I hate every wave of the ocean', the seasick Charles Darwin wrote to his family during his five-year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. It was this world-wide journey, however, that launched the scientists career.
"You'll never get bored!"
"I am hopelessly and forever a mountaineer," John Muir wrote. "Civilization and fever and all the morbidness that has been hooted at me has not dimmed my glacial eye, and I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness. My own special self is nothing". In Donald Worster's magisterial biography, John Muir's "special self" is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world.
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature,"
An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one - a singular mathematician with a rock star's charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath's promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it. Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor.
"A mathematics student's review."
Get up close and personal with science as Andrew Kessler narrates his hilarious journey inside NASA's Phoenix Mars mission - a historic enterprise manned by a motley crew of rocket scientists. The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic.
No Better Time tells of a young, driven mathematical genius who wrote a set of algorithms that would create a faster, better Internet. It's the story of a beautiful friendship between a loud, irreverent student and his soft-spoken MIT professor, of a husband and father who spent years struggling to make ends meet only to become a billionaire almost overnight with the success of Akamai Technologies, the Internet content delivery network he cofounded with his mentor.
The enthralling biography of the shepherd boy who changed the world with his revolutionary engineering and whose genius we still benefit from today. Thomas Telford's name is familiar, his story less so. Thomas was born in 1757 in the Scottish Borders; his father died in Thomas' infancy, plunging the family into poverty. Telford's life soared to span almost eight decades of gloriously obsessive, prodigiously productive energy. Few people have done more to shape our nation.
By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.
"This is truly science :)"
Alan Mathison Turing. Mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, a founder of computer science, and the father of Artificial Intelligence, Turing was one of the most original thinkers of the last century - and the man whose work helped create the computer-driven world we now inhabit. But he was also an enigmatic figure, deeply reticent yet also strikingly naive. Turing's openness about his homosexuality at a time when it was an imprisonable offense ultimately led to his untimely death at the age of only 41.
"Short but succinct and intriguing"
Alan Turing was an extraordinary man who crammed into a life of only 42 years the careers of mathematician, codebreaker, computer scientist and biologist. He is widely regarded as a war hero grossly mistreated by his unappreciative country, and it has become hard to disentangle the real man from the story. It is easy to cast him as a misfit, the stereotypical professor.
"Accessible Turing biography."
When Peter Piot was in medical school, a professor warned, "There's no future in infectious diseases. They've all been solved." Fortunately, Piot ignored him, and the result has been an exceptional, adventure-filled career. In the 1970s, as a young man, Piot was sent to Central Africa as part of a team tasked with identifying a grisly new virus. Crossing into the quarantine zone on the most dangerous missions, he studied local customs to determine how this disease - the Ebola virus - was spreading. Later, Piot found himself in the field again when another mysterious epidemic broke out: AIDS.
"An interesting book but"
In little more than half a decade, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects, even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.
"Interesting and informative"
The dream of capturing and organizing knowledge is as old as history. From the archives of ancient Sumeria and the Library of Alexandria to the Library of Congress and Wikipedia, humanity has wrestled with the problem of harnessing its intellectual output. The timeless quest for wisdom has been as much about information storage and retrieval as creative genius. In Cataloging the World, Alex Wright introduces us to a figure who stands out in the long line of thinkers and idealists who devoted themselves to the task.
Three years ago, 32-year-old Markus "Notch" Persson of Stockholm was an unknown and bored computer programmer. Today, he is a multi-millionaire international icon. Minecraft, the "virtual Lego" game Markus crafted in his free time, has become one of the most talked about activities since Tetris. Talked about by tens of millions of people, in fact.It is the story of unlikely success, fast money, and the power of digital technology to rattle an empire. And it is about creation, exclusion, and the feeling of not fitting in.
Pioneering oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer unravels the mystery of marine currents, uncovers the astonishing story of flotsam, and changes the world's view of trash, the ocean, and our global environment. Curtis Ebbesmeyer is no ordinary scientist. He's been a consulting oceanographer for multinational firms and a lead scientist on international research expeditions, but he's never held a conventional academic appointment.
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals - also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.
In My Life as a Quant, Emanuel Derman relives his exciting journey as one of the first high-energy particle physicists to migrate to Wall Street. Derman details his adventures in this fieldanalyzing the incompatible personas of traders and quants, and discussing the dissimilar nature of knowledge in physics and finance. Throughout this tale, he also reflects on the appropriate way to apply the refined methods of physics to the hurly-burly world of markets.
"Quirky but thoughtful"
Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the 20th 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.
"Interesting, lots of things I did not know"
All the Rave reveals the family betrayal, greed, and mismanagement that hijacked one the most fundamental innovations of the Internet era.
Named one of the three best books of 2003 by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., All the Rave has been out of print until now and unavailable in most electronic formats. Author and veteran technology journalist Joseph Menn also wrote 2010's Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords who are Bringing Down the Internet.
Combining elements of Rocket Boys and Elegant Universe, Time Traveler follows Mallett's discovery of Einstein's work on space-time, his study of Godel's work on a solution of Einstein's equation that might allow for time travel, and his own research in theoretical physics spanning 30 years that culminated in his recent discovery of the effects of circulating laser light and its application to time travel.
"Now I get it ?"
Gary Rivlin tells the story of Ron Conway, the man who has placed more bets on Internet start-ups than anyone else in Silicon Valley. Conway is a listener-friendly way into the realm of angel financing, where independently wealthy investors link up with companies just as they are being born. The Godfather of Silicon Valley takes you into this fascinating world on the edges of the financial universe, where the pace is frantic, the story lines are rich, and every moment is perilous.
South African-born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it. He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey, Jr. The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story.
"Great insight into Musk's worldview"
In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Walter Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, this is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.
"A fascinating insight into a flawed genius"
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story.
"Seems to tie together not only science, but history too. Fascinating"
In 1957, four years before his death, Carl Gustav Jung, psychiatrist and psychologist, began writing his life story. But what started as an exercise in autobiography soon morphed into an altogether more profound undertaking.
"'Two souls in his breast'"
With his characteristic eyebrow-raising behavior, Richard P. Feynman once provoked the wife of a Princeton dean to remark, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" But the many scientific and personal achievements of this Nobel Prize-winning physicist are no laughing matter. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology.
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history - Doom and Quake - until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry.
"A must read for 90s gamers"
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.
"Interesting for the enthusiast"
In An Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins brought us his engaging memoir of the first 35 years of his life from early childhood in Africa to publication of The Selfish Gene in 1976, when he shot to fame as one of the most exciting new scientists of his generation. In Brief Candle in the Dark he continues his autobiography, following the threads that have run through the second half of his life so far and homing in on the key individuals, institutions and ideas that inspired and motivated him.
"Fascinating incites, evolution, science and Oxford"
When it comes to economics and economic theory, a few thinkers dominate the landscape. Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes, and a handful of others have shaped the world of economics and influenced our lives. These 10 lectures acquaint you with the thoughts, theories, and lives of these great economists.
We all think we know who Steve Jobs was, what made him tick, and what made him succeed. Yet the single most important question about him has never been answered. The young, impulsive, egotistical genius was ousted in the mid-'80s from the company he founded, exiled from his own kingdom and cast into the wilderness. Yet he returned a decade later to transform the ailing Apple into the most successful company the world had ever seen.
"Compared to Isaacson's biog? Maybe not. Read on..."
In this compelling memoir, Jane Hawking relates the inside story of her extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family is inspirational. This is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with listeners everywhere.
Dr. Temple Grandin gets to the real issues of autism, the ones parents, teachers, and individuals on the spectrum face every day. Temple offers helpful dos and don'ts, practical strategies, and try-it-now tips, all based on her insider perspective and a great deal of research.
"Absolutely wonderful and insightful"
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.
Anthony Stevens argues that Jung's visionary powers and profound spirituality have helped many to find an alternative set of values to the arid materialism prevailing Western society.
Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch of accomplished scientists, Richard Dawkins was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life and intellectual development? And who inspired him to become the pioneering scientist and public thinker now famous (and infamous to some) around the world? In An Appetite for Wonder we join him on a personal journey back to an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa.
"Sorry I am Biased"
Modern Man is a penetrating psychological portrait of a true genius and constant self-inventor, as well as a sweeping tale filled with exotic locales, sex and celebrity (he was a lover of Josephine Baker), and high-stakes projects. In Flint's telling, Corbusier isn't just the grandfather of modern architecture but a man who sought to remake the world according to his vision, dispelling the Victorian style and replacing it with something never seen before.
The story of Emma and Carl Jung's highly unconventional marriage, their relationship with Freud and their part in the early years of psychoanalysis. Emma Jung was clever, ambitious and immensely wealthy, one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland when, aged 17, she met and fell in love with Carl Jung, a handsome, penniless medical student. Determined to share his adventurous life and to continue her own studies, she was too young to understand Carl's complex personality or conceive the dramas that lay ahead.
"Emma's labyrinthine marriage to Carl the Colussus"