The Girls of Atomic City traces the lives of several women working in Oak Ridge for the war effort – which is about all they knew: that their job would help end the war, but no more. Workers were given just enough information to properly complete their jobs. Part military base (guards patrolled entrances), part small town America, Oak Ridge housed military and medical personnel, scientists, and skilled and unskilled laborers from all walks of life from across the United States.
Read this book – it provides a fascinating glimpse into a little known part of American history and effortlessly weaves history, science, biography, and ethics through vignettes about several strong women.
Randall clearly prefers Switzerland (CERN) to northern Illinois (Fermilab) which she regards as boring notwithstanding the buffalo herd and colorful buildings. I recommend both of these books but Knocking on Heaven’s Door is the more current and tells a great deal about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. These books are quite readable even by those with little technical education. Check out Warped Passages today.
And in a bit of serendipity, a superconducting particle storage ring is being transported from New York to Illinois this summer. Join us on July 25 at 7pm as a representative from Fermilab shares more about future experiments and big science.
Interesting look at how the mind works or doesn't work. I especially liked learning that often instinct and experience have value over details and facts when people make decisions. Malcolm Gladwell seems to select topics to write about which are of interest to him so he can delve into them for answers. The current science on the way the mind works is very interesting. Fast, enjoyable read.
Watch the YouTube interview with the author.
Fast reading and informative book about Jacques Costeau's 20th century inventions and discoveries. It is startling to learn that the undersea explorations and diving equipment inventions were due to Cousteau's desire to dive deeper and search the world's oceans.
There is enough information in this book to learn about ocean explorations in the 20th century without getting too detailed. Every person should read this book to understand that ocean exploration and space exploration are equally important and that space was done by countries' funding and ocean was done by a few good, curious adventurers! Very interesting insight into the personal life and personality of Jacques.
Learn more about this famous oceanographer and read the Seattle Times review.
An engaging and thought-provoking read, this book tells the complicated story of a poor black woman who died of cervical cancer in the 1950s, her cells, and the scientific revolution they spawned. Henrietta Lacks was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where doctors removed some of her cancerous cells without her knowledge.
Known as HeLa (pronounced hee lah), Henrietta’s cells were the first “immortal” human cells. They keep growing – today, 60 years after her death, scientists still perform experiments on HeLa cells. Henrietta’s family had no knowledge of her impact on science until more than 20 years later; and even then, did not fully comprehend.
Skloot skillfully weaves the tragic story of generations of Lackses with understandable scientific information. Check out the author’s website for more on her journey and the book. Named the best book of 2010 by Amazon.com, it’s also a top ten pick of Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.
Attention 20-30somethings! We’re discussing this book at GenLit on Tuesday, January 18 at 6:30. We meet for dinner and discussion at Cooper’s Hawk in the Burr Ridge Village Center. Find us on Facebook to learn more.
This book is as much about the scientists as their discoveries. It is a chronicle of the greatest adventures in natural history in the last 200 years from Darwin's trip around the world to Charles Walcott's discovery of pre-Cambrian life in the Grand Canyon; from Louis and Mary Leakey's investigation of our deepest past in East Africa to the trailblazers in modern laboratories.
The author Sean Carroll, a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, takes a look at the lives of these remarkable people whose one purpose was (and still is) to find evidence of evolution. Carroll has a gift for storytelling and this tale makes a very entertaining book.
Noted astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Tyson gives a fascinating and humorous account of America’s love affair with Pluto. Using illustrations to entertain and to educate, the book provides an enticing mixture of scientific fact and funny anecdotes.
Learn about the history of Pluto, when it became a planet (and how that coincided with a famous Disney dog), and when Pluto (the planet) was demoted.
Read an interview with Tyson in TIME Magazine or listen to an interview on NPR. Visit the author’s website to watch video clips from appearances on Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, and PBS; read an excerpt; and learn more about the topic.
Final Theory by Mark Alpert (2008)
Albert Einstein’s colleagues are being killed by someone trying to discover his long-hidden theory. A science historian receives a key from one of the dying men. To unlock the key, he encounters one puzzle, which leads him to another puzzle. He’s trying to solve the mystery while running for his life. This suspenseful novel is a good read-alike for people who like The Da Vinci Code.
The Singularity is Near is a book about future technology and how it will affect mankind. The author is a well-known inventor and futurist. The “Singularity” refers to a time when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence, like a supercomputer. Kurzweil believes that time is coming very soon. Advances in several fields -- computer technology, genetics, robotics, biomedicine and nanotechnology -- will all advance and merge to become the next evolutionary step of mankind. Kurzweil sees the elimination of all disease and pollution, and believes our lifespans will increase dramatically. He believes these advances will happen in our lifetime. His ideas are interesting and even frightening at times. The book was technical and difficult to read at times, but well-organized and very thought-provoking.
Visit the author's website for more about the book and other resources. Learn more about technological singularity. Preview the book before you come to the library. Check out the site dedicated to the Singularity Summit at Stanford University. Watch this YouTube video on the concept of Singularity.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (2003)
Roach has written a very interesting while not too ghoulish book about the uses of human cadavers. She traveled the world to research the book and provides the reader with information from different cultures as well as the sciences.