Princeton Science Library^{62}

Nine revolutionary algorithms that power our computers and smartphones
Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack. Uploading... 
Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist and pioneer in ancient DNA research, addresses this intriguing question by walking...

How do scientists look at chance, or randomness, and chaos in physical systems? In answering this question for a general audience, Ruelle writes in the best French tradition: he has produced an authoritative and elegant booka model of...

Inspiring popular video games like Tetris while contributing to the study of combinatorial geometry and tiling theory, polyominoes have continued to spark interest ever since their inventor, Solomon Golomb, introduced them to puzzle...

Fifty years ago when Jacques Hadamard set out to explore how mathematicians invent new ideas, he considered the creative experiences of some of the greatest thinkers of his generation, such as George Polya, Claude LéviStrauss, and...

Trigonometry has a reputation as a dry, difficult branch of mathematics, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. In Trigonometric Delights, Eli Maor dispels this view. Rejecting the usual descriptions of sine...

Reinventing Discovery argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than three hundred years. This change is being driven by powerful cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly...

By any measure, the Pythagorean theorem is the most famous statement in all of mathematics. In this book, Eli Maor reveals the full story of this ubiquitous geometric theorem. Although attributed to Pythagoras, the theorem was known to...

The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive account of the earliest stages of the history and prehistory of viniculture, which extends back into the Neolithic period and...

In Infinity and the Mind, Rudy Rucker leads an excursion to that stretch of the universe he calls the “Mindscape,” where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and...

Leonhard Euler’s polyhedron formula describes the structure of many objects—from soccer balls and gemstones to Buckminster Fuller’s buildings and giant allcarbon molecules. Yet Euler’s theorem is so simple it can be explained...
 More than three centuries after its creation, calculus remains a dazzling intellectual achievement and the gateway to higher mathematics. This book charts its growth and development by sampling from the work of some of its foremost...
 Biological evolution is a fact—but the many conflicting theories of evolution remain controversial even today. When Adaptation and Natural Selection was first published in 1966, it struck a powerful blow against those who argued for...

Animals do have culture, maintains this delightfully illustrated and provocative book, which cites a number of fascinating instances of animal communication and learning. John Bonner traces the origins of culture back to the early...

What is so special about the number 30? How many colors are needed to color a map? Do the prime numbers go on forever? Are there more whole numbers than even numbers? These and other mathematical puzzles are explored in this delightful...

Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a stateoftheart bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wideranging look at the...

J. E. Gordon's classic introduction to the properties of materials used in engineering answers some fascinating and fundamental questions about how the structural world around us works. Gordon focuses on socalled strong materialssuch...

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the...
 First published in 1979, Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare has established itself as a seminal work in ecology. Now with a new foreword by ecologist and writer Cristina Eisenberg, this penetrating study of ecosystems and animal...

Our universe seems strangely ''biophilic,'' or hospitable to life. Is this happenstance, providence, or coincidence? According to cosmologist Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by Einstein's...

To Infinity and Beyond explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and art. Eli Maor examines the role of infinity, as well as its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has...

Among the many constants that appear in mathematics, π, e, and i are the most familiar. Following closely behind is y, or gamma, a constant that arises in many mathematical areas yet maintains a profound sense of mystery.
In a...

In the mideighteenth century, Swissborn mathematician Leonhard Euler developed a formula so innovative and complex that it continues to inspire research, discussion, and even the occasional limerick. Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula...

Around 200,000 years ago, a manidentical to us in all important respectslived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this reallife Adam wind up father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other...

The scientific study of complex systems has transformed a wide range of disciplines in recent years, enabling researchers in both the natural and social sciences to model and predict phenomena as diverse as earthquakes, global warming...

Until a few decades ago, the ocean depths were almost as mysterious and inaccessible as outer space. Oceans cover twothirds of the earth's surface with an average depth of more than two milesyet humans had never ventured more than a...

After his famous visit to the Galápagos Islands, Darwin speculated that "one might fancy that, from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." This book is the classic...

The Extravagant Universe tells the story of a remarkable adventure of scientific discovery. One of the world's leading astronomers, Robert Kirshner, takes readers inside a lively research team on the quest that led them to an...

The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? Plows, Plagues, and...

The concept of symmetry has widespread manifestations and many diverse applications—from architecture to mathematics to science. Yet, as twentiethcentury physics has revealed, symmetry has a special, central role in nature, one that...

Symmetry is a classic study of symmetry in mathematics, the sciences, nature, and art from one of the twentieth century's greatest mathematicians. Hermann Weyl explores the concept of symmetry beginning with the idea that it represents...

Can virtuous behavior be explained by nature, and not by human rational choice? "It's the animal in us," we often hear when we've been bad. But why not when we're good? Primates and Philosophers tackles this question by exploring the...

The human impact on Earth's climate is often treated as a hundredyear issue lasting as far into the future as 2100, the year in which most climate projections cease. In The Long Thaw, David Archer, one of the world’s leading...

Today complex numbers have such widespread practical usefrom electrical engineering to aeronauticsthat few people would expect the story behind their derivation to be filled with adventure and enigma. In An Imaginary Tale, Paul...

The interest earned on a bank account, the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, and the shape of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are all intimately connected with the mysterious number e. In this informal and engaging history, Eli Maor...

Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful...

Since the publication of the first edition in 1966, Eye and Brain has established itself worldwide as an essential introduction to the basic phenomena of visual perception. Richard Gregory offers clear explanations of how we see...

Sixtyfive million years ago, a comet or asteroid larger than Mount Everest slammed into the Earth, inducing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Vaporized detritus blasted through the...

In 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote a mathematical adventure set in a twodimensional plane world, populated by a hierarchical society of regular geometrical figureswho think and speak and have all too human emotions. Since then...

Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobitessuch fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the halfbillionyear tip of a...

Some 250 million years ago, the earth suffered the greatest biological crisis in its history. Around 95 percent of all living species died out—a global catastrophe far greater than the dinosaurs' demise 185 million years later. How...

A perennial bestseller by eminent mathematician G. Polya, How to Solve It will show anyone in any field how to think straight. In lucid and appealing prose, Polya reveals how the mathematical method of demonstrating a proof or finding...

In the 1990s Richard B. Alley and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. In The TwoMile Time Machine, Alley tells the fascinating history of...

Celebrated for his brilliantly quirky insights into the physical world, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman also possessed an extraordinary talent for explaining difficult concepts to the general public. Here Feynman provides a classic and...

In 1921, five years after the appearance of his comprehensive paper on general relativity and twelve years before he left Europe permanently to join the Institute for Advanced Study, Albert Einstein visited Princeton University, where...

On October 23, 1852, Professor Augustus De Morgan wrote a letter to a colleague, unaware that he was launching one of the most famous mathematical conundrums in historyone that would confound thousands of puzzlers for more than a...

Trigonometry has always been an underappreciated branch of mathematics. It has a reputation as a dry and difficult subject, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. In this book, Eli Maor draws on his remarkable...

By any measure, the Pythagorean theorem is the most famous statement in all of mathematics. In this book, Eli Maor reveals the full story of this ubiquitous geometric theorem. Maor shows that the theorem, although attributed to...

Do genes explain life? Can advances in evolutionary and molecular biology account for what we look like, how we behave, and why we die? In this powerful intervention into current biological thinking, Brian Goodwin argues that such...

Celestial Encounters is for anyone who has ever wondered about the foundations of chaos. In 1888, the 34yearold Henri Poincaré submitted a paper that was to change the course of science, but not before it underwent significant...

Over the past thirtyfive years, there has been an explosive increase in scientists' ability to explain the structure and functioning of the human brain. While psychology has advanced our understanding of human behavior, various other...

Some of the most exciting scientific developments in recent years have come not from theoretical physicists, astronomers, or molecular biologists but instead from the chemistry lab. Chemists have created superconducting ceramics for...

What is life? Is it just the biologically familiarbirds, trees, snails, peopleor is it an infinitely complex set of patterns that a computer could simulate? What role does intelligence play in separating the organic from the...

Geerat Vermeij wrote this "celebration of shells" to share his enthusiasm for those supremely elegant creations and what they can teach us about nature. Most popular books on shells emphasize the identification of species, but Vermeij...

Like the bird whose death signaled dangerous conditions in a mine, the demise of animals that once flourished should give humans pause. How is our fate linked to the earth's creatures, and the cycle of flourishing and extinction? Which...

Astronomers believe that a supernova is a massive explosion signaling the death of a star, causing a cosmic recycling of the chemical elements and leaving behind a pulsar, black hole, or nothing at all. In an engaging story of the life...

Using game theory and examples of actual games people play, Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler show how the elements of chance and rules underlie all that happens in the universe, from genetic behavior through economic...

Intended for all readersincluding magicians, detectives, musicians, orthopedic surgeons, and anthropologiststhis book offers a thorough account of that most intriguing and most human of appendages: the hand. In this illustrated...

This classic work in the philosophy of physical science is an incisive and readable account of the scientific method. Pierre Duhem was one of the great figures in French science, a devoted teacher, and a distinguished scholar of the...

J.B.S. Haldane (18921964), one of the founders of the science of population genetics, was also one of the greatest practitioners of the art of explaining science to the layperson. Haldane was a superb storyteller, as his essays and...

In nine essays and lectures composed in the last years of his life, Werner Heisenberg offers a bold appraisal of the scientific method in the twentieth centuryand relates its philosophical impact on contemporary society and science to...

Why do pebbles look brighter when wet? Is there a "right" order in which to arrange a set of colored crayons? Are blue rooms really "cold"? Why do some clothes change color when ironed? What are the colors you see when you press your...