The Hunt for Vulcan [EPUB]
27 January 2016, 18:04
2015 | EPUB | 9.12MB
The captivating, all-but-forgotten story of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the search for a planet that never existed
For more than fifty years, the world’s top scientists searched for the “missing” planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era’s most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it.
There was just one problem: It was never there.
In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the story of the phantom planet, starting with Isaac Newton, who in 1687 provided an explanation for all matter in motion throughout the universe, leading to Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who almost two centuries later built on Newton’s theories and discovered Neptune, becoming the most famous scientist in the world. Le Verrier attempted to surpass that triumph by predicting the existence of yet another planet in our solar system, Vulcan.
It took Albert Einstein to discern that the mystery of the missing planet was a problem not of measurements or math but of Newton’s theory of gravity itself. Einstein’s general theory of relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist, and that the search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the “discovery” of Vulcan in the nineteenth century set the stage for Einstein’s monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the twentieth century.
A dramatic human story of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan offers insight into how science really advances (as opposed to the way we’re taught about it in school) and how the best work of the greatest scientists reveals an artist’s sensibility. Opening a new window onto our world, Levenson illuminates some of our most iconic ideas as he recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of science.
Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers [EPUB]
25 January 2016, 13:02
2015 | EPUB + PDF | 2.84/1.66MB
"Stem cells" have become linked with both new frontiers in medical science and political and ethical controversy. The field, along with the emerging area of regenerative medicine, is creating the conditions for a time when damaged tissue and organs might be repaired through personalized cell therapy as easily as the body repairs itself, therefore revolutionizing the treatment of numerous diseases. Yet to obtain human embryonic stem cells, scientists must destroy human embryos – a prospect that has provoked intense reactions among the American public.
Addressing the moral and ethical issues of stem cell research while also educating readers about the biological function and medical applications of these cells, this book features fictional characters engaging in compelling inquiry and debate. Participants investigate the scientific, political, and socio-ethical dimensions of stem cell science using actual language, analysis, and arguments taken from scientific, philosophical, and popular literature.
Each dialogue centers on a specific, recognizable topic, such as the policies implemented by the George W. Bush administration restricting the use of embryonic stem cells; the potential role of stem cells in personalized medicine; the ethics of cloning; and the sale of eggs and embryos. Additionally, speakers debate the use of stem cells to treat paralysis, diabetes, stroke effects, macular degeneration, and cancer.
Educational, entertaining, and rigorously researched (with 300 references to scientific literature), Stem Cell Dialogues should be included in any effort to help the public understand the science, ethics, and policy concerns of this promising field.
Brain Structure and Its Origins [EPUB]
23 January 2016, 21:49
2014 | EPUB + AZW3 | 28.64/45.25MB
This introduction to the structure of the central nervous system demonstrates that the best way to learn how the brain is put together is to understand something about why. It explains why the brain is put together as it is by describing basic functions and key aspects of its evolution and development. This approach makes the structure of the brain and spinal cord more comprehensible as well as more interesting and memorable. The book offers a detailed outline of the neuroanatomy of vertebrates, especially mammals, that equips students for further explorations of the field. Gaining familiarity with neuroanatomy requires multiple exposures to the material with many incremental additions and reviews. Thus the early chapters of this book tell the story of the brain's origins in a first run-through of the entire system; this is followed by other such surveys in succeeding chapters, each from a different angle.
The book proceeds from basic aspects of nerve cells and their physiology to the evolutionary beginnings of the nervous system to differentiation and development, motor and sensory systems, and the structure and function of the main parts of the brain. Along the way, it makes enlightening connections to evolutionary history and individual development. "Brain Structure and Its Origins "can be used for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate classes in neuroscience, biology, psychology, and related fields, or as a reference for researchers and others who want to know more about the brain.