Molecules

MoleculesIn his highly anticipated sequel to The Elements, Theodore Gray demonstrates how the elements of the periodic table combine to form the molecules that make up our world.

Everything physical is made up of the elements and the infinite variety of molecules they form when they combine with each other. In Molecules, Theodore Gray takes the next step in the grand story that began with the periodic table in his best-selling book, The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Here, he explores through fascinating stories and trademark stunning photography the most interesting, essential, useful, and beautiful of the millions of chemical structures that make up every material in the world.

Gray begins with an explanation of how atoms bond to form molecules and compounds, as well as the difference between organic and inorganic chemistry. He then goes on to explore the vast array of materials molecules can create, including: soaps and solvents; goops and oils; rocks and ores; ropes and fibers; painkillers and dangerous drugs; sweeteners; perfumes and stink bombs; colors and pigments; and controversial compounds including asbestos, CFCs, and thimerosal.

Big, gorgeous photographs, as well as diagrams of the compounds and their chemical bonds, rendered with never before seen beauty, fill the pages and capture molecules in their various states.

As he did in The Elements, Gray shows us molecules as we’ve never seen them before. It’s the perfect book for his loyal fans who’ve been eager for more and for anyone fascinated with the mysteries of the material world.

A Mind for Numbers

MindforNumbersA Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options – both to rise in the military and to explore other careers – she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.

In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science – secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions – you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor

FrankEinsteinBy Jon Scieszka

“I never thought science could be funny… until I read Frank Einstein. It will have kids laughing.”
—Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

“Dear Frank Einstein,
Please invent time machine. Send your books back in time to me in 1978.
Also a levitating skateboard.
Tommy”
—Tom Angleberger, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions – the robots Klink and Klank – to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor… until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction – an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers.

Primates

PrimatesPrimates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

Written by Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks, illustrated by Maris Wicks

Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology – and to our own understanding of ourselves.

Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas in turn, and covering the highlights of their respective careers, Primates is an accessible, entertaining, and informative look at the field of primatology and at the lives of three of the most remarkable women scientists of the twentieth century. Thanks to the charming and inviting illustrations by Maris Wicks, this is a nonfiction graphic novel with broad appeal.

Proof of Heaven

Proof of HeavenBy Dr. Eben Alexander

A scientist’s case for the afterlife…

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion – and in essence makes us human – shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

The Violinist’s Thumb

By Sam Kean

“From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist’s Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK’s bronze skin (it wasn’t a tan) to Einstein’s genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean’s vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species’ future.”

Staff Note: I just read Sam Kean’s earlier book The Disappearing Spoon, and I absolutely LOVED it. Kean is a knowledgeable scientist, but even better, he’s a talented writer – he makes science accessible and writes in a story-telling style that makes his books surprisingly readable. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand and enjoy his writing (although I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt). I can’t recommend him highly enough! –Luisa

I, Galileo

Written & illustrated by Bonnie Christensen

Acclaimed author-illustrator Bonnie Christensen adopts the voice of Galileo and lets him tell his own tale in this outstanding picture book biography. The first person narration gives this book a friendly, personal feel that makes Galileo’s remarkable achievements and ideas completely accessible to young readers. And Christensen’s artwork glows with the light of the stars he studied.

Galileo’s contributions were so numerous–the telescope! the microscope!–and his ideas so world-changing–the sun-centric solar system!–that Albert Einstein called him “the father of modern science.” But in his own time he was branded a heretic and imprisoned in his home. He was a man who insisted on his right to pursue the truth, no matter what the cost–making his life as interesting and instructive as his ideas.

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Turing's Cathedral coverBy George Dyson

Legendary historian and philosopher of science Dyson vividly re-creates the scenes of focused experimentation, incredible mathematical insight, and pure creative genius that gave us computers, digital television, modern genetics, models of stellar evolution–in other words, computer code.

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