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Books on Science - Reviews 

The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla (The Lost Science Series) 
by Nikola Tesla, David Hatcher Childress (Editor) 
Nikola Tesla is a man misplaced by time. He belongs in the future. He wanted to bring free power to the World using superior technology, opposed to the current system we use, that HE designed. J. P. Morgan, Tesla's financer, pulled the plug on the project due to money considerations.  The book presents several of Tesla's patents, and details a few of his major projects.  -- Reader from Washington State

Wizard : The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius 
by Marc J. Seifer 
What kind of genius can fathom the mysteries of electromagnetism but cannot keep corporate lawyers from taking him to the cleaners? Perhaps because his life did not culminate in wealth and acclaim, Nikola Tesla has largely slipped from the national memory. Seifer's biography rescues him from oblivion, bringing back to life the amazingly creative intellect that gave us fluorescent lighting, wireless communication, cheap electrical power, and the remote control. But Seifer also resurrects the wounded, self-destructive personality who never recovered from the loss of a favored older brother and who spiraled into weird obsessions, mental collapse, and poverty as he watched other men use his inventions to win fame and riches. Seifer does an admirable job of explaining his subject's technical feats and analyzing his psychological idiosyncrasies. Tinged with pathos, this meticulously researched biography deserves attention from all who would understand the human tragedies played out in the shadows of our neon culture. Notes, appendix, and bibliography. Bryce Christensen Copyright© 1996, American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. The edition featured here is a reprint of the original.  -- From Booklist , November 15, 1996
Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science 
Here's a science dictionary worth poring over for hours. The concise, well-written text and amazing photos and drawings in The Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science provide an overview of science, from physics to biology, astronomy to mathematics--nine major fields in all. Within the larger sections, each fairly broad subtopic (such as "Reptiles," "Catalysts," and "Medical Imaging") gets a two-page spread. A brief beginning section introduces science as a concept and the work of scientists, while a useful section in the back bolsters the dictionary material with tables of measurements and data. The real strength of a visual dictionary is its images, and this one doesn't disappoint. The illustrations, including intricate cross sections, explanatory diagrams, and fascinating photos, are topnotch. This edition is up-to-date, with information on computer networks and mammalian cloning -- a great family science reference.  --Therese Littleton,
Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler
This brilliant work heralds the new age of nanotechnology, which will give us thorough and inexpensive control of the structure of matter. Drexler examines the enormous implications of these developments for medicine, the economy, and the environment, and makes astounding yet well-founded projections for the future. -- From the Publisher
The Science Explorer: Family Experiments from the World's Favorite Hands-On Science Museumby Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda Shore (Contributor), Exploratorium Staff (Illustrator) The Exploratorium in San Francisco is "a museum of science, art, and human perception founded in 1969 by physicist Frank Oppenheimer. The mission of the Exploratorium is to create innovative learning environments, programs, and tools for exploration that help people of all ages, origins, and geographic locations use their natural curiosity to learn about the world around them." And if you've ever been there, you know that this ambitious mission statement is fulfilled in spades. It is an extraordinary place that I try to visit every time I go to San Francisco.

This delightful book allows you to create your own Exploratorium at home. It's got loads of experiments that, in the best Exploratorium tradition, are fun and highly educational (as an aside, by following one of the exercises, I was able to make a styrofoam airplane that looks suspiciously like the Books logo--and it flies!). Highly Recommended for the curious and playful of any age. --

Rocket Science: 50 Flying, Floating, Flipping, Spinning Gadgets Kids Create Themselves by Jim Wiese
Grades 3-6. Arranged into six chapters showcasing principles related to physics, electricity, optics, chemistry, and acoustics, among others, this is full of appealing experiments that will start kids thinking about how and why things work. Most make use of materials found around the house or in the garage, and diagrams are plentiful and adequately labeled. A few experiments are complicated or require an adult mentor, the building of an electric circuit, for example, but there are plenty children can do on their own, such as making a Cartesian diver with a soda bottle and eye dropper and constructing a rocket boat out of a balloon and a milk carton. Instructions are easy to follow, and Wiese includes a nicely written, not-too-technical follow-up to each project that explains the science behind the fun. -- Booklist, Stephanie Zvirin Copyright© 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Discoverers : A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself  by Daniel J. Boorstin
Perhaps the greatest book by one of our greatest historians, The Discoverers is a volume of sweeping range and majestic interpretation. To call it a history of science is an understatement; this is the story of how humankind has come to know the world, however incompletely ("the eternal mystery of the world," Einstein once said, "is its comprehensibility"). Daniel J. Boorstin first describes the liberating concept of time--"the first grand discovery"--and continues through the age of exploration and the advent of the natural and social sciences. The approach is idiosyncratic, with Boorstin lingering over particular figures and accomplishments rather than rushing on to the next set of names and dates. It's also primarily Western, although Boorstin does ask (and answer) several interesting questions: Why didn't the Chinese "discover" Europe and America? Why didn't the Arabs circumnavigate the planet? His thesis about discovery ultimately turns on what he calls "illusions of knowledge." If we think we know something, then we face an obstacle to innovation. The great discoverers, Boorstin shows, dispel the illusions and reveal something new about the world.

Although The Discoverers easily stands on its own, it is technically the first entry in a trilogy that also includes The Creators and The Seekers. An outstanding book -- one of the best works of history to be found anywhere. -- John J. Miller,

Imagined Worlds (Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures) by Freeman J. Dyson
Freeman Dyson is one of the last survivors of the heroic age of theoretical physics and contributed greatly to the standard theory of quantum electrodynamics. However...he does not suffer from tunnel vision. His imagination embraces the entire cosmos and all the possibilities of future technology . . . Imagined Worlds is one of those mind-stretching books that any intelligent reader can enjoy. -- Arthur C. Clarke, TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT

The Best of Annals of Improbable Research by Abrahams Marc, Marc Abrahams (Editor)
Science is too human, too much fun, and too important not to laugh at it.  The Annals of Improbable Research (and its predecessor, the Journal of Irreproducible Results) has been making fun of science and scientists for decades. This latest compendium includes a listing of the Ig Nobel prizes, annually awarded "for scientific achievements which cannot or should not be reproduced," and some of the prizewinning papers, such as "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation" and "Of Mites and Man." There are also plenty of groundbreaking original studies from AIR: "How Dead Is a Doornail?" "Furniture Airbags," and "The Medical Effects of Kissing Boo-Boos." As the book's warning label states, the result is a highly reactive mix: "Contents are unexpectedly educational and informative, especially in patients who suffer allergic reactions to science, technology, literature, or art. Can be highly addictive." Let the buyer beware. --Mary Ellen Curtin,

On the Surface of Things: Images of the Extraordinary in Scienceby Felice Frankel, George M. Whitesides (Contributor) How many electrons can dance on the head of a pin? What do DNA strands look like when chased by an electrical charge? A rare collaboration between artist and scientist explores the hidden visual splendor of scientific phenomena. MIT photographer Felice Frankel finds startling beauty in the undulations of liquid crystal film and other scientific wonders. George Whitesides' text explains each photograph. Color photos throughout. -- Synopsis

Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease : The Only System Scientifically Proven to Reverse Heart Disease Without Drugs or Surgery  by Dean Ornish
In this breakthrough book, Dr. Dean Ornish presents dramatic evidence that heart disease can be halted or even reversed simply by changing your life-style. Step-by-step he will guide you through the extraordinary Opening Your Heart program that takes you beyond the purely physical side of health care to include the psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects so vital to healing. This book represents the best modern medicine has to offer. It can inspire you to open your heart to a longer, better, happier life. -- ESQUIRE

Cats' Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People  by Steven Vogel
Life is what biology's all about. Technology is something else altogether. Or so I believed before I got into a kind of biology that's about technology as well as life," begins biomechanics expert Steven Vogel in the preface to Cats' Paws and Catapults. Vogel examines the "mechanical worlds of nature and people" in such chapters as "The Stiff and the Soft" and "The Matter of Magnitude." Lots of line-drawing illustrations help readers understand the examples used to answer questions of animal and machine efficiency, design and repair. Vogel clearly loves the puzzles of biology--why, for instance, do daffodil stems bend at only one precise spot? This book is filled with intriguing answers to such hidden questions, and curious readers will eagerly dive into Vogel's investigations of whether nature or human  design is superior and why the two technologies have diverged so much. --Therese Littleton,

The Quotable Einstein by Albert Einstein, Alice Calaprice (Editor), Freeman J. Dyson
The Quotable Einstein is a complete compendium of quotes from the great physicist, organized thematically, usefully indexed, and thorough in its inclusion and documentation of attributed material, sources, and dates. As a resource for the Einstein scholar or hardcore fan, The Quotable Einstein will prove invaluable. As a book for browsing, it puts the profound thoughts of Einstein on topics scientific and spiritual beside the mundane mutterings of any normal biped. This juxtaposition emphasizes both the man's unique genius and his common humanity. --

Galileo and the Dolphins: Amazing but True Stories from Science by Adrian Berry, Jovan Djordjevic (Illustrator)
Written in a witty, easy-to-read style, the author gives us a collection of short stories about amusing "strange but true" science facts. Offers new and surprising stories from the past, present and even future science areas. Such areas of science discussed are archeology, astronomy, biology, medicine, meteorology, physics, and zoology. Includes a section of brainteasing, fact- and fun-filled quizzes to test your own knowledge of science. -- The Publisher, John Wiley & Sons

 Yes, We Have No Neutrons: An Eye-Opening Tour Through the Twists and Turns of Bad Science by A. K. Dewdney
In a waggish vein, Dewdney recounts eight scientific flops in this century, in which scientists let their conviction regarding a new discovery (and desire for fame) outrun the basic methods of science. After a funny summary of said methods, Dewdney introduces the discoverer of "N-rays," Rene Blondlot, whose rays no one else could reproduce--the requirement of irreproducibility also led to the downfall of cold fusion, a recent fiasco probably more familiar to readers. On another fundamental blunder that leads to bad science, not posing a proper thesis, Dewdney hangs the "biosphere," admired more by TV cameras than scientists. He then turns to methodological shortcomings in subjects as varied as the search for extraterrestrial life, Freudian psychology, and the genetic basis, some allege, of human intelligence, spicing his skepticism with biting asides. Expounded in an engaging, conversational manner, these eccentric episodes in scientific progress might appeal both to students starting to grasp principles of the scientific method and to oldsters looking for a chuckle. -- From Booklist April 1, 1997, Gilbert Taylor Copyright © 1997, American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life by Gary Selden, Robert O. Becker
In this landmark book, Robert O. Becker, M.D., a pioneer in the field of bioelectric science, presents a fascinating look at the role electricity plays in healing, challenging the traditional mechanistic model of the body. Colorful and controversial, this is a tale of engrossing research, scientific and medical politics, and breakthrough discoveries that offer new possibilities for fighting disease and harnessing the body's healing powers.  -- Book Description

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
The bestselling author of The Sign and the Seal reveals the true origins of civilization. Connecting puzzling clues scattered throughout the world, Hancock discovers compelling evidence of a technologically and culturally advanced civilization that was destroyed and obliterated from human memory. Four 8-page photo inserts. --

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