Science & Technology

Citizen Scientist : Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

Citizen Scientist : Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

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A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2016: "Intelligent and impassioned, Citizen Scientist is essential reading for anyone interested in the natural world."

Award-winning writer Mary Ellen Hannibal has long reported on scientists' efforts to protect vanishing species, but it was only through citizen science that she found she could take action herself. As she wades into tide pools, spots hawks, and scours mountains, she discovers the power of the heroic volunteers who are helping scientists measure--and even slow--today's unprecedented mass extinction. Citizen science may be the future of large-scale field research--and our planet's last, best hope.

Darwin (used) (USED)

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Five Billion Years of Solitude : The Search for Life Among the Stars

Five Billion Years of Solitude : The Search for Life Among the Stars

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An intimate history of Earth and the quest for life beyond the solar system
For 4.6 billion years our living planet has been alone in a vast and silent universe. But soon, Earth's isolation could come to an end. Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars. Some of these exoplanets may be mirror images of our own world. And more are being found all the time.
Yet as the pace of discovery quickens, an answer to the universe's greatest riddle still remains just out of reach: Is the great silence and emptiness of the cosmos a sign that we and our world are somehow singular, special, and profoundly alone, or does it just mean that we re looking for life in all the wrong places? As star-gazing scientists come closer to learning the truth, their insights are proving ever more crucial to understanding life s intricate mysteries and possibilities right here on Earth.
Science journalist Lee Billings explores the past and future of the "exoplanet boom" through in-depth reporting and interviews with the astronomers and
planetary scientists at its forefront. He recounts the stories behind their world-changing discoveries and captures the pivotal moments that drove them forward in their historic search for the first habitable planets beyond our solar system. Billings brings readers close to a wide range of fascinating characters, such as:
FRANK DRAKE, a pioneer who has used the world s greatest radio telescopes to conduct the first searches for extraterrestrial intelligence and to transmit a message to the stars so powerful that it briefly outshone our Sun.
JIM KASTING, a mild-mannered former NASA scientist whose research into the Earth s atmosphere and climate reveals the deepest foundations of life on our planet, foretells the end of life on Earth in the distant future, and guides the planet hunters in their search for alien life.
SARA SEAGER, a visionary and iron-willed MIT professor who dreams of escaping the solar system and building the giant space telescopes required to discover and study life-bearing planets around hundreds of the Sun s neighboring stars.
Through these and other captivating tales, Billings traces the triumphs, tragedies, and betrayals of the extraordinary men and women seeking life among the stars. In spite of insufficient funding, clashing opinions, and the failings of some of our world s most prominent and powerful scientific organizations, these planet hunters will not rest until they find the meaning of life in the infinite depths of space. Billings emphasizes that the heroic quest for other Earth-like planets is not only a scientific pursuit, but also a reflection of our own culture s timeless hopes and fears.

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Galileo's Daughter : A Historic Memoir of Science, Faith and Love (USED)

Galileo's Daughter : A Historic Memoir of Science, Faith and Love (USED)

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Inspired by a long fascination with Galileo, and by the remarkable surviving letters of Galileo's daughter, a cloistered nun, Dava Sobel has written a biography unlike any other of the man Albert Einstein called "the father of modern physics- indeed of modern science altogether." Galileo's Daughter also presents a stunning portrait of a person hitherto lost to history, described by her father as "a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me."

The son of a musician, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) tried at first to enter a monastery before engaging the skills that made him the foremost scientist of his day. Though he never left Italy, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. Most sensationally, his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to reinforce the astounding argument that the Earth moves around the Sun. For this belief, he was brought before the Holy Office of the Inquisition, accused of heresy, and forced to spend his last years under house arrest.

Of Galileo's three illegitimate children, the eldest best mirrored his own brilliance, industry, and sensibility, and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante. Born Virginia in 1600, she was thirteen when Galileo placed her in a convent near him in Florence, where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste. Her loving support, which Galileo repaid in kind, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength throughout his most productive and tumultuous years. Her presence, through letters which Sobel has translated from their original Italian and masterfully woven into the narrative, graces her father's life now as it did then.

Galileo's Daughter dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose seventeenth-century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion. Moving between Galileo's grand public life and Maria Celeste's sequestered world, Sobel illuminates the Florence of the Medicis and the papal court in Rome during the pivotal era when humanity's perception of its place in the cosmos was about to be overturned. In that same time, while the bubonic plague wreaked its terrible devastation and the Thirty Years' War tipped fortunes across Europe, one man sought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope.

With all the human drama and scientific adventure that distinguished Dava Sobel's previous book Longitude, Galileo's Daughter is an unforgettable story.

Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention

Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention

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The first American woman to walk in space recounts her experience as part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe. It has, among many other achievements, revealed thousands of galaxies in what seemed to be empty patches of sky; transformed our knowledge of black holes; found dwarf planets with moons orbiting other stars; and measured precisely how fast the universe is expanding. In Handprints on Hubble, retired astronaut Kathryn Sullivan describes her work on the NASA team that made all of this possible. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, recounts how she and other astronauts, engineers, and scientists launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained Hubble, the most productive observatory ever built.

Along the way, Sullivan chronicles her early life as a "Sputnik Baby," her path to NASA through oceanography, and her initiation into the space program as one of "thirty-five new guys." (She was also one of the first six women to join NASA's storied astronaut corps.) She describes in vivid detail what liftoff feels like inside a spacecraft (it's like "being in an earthquake and a fighter jet at the same time"), shows us the view from a spacewalk, and recounts the temporary grounding of the shuttle program after the Challenger disaster.
Sullivan explains that "maintainability" was designed into Hubble, and she describes the work of inventing the tools and processes that made on-orbit maintenance possible. Because in-flight repair and upgrade was part of the plan, NASA was able to fix a serious defect in Hubble's mirrors--leaving literal and metaphorical "handprints on Hubble."

Handprints on Hubble was published with the support of the MIT Press Fund for Diverse Voices.

Lab Girl

Lab Girl

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National Bestseller

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

A New York Times Notable Book

Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life--but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father's college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work "with both the heart and the hands." She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientist to each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment. Warm, luminous, compulsively readable, Lab Girl vividly demonstrates the mountains that we can move when love and work come together.

Winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Books & Film Prize for Excellence in Science Books

Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, TIME.com, NPR, Slate, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews

Mama's Last Hug

Mama's Last Hug

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Mama's Last Hug is a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals, beginning with Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. Her story and others like it--from dogs "adopting" the injuries of their companions, to rats helping fellow rats in distress, to elephants revisiting the bones of their loved ones--show that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy. Frans de Waal opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected.

Munsell Book of Color: Defining, Explaining, and Illustrating the Fundamental Characteristics of Color (Abridged Edition)

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Albert Henry Munsell (1858-1918) was an accomplished artist and distinguished professor at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston (today’s Massachusetts College of Art and Design or “MassArt”).  Munsell was also an inventor, and he held several patents for a Color-Sphere and Mount, artist’s easel, and photometer; he developed his own Munsell Crayons in 1906, which were sold to the Binney & Smith Company in 1926 and were then referred to as Munsell Crayola Crayons

Munsell’s work in developing a systematic approach to teaching and communicating was influential in evolving color science theory at the turn of the century and served as the basis for today’s color matching technology. His Atlas of the Munsell Color System was first published in 1913. It consisted of two sets of charts (15 in total), illustrating the Munsell system of color measurement. Munsell's innovative color system allowed people to communicate color in a systematic way by noting hue, value and chroma.

This pocket-sized revised version of The Atlas of the Munsell Color System was published in 1929 by the Munsell Color Company (Baltimore). Six-ring binder with 21 card-stock pages of color chips organized on a chroma scale; each page is enclosed in a plastic cover; includes three uncut "masks" used for comparing hues. Binding has very minor wear; gilt lettering on cover and spine is worn, but still legible; former owner's bookplate affixed to inside front cover; this copy is identified as serial no. 297. VG+    

The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

The Story of More

The Story of More

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"Hope Jahren is the voice that science has been waiting for." --Nature

"A superb account of the deadly struggle between humanity and what may prove the only life-bearing planet within ten light years, written in a brilliantly sardonic and conversational style." --E. O. Wilson

"Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and--above all--essential." --Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist, a brilliant writer, a passionate teacher, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. In The Story of More, she illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions--from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles--that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming--from superstorms to rising sea levels--and the actions that we all can take to fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of global change and a lively, personal narrative given to us in Jahren's inimitable voice, The Story of More is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.

The Uninhabitable Earth

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon."--Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon

With a new afterword

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible--food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

An "epoch-defining book" (The Guardian) and "this generation's Silent Spring" (The Washington Post), The Uninhabitable Earth is both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it--the ways that warming promises to transform global politics, the meaning of technology and nature in the modern world, the sustainability of capitalism and the trajectory of human progress.

The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation--today's.

Praise for The Uninhabitable Earth

"The Uninhabitable Earth is the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet."--Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

"Riveting. . . . Some readers will find Mr. Wallace-Wells's outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too."--The Economist

"Potent and evocative. . . . Wallace-Wells has resolved to offer something other than the standard narrative of climate change. . . . He avoids the 'eerily banal language of climatology' in favor of lush, rolling prose."--Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

"The book has potential to be this generation's Silent Spring."--The Washington Post

"The Uninhabitable Earth, which has become a best seller, taps into the underlying emotion of the day: fear. . . . I encourage people to read this book."--Alan Weisman, The New York Review of Books