When I saw the release of the first batch of The Joy of x in bookstores a few years ago, I wanted to get the book immediately. Prior to that, I had enjoyed Strogatz’s 2003 bestseller Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life, based on his highly influential research on synchronized networks and the first in a series of books which subsequently cemented his reputation as one of the most popular mathematics writers of recent years.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman is a popular psychology book on decision making that walks the fine line between pop science chock-full of theories, and empirical findings from psychology experiments. Usually circulating only among academics and a niche group of unusually curious folks with an appetite for journal articles, many results from these psychology experiments do not make their way to the masses. This is unfortunate since everyone from entry-level executives to CEOs in the corporate world, for example, make decisions every day that are prone to biases.
This Will Change Everything is a compilation of responses to the 2009 Edge question, “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you live to see?” As one might expect, the responses more or less converged on a few common themes: climate change, biological engineering, nuclear war, ubiquitous computing, etc. But there were also a few more peripheral predictions: the discovery of a proof for the Riemann Hypothesis, the commercialisation of neurocosmetics, the evolution of masculine subjectivity, and the perfection of lie detectors, just to name a few.
In Mapping Mars, Oliver Morton tells the story of what happens with these reams of data sent back by the few dozen missions to Mars over the past half-century, from the low-resolution Mariner images until Mars Global Surveyor of the early 2000s (when this book was published). This contains two parallel histories: the history of humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet, and models of how Mars’s own history could have created what we see today.
The concepts of invisibility, teleportation, faster-than-light travel, and the book title itself are the topics highlighted in Slow Light by Sidney Perkowitz, a professor emeritus of physics at Emory University. We are always amazed when we see these phenomena in action as depicted in sci-fi or fantasy movies, especially the famed Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak or Star Trek’s warp drive. Ever wonder how close science and technology are to achieve these “magic”? If you have, then this is the book to whet your curiosity palate.