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Preview: Chronon critical points

Chronon critical points

A selection of scientific applets, articles and book reviews, in particular questioning some of the claims that are often made in popular science books, but which aren't supported by the science

Copyright: Stephen Lee

Review of 'Leibniz' by Nicholas Jolley

Tue, 3 Jul 2012 12:25:08 GMT

Leibniz is one of the best known philosophers, but his work has had less attention than might be expected. In Leibniz Nicholas Jolley gives an introduction to the main points of Leibniz philosophy.

Review of 'The information diet' by Clay Johnson

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 17:16:11 GMT

We're surrounded by sources of information, but somehow we don't seem to find out what matters. In The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption Clay Johnson claims that we're getting junk information, and just as in the case of food, we need to be careful to consume the information we need.

Review of 'Plight of the fortune tellers' by Riccardo Rebonato

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 11:00:07 GMT

Banks have lost huge amounts of money in the last few years, but why? They were subject to regulations and employed risk managers, and so things shouldn't have got anything like so bad. Why did things go so wrong? In Plight of the Fortune Tellers: Why We Need to Manage Financial Risk Differently Riccardo Rebonato gives his explanation.

Review of 'The construction of the heavens' by Michael Hoskin

Thu, 7 Jun 2012 11:54:17 GMT

The work of William Herschel was part of a watershed in the study of cosmology, where rather than being uniform and static, the universe began to be seen as subject to change and containing a heirarchy of structures. In The Construction of the Heavens: William Herschel's Cosmology Michael Hoskin tells of Herschel's contribution.

Review of 'Letters to a Young Mathematician' by Ian Stewart

Thu, 24 May 2012 08:14:51 GMT

In Letters to a Young Mathematician Ian Stewart tells readers what he would like to have known when he was younger, in the form of letters to a budding mathematician, Meg.

Review of 'How the laser happened' by Charles Townes

Wed, 23 May 2012 15:12:47 GMT

Lasers are to be found everywhere today, but when the proposal of stimulated emission was developed, there was little idea of what it would lead to - it looked like it would just be a way of improving microwave sources. In How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist Charles Townes tells the story.

Review of 'How the hippies saved physics' by David Kaiser

Thu, 17 May 2012 13:04:57 GMT

In the middle of the 20th Century, thinking about the meaning of quantum theory was strongly discouraged - physicists were supposed to work on practical applications (like bombs). But eventually people started to question this stance and delve into what quantum theory meant and how it was linked to other aspects of life. In How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival David Kaiser tells the story.

Review of 'How not to be eaten' by Gilbert Waldbauer

Tue, 15 May 2012 11:35:24 GMT

Insects are so abundant that they must present a great feast for anything that eats them. In How not to be eaten : the insects fight back Gilbert Waldbauer tells of the strategies insects use to avoid this.

Review of 'Economics of good and evil' by Tomas Sedlacek

Tue, 8 May 2012 12:36:03 GMT

In Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street Tomas Sedlacek finds economic concepts in a wide variety of sources - from ancient myths to the mathematical theories of today.

Review of 'Reinventing discovery' by Michael A Nielsen

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:38:38 GMT

In Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science Michael A Nielsen explains how the internet is changing the way science can be done and calls for us to adopt these changes as soon as we can.

Review of 'Nine algorithms that changed the future' by John MacCormick

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 16:33:37 GMT

In 9 Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers John MacCormick sets out to give readers an inkling of the workings of the algorithms driving todays computers and the internet, without requiring prior knowledge of programming or computer science.

Review of 'Chaucer' by Peter Ackroyd

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 10:49:59 GMT

Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the author of the Canterbury Tales, but there was much more to him than that, not just the poetry he wrote, but also the important work he did in the service of the King. In Chaucer (part of the Brief Lives series) Peter Ackroyd tells of his life.

Review of 'The House of Wisdom' by Jonathan Lyons

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:11:17 GMT

In The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization Jonathan Lyons explains how much medieval Christendom gained from Arabic learning.

Review of 'The man of numbers' by Keith Devlin

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 16:38:25 GMT

Fibonacci is known for his sequence of numbers, but in The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution Keith Devlin shows that he actually played a significant part in introducing the arithmetic we use today to the Western world.

Review of 'Seeing Further' by Bill Bryson

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 12:28:58 GMT

Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society is a collection of short articles on a wide range of scientific topics, reflecting the range of interests of the Royal Society over its 350 year history. The articles are written by well known science writers, with editor Bill Bryson

Review of 'Knocking on heaven's door' by Lisa Randall

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 15:55:50 GMT

In Knocking on heaven's door: how physics and scientific thinking illuminate the universe and the modern world Lisa Randall looks at the place of science in society, and in particular at what some of the large scale experiments are aiming to achieve.

Review of 'Green philosophy' by Roger Scruton

Sat, 10 Mar 2012 11:43:55 GMT

In Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet Roger Scruton presents his views on how to deal with environmental, and other, problems which we are faced with.

Review of 'The necessary revolution' by Peter Senge

Thu, 8 Mar 2012 10:03:37 GMT

In The necessary revolution: how individuals and organizations are working together to create a sustainable world Peter Senge shows that businesses shouldn't see the practice of sustainability as a public relations cost, but rather as vital to their staying in business in the decades ahead.

Review of 'Join the club' by Tina Rosenberg

Mon, 5 Mar 2012 12:04:00 GMT

Peer pressure is a important component of the behaviour of many people, but is often seen as a negative influence. In Join the club: how peer pressure can transform the world Tina Rosenberg shows just how strong peer pressure can be, but also how it can be used to guide people in a positive way.

Review of 'Two Sides of the Moon' by David Scott and Alexei Leonov

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 07:23:56 GMT

In Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race Astronaut David Scott and Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov tell of their involvement in the space programs aimed at moon landings.

Review of 'Portuguese irregular verbs' by Alexander McCall Smith

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 10:13:22 GMT

Portuguese irregular verbs is Alexander McCall Smith's story of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, a German professor of philology, and of the mishaps he and his colleagues encounter in their lives.

Review of 'The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn' by Richard Mabey

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 10:15:44 GMT

The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn by Richard Mabey is a collection of short essays based on the BBC Radio 3 broadcasts The Scientist and the Romantic

Review of 'How is the Internet changing the way you think' by John Brockman

Thu, 9 Feb 2012 10:09:51 GMT

The internet has had a vast impact on our lives but has it changed the way our minds work. How is the Internet changing the way you think?: the net's impact on our minds and future edited by John Brockman gives the responses of 154 of the Edge thinkers.

Review of 'The prodigal tongue' by Mark Abley

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 12:33:04 GMT

English is becoming more and more global, but does this mean that it will drift away from what its current speakers would recognise? Will the way language is used on the Internet have more of an effect? In The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches From The Future of English Mark Abley looks at such issues.

Review of 'From eternity to here' by Sean M Carroll

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 09:38:15 GMT

Time has always been thought of as something of a mystery, especially when looking at the role of time and the development of the universe. In From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time Sean M Carroll examines some of the problems related to time and the universe and discusses their possible resolutions.