gives us the behind-the-scenes account based upon a decade of research, interviews, and newly released Freedom of Information Act and Russian documents. Brotherhood of the Bomb is a vital slice of American history told authoritatively-and grippingly-for the first time.