The Violinist's Thumb

And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316202975

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 8869

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA. In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In THE VIOLINIST'S THUMB, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.
Posted in Science

The Disappearing Spoon

And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 9780316089081

Category: Science

Page: 400

View: 5825

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table. Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?* The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery--from the Big Bang through the end of time. *Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.
Posted in Science

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 031624225X

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 9982

The author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon reveals the secret inner workings of the brain through strange but true stories. Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike -- strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents -- and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing. In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident that inspired this book's title.* With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain's secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible. *"The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" refers to the case of French king Henri II, who in 1559 was lanced through the skull during a joust, resulting in one of the most significant cases in neuroscience history. For hundreds of years scientists have gained important lessons from traumatic accidents and illnesses, and such misfortunes still represent their greatest resource for discovery.
Posted in Science

Caesar's Last Breath

Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316381632

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 4858

The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017 One of Science News's Favorite Science Books of 2017 The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell. In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.
Posted in Science

Napoleon's Buttons

17 Molecules that Changed History

Author: Penny Le Couteur,Jay Burreson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781585423316

Category: Science

Page: 375

View: 6477

Examines the roles that the molecular properties of such items as the birth control pill, caffeine, and the buttons on the uniforms of Napoleon's army have played in the course of history.
Posted in Science

Mutants

On Genetic Variety and the Human Body

Author: Armand Marie Leroi

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101562765

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 9789

Visit Armand Marie Leroi on the web: http://armandleroi.com/index.html Stepping effortlessly from myth to cutting-edge science, Mutants gives a brilliant narrative account of our genetic code and the captivating people whose bodies have revealed it—a French convent girl who found herself changing sex at puberty; children who, echoing Homer’s Cyclops, are born with a single eye in the middle of their foreheads; a village of long-lived Croatian dwarves; one family, whose bodies were entirely covered with hair, was kept at the Burmese royal court for four generations and gave Darwin one of his keenest insights into heredity. This elegant, humane, and engaging book “captures what we know of the development of what makes us human” (Nature).
Posted in Science

Genome

The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062253468

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 1290

The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.
Posted in Science

Genes, Cells and Brains

The Promethean Promises of the New Biology

Author: Hilary Rose,Steven Rose

Publisher: Verso Books

ISBN: 1844679179

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 2036

Our fates lie in our genes and not in the stars, said James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. But Watson could not have predicted the scale of the industry now dedicated to this new frontier. Since the launch of the multibillion-dollar Human Genome Project, the biosciences have promised miracle cures and radical new ways of understanding who we are. But where is the new world we were promised? In Genes, Cells, and Brains, feminist sociologist Hilary Rose and neuroscientist Steven Rose take on the bioscience industry and its claims. Examining the rivalries between public and private sequencers,the establishment of biobanks, and the rise of stem cell research, they ask why the promised cornucopia of health benefits has failed to emerge. Has bioethics simply become an enterprise? As bodies become increasingly commodified, perhaps the failure to deliver on these promises lies in genomics itself.
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Blood: The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life

Author: Lawrence Hill

Publisher: House of Anansi

ISBN: 1770893245

Category: Social Science

Page: 272

View: 3509

Selected for The Globe 100 Books in 2013. With the 2013 CBC Massey Lectures, bestselling author Lawrence Hill offers a provocative examination of the scientific and social history of blood, and on the ways that it unites and divides us today. Blood runs red through every person’s arteries and fulfills the same functions in every human being. The study of blood has advanced our understanding of biology and improved medical treatments, but its cultural and social representations have divided us perennially. Blood pulses through religion, literature, and the visual arts. Every time it pools or spills, we learn a little more about what brings human beings together and what pulls us apart. For centuries, perceptions of difference in our blood have separated people on the basis of gender, race, class, and nation. Ideas about blood purity have spawned rules about who gets to belong to a family or cultural group, who enjoys the rights of citizenship and nationality, what privileges one can expect to be granted or denied, whether you inherit poverty or the right to rule over the masses, what constitutes fair play in sport, and what defines a person’s identity. Blood: The Stuff of Life is a bold meditation on blood as an historical and contemporary marker of identity, belonging, gender, race, class, citizenship, athletic superiority, and nationhood.
Posted in Social Science

Periodic Tales

A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc

Author: Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 006207881X

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 8744

In the spirit of A Short History of Nearly Everything comes Periodic Tales. Award-winning science writer Hugh Andersey-Williams offers readers a captivating look at the elements—and the amazing, little-known stories behind their discoveries. Periodic Tales is an energetic and wide-ranging book of innovations and innovators, of superstition and science and the myriad ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language. It will delight readers of Genome, Einstein’s Dreams, Longitude, and The Age of Wonder.
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The Next Species

The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man

Author: Michael Tennesen

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1451677510

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 8350

Delving into the history of the planet and based on reports and interviews with top scientists, a prominent science writer, traveling to rain forests, canyons, craters and caves all over the world to explore the potential winners and losers of the next era of evolution, describes what life on earth could look like after the next mass extinction. Includes timeline.
Posted in Science

Human Genetics: The Basics

Author: Ricki Lewis

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 1315406977

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 5188

Human genetics has blossomed from an obscure biological science and explanation for rare disorders to a field that is profoundly altering health care for everyone. This thoroughly updated new edition of Human Genetics: The Basics provides a concise background of gene structure and function through the lens of real examples, from families living with inherited diseases to population-wide efforts in which millions of average people are learning about their genetic selves. The book raises compelling issues concerning: • The role of genes in maintaining health and explaining sickness • Genetic testing, gene therapy, and genome editing • The common ancestry of all humanity and how we are affecting our future. Written in an engaging, narrative manner, this concise introduction is an ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.
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Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

A Renowned Neurologist Explains the Mystery and Drama of Brain Disease

Author: Allan H. Ropper,Brian David Burrell

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1250034981

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 272

View: 6788

A top neurologist explains the difficulty of diagnosing brain diseases through such cases as a college quarterback who keeps calling the same play and a salesman who continuously drives around a traffic circle.
Posted in Biography & Autobiography

Deep Ancestry

Inside the Genographic Project

Author: Spencer Wells

Publisher: National Geographic Books

ISBN: 9781426201189

Category: Science

Page: 247

View: 7583

A scientist and explorer describes his ambitious genetic research project to map the ancient roots and mystery of human origins, explaining how an individual's DNA can provide a key piece in the puzzle of human history and his landmark efforts to test genetic profiles of people from around the world to trace the depths of our common origins. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
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Meltdown!

The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future

Author: Fred Bortz

Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books

ISBN: 1512453005

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Page: 64

View: 3491

Japan. March 11, 2011. 2:46 P.M. The biggest earthquake in Japan's historyand one of the world's five most powerful since 1900devastated the Tohoku region, 320 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Tokyo. It triggered a huge tsunami that left crippling damage in its wake. More than 13,000 people drowned, and thousands of buildings and homes were reduced to rubble. As people assessed the damage, they made the most frightening discovery of all: the Fukushima #1 nuclear power plant was seriously damaged and three of its six reactors were heading for meltdowns. Workers tried desperatelybut unsuccessfullyto save them. Explosions and fires released radioactivity into the air. Within days the Japanese government declared a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone. The future of the plant, the long-term health of those exposed to radiation, and the effects on the environment remained uncertain. Learn more about this massive catastrophe as Dr. Fred Bortz examines both the human tragedy and the scientific implications of the nuclear meltdown. Compare this disaster to similar nuclear events in the United States and in Ukraine, and move ahead with Dr. Bortz as he explores the global debate about the future of nuclear power and alternative sources of energy.
Posted in Young Adult Nonfiction

Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

Author: Jim Holt

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871404095

Category: Philosophy

Page: 309

View: 1417

Expands the search for the origins of the universe beyond God and the Big Bang theory, exploring more bizarre possibilities inspired by physicists, theologians, mathematicians, and even novelists.
Posted in Philosophy

The Soul of DNA

Author: Jun Tsuji

Publisher: Llumina Press

ISBN: 9781595262066

Category: Medical

Page: 164

View: 4743

The Soul of DNA recounts, for the first time, the role of Sister Miriam Michael Stimson, OP, in the discovery of the DNA double helix.
Posted in Medical

A Guinea Pig's History of Biology

Author: Jim Endersby

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674027138

Category: Science

Page: 499

View: 4497

Spotlights small and pivotal experiments that changed the course of science, including information on the study of guinea pigs, passion flowers, zebra fish, and viruses.
Posted in Science

A Feast of Science

Intriguing Morsels from the Science of Everyday Life

Author: Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Publisher: ECW Press

ISBN: 1773051342

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 1827

An entertaining and digestible volume that demystifies science, from the author of 16 bestselling popular science books Crave answers? A Feast of Science demystifies the chemistry of everyday life, serving up practical knowledge to both inform and entertain. Guaranteed to satiate your hunger for palatable and relevant scientific information, Dr. Joe Schwarcz proves that “chemical” is not necessarily synonymous with “toxic.” Are there fish genes in tomatoes? Can snail-slime cream and bone broth really make your wrinkles disappear? What’s the problem with sugar, resistant starch, hops in beer, microbeads, and “secret” cancer cures? Are “natural” products the key to good health? And what is “fake news” all about? Dr. Joe answers these questions and more. Cutting through the fat of story, suggestion, and social-media speculation, A Feast of Science gets to the meat of the chemical reactions that make up our daily lives.
Posted in Science