SCIENCE NEWS BOOKS.
Cosmic Adventure: A Renegade Astronomer's Guide to Our World and Beyond--Bob Berman. So, who is responsible for naming new stars? Why are we afraid of the dark? Berman, who writes a regular astronomy feature for DISCOVER magazine, toys with these ideas in this wide-ranging and infinitely amusing collection of essays. He also considers why water is not a gas at room temperature and what is the only truly original concept in cosmology. Morrow, 1998, 255 p., illus., hardcover, $25.00.
Dreams and Nightmares: The New Theory on the Origin and Meaning of Dreams--Ernest Hartmann. Some great inventions and stirring works of fiction have emerged from dreams. But how does this happen? Hartmann deviates from common theories to forge an idea based on emotional coping mechanisms. He believes that dreams put emotions in context and make "a pictured metaphor." Dreams cross-connect new material that aids in adapting to future trauma and stress, says Hartmann. His extensive study of the nightmares and dreams of individuals traumatized by crime and war supports his hypothesis. Plenum, 1998, 315 p., hardcover, $27.95.
The Family Encyclopedia of Disease: A Complete and Concise Guide to Illnesses and Symptoms--Bryan Bunch, ed. A basic understanding of how healthy organs should function provides the backbone of this guide. This mission shapes many of the alphabetical entries covering a wide scope of diseases and irritations. Entries include cause, incidence, symptoms noticeable to the patient, symptoms noticeable to a physician, treatment options, and preventive measures. Each passage is cross-referenced. WH Freeman, 1999, 600 p., color illus., hardcover, $29.95.
Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind--Hans Moravec. Utility robots that vacuum or protect our homes seem plausible enough, and Moravec anticipates their arrival in the marketplace by 2005. But ultimately, he sees robots as pioneers of outer space. Moravec details the path leading to self replicating, self-sufficient robots. He explains how machine intelligence will first replicate existing biological capacities, such as those for cooking or for flying an airplane. His future vision for humans is rosy. He sees these machines as our providers and protectors. As founder of the robotics program at Carnegie Mellon University, Moravec's forecast is well informed and energetic. OUR 1999, 227 p., illus., hardcover, $25.00.
Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab--John F. Kelly and Phillip K, Wearne, Now that criminals get fingerprinted both the old-fashioned way and by their DNA, this chronicle of how such data are analyzed at the world's most prestigious forensic laboratory is troubling. FBI chemist Frederic Whitehurst's allegations of FBI lab incompetence fuel Kelly and Wearne's report. They reveal an operation riddled with bungling scientists and a disconcerting bias toward the prosecution. Some high-profile cases--the Unabomber and Jeffrey MacDonald--are dissected to reveal the FBI's scientific shortcomings. Free Pr, 1998, 355 p., hardcover, $25.00.
Time Machines: Scientific Explorations in Deep Time--Peter D. Ward. Ward's concern here has nothing to do with parallel universes or visiting the future. instead the time when life on Earth was in flux and seemingly beginning anew--the end of the dinosaur age, from 80 to 65 mil lion years ago--fascinates him. He introduces readers to the tools and techniques allowing paleontologists and geologists like himself to revisit this lost time. Laboratory machines for functional analysis and radiocarbon dating are among the subjects of essays about digs in the region around Vancouver Island. Copernicus, 1998, 241 p., b&w photos, hardcover, $25.00.
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder--Richard Dawkins. John Keats once devoted an ode to the tragedy that Isaac Newton reduced a rainbow to a mere prism of colors. Did Newton diminish the wonder of the rainbow? Dawkins, the impassioned champion of scientific inquiry, thinks not. Newton's study of optics generated awe-inspiring experiments that are splendid in their own right. In Dawkins' opinion, science enhances mystery by uncovering new puzzles. However, he asserts, this sense of wonder is not harbored in popular aspects of pseudoscience. He criticized superstitious rituals and a "universe tricked out with capricious ad hoc magic" in his effort to reveal the poetry of science. HM, 1998, 337 p., hardcover, $26.00.
What Are the Seven Wonders Of the World? And 100 Other Great Cultural Lists--Fully Explicated--Peter D'Epiro and Mary Desmond Pinkowish. Can you name the six ranges of the human voice or Newton's three laws of motion? How about the seven liberal arts of the medieval curriculum or the 10 plagues of Egypt? Fun just to browse or to quiz friends at a party, this is a collection of lists of items important to art, history, mathematics, literature, science, mythology, and religion. A passage detailing each item and general topic follows each list. Anchor NY, 1998, 536 p., illus., paperback, $14.95.
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|Date:||Dec 12, 1998|
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