Picks

Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order From Chaos

Peter Hoffman is a physicist and materials scientist, and he brings those perspectives and sensibilities to the description of how life converts chemical energy into order and motion.  The "Ratchet" in the title is Feynman's Ratchet, a gedanken experiment described in Feynman's "Lectures on Physics" and reminiscent of Maxwell's Demon.

Gas Laws HD Lite

Gas Laws HD Lite is a free iOS app that allows students to discover the relationship of Boyle’s Law and Charles Law.

iGasLaw

iGasLaw is a free iOS app that provides useful tools for studying properties of gases and gas laws.

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know has an Expiration Date

Samuel Arbesman, a mathematician and network scientist, uses the idea a half-life as an analogy for the changes in human knowledge that science brings. He discusses both the changing rate at which new science is done and the speed at which old results are replaced by newer ones. The analogy is far from perfect, but it emphasizes some critically important aspects of the processes of science.

The Signal and the Noise

New York Times blogger Nate Silver demonstrates how probability and statistical thinking can be used to analyze practical problems in our society. A lively, practical, and informative book!

Dr. Joe's Brain Sparks: 179 Inspiring and Enlightening Inquiries Into the Science of Everyday Life

Professor Joe Schwarcz of McGill University is Canada's foremost public spokesperson for science. His columns in the Montreal Gazette and in Canadian Chemical News and his radio program on CJAD in Montreal reach thousands of readers and listeners, and have provided grist for his many popular books about science and especially chemistry.

Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

In an attempt to get at least a little discussion of science policy into the Obama-McCain campaign of 2008, Richard Muller wrote "Physics for Future Presidents" and offered a popular course at UC Berkeley with the same title. While nearly all of the issues he raised were ignored by the campaigns and during the subsequent four years, he has returned with a book focused just on energy science and related issues.