The Girls of Atomic City
29 March 2013, 16:47
Touchstone | 2013 | ISBN: 1451617526 | MOBI | 7.67MB
AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians--many of them young women from small towns across the South--were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war--when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed.
Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it--women who are now in their eighties and nineties-- The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country's history.
28 March 2013, 17:10
Basic Books | 2012 | ISBN: 0465022537 | EPUB | 1.57MB
Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life’s Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale.
Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular storm - specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city - an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves.
Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious "life force" to drive them - as people believed for centuries - life’s ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm.
Grounded in Hoffmann’s own cutting-edge research, Life’s Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.
Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
25 March 2013, 07:41
BBC Books | 2009 | ISBN: 1407024531 | EPUB | 4.26MB
Today, astonishing surgical breakthroughs are making limb transplants, face transplants, and a host of other previously un dreamed of operations possible. But getting here has not been a simple story of medical progress. In Blood and Guts, veteran science writer Richard Hollingham weaves a compelling narrative from the key moments in surgical history. We have a ringside seat in the operating theater of University College Hospital in London as world-renowned Victorian surgeon Robert Liston performs a remarkable amputation in thirty seconds-from first cut to final stitch. Innovations such as Joseph Lister's antiseptic technique, the first open-heart surgery, and Walter Freeman's lobotomy operations, among other breakthroughs, are brought to life in these pages in vivid detail. This is popular science writing at it's best.