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: 2308

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.

Caesar's Last Breath

Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0316381632

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 6596

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.

Caesar's Last Breath

The Epic Story of The Air Around Us

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1473543762

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8769

** GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 ** ‘Popular science at its best’ Mail on Sunday ‘Eminently accessible and enjoyable’ Observer With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds in the Roman Senate, 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 also 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. 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 epic story of the air we breathe.

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: 9631

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.

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: 4560

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.

The Age of Genius

The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind

Author: A. C. Grayling

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1620403455

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 5183

The Age of Genius explores the eventful intertwining of outward event and inner intellectual life to tell, in all its richness and depth, the story of the 17th century in Europe. It was a time of creativity unparalleled in history before or since, from science to the arts, from philosophy to politics. Acclaimed philosopher and historian A.C. Grayling points to three primary factors that led to the rise of vernacular (popular) languages in philosophy, theology, science, and literature; the rise of the individual as a general and not merely an aristocratic type; and the invention and application of instruments and measurement in the study of the natural world. Grayling vividly reconstructs this unprecedented era and breathes new life into the major figures of the seventeenth century intelligentsia who span literature, music, science, art, and philosophy--Shakespeare, Monteverdi, Galileo, Rembrandt, Locke, Newton, Descartes, Vermeer, Hobbes, Milton, and Cervantes, among many more. During this century, a fundamentally new way of perceiving the world emerged as reason rose to prominence over tradition, and the rights of the individual took center stage in philosophy and politics, a paradigmatic shift that would define Western thought for centuries to come.

The Many Lives of Carbon

Author: Dag Olav Hessen

Publisher: Reaktion Books

ISBN: 1780238746

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 7960

In its pure form, carbon appears as the soft graphite of a pencil or as the sparkling diamond in a woman’s engagement ring. Underneath the surface, carbon is also the basic building block of the cells in our bodies and of all known life on earth. And at a molecular level, carbon bonds with oxygen to create carbon dioxide—a gas as vital to our life on this planet as it is detrimental at high levels in our atmosphere. As we face the climate change crisis, it’s now more important than ever to understand carbon and its life cycle. The Many Lives of Carbon is the story of this all-important chemical element, labeled C on our periodic tables. It’s the story of balance—between photosynthesis and cell respiration, between building and burning, between life and death. Dag Olav Hessen is our guide as we discover carbon in minerals, rocks, wood, and rain forests. He explains how carbon is studied by scientists, as well as its role in the greenhouse effect, and, not least, the impact of manmade emissions. Hessen isn’t afraid to ask the difficult questions as he confronts us with the literally burning issue of climate change. How will ecosystems respond to global change, and how will this feed back into our climate systems? How bad could climate change be, and will our ecosystems recover? What are our moral obligations in the face of excess carbon production? Neither alarmist nor moralistic, Hessen takes readers on a journey from atom to planet in informative, compelling prose.

The Last Castle

The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home

Author: Denise Kiernan

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476794065

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 400

View: 8440

A New York Times bestseller with an "engaging narrative and array of detail” (The Wall Street Journal), the “intimate and sweeping” (Raleigh News & Observer) untold, true story behind the Biltmore Estate—the largest, grandest private residence in North America, which has seen more than 120 years of history pass by its front door. The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House. Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy. This is the fascinating, “soaring and gorgeous” (Karen Abbott) story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.

The Demon Under the Microscope

From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug

Author: Thomas Hager

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 1400082145

Category: Science

Page: 340

View: 9706

A sweeping history of the discovery of the world's first antibiotic, sulfa, and its seminal influence on the fields of medicine and science looks at key figures in the battle against disease, how sulfa changed the way in which doctors treated patients, and how it transformed how new drugs are developed, approved, and sold. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.

The Vaccine Race

Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease

Author: Meredith Wadman

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698177789

Category: Science

Page: 464

View: 4429

“Riveting . . . [The Vaccine Race] invites comparison with Rebecca Skloot's 2007 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”—Nature “This is a story about the war against disease—a war without end—and the development of enormously important vaccines, but in telling that story, in showing how science works, Meredith Wadman reveals much more. I loved this book.” —John M. Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Influenza The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the conquest of rubella and other devastating diseases. Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus. Meredith Wadman’s masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans, and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human fetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who “owns” research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives. With another frightening virus imperiling pregnant women on the rise today, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.

Sealab

America's Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor

Author: Ben Hellwarth

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0743247450

Category: History

Page: 388

View: 4949

Traces the story of the defunct U.S. Navy program to develop a marine lab in the ocean where divers could conduct vital undersea exploration and recover lost vessels, drawing on archival materials to reveal how techniques and equipment pioneered for the Sealab program are used on commercial rigs today.

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: 5268

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.

Timekeepers

How the World Became Obsessed With Time

Author: Simon Garfield

Publisher: Canongate Books

ISBN: 1782113207

Category: Social Science

Page: 368

View: 7130

Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. The Beatles learn to be brilliant in an hour and a half. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A US Senator begins a speech that will last for 25 hours. The horrors of war are frozen at the click of a camera. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister lives out the same four minutes over a lifetime. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks. Timekeepers is a book about our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalise it and make it meaningful. It has two simple intentions: to tell some illuminating stories, and to ask whether we have all gone completely nuts.

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: 9365

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.

Caesar's Last Breath

And Other True Tales of History, Science, and the Sextillion Molecules in the Air Around Us

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Back Bay Books

ISBN: 9780316381659

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 2835

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.

The Science of Harry Potter

The Spellbinding Science Behind the Magic, Gadgets, Potions, and More!

Author: Mark Brake,Jon Chase

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

ISBN: 1631582380

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 2123

How does magic in J. K. Rowling’s universe work? Finally, the scientific secrets are revealed! The story of the boy who lived has brought the idea of magic and sorcery into mainstream fruition more than any other book series in history. Modern muggle scientists have uncovered explanations to the seemingly impossible, including answers to such questions as: Will we ever see an invisibility cloak? How hazardous is a flying broomstick like the Nimbus 2000? How has medicine made powerful potions from peculiar plants? (Felix Felicis, anyone?) Can scientists ever demonstrate Wingardium Leviosa, or the flying power of a Golden Snitch? Is it possible to stupefy someone? And many more! Often perceived as a supernatural force, magic captivates and delights its audience because of its seeming ability to defy physics and logic. But did you ever wonder if science has any explanation for these fantastic feats? The Science of Harry Potter examines the scientific principles—behind some of your favorite characters, spells, items, scenes, and even games like Quidditch and Wizard’s Chess—from boy wizard Harry Potter’s world, providing in-depth analysis and scientific facts to support its theories. Author Mark Brake, whose The Science of Star Wars was a knockout success, has found the answers to satisfy the curious spirits of muggles everywhere... A perfect Harry Potter gift for anyone obsessed enough to stand in line to be the first to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, witches and wizards alike will be fascinated by the merging of this improbable realm and real science!

The Alchemy of Air

A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler

Author: Thomas Hager

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 9780307449993

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 7103

A sweeping history of tragic genius, cutting-edge science, and the Haber-Bosch discovery that changed billions of lives--including your own. At the dawn of the twentieth century, humanity was facing global disaster: Mass starvation was about to become a reality. A call went out to the world’ s scientists to find a solution. This is the story of the two men who found it: brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, and saved millions of lives. But their epochal triumph came at a price we are still paying. The Haber-Bosch process was also used to make the gunpowder and explosives that killed millions during the two world wars. Both men were vilified during their lives; both, disillusioned and disgraced, died tragically. The Alchemy of Air is the extraordinary, previously untold story of a discovery that changed the way we grow food and the way we make war–and that promises to continue shaping our lives in fundamental and dramatic ways.

American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

Author: David Baron

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 1631490176

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 6628

Richly illustrated and meticulously researched, American Eclipse ultimately depicts a young nation that looked to the skies to reveal its towering ambition and expose its latent genius. On a scorching July afternoon in 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, the moon’s shadow descended on the American West, darkening skies from Montana Territory to Texas. This rare celestial event—a total solar eclipse—offered a priceless opportunity to solve some of the solar system’s most enduring riddles, and it prompted a clutch of enterprising scientists to brave the wild frontier in a grueling race to the Rocky Mountains. Acclaimed science journalist David Baron, long fascinated by eclipses, re-creates this epic tale of ambition, failure, and glory in a narrative that reveals as much about the historical trajectory of a striving young nation as it does about those scant three minutes when the blue sky blackened and stars appeared in mid-afternoon. In vibrant historical detail, American Eclipse animates the fierce jockeying that came to dominate late nineteenth-century American astronomy, bringing to life the challenges faced by three of the most determined eclipse chasers who participated in this adventure. James Craig Watson, virtually forgotten in the twenty-first century, was in his day a renowned asteroid hunter who fantasized about becoming a Gilded Age Galileo. Hauling a telescope, a star chart, and his long-suffering wife out west, Watson believed that he would discover Vulcan, a hypothesized "intra-Mercurial" planet hidden in the sun’s brilliance. No less determined was Vassar astronomer Maria Mitchell, who—in an era when women’s education came under fierce attack—fought to demonstrate that science and higher learning were not anathema to femininity. Despite obstacles erected by the male-dominated astronomical community, an indifferent government, and careless porters, Mitchell courageously charged west with a contingent of female students intent on observing the transcendent phenomenon for themselves. Finally, Thomas Edison—a young inventor and irrepressible showman—braved the wilderness to prove himself to the scientific community. Armed with his newest invention, the tasimeter, and pursued at each stop by throngs of reporters, Edison sought to leverage the eclipse to cement his place in history. What he learned on the frontier, in fact, would help him illuminate the world. With memorable accounts of train robberies and Indian skirmishes, David Baron’s page-turning drama refracts nineteenth-century science through the mythologized age of the Wild West, revealing a history no less fierce and fantastical.

Robert Oppenheimer

A Life Inside the Center

Author: Ray Monk

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 0385722044

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 825

View: 8504

Explores the complex intellectual life of the innovator of the atomic bomb, providing coverage of such topics as his sympathy toward Communism, his lead over the Manhattan Project, and his Jewish faith.

The Third Chimpanzee

Author: Jared Diamond

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1780746059

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 384

View: 791

The Third Chimpanzee was first published in 1991 and has been in print ever since. This new, illustrated edition is aimed at a young readership. In it, Jared Diamond explores what makes us human and poses fascinating questions including: If we share more than 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees, how is it that we can write, read, talk, build telescopes and bombs, while we put our speechless and bomb-less close relatives in cages and zoos? What can woodpeckers teach us about spacecraft? Is genocide a human invention? Why does extinction matter? Why are we destroying the natural resources on which we depend for survival? What hope is there for future generations? The Third Chimpanzee for Young Readers is not only a mind-boggling survey of how we came to be who we are, but a plea to the next generation to "make better decisions than their parents and get us out of the mess we're in."