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A Beautiful Mind
by Sylvia Nasar
A biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. A mathematical prodigy, who, at the age of thirty, had a complete breakdown. He subsequently recovered and went on to win the Nobel Prize. It has been made into a superb movie starring Russell Crowe.


Buckminster Fuller
by Thomas T.K.Zung
Buckminster Fuller, inventor, thinker and architect, was one of the best known Americans of the 20th Century. Often compared to Leonardo da Vinci, Bucky Fuller was one of the most original thinkers and builders that America has ever produced. He was the inventor of the geodesic dome, the man who coined the term "spaceship earth," and an educator without parallel. His longtime friend and architectural partner Thomas Zung has compiled a Bucky Fuller reader- an anthology - each chapter written by such notables as Arthur C. Clarke, Steve Forbes, Calvin Tomkins, Dr. Martin Meyerson, Sir Harry Kroto, Arthur L. Loeb, Ed Applewhite, and others. Altogether, this book provides an overview of a remarkable intellectual career and the best possible introduction to the man and his thought.


Bucky Works
by J Baldwin
Buckminster Fuller was a remarkable man. Before Fuller, the standard flat map was a mercator projection. We are all familiar with them They're the ones that make Greenland look as big as South America.In other words, the further from the equator, the greater the distortion of the land masses. Somewhere, back in the 1940's, when LIFE magazine was in "every" household, I first met up with one of Buckminster Fuller's great ideas. He took the surface of the globe and transformed it into a series of triangles. Then you laid them out on a flat surface. This got rid of the distortions. It also enabled you to reassemble the pieces to leave the oceans whole and the continents split. This change of presentation gave new emphasis to ocean currents and hence fresh views of their effect on exploration. In addition, Fuller used his concept to create great spherical structures that included the US pavilion at Expo in Montreal in 1967. I also had a wonderful jungle gym for my children - half a geodesic dome created. Buckminster Fuller was a true original thinker.


Crick, Watson And DNA: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. In this book, Strathern describes the tandem research style of the loud and cocksure Crick and the unassuming, gangly Watson. The likable pair almost bumbled their way to discovering DNA's zippered helix pattern, with the brilliant Crick getting called to task by his superiors as Watson quietly pursued hit-and-miss models to crack the code. In just an hour or so, you'll have a good grasp of the field and more than a few smiles at the antics of the two great researchers.


Curie And Radioactivity: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern.
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. Author Paul Strathern describes Marie Curie, the pioneering scientist who coined the term "radioactivity" as "the twentieth century's most exceptional woman." This young Polish woman managed to bring up two daughters while still earning two Nobel prizes and ushering in post-Newtonian science. This is a brief but excellent narrative about the discoverer of radium. It is a story of determination, devotion and success.


The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal
by M. Mitchell Waldrop
Everyone has heard about the amazing ideas and systems from Xerox PARC, but few realize that this lab was the culmination of JCR Licklider's vision of personal, interactive computing, not its birthplace. Licklider provided the vision and impetus to form the ARPA-funded core of computer science research, which lead to Douglas Englebart's windows and mice, Xerox PARC's innovations, and the Internet. The next time that you hear someone saying that government can't do anything well, give them a copy of this book. It is a fascinating, well-written exposition of Licklider's life and work, and even more interestingly, the birth of computer science in the United States. I've never before seen this story as a continuous whole, as opposed to a collection of independent breakthroughs.


Einstein And Relativity: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern.
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. Strathern presents a distillation of Einstein's life and work within their historical and scientific contexts. The bulk of the book deals with Einstein's annus mirabilis, 1905, when his three most influential papers were published: discovery that light is both a particle and wave; proof of the existence of molecules; and why there is no such thing as real time. Einstein was selected by Time magazine as the man of the century. This book will give a brief look at why.


Extraordinary Minds
by Howard Gardner
Portraits of 4 exceptional individuals (Mozart, Virginia Woolf, Freud and Ghandi) and an examination of our own extra-ordinariness.


Genes, Girls and Gamow: After the Double Helix
by James D. Watson
This book is James Watson's report on the amazing aftermath of the DNA breakthrough, picking up where his now-classic memoir The Double Helix leaves off. Watson, at twenty-five already the winner of genetic research's greatest jackpot, is obsessed with another goal as well: to find love, and a wife equal to his unexpected fame. Part scientific apprenticeship, part sentimental education, the book is a penetrating revelation of how great science is accomplished. It is also a charmingly candid account of one young man's full range of ambitions. $14.00

Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein
by George Gamow
This book incorporates fascinating personal and biographical data about the great physicists past and present. Each chapter is centered around a single great figure or, at most, two, with other physicists of the era and their contributions which help form the background of the era. 128 figures & 8 halftone plates.


Hawking and Black Holes: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern.
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. Paul Strathern not only demystifies Hawking's universe-expanding theories, but helps readers appreciate why such knowledge is essential for anyone who wants to more fully understand the world around them.Just a few of the big ideas featured in Hawking & Black Holes are: 1. how the universe originated and what this has to do with black holes; 2. how the big bang actually worked; 3. why black holes aren't actually black; 4. Is a Unified Theory of Everything possible (the ultimate Big Idea)? The book also portrays the iron-willed determination of a man who continues to search for the key to understanding the cosmos, despite the devastating effects of motor neuron disease. Brilliantly simplifying the most complex ideas, Hawking & Black Holes will help you grasp the universe in ways you never thought possible.


The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies
by Richard Hamblyn
"The true story of Luke Howard, the amateur English meteorologist who in 1802 gave the clouds their names-cumulus, cirrus, stratus-and immediately gained international fame, becoming a cult figure among writers and painters-Goethe, Constable, and Coleridge revered him-and legitimized the science of meteorology. Part history of science, part cultural excavation, this is not only the biography of a man, but of a moment: the cultural birth of the modern scientific era."


Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
by Linus Torvald and David Diamond
The story of Linux. The author grew up in communication-gadget-obsessed Finland which boasts more cell phones per capita than anywhere else. This book is about Linus Torvalds who went from being a code writer in Helsinki in the early 1990s to being the unwitting leader of a radical shift in computer programming by the end of the decade. If you're interested in the idea of technological development as a global team sport, and how a nerdy Finnish transplant to California got the whole game going in the first place, check out Linus's story. The book contains enough informative and entertaining tidbits to keep more than just computer programmers engrossed in his story.


Leonardo Da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas
by Janis Herbert
The marriage of art and science is celebrated in this beautifully illustrated full-color biography and activity book of Leonardo da Vinci. Kids will begin to understand the important discoveries that da Vinci made through activities such as determining the launch of a catapult, sketching animals, creating a map, learning to look at a painting, and more.


Math Equals
by Teri Perl
Contains the biographies of important women mathematicians over the last several thousand years plus presentations of their discoveries. Excellent.


Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics
by Edward Teller
Readable by the young as well as the older reader. One of the great scientists of the 20th century, Edward Teller was the 'father' of the hydrogen bomb, and this autobiography describes his odyssey through the 20th century, from his childhood in Hungary and his insights on the two World Wars to his relationship with scientists and his contributions to the development of atomic weaponry. The chapters present an excellent overview of his sometimes controversial views on nuclear weapons usage.The bulk of Memoirs concentrates on events during the 1940s and 1950s, though Teller's influence on President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative does receive plenty of attention.


Men of Mathematics
by Eric Temple Bell
In this book, Bell gives the reader an engaging look into the personal lives of many great mathematicians. While most mathematical biographies focus mainly on the individual's work, Men of Mathematics pays special attention to the lifestyles and life stories of some of the math greats. Mathematical contributions of the men are not downplayed; they are just presented in the context of their social and private lives and of the society in which they lived. The biographies of the great mathematicians are engrossing. An extraordinary number lived bizarre or unusual lives. The book is also a history of ideas, tracing the development of mathematical thought from ancient times to the twentieth century. It accessibly explains major mathematics, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton's calculus and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension.


My Brain Is Open
by Bruce Schechter
The mathematical journeys of Paul Erdos, the legendary Hungarian mathematician.


Minds, Machines, And The Multiverse
by Julian Brown
Based in large part on the groundbreaking work of David Deutsch, this book explores the history of computation and quantum theory. Brown shows us why quantum computing is faster and more powerful, and is a good candidate for replacing its predecessor. The author doesn't pull any mathematical punches, but injects humor and personalization into his writing. Portraits of such luminaries as Deutsch and Feynman are more engaging than those found in some biographies and are enlightening on their own. The real power and charm of Brown's prose lies in its straightforward explanation of the arcane details of the multiple-worlds theory, "qubits," and quantum logic in language any informed reader can understand. There are more questions than answers, but the questions are profoundly satisfying all by themselves.


The Man Who Loved Only Numbers
by Paul Hoffman
The vibrant portrait of Paul Erdos, a fascinating philosopher-scientist.


Mathematicians Are People Too Vol. 1
by Reimer
An excellent collection of short biographies of the men and women who made the important contributions to the development of mathematics.


Mathematicians Are People Too Vol. 2
by Reimer
An excellent collection of short biographies of the men and women who made the important contributions to the development of mathematics.


The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics
by Robin Marantz Henig
The Moravian monk and naturalist Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), the founder of the field of genetics, labored quietly over the years in his abbey's garden, attempting to discover the mechanisms by which traits are passed from one generation to the next (in Mendel's case, in sweet peas). When he published the results in the proceedings of a local scientific study group, it would take nearly twenty years before researchers in more august institutions would discover Mendel's work and apply it to their own revolutionizing biology in the process. Mendel's life was full of disappointments: he failed his qualifying examinations to teach high school several times, and he had trouble getting the scientific establishment of his day to take him seriously. Taking issue with historians of science who have sought to discount Mendel's contributions to the field, the author makes a well-defended claim that the monk in his small garden should be honored as a genius: "a man with a vision and the dedication to carry it to its brilliant, radical conclusion."


Science and the Founding Fathers
by I. Bernard Cohen
Science in the political thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and James Madison. An interesting angle never before taken on the founding fathers.


Newton And Gravity: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern.
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. Newton's theory of gravity offered his contemporaries their first glimpse of how the universe actually works, and his mathematics enabled later generations to walk on the moon. Today, we know that gravity keeps our feet on the ground, but how many of us know how Newton's greatest discovery really works? Just a few of the big ideas covered here are: 1. Newton's discovery of calculus at age twenty-three; 2. Why gravity, one of the greatest human insights of all time, was in fact a hunch and how it actually works; 3. Why it took Newton twenty years after his discovery to reveal to the world the secret of gravity and planetary motion. Newton & Gravity is a fascinating refresher course that makes physics not only fun but shockingly easy to understand.


Of Beetles & Angels: A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard
by Mawi Asgedom, Dave Berger (Editor)
In 1983, at age seven, Asgedom with his family arrived in this country under the sponsorship of World Relief. From growing up on welfare to earning an Ivy League degree and publishing his memoir, it is a remarkable story. He earned a full scholarship to Harvard, where in 1999 he delivered the commencement address. Asgedom now works full-time as an inspirational speaker at venues ranging from schools and churches to Fortune 500 companies.


On Tycho's Island
by John Robert Christianson
From his private island in Denmark, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was the premier patron-practitioner of science in sixteenth-century Europe. This book explores his wide range of activities, which encompass much more than his role of astronomer. The books include biographies of two dozen individuals, all of whom helped shape the culture of the Scientific Revolution. Under Tycho's leadership, their teamwork achieved breakthroughs in astronomy, scientific method, and research organization that were essential to the birth of modern science.


Remarkable Mathematiciansby Ioan James
The author introduces and profiles sixty mathematicians from the era when mathematics was freed from its classical origins to develop into its modern form. The subjects, all born between 1700 and 1910, come from a wide range of countries, and all made important contributions to mathematics, through their ideas, their teaching, and their influence.


Scientists at Work: Profiles of Today's Groundbreaking Scientists from Science Times
by Laura Chang, Cornelia Dean,& Stephen Jay Gould (intro)
From the New York Times. Every Tuesday, the NY Times publishes a science section. You never know what you are going to find and learn, but you should never miss it.


Strange Brains & Genius: The Secret Lives of Eccentric Scientists and Madmen
by Clifford Pickover
This book is about those quirky, wacky people we have labeled as geniuses. The author refers back often to Telsa and this is the primary topic of his writing. But there is enough juicy into about other geniuses to delight and entertain the reader.


Turing and the Computer: part of The Big Idea Series:
by Paul Strathern.
For Grades 5 to Adult. He has written an excellent series of brief biographies of important scientific figures and the discoveries they made. Strathern sets Turing's accomplishments in their historical context. He starts with the long prehistory of the computer, its roots in the abacus, the slide rule, and Charles Babbage's 19th-century "difference engine." He then moves through the great mathematical debates that led to the Colossus machine which cracked Germany's secret codes during World War II.


Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
by Oliver W. Sacks
A memoir. Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, invokes his childhood in wartime England and his early scientific fascination with light, matter and energy. The "Uncle Tungsten" of the book's title is Sacks's Uncle Dave, who manufactured light bulbs with filaments of fine tungsten wire, and who first initiated Sacks into the mysteries of metals. The author's profound inquisitiveness was cultivated by living in a household steeped in learning, religion and politics (both his parents were doctors). For Sacks, the onset of puberty coincided with his discovery of biology, his departure from his childhood love of chemistry and, at age 14, a new understanding that he would become a doctor. This book is as well-written as Sacks's earlier works.


The Whys Of A Philosophical Scrivener
by Martin Gardner
This classic work, first published in 1983, showcases Martin Gardner as the consummate philosopher, thinker, and great mathematician that he is. Exploring issues that range from faith to prayer to evil to immortality, and far beyond, Gardner challenges the discerning reader with fundamental questions of classical philosophy and life's greater meanings.


Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers
by David Edmonds
In October 1946, philosopher Karl Popper arrived at Cambridge to lecture at a seminar hosted by his legendary colleague Ludwig Wittgenstein. It did not go well: the men began arguing, and eventually, Wittgenstein began waving a fire poker toward Popper. It lasted scarcely 10 minutes, yet the debate has turned into perhaps modern philosophy's most contentious encounter, largely because none of the eyewitnesses could agree on what happened. Very well written, this is a marvelous blend of lay and academic scholarship. It ranks in quality with The Professor and the Madman and An Eternal Golden Braid.


Women & Numbers
by Teri Perl
Another book on important women mathematicians plus some of their discovery activities.