Brilliant Blunders

Author: Mario Livio

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $19.99

Deal price: $1.99

Deal starts: June 14, 2024

Deal ends: June 14, 2024

Description:

Drawing on the lives of five great scientists, this “scholarly, insightful, and beautifully written book” (Martin Rees, author of From Here to Infinity) illuminates the path to scientific discovery.Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein all made groundbreaking contributions to their fields—but each also stumbled badly. Darwin’s theory of natural selection shouldn’t have worked, according to the prevailing beliefs of his time. Lord Kelvin gravely miscalculated the age of the earth. Linus Pauling, the world’s premier chemist, constructed an erroneous model for DNA in his haste to beat the competition to publication. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle dismissed the idea of a “Big Bang” origin to the universe (ironically, the caustic name he gave to this event endured long after his erroneous objections were disproven). And Albert Einstein speculated incorrectly about the forces of the universe—and that speculation opened the door to brilliant conceptual leaps. As Mario Livio luminously explains in this “thoughtful meditation on the course of science itself” (The New York Times Book Review), these five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on earth, the evolution of the earth, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors.“Thoughtful, well-researched, and beautifully written” (The Washington Post), Brilliant Blunders is a wonderfully insightful examination of the psychology of five fascinating scientists—and the mistakes as well as the achievements that made them famous.

From One Cell

Author: Ben Stanger

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $14.99

Deal price: $5.99

Deal starts: June 13, 2024

Deal ends: June 13, 2024

Description:

Shortlisted for the 2023 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary AwardInside the quest to unlock the mysteries of development—and find the key to transforming our future.Each of us began life as a single cell. From this humble origin, we embarked on a risky journey fraught with opportunities for disaster. Yet, amazingly, we reached our destination intact, emerging as dazzlingly complex, exquisitely engineered assemblages of trillions of cells. This metamorphosis constitutes one of nature’s most spectacular yet commonplace magic tricks—and one of its most coveted secrets. In From One Cell, physician and researcher Ben Stanger offers a breathtaking glimpse into what scientists are discovering about how life and the body take shape, and how these revelations stand to revolutionize medicine and the future of human health.In vivid prose, Stanger leads readers on a gripping odyssey retracing this universal, yet unremembered, rite of passage. Through the eyes of the scientists unraveling development’s riddles in experiments as painstaking as they are inventive, we confront fascinating puzzles: how does the plethora of different tissues that compose our bodies arise from a single source? How do cells know what they are meant to become—skin or bone, blood or muscle—when all carry the same set of genetic instructions? Once a cell starts developing down one path, can it change its mind, or is its destiny irrevocably sealed?As Stanger shows us, the answers to these questions may at last empower us to solve some of our most persistently confounding medical challenges, from cancer to cognitive decline to degenerative disease. Recognizing tumors as evil doppelgangers of the embryo points the way toward new, more targeted cancer therapies. Learning how cells choose their identities and find their way in space could unlock lifesaving breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. The possibilities are extraordinary.Popular science at its best, From One Cell celebrates the power and beauty of understanding our collective beginnings.

Elephant Don

Author: Caitlin O’Connell

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $17.99

Deal price: $1.99

Deal starts: June 11, 2024

Deal ends: June 11, 2024

Description:

“O’Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, takes us inside the little-known world of African male elephants.” —Jane Goodall, founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of PeaceMeet Greg. He’s a stocky guy with an outsized swagger. He’s been the intimidating yet sociable don of his posse of friends—including Abe, Keith, Mike, Kevin, Torn Trunk, and Willie. But one arid summer the tide begins to shift and the third-ranking Kevin starts to get ambitious, seeking a higher position within this social club. But this is no ordinary tale of gangland betrayal—Greg and his entourage are bull elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia, where, for the last twenty-three years, Caitlin O’Connell has been a keen observer of their complicated friendships.Elephant Don tracks Greg and his group of bulls as O’Connell tries to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A frequently heart-wrenching portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, it vividly captures an incredible repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. Greg, O’Connell shows, is sometimes a tyrant and other times a benevolent dictator as he attempts to hold onto his position at the top. Though Elephant Don is Greg’s story, it is also the story of O’Connell and the challenges and triumphs of field research in environs more hospitable to lions and snakes than scientists.Readers will be drawn into dramatic tales of an elephant society at once exotic and surprisingly familiar, as O’Connell’s decades of close research reveal extraordinary discoveries about a male society not wholly unlike our own.“A brilliant study of male elephant society away from the matriarchal herds.” —BBC Wildlife

Fathoms: The World in the Whale

Author: Rebecca Giggs

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $12.99

Deal price: $1.99

Deal starts: June 10, 2024

Deal ends: June 10, 2024

Description:

Winner of the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction * Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction * Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing AwardA “delving, haunted, and poetic debut” (The New York Times Book Review) about the awe-inspiring lives of whales, revealing what they can teach us about ourselves, our planet, and our relationship with other species. When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales reflect the condition of our oceans. Fathoms: The World in the Whale is “a work of bright and careful genius” (Robert Moor, New York Times bestselling author of On Trails), one that blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? How has whale culture been both understood and changed by human technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendor, and fragility of life on earth?In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover how plastic pollution pervades our earth’s undersea environment.With the immediacy of Rachel Carson and the lush prose of Annie Dillard, Giggs gives us a “masterly” (The New Yorker) exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, she outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms “immediately earns its place in the pantheon of classics of the new golden age of environmental writing” (Literary Hub).

Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds

Author: Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $9.99

Deal price: $1.99

Deal starts: June 07, 2024

Deal ends: June 07, 2024

Description:

An ornithology researcher reveals the amazing talents and personalities of common birds in this joyful celebration for backyard bird watchers and nature lovers.   Some birdwatchers will hop the red-eye to Costa Rica if a rare species is reported to be in residence. Here, author Lyanda Lynn Haupt makes the argument for sticking close to home. She muses on the tarnished reputation of the starling, the sexed-up antics of male woodpeckers, and the mysterious behavior and startling population explosion of crows in her hometown.   Through the eye and voice of this talented writer, birds provide a fascinating point of contact with the natural world at large.

Stung!

Author: Lisa-ann Gershwin

Category: Science & Natural World

Regular price: $23.99

Deal price: $1.99

Deal starts: June 07, 2024

Deal ends: June 07, 2024

Description:

“The world of jellyfish is brought alive as you never imagined it could be by Lisa-ann Gershwin in this engaging, gripping, and often funny book.” —Callum Roberts, author of The Ocean of LifeAs our oceans become increasingly inhospitable to life, there is one creature that is thriving in this seasick environment: the beautiful, dangerous, and now incredibly numerous jellyfish. As foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin describes in Stung!, the jellyfish population bloom is highly indicative of the tragic state of the world’s ocean waters, while also revealing the incredible tenacity of these remarkable creatures.Despite their often dazzling appearance, jellyfish are simple creatures with simple needs: namely, fewer predators and competitors, warmer waters to encourage rapid growth, and more places for their larvae to settle and grow. In general, oceans that are less favorable to fish are more favorable to jellyfish, and these are the very conditions that we are creating through mechanized trawling, habitat degradation, coastal construction, pollution, and climate change.Despite their role as harbingers of marine destruction, jellyfish are truly enthralling creatures in their own right, and in Stung!, Gershwin tells stories of jellyfish both attractive and deadly while illuminating many interesting and unusual facts about their behaviors and environmental adaptations. She takes readers back to the Proterozoic era, when jellyfish were the top predator in the marine ecosystem—at a time when there were no fish, no mammals, and no turtles; and she explores the role jellies have as middlemen of destruction, moving swiftly into vulnerable ecosystems. The story of the jellyfish, as Gershwin makes clear, is also the story of the world’s oceans, and Stung! provides a unique and urgent look at their inseparable histories—and future.